I've always cringed at the phrase "If I wanted to send a message, I'd use Fed Ex", and its not because of any loss of love for Fed Ex, as a mail carrying company, they do a fine job and have a very clever little logo. No, the idea behind the phrase - which some filmmaker originally applied to some film that he'd made, is that movies are only for entertainment, not for 'messages'.

Every movie has a message, whether its banal or interesting, obvious or inspired. A movie can support or challenge the status quo. While most movies probably support the status quo to one degree or another, there are a select few which do not. Many people have considered movies like Gentleman's Agreement and Casablanca to challenge the marginalizing of Jews and Blacks respectively in American media. More directly, movies like Supersize Me and Roger and Me are made with a singularity of purpose- to directly challenge an aspect of society or culture.

Participate is a fascinating online resource because it not only features information about current movies that take on these kinds of challenges, but also helps you find ways of taking up these challenges for yourself after the final credits roll.

For example, they offer a wealth of teaching materials and action resources about global warming in reference to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

In addition, they are giving away 50,000 free copies of the movie to teachers on a first come first serve basis until the end of the month. Grab your copy now!


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