Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

Movie Fun for the Whole Family

Brave Writer Movie Fun

Have you ever thought of a movie as a text to study just as you would a novel? 

Movies have all of the elements found in a book:

  • plot,
  • character development,
  • setting,
  • dialogue, and
  • writer’s craft (including literary devices).

And you can explore it all in under two hours! 

While movies are not a one-to-one replacement for reading books, they have their own value.

Movies can: 

  • expand cultural literacy. 
  • offer fuel for big juicy conversations.
  • allow for a quick look at the unfolding of a plot arc.
  • reveal the plot and basic story elements so, later, the reader can sink into the genre and writing style of a difficult-to-read author. 
  • enrich the reading experience. 
  • provide an opportunity to compare and contrast. 
  • inspire insights about both necessary and unnecessary changes made to fit the new medium (film). 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the power of movies!

Did you know you can provide your child with a rich learning experience by watching a movie and just selecting a few passages from the corresponding book to study?

You can! And what a way to wrap up the school year!

To make it easy, we’ve curated a list of books with movie companions and either a Dart, Arrow, or Boomerang to help you explore the book:

Find the complete Movie Wednesday Master List here.

Brave Writer Guide to the Movies

FREE Guide: Brave Writer Goes to the Movies

Calling All Stargirl Fans

Calling Stargirl Fans

Stargirl fans! Grab your ukuleles, Stargirl is coming to the silver screen!

Well, okay—the small screen in your living room, but that’s not nearly as dramatic.

The Stargirl movie will release on Disney+ March 13th!

Tip: Find a friend with Disney+ and have a watch party with your teens.

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Not a Stargirl fan yet?

Prepare for the movie by reading the book —and dig deeper into the book with the Stargirl Boomerang (literature-based language arts guide)!

Brave Writer mom Christyn shared her experience working through the Stargirl Boomerang with her daughter:

Stargirl was a book and Boomerang selected on a whim, a last-minute addition to our fall semester…and I’m so glad I made that choice. The story of this smart and whimsical homeschooled teenager fit perfectly with our overarching theme of “identity” this year and opened up some poignant conversations, especially when paired with the Think Piece Questions.

My daughter and I both enjoyed the “Try It!” sections: Week One’s playing with metaphors was a favorite.

The Boomerang guided us deep into the book, drawing our attention to figurative language, setting, and dialogue, and a discussion of how the author’s specific choices enhanced the story.

The “Inside Scoop” and “Beyond the Passage” sections added another layer of insight and discussion. To paraphrase from the Week One dictation passage, I was perpetually astonished at the depth of the story that the Boomerang unlocked for us, but I never had to wonder what we might be missing: the Boomerang’s attention to detail covered everything the story had to offer.

We <3 Stargirl — and immediately ordered the sequel, “Love, Stargirl”!

Note: The “Inside Scoop” and “Beyond the Passage” sections were added to the Boomerangs in August 2019. 

Stargirl is a quick read with lots of topics to inspire Big Juicy Conversations with teens!

Grab the Stargirl Boomerang

What’s a Boomerang? Read on to learn more!

The Boomerang is your boots-on-the-ground master tour guide, intrepidly leading you through the challenging terrain of high school literature.

Our language arts field guides:

  • Choose a powerful novel to read
  • Select four insightful passages for copywork and dictation
  • Offer expert, easy-to-understand language notes for you and your teen
  • Guide students in literary analysis
  • Plan book club parties so you don’t have to (select issues)!

Boomerangs are available as

  • single issues or
  • a discounted 10 month program which includes a skills tracker, a weekly planner, and access to a private Facebook group for support and training.

Psst: The Boomerang program is also available in our bundles for teens!

Brave Writer Arrow and Boomerang Programs

Movie Wednesday: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Brave Writer Movie Wednesday Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Amy Frantz, Brave Writer alum

After the planet Earth is destroyed by Vogons to make way for an intergalactic bypass, Arthur Dent, the last surviving human man, hitchhikes to safety along with his alien friend, Ford, aboard the Vogon ship. Soon afterwards, they are dumped into space by the Vogons, where they once again hitchhike aboard the ship of Trillian (the last human woman) and the President of the Galaxy (who also happens to have two heads), Zaphod Beeblebrox, and they become immediately swept up into the quest to find the ultimate question of the universe.

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Originally a radio comedy series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams was published in 1979 and has become a science fiction classic.

In 2005 a major motion picture adaptation was released with a screenplay co-written by Douglas Adams, who sadly passed away before the film was completed.

Under the guise of absurdist humor, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy deals with themes of bureaucracy, callousness, whether life has meaning, and seeing things from someone else’s point of view.

Discussion Questions

  • Arthur Dent is the Every Man, meant to stand in for the audience members. But if you were in Arthur Dent’s position as one of the last surviving humans, how do you think you would react? Would you react like Arthur or in some other way?
  • Trillian is the only female member of the main cast. How do you think the story might change if more of the characters were women?
  • If you could custom build a planet as we see in the film, what would your planet be like?
  • If you were to write a chapter on yourself in the Hitchhiker’s Guide, what would it say?

Additional Resources

DIY Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Towel Bag (YouTube video)

Brave Writer’s FREE movie discussion guide

Brave Writer’s January 2020 Book/Movie Duo online class (recommended for ages 11-14) will explore the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

BoomerangLearn language arts with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Boomerang!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Movie Wednesday: Sense and Sensibility

Brave Writer Movie Wednesday Sense and Sensibility

by Amy Frantz, Brave Writer alum

The Dashwood sisters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, are left penniless when Mr. Dashwood passes away, leaving everything to their half-brother who forces them to move out of their own home and live meagerly with distant relatives. In the country, the young women encounter love and heartache as they navigate their new social status.

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen was originally published in 1811. It’s original by line read: “By a Lady.” But today Jane Austen might be one of the most recognizable author names on any given shelf in a bookstore.

In 1995 Austen’s novel was adapted to the big screen as a major motion picture. Directed by Ang Lee, the film stars Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant.

Much of Austen’s work, if not all of it, falls under the genre of novels of manners. Novels of manners are deeply concerned with, well, manners. That is to say, the social conventions, restrictions, and behaviors that “define a class.”

In Sense and Sensibility, a lot of emphasis is given to how characters behave when interacting with others, sometimes in juxtaposition with how society feels they ought to behave. Characters who behave “improperly” are sneered at or judged by those around them.

A central struggle many characters face is how to forge meaningful relationships around the restrictions on class and gender interactions put on them by society, and much of both the comedy and drama arises from how awkward following these conventions can make a conversation.

Discussion Questions

  • At the time during which Sense and Sensibility is set only men could inherit property, so the Dashwood sisters and their mother are deprived of their home and forced to live in the countryside. What other examples from the story can you think of that show the different social restrictions and expectations placed on men and women?
  • Do you think the film provides sufficient evidence of the change in Marianne’s affections towards Colonel Brandon at the end of the film or does it feel too sudden? Explain your answer.
  • Of the Dashwood sisters, whom do you relate to the most and why?
  • A character arc is when a character fundamentally changes as a result of their experiences. Example: Marianne journeys from innocent naivety to a more subdued practicality after her heart is broken by Willoughby. Do you think Elinor has a character arc? And if so, in what ways do you think she demonstrates growth over the course of the story?

Additional Resources

Brave Writer Boomerang Book ClubSign up now for our online Boomerang Book Club for Sense and Sensibility (class begins January 1, 2019).

Our book discussions are drawn from rich works of fiction that will easily fulfill the English credit requirement for literature for a year of high school.

Also check out our Brave Writer ideas for a Jane Austen Deep Dive including:

  • novels,
  • films,
  • writing
  • prompts,
  • tutorials, and more!

Banner header Arrow Boomerang

January 2019 Movie Club Theme: Transformations

January 2019 Movie Club: Transformations

Getting cozy on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn watching movies and counting it as “school” is homeschool at its finest. Grab your teen and your favorite snacks and join us in our first Movie Discussion Club of 2019 (Jan 7—Feb 1). You won’t want to miss this special selection of films.

Discussing movies doesn’t feel like the chore of writing. When we get close to a teen’s passion, the words flow easier. For the teens who love movies, it’s not enough to watch them. They want to rehash the casting choices, the twist in the plot, the unsatisfying ending. Give them a chance to dive deep!

Kick off the new year with discussion about thought-provoking films on the theme of transformation. The big question asked in each of these films set in locations around the world: Given the constraints of the life we are living, is change possible? Join us in this club and discover the filmmakers’ fascinating answers.


The Breadwinner — Physical transformation. An animated tale set in Afghanistan where an 11-year-old girl takes on the appearance of a boy to support her family.

The Dhamma Brothers — Spiritual transformation. A documentary of what happens to a group of hardened criminals in an Alabama prison when they undertake the grueling 10-day challenge of Vipassana meditation.

Whale Rider — Cultural transformation. Set in New Zealand, an old chief searches desperately for the next leader of the community amongst the boys of the village. He refuses to see that his own granddaughter may be the best choice.

Please Vote for Me — Political transformation. This documentary follows a class of elementary school students in China as they participate in democratic elections to determine who will hold the coveted post of Class Monitor.

Here’s what our students say:

I love the way it doesn’t feel like writing, even though it is! And, instead of just watching the movie, I got to ponder deeper into the movie, versus skimming the surface. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!! —Brian N.

[About the Globetrotters—Iran Movie Club] To me, this was more than a movie club. Through these movies, I have learned not only how Iranian movies are made but also about Iranian history, culture, people, religion, geography, law, human rights issues, and much more. I am positive that I have learned a lot more than I could have ever learned in a geography or social studies class. It was an eye opening experience. I just love the club so much. —Meg I.

Sign Up for Our Online Movie Club

Register for Spring Classes before they’re gone!

Online classes for Spring Semester are filling up quickly—hop on over to our 2019 Spring Class Schedule and sign your kiddo(s) up for their favorite picks before we’re sold out!

Brave Writer classes are designed for the busy homeschooling parent:

  • 3-6 weeks in length (accommodating your family calendar).
  • Focused on a specific writing task—allowing a deep dive.
  • Each coach is a published author AND homeschooler.
  • Coaches offer positive, kind, instructive feedback that grows the writing.