Empty Theater Marquee

Why this page? Because some of the most powerful movies made often get panned by the critics. And some of the best ones often do not get seen much because many people rely on what the critics think when choosing what movies to see.

And many miss the most potentially impactful aspects of very popular movies if they watch only with the intent of being entertained.

Playing with these movies in the ways described below offers a peek into the methodology of the Simple Awakening Tools Program so you can see if you like it.

When you go to see a movie at a theater, there is no way to pause it when you get to a juicy line.  The movie just continues, and you are not as likely to remember the line if it might have had an impact for you. The point is to watch movies consciously.

That might mean using your pause button when you have just witnessed a visually powerful scene or when an juicy idea has just been presented. You might choose to do this once, twice or more when viewing any movie…when you click on your pause button, close your eyes, quiet your mind and notice how you feel. Just be in quiet time with yourself and your feelings before going back to the movie.

Or watch with others and talk about interesting parts when you pause.

It can be worth watching movies consciously. This sometimes means being aware of the mixed messages the movie may be sending.  This is particularly true of the first three movies below, the ones called Beautifully Polluted Movies. These have their own links here for more extended review than the others.

Just as reading a good book can be inspiring, especially if read with the intent to appreciate insights about the world and oneself—movies can have the same impact. And the impression and duration of the inspiration can be multiplied exponentially if you pause when a potent idea is expressed: just close your eyes, empty your mind and notice how you feel.

Please feel free to submit movies for inclusion here. Send submission ideas using any of the contact links. 


3 Beautifully Polluted Movies

Please consider starting one with one of these.  Each has a link here to the full review and some insights about awareness as you watch them.  As you see their polluted nature, you can be more aware of this in other movies you see.  You can keep the beauty and drop the polluted stuff, the mixed messages.

(1)  Mr. Nobody



(2) The Book of Life


Review and watch link

(3) The Last Lions


Reviewed here with watch link.  Also here an expanded exploration of what it means to consciously watch movies.


The Imposter


Adult Language

True story that made headlines around the world

Awakening Tool Value: Seeing how the egoic mind works in it’s search for love, seeing how, until we are awakened, we are are all deceivers.  For many, watching this movie consciously may provide a more powerful catalyst for awakening than any other movie here.





An Interesting and Entertaining Awakening Tool

Adult language

“Based on a true story”

Wake Up Tool Value: Seeing the wisdom of innocent, noble asking

This is one beautiful movie. The main character certainly seems to have few screws loose. He is not shy about asking for help, not reticent to name drop, and we get early on that he is basically a loving giver type. He is not devious, not intending to take advantage of anyone.





absurdist comedy/drama

adult situations/language

Awakening Tool Value: Considering that the way most of us manage our lives is even crazier than what happens in this movie

Lots of it doesn’t make any sense, any more than the way nearly all of us have been living our lives makes any sense. There are a number of ways to get some juice out of this if you let go of it having to make sense. This is a unique masterpiece.  And, of course, most critics panned it.





Stranger Than Fiction


teen-young adult-adult

Awakening Tool Value: Consider how you would respond if you suddenly heard your life being narrated as it was happening.

Lots of interesting insights on life and its challenges. Very creative storyline in which the lead character hears his life being narrated by a feminine voice. For awhile at the beginning, I thought that the lead actor could not be Will Ferrell, must be his brother. Not the goofball Will Ferrell we either know and love or are repulsed by!




Waking Life

Unclassifiable fascinating strangeness

adult situations and language

Awakening Tool Value: Of particular value to those who have either just spent a lot of time angry about their lot in life orthose who have avoided or denied their reality.

Maybe one of the most unusual feature films ever: lots of rants and musings about the meaning of life. An insight into one of the idea sets in the Simple Awakening Tools Program: A simple suggestion—while watching, as emotions come up, press your pause button and be with them as long as feels right. You can choose to be with your emotions in a way that is neither destructive or disrespectful to you or anybody else. You can vent in a way that doesn’t hurt you or bother the neighbors. Maybe punch an old pillow. Just don’t throw your back out of whack. Could it be that the secret to managing emotions is to be with them, feel them without having to do a head editorial or debate?





Man from Earth


teen to adult

Awakening Tool Value: Notice which of the characters responses to the situation might most match your own.  And notice how well their response works.

How would you respond if a trusted, long-term friend of yours told you he had been alive for 14,000 years? The main character here does this, and you will likely be able to relate to the way at least one of his friends reacts. This could be a very interesting movie to watch with others, then talk about it, noticing how passionate some may be about their point of view and noticing how willing you are to express openly. We get into this in one of the program idea sets, dealing with the spiritual impact of judging others and of having concern about the judgements others have of you.





Animated comedy/adventure

tweeners to adult

Awakening Tool Value: As with the Beautifully Polluted Movies at the beginning of this page, notice conflicted messages here.

Pure fun and creative genius with some positive conscious messages embedded. A testament to the human imagination. Suggestion: be aware of the conscious messages and notice if you see any that are not so conscious.




Beasts of the Southern Wild


teen to adult

Awakening Tool Value: Remember to hit your pause button at least few times while watching when emotions surface. Just close your eyes and be with them for as long as you like.  Play with your capacities to hush up your head rather than think about it.

Great messages and an amazing performance in the lead role by a 6 year-old girl. Though it may not be clear to you, it is set in an area near New Orleans, Louisiana.

Suggestion for parents: see it first and then watch/discuss with your children who are old enough.

If you watch this with friends, maybe talk about who or what the beasts represent, and maybe effective ways you have found to deal with any beasts in your lives.




Goodbye World


adult language and situations

Awakening Tool Value: see suggestion below

How would you handle it if there was mass chaos breaking out all over the country while you had just been reunited with friends you hadn’t seen in years? Lots of opportunity for introspection in this. And it’s controversial implications about our government means that the critics panned it and few saw it in theaters.

Suggestion: watch it with friends and talk about it. If you watch it with others, maybe everybody has the option of hitting the collective pause button, all being quiet for a minute and then talk about it or move on. This is a particularly good movie to try that with. You can extend the discussion after the movie, if you (plural!) like.




American Beauty


adult language and situations

Awakening Tool Value: Pay attention to the motives of the central characters and whether they really get what they want.

Unlike a lot of the rest of the movies you will see here, a lot of folks saw this one. Like so many movies in which Kevin Spacey is in the lead role, this one is loaded with insights and humor.






teen through adult

Awakening Tool Value: Provokes the question. “How often are people who the public sees as gurus or wise ones really just acting, too?”

A fascinating look at how we seek out gurus and how we respond to them, even when the guru is just playing a role he has never lived, just acting. Lots interesting insight on our thirst for wisdom and our gullibility. Storyline gets really interesting near the end after he reveals to his followers that he was just acting.




Sex After Kids


adult situations, language, upper body nudity

Awakening Tool Value:  Will bring up emotions and questions to talk about with each other.

Lots of insight here along with the humor.  Remember your pause button.




 whatever worksBetter-1

Whatever Works



Awakening Tool Value: Who do you see here who reflects something about you or someone close to you?

Another Woody Allen reflection on life, wherein the main character who constantly complains about the world treats everyone like dirt. Lots of great opportunities to see mirrors for yourself and the people you hang around with.




Ruby Sparks


Adult situations and language

Awakening Tool Value: Considering what you would do if you could create and control the love partner of your dreams?

This one gets a little longer review here because it is so juicy. If you get stuck in your head trying to figure out how the guy literally creates the woman of his dreams, you will miss the juice.

This is another movie to watch with friends and maybe set up some pause ground rules you all agree to follow. Could be that the best way to start experimenting with this is to limit the number of pauses during the movie to one or two per person, and have a one-minute timer on the silent time and/or the following discussion if anybody would like to talk about it. You can expand pause times by later agreement after you watch one or two movies to get a feel for how you like it. Play!


The juice comes in going beyond just letting yourself be entertained but…

If you are in a relationship, talk with your partner about the issues that come up for you, like how you would respond if you were one of the central characters. Maybe , as you watch together, use your pause button a few times to talk about particularly interesting moments and how you would deal with them.

If you are not in a loving partner relationship, maybe ask yourself some questions about what kind of a partner you would like to have in your life. How is this the same or different than how the character in the movie handled it?

Sit with the end of the movie. Maybe watch that last minute a second time. Feel the emotions that come up. And isn’t it always true that you can start over, whether you are single or in relationship? You make the decision every day: To move forward in trust or to cling to the old ways of dealing with your partner or yourself or your world, the ways that have not worked.




If you like the movies you see here, you might just find more juice for your life in the videos and blog posts on this website. You might start here if you have not seen the humorous story box posts on big religion and the New Age. (links at bottom)

For information about the online Simple Awakening Tools Program, click here

Some shorts coming in February.

Send in your suggestions for movies to include here: carlo@SimpleAwakeningTools.com