Become a movie fan during strike -- Get your entertainment fix by watching ''Newsies,'' AFI flicks, and visiting

By Steve DalyAubry D'Arminio and Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated January 18, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST
  • Movie

Become a movie fan during strike

Host a Strike Film Festival

Hollywood’s labor dispute drags on, but I’ve found some faux closure in a slightly guilty pleasure: watching strike movies. Given the inherent dramatic appeal of people fighting for economic justice, these movies can’t help but be moving. (Okay, so watching paperboys sing about a work stoppage in Newsies didn’t exactly cut it.) I’ve cheered for factory workers in Sergei Eisenstein’s Strike, feared for miners in Barbara Kopple’s galvanizing documentary Harlan County U.S.A., and ached for every wronged party in John Sayles’ Matewan. Even when the strike in question proves catastrophic for the workers, as it does in Billy Elliot, the fact that their story has been told gives meaning to the pain. Okay, so I’m a bleeding heart. Let it bleed. — Steve Daly

Fill In the (Movie) Blanks
Take it from our headless Shaun of the Dead fellas here, a few stars losing their noggins can keep bored fans from losing their minds. The ”Invisibles” game at features doctored scenes from eight different films — you supply the correct titles. The movies run the gamut in difficulty, and even shots that should be easy — like Keira Knightley in the last Pirates flick — taxed my brain. Add the site’s 40-plus other visual movie quizzes (e.g., a dead-bodies test called ”But of Corpse!” and the cinematic pooches of ”Dog Days”), and you’ll be guessing for hours. — Aubry D’Arminio

Tackle the AFI 100
If the strike doesn’t end by this fall, summer 2010 could be a cinematic wasteland — which is fantastic news for anyone who’s been waiting to catch up on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best U.S. films of all time. Where to begin? The obvious choice would be to work down the list from reigning champ Citizen Kane. But what fun is a project where every film is a little bit worse than the one before? A chronological plan of attack, meanwhile, would start with D.W. Griffith’s 1916 Intolerance — which is funny, because that’s the exact emotion I feel toward Griffith’s work after struggling to stay awake through The Birth of a Nation, a movie that’s as appallingly slow-paced as it is appallingly racist. Perhaps a brisk alphabetical run from The African Queen would be the most enjoyable. So many options! Thank God the strike is still going, because I may need until 2010 to figure this out. — Simon Vozick-Levinson

Billy Elliot

  • Movie
  • R
  • 110 minutes
  • Stephen Daldry