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2018 Summer Watch List from JTFN

The summer is a time to take a break, put your feet up, and revamp your inspiration. Our team at JTFN has crafted a list of movies and TV shows that we feel are ways of using art and media to inspire philanthropy from within! Take a look at this list, many of which you may remember, others you may not know as well, and indulge in the magic of the cinema. 


The First Wives Club

Recommended by Alana Hollander, JTFN Program Associate

This movie, now more than 20 years old, yes I said 20 years old, centers on 3 friends who reconnect after learning of the suicide of an old college friend. This initial plot point doesn't quite seem like the most fitting opening for a comedy romp featuring three best friends all going through break-ups and divorces. However, it is in fact this significant event in their lives that brings them back-together and ultimately leads them towards path of altruism and philanthropy.



My Name is Earl

Recommended by Alana Hollander, JTFN Program Associate

A comedic series that supposes when you do bad things it will eventually catch up with you. After local hooligan, Earl Hickey wins the lottery he is immediately struck by a car and loses his winning ticket. This life-altering event leads him to contemplate all the bad things he has ever done and to discover the concept of karma. Upon performing his first good deed of the series the lottery ticket is miraculously restored to him. He concludes that in order to make peace with a lifetime of selfishness and wrong-doing he must use his winnings to put right all the wrongs he has done.

Dead Poets Society

Recommended by Danielle Segal, JTFN Program Manager
This Robin Williams classic movie will make you smile and ugly-cry. A more serious role for Robin Williams, this is the not-so-simple story of a teacher, John Keating, and his students at a stuffy boarding school in Vermont in 1959. This movie demonstrates the power of an inspirational teacher and leader. Utilizing unconventional teaching methods and experiential education, Keating gives his students permission to think about their world differently and carpe diem (seize the day)... or you might say Hakarat Hatov! (Appreciating the good). The movie explores personal growth, finding your path and facing personal and family challenges. This bitter-sweet movie will hopefully inspire you to inspire others... and also to stand on a table!

Darius Goes West

Recommended by Danielle Segal, JTFN Program Manager

This heart-warming documentary film, about a boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who journeys across the country with his friends in order to jazz up his wheelchair, will give you hope for the future of our teenage generations. Yes, the movie feels a little dated, but the themes of friendship, perseverance, raising awareness and the importance of fundraising are timeless. A sad twist to this tale is that Darius Weems passed away in October 2016, aged 27. Even armed with this knowledge, this movie feels overtly positive, largely due to Darius's zest for life and the unwavering support of his friends.

The Help

Recommended by Wayne Green, JTFN Director

This film is about understanding power and privilege and the dynamics that can play out with this disparity in society. It’s also a film that recognizes and celebrates the power of storytelling and authenticity of the individual and what impact they can have on the lives of others.


Recommended by Wayne Green, JTFN Director

This animated film is not only entertaining and wonderful to watch, it’s about the story of one's journey to being who they are and learning about their legacy and family. As we teach teens to be philanthropists, we ask of them to understand their families legacy (in life, kindness and giving), as well as asking them to start thinking about who they want to be as they grow up as professionals and philanthropists.


The Pursuit of Happyness

Recommended by Laura Schultze, JTFN Communications Associate

Based on a true story, this movie follows the life of a salesman and his son, as he struggles with homelessness in San Francisco, and strives for a bigger purpose in life. Starring Will Smith and his son in real life, Jaden Smith, the two tell this story which gives hope to the struggling, and teaches us to never give up on your dreams.


Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

Recommended by Laura Schultze, JTFN Communications Associate

Whoopi Goldberg’s classic role of an undercover Sister (Part 2!) at a Catholic High School, tells the story of students who have no one else to believe in them, and a reluctant teacher who finally learns how to relate to her students. As she teaches music and creates a choir, she finds out that the high school will be forced to close unless the school’s reputation can be improved. After fundraising, and showing the students how special they truly are, their choir competes state wide and only when they are truly authentic to themselves, are they empowered to succeed.