Library and Chill?

Looking for a good film this summer?  With a film collection of over 6,000 DVDs, it can be a struggle to pick that perfect film.  If you have a title in mind, you can always try searching in our online collection of films at Find It.   You can also browse films by genre in the library as well as online, through our lists of films by category:

Still not sure?  Let our film aficionados on staff at the Ross Pendergraft  Library make some recommendations.  Here’s this summer’s staff pick list to get you going on titles ranging from epic classics to smaller films you might have overlooked.  All are available in the library on DVD.

Hacksaw Ridge (2017)

Cover of Hacksaw Ridge and a soldier carrying another soldier on his back.

Tells the extraordinary story of Desmond Doss, a U.S. Army medic who refused to carry a gun but nevertheless saved 75 men during the bloodiest battle of WWII on Okinawa, becoming the first conscientious objector to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

“True story and I admired the fact that someone let their turbulent childhood make them instead of break them.  It was interesting to watch the main character arrive at a solution that let him follow his convictions without sacrificing his beliefs.  I was also able to fast forward through the gory parts.” – Beverly Cooper.

Untergang = Downfall (2005)

Cover of DownFall, Hitler looking very worried

Travel into Hitler’s bunker, in 1945, during the brutal and harrowing last days of the Third Reich. Seen through the eyes of Hitler’s infamous secretary Gertraud (Traudl) Junge, optimism crumbles into grim realization and terror as it becomes clear that Germany’s defeat is inevitable. As the Russian army circles the city, the dimly lit halls of the underground refuge become an execution chamber for the Führer and his closest advisors.  In German with English subtitles.

“The film provides a window into the madness of  — and devotion to — the Nazi cause, from Hitler, to his generals, to even the women and children in the bunker and on the streets of Berlin.  I appreciated being able to see how the events came to a close once Soviet troops had taken the city.” –Brent Etzel.

Gigi (1958)  

Cover of Gigi. There's a painting of a girl winking and some dapper people below it.

A musical set in Paris in which a girl trained as a high society courtesan falls in love with a rich and handsome boulevardier.

”The music is wonderful, and the story is an overall amusing tale of not only growing up, but also that finding love is sometimes closer than you think.” –Phillip McCaslin.

Songcatcher (1999)

Cover of SongCatcher. There's an image of a couple looking pensive

When musicologist Doctor Lily Penleric is passed over, again, for a prominent teaching position, she decides to leave the city to visit her sister in the rugged mountains of Appalachia. While there, Lily, discovers a well spring of emotional “love songs” (ballads) that have been passed down through generations from the original Irish and Scottish immigrants who have settled in the area. Determined to document the history of the songs, and the recording of them as well, she is profoundly changed by the generosity, strength and freedom of the fiercely proud mountain people.

“I chose this film because it is a hidden gem. It is an authentic portrayal of the musical folk traditions of mountain peoples in the United States. It is an extraordinary illustration of how music has been preserved. It emphasizes the role of music as part of life and a way of life. It’s what people did after dinner and on Saturday nights before television, radio, or reliable transportation. Great things happen when these traditions meet and are shared.” –Sherry Tinerella.

What the Health (2017) 

Cover of What the Health where this is a burger but with pills and money instead of beef patty.

A surprising, and at times hilarious, investigative documentary that will be an eye-opener for everyone concerned about our nation’s health and how big business influences it.

“This investigative documentary exposes the many connections between government, big business, and some of the major health advocacy organizations that are supposed to protect us from unhealthful food.” –Lowell Lybarger.

E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 

Cover of E. T.

A ten-year-old boy befriends a creature from another planet that has been stranded on earth.

“It’s my favorite childhood movie, with one of the most amazing soundtracks in the world. John Williams and Spielberg are an amazing team. The reason for this movie’s longevity is its soundtrack. In fact, the soundtrack was written first and the movie edited to fit the soundtrack. Usually it’s the opposite way around – edited first, then the soundtrack is written to fit.” –Slade Dupuy.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1947) 

cover of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life

George Bailey, a desperate and suicidal man, is visited by a guardian angel who shows him how important he has been to those around him in his life.

“I think it appropriate for these times.” –Frances Hager.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Cover of Citizen Kane.

All-powerful press magnate Kane dies in his fabulous castle Xanadu, his last word being ‘Rosebud’, leading a reporter to seek the meaning behind the word and find the meaning of Kane.

“A movie about a newspaper tycoon who tries to manipulate the masses is as relevant today as it was in 1941. Citizen Kane with its extended flashback scenes and retelling of the main character’s life from multiple viewpoints, keeps the viewer’s attention from the start. Reflecting on unbridled ambition and its consequences, in the end, the most important thing to Kane was actually….You need to check out the movie to find out (and debate)!” –Luke Heffley.

Spirited Away (2001) 

Cover of Miyazaki's spirited away

When a young girl gets trapped in a strange new world of spirits, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and rescue her parents.

“I love Spirited Away because the animation and the story gives you a different view inside the world of Studio Ghibli.  It’s a different side of Disney!” –Chareen Austin.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Cover of napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon spends his days drawing mythical beasts, duking it out with his older brother, Kip, and trying to avoid his scheming Uncle Rico. When two new friends enter Napoleon’s life – shy Deb and mustachioed Pedro – the trio launches a campaign to elect Pedro for class president and make the student body’s wildest dreams come true.

“It’s my spirit animal and there’s a llama!” –MacKenzie Roberts.

Alien (1979)

Cover of Alien with Sigourney Weaver and tagline, In space No one can hear you scream.

Mindless, savage, and merciless alien is attacking the crew of an intergalactic freighter and it must be stopped before they are all killed.

“It mixes sci-fi and horror in just a fantastic way.” –Justin Wilkinson.

Memento (2000)

Cover of Memento.

An intricate crime story about a man who has lost his short term memory due to a rare brain disorder. Now he is out to catch his wife’s murderer, whose identity he cannot ever know for sure. The more he tries to figure out what is true and real, the more he sinks deeper into a multi-layered abyss of uncertainty and surprises.

“I like anything to do with crazies.” –Anna Pyron.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Cover of the Big Lebowski, one of the greatest films of all time.


A lazy, unemployed Southern Californian stoner who loves bowling gets mistaken for a millionaire with the same name. He’s beaten up by men looking for money from the rich man’s wife and gets drawn into the kidnapping of the millionaire’s wife.

“I watch it every summer in a bathrobe, with a cold beverage.” –Jacob Wardlaw.

My Dinner with André (1981)

DVD cover of My Dinner with Andre.

Two friends, an intense, experimental theater director and a down-to-earth actor, meet over dinner in a New York restaurant and discuss their innermost feelings.

“It really is just two guys talking about reality and life, but I found it captivating.  It reminds me of late night conversations in front of a campfire with a few friends…and Wallace Shawn.”  –Angela Black.


Got a favorite film not on this list and not in our collection?  Make a suggestion at AskALibrarian.  Thanks to all the staff who submitted their favorites.  Until next time, the balcony is closed.