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Movie Moments: Hawaii Drama Movie Night

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It’s #MovieNight! Our trip to Hawaii is coming closer by the day, and we are so ready to get there. This year we’re headed to the less visited and rather dramatic island of Molokai, site of Hawaii’s former leper colony. This is the last movie night before we go, so pick your favorite or try them all for a movie marathon! Click the movie poster images below to get yours from Amazon!

Pearl Harbor

Type: World War II
Runtime: 3h 3m
Year: 2001
Oh, the Drama: Love triangle, world-changing event, true love, epic air battles.
Best Hawaiian Feature: Aerial footage of the Japanese planes coming in on Oahu, including scenes of Pearl Harbor from the air.
What makes this movie so great?

Well, Ben affleck and Josh Hartnett certainly don’t hurt the film! I recently re-watched this movie for the first time in several years, and after living through 9/11, losing friends in the war, and seeing the tragic aftermath of friends and acquaintances who returned, this movie had much more meaning. Add that to visiting Pearl Harbor in person, and the weight of what happened on December 7, 1941, starts to feel more real. The special effects and cinematography are excellent. If a trip to Pearl Harbor is on your Hawaii “to do” list, or even if it’s not, this is a great movie to help you prepare.

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here!

Molokai

Type: Faith, Medical, History (the drama trifecta)
Runtime: 2h 2m
Year: 1999
Oh, the Drama: A priest chose to go to the Leper Colony on Molokai to care for and minister to those who were left and considered legally dead by the Kingdom of Hawaii and the world.
Best Hawaiian Feature: Footage of the formerly forbidden Kalaupapa Peninsula.
What makes this movie so great?

Well, it’s not the quality of the filming that makes it great. But it’s a good thing you can’t take bad footage of the untouchable Molokai coast. The scenery is epic in the grandest, most stunning sense of the word. But I also appreciate an honest look at tragedies of history, and this is certainly that. The conditions these people were sent to live in and the way they were treated (or not treated, medically speaking) was truly horrific, but it was reality, and Father Damian was the only one to go (and stay) to make a difference, which he did even when he contracted leprosy himself.

If you love a true story, a medical drama, or little-known historic events, you will definitely appreciate this movie.

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here!

The Descendants

Type: Family Drama
Runtime: 1h 55m
Year: 2011
Oh, the Drama: Family drama is the most relatable, but it’s taken up a notch when it involves a wife in a coma and thousands of acres of untouched Kauai land.
Best Hawaiian Feature: The Hawaiian music throughout.
What makes this movie so great?

Honestly, this one is a bit of a downer, so have a sit-com ready to go afterward to help you back up. But this movie was worth seeing for the reality that life in Hawaii is not all perfect beach scenes and flowers year-round. This family is pretty messed up, but all families are messy. Plus George Clooney is the leading actor, and he always makes watching a movie worthwhile!

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here!

From Here to Eternity

Type: Love and War
Runtime: 1h 58m
Year: 1953
Oh, the Drama: A man refues to box, the boss’ wife has a wandering eye, and that’s all before the Japanese make a surprise appearance.
Best Hawaiian Feature: 1950s footage of Oahu.
What makes this movie so great?

I’m a sucker for old movies and iconic actors. With a cast that includes Deborah Carr, Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Montgomery Clift, and Donna Reed, it’s sure to be a winner! It’s a bit risque for the 1950s, but that’s what made it so popular! I can also appreciate the pettiness of the things that seemed like such a big deal in the days and moments before the “date which will live in infamy.”

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here!

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Type: World War II
Runtime: 2h 24m
Year: 1970
Oh, the Drama: Such an attack could never happen on U.S. soil. Or so they all want to believe.
Best Hawaiian Feature: Scenes of Pearl Harbor.
What makes this movie so great?

This movie is told from both the Japanese and American perspectives. I don’t think there’s another Pearl Harbor film out with that unique aspect. If you know of one, please comment to let me know. Also, the attack scenes are not quite the calibur of Pearl Harbor (2001), but they are excellent for being made in 1970.

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here!

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