Socratic Film Society

By the time John Adams Academy Scholars have reached Middle and High School age, they have been exposed to many classic works of literature that possess outstanding, enduring qualities. These classics touch on themes of life and death, love and hate, faith and betrayal; always reaching an emotional response. The Classic Film Society takes the same approach to cinema as has been taken with literature. Scholars will be exposed to cinematic classics (and future classics) that they otherwise may never have experienced. Films such as Citizen Kane, Twelve Angry Men, and Rebel Without A Cause are just a sample of classic films that will be explored.

Following the viewing of each film, a unique Socratic discussion will take place in order to deeply explore characters, their decisions and the effect of those decisions. We will look to compare and contrast characters, events, and outcomes with other those in other classics, as well as with more current events. Scholars will be using all three aspects of the trivium, incorporating Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric, as they discuss deeper level truths concerning the nature of humans and our morality. Scholars will also be asked to make connections to our own ten core values with characters and events in the films.

While serving an educational purpose that falls in line with the mission of our institution, the showings of these films are also meant to be entertaining, as scholars will leave with a better understanding of films that went on to influence future cinema, literature and pop-culture.

Note that due to logistics, films may be viewed in the MPR or in a classroom. Viewings will take place on the final Thursday of each month with the exceptions of November and December. Due to holidays, the dates will fall on the 3rd Thursday (or the last Thursday of the month, with classes). Start and end times for viewing and discussion are from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. and are intended for 7th through 12th grade scholars and their families. All attendees are expected to participate in the discussion. Any electronic devices should not only be muted, but turned off as a bright small screen during film showing causes quite a distraction.

Questions? Simply contact James Haskins at:

I look forward to seeing you there!
--Future Showings--
note that the end times differ due to the length of some films.
September 29th, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Citizen Kane
synopsis: When a reporter is assigned to decipher newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane's (Orson Welles) dying words, his investigation gradually reveals the fascinating portrait of a complex man who rose from obscurity to staggering heights. Though Kane's friend and colleague Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten), and his mistress, Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), shed fragments of light on Kane's life, the reporter fears he may never penetrate the mystery of the elusive man's final word, "Rosebud."
October 27th, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
synopsis: In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is baffled when all his patients come to him with the same complaint: their loved ones seem to have been replaced by emotionless impostors. Despite others' dismissive denials, Dr. Bennell, his former girlfriend Becky (Dana Wynter) and his friend Jack (King Donovan) soon discover that the patients' suspicions are true: an alien species of human duplicates, grown from plant-like pods, is taking over the small town.
November 17th, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
synopsis: Aerial firefighter Pete (Richard Dreyfuss) risks himself and his vintage World War II airplane in a constant and death-defying quest to fight forest wildfires, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Dorinda (Holly Hunter). His love for Dorinda and the advice of fellow pilot Al (John Goodman) convince Pete to give up his perilous career, but he flies one last mission. Pete heroically saves Al's plane from certain destruction, but with supernatural consequences. A Steven Spielberg film.
December 15th, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Simon Birch
Simon Birch is a 1998 American comedy-drama film loosely based on A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and was directed and written for the screen by Mark Steven Johnson. The film stars Ian Michael Smith, Joseph Mazzello, Jim Carrey, Ashley Judd, and Oliver Platt. Simon Birch tells the story of Joe and Simon's heart-warming journey of friendship. Simon Birch was born with a condition that makes him much smaller than all the other kids in town. Simon thinks God made him this way for a reason and highly believes in God. Together, Joe and Simon go on a journey of trust and friendship only to find themselves in many life altering circumstances.
January 26th, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The Truman Show
Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is an insurance salesman leading an idyllic, peaceful life on Seahaven Island. Truman also happens to be the star of the most popular live show in television history. The only problem is, he doesn't know it! Everyone he has ever known his entire life has been an actor or actress playing a part in his reality show. How will he react as he starts to connect pieces to a nearly unbelievable truth concerning his fabricated existence?