Past Movie Nights

RSVP needed two days in advance of each movie night to: so that we know how many people to expect and give you the venue details. Please arrive by 6:45 pm. Snacks, juice, and de-caffeinated coffee will be provided. Feel free to bring your own water bottle. Admission: Complimentary for SOFREE members; nominal fee for guests. Payments should be sent to: Donations are always needed and appreciated.

May 14, 2024

What drives certain people to commit horrific acts, such as mass murder, ethnic purging, and other atrocities, and how can we realistically stand up against them? And how can we resist succumbing to our worst impulses and awaken our inner conscience?

EPISODE 5: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, with international criminal lawyer, Patricia Viseur Sellers, analyzes the actions of powerful individuals and their loyal followers who orchestrate heinous crimes, along with the courageous individuals who oppose the destructive forces of hatred. EPISODE 6: HOPE follows with neuroscientist, Emile Bruneau, delving into strategies to combat hate, including using our cognitive abilities such as critical thinking, brain plasticity, and leveraging human resources like education and cooperation.

April 9, 2024

EPISODE 3: TOOLS and TACTICS, with historian and journalist, Jelani Cobb, shows how hatred is fostered through propaganda, dehumanizing tactics, the internet, and symbols.

EPISODE 4: EXTREMISM follows, with conflict resolution and extremism expert Sasha Havlicek, who explains why people are drawn to ruthless ideologies that incite violence and cruelty.

March 20, 2024

The disconcerting rise in prejudice, bigotry, contempt, and hate crimes in the world is being driven by all kinds of hatred, including racism, ageism, misogyny, and cultural intolerance. In the six-part series “Why We Hate,” the root causes of hate are examined with the hope of learning how to overcome it.

Episode 1: ORIGINS, led by evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare, focuses on searching for clues in the past and in various environments.

Episode 2: TRIBALISM, follows with cognitive scientist Laurie Santos, who shows how ethnic and community thinking influences our perceptions of people and circumstances.

February 22, 2024

Movie, lively conversation, and birthday cake to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 215th birthday!

“Creation” is a partly biographical, partly fictional, narrative about the renowned naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and his struggle to publish his book “On the Origin of Species”. This revolutionary book, published in 1859, explores the scientific concept that life forms evolve over generations through the process of natural selection. While he was sure of his conclusions, they created a rift between Darwin and his wife, Emma Wedgwood, who was devoutly religious. The rift grew wider after the tragic death of their daughter, Annie, at age 10. This grievous loss cemented his disbelief in divine intervention. Emma was opposed to the publication of the book because its discoveries contradicted her lifelong religious beliefs. She worried about the potential consequences for herself and Charles in the afterlife, believing she would go to Heaven and Charles would not.

Fellow biologists, Thomas Huxley and Alfred Russell Wallace, strongly supported the premise of natural selection and encouraged Charles Darwin to share his book with the world.

Emma eventually agreed to the publication after Charles speculated that their daughter’s health issues might be linked to their close familial relationship, as they were first cousins. His hypothesis that genetic weaknesses frequently resulted from inbreeding aligned with his theory of natural selection.

“Creation” refutes the position of many creationists that Charles Darwin “killed God” and that his work led to genocidal atrocities. The film also shows the struggle that Darwin had in accepting that the universe was actually indifferent to the beings on our little pale blue dot.

January 16, 2024

An Honest Liar is a documentary about James Randi whose initial career was as a magician, illusionist, and escape artist under the stage name “The Amazing Randi”. The realization that others were using the same skills to bilk the public as faith healers, psychics and con artists led him to become an “investigator” as he termed it (called a “debunker” by others). One of his major targets was Uri Geller – he of “spoon bending” fame/infamy.

He founded the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) and co-founded the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. JREF sponsored the “One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge” which offered one million dollars to any eligible applicant who could demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. It had yet to be collected by 2015 when it was terminated.The film features interviews with Randi, footage of his TV appearances, and interviews with illusionists, performers, and skeptics including Bill Nye, Alice Cooper, Uri Geller, and Penn & Teller, among others.

It also covers his relationship with his artist partner, later husband, who had fled Venezuela after persecution for being gay.

Randi identified as an atheist, claiming the “Wizard of Oz” was more believable and more fun than religious texts.

December 14, 2023

Released in 1994, The Ref is a dark comedy that revolves around a cat burglar named Gus, who takes a bickering couple hostage on Christmas Eve, after he is abandoned by his partner during a heist. As Gus tries to evade the police, he becomes an unwilling referee, forced to mediate the dysfunctional couple as their holiday chaos unfolds. Through a series of hilariously tense and witty exchanges, the film explores themes of family, marriage, and the absurdity of holiday traditions, blending dark humour with heartwarming moments.

November 14, 2023

A powerful dramatization of the historic 1925 Scopes ‘Monkey’ Trial – a pivotal moment in USA history that pitted the forces of scientific discovery against the tenets of religious tradition. It unfolded in July of that year, as John T. Scopes bravely faced conviction for daring to teach Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to enthusiastic high school students, defying Tennessee’s rigid state laws at the time. At its core, the film champions the cause for intellectual and academic freedom. The convincing portrayals of Matthew Harrison Brady, Henry Drummond, Bertram Cates, and E. K. Hornbeck, mirror the legendary figures of William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Scopes himself, and H. L. Mencken, adding a compelling intensity to the riveting narrative.

October 10, 2023

This is a two-part 2006 documentary presented by evolutionary biologist, professor, and author, Richard Dawkins. In this film, Dawkins asserts that humanity would fare better without god beliefs, and that unlike science which develops theories and tests hypotheses, religion relies only on blind faith.

In the first part, “The God Delusion,” Dawkins researches religious beliefs, particularly those presented as facts, and interviews prominent religious leaders, such as Ted Haggard, and Yousef-al-Khattab. He argues that science gives us a much better framework for understanding our world than faith. Dawkins uses Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot analogy to show that the burden of proof lies with the person making a claim.

In the second part, “The Virus Of Faith,” Dawkins looks critically at the moral guidance that many religious extol, visits the radical Hell-House organization that “morally polices” children, and he makes a plea for the end of religious indoctrination of children. Based on his book, The Selfish Gene, he compares faith to a virus passed from parents to children, and from teachers to students, coining the term, “meme”.

Rather accepting scripture and religious rules as a basis for morality, Dawkins advocates learning about science and using critical thinking to better understand our world and act ethically.

September 28, 2023

This light-hearted documentary shows how a small Jewish sect morphed into the Catholic Church. According to the Director, Cameron Reilly, this film was created “… with the help of twelve biblical scholars, Renaissance masterpieces, and humorous animation. It’s neither a film about faith nor a film attacking or making fun of Christianity. It’s an honest attempt to piece together a very complex and fascinating story…”

August 8, 2023

Through a cleverly-woven storyline, “The Invention of Lying” is a thought-provoking comedy that explores the concept of a world where lying does not exist, exposing the complexities and consequences that arise when one man discovers that he has the ability to deceive. The film stars the renowned comedian and writer, Ricky Gervais, whose parents are of English, French-Canadian, and Haudenosaunee descent. Other prominent cast members include, Jennifer Garner, Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Fionnula Flanagan, Louis CK, Jonah Hill, as well as cameos from Christopher Guest, Edward Norton, Stephen Merchant, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.