Bill Burch’s All Time Top 20 Movie Countdown, Part 2

During the COVID-19 crisis, sheltering at home includes an inordinate amount of TV time. As a public service announcement, I am sharing “Bill Burch’s All Time Top 20 Movie Countdown” for the information and inspiration of my dear readers.

10. Father of the Bride. I’m talking about the remake of the classic movie starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. The women in my life adore this film, and we’ve watched it dozens of times. The sequel (creatively named Father of the Bride 2) is just as good. I cannot even begin to describe Martin Short’s performance as Franck.

9. Jaws. Steven Spielberg’s classic kept my generation out of the water and on the beach. After seeing the huge shark, Chief Brody delivers one of cinema’s greatest lines, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

8. Tootsie. Dustin Hoffman the actor plays an actor who plays an actress for the work. Bill Murray (who appears several times in my Top 20 list) steals his scenes.

7. E. T. Spielberg once again evokes the marvel and magic of childhood. Many have noted the plot’s parallels to the Gospel story. The main character descends from the heavens, performs miracles, heals the sick, dies, miraculously comes back to life, and then ascends back into the heavens. Sound familiar?

6. Ghostbusters. A movie that combines the comedic genius of Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, and the Stay-Puff-Marshmallow-Man has got to be good. The sequel . . . not so much. “Who ya’ gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!”

5. Alien(s). Terror and sci-fi combine in the original Alien starring Signourney Weaver as a take-no-prisoners heroine. The critter in the movie would devour E. T. in a Martian minute. In a rare occurrence, the sequel (creatively named Aliens) is even better than the original. However, I strongly advise against the rest of the series.

4. Harry Potter and . . . . Pick a movie out of the franchise. Sue me—I’m secure enough in my manhood to admit that I like the Harry Potter novels and movies. My favorite remains the first film that magically portrays Hogwarts School in all its glory.

3. Indiana Jones and . . . . Harrison Ford redefined the action hero genre with his brimmed hat and cracking whip. Movies 1 and 3 in the series rank high—movies 2 and 4 do not deserve the proud name of Indiana Jones.

2. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This is a twofer—actually a sixfer since it combines two trilogies. Yes, I am a confirmed nerd—I’ve read Tolkien’s trilogy along with The Hobbit multiple times (I am embarrassed to publish the exact number). Peter Jackson surpassed all of my expectations with the film versions of the books.

1. Star Wars. I’m talking about the FIRST Star Wars movie back in 1977 before George Lucas started tinkering with titles and numbers, before CG took over special effects, and before Lucas abandoned any semblance of a plot. Decades later the special effects look dated, but who wouldn’t want a cool light saber and X-Wing fighter?

When it comes to movies, I favor pure escapism. I get enough of real life in my profession. I love comedy, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy. If Bill Murray ever costars with Harrison Ford in a sci-fi adventure set in Middle Earth, then I’ll be the first in line.

Otherwise, I prefer reading a good book. Most of the stuff out of Hollywood is not worth the time.


Bill Burch’s All Time Top 20 Movie Countdown, Part 1

During the COVID-19 crisis, sheltering at home includes an inordinate amount of TV time. As a public service announcement, I am sharing “Bill Burch’s All Time Top 20 Movie Countdown” for the information and inspiration of my dear readers.

20. The Matrix. The sci-fi notion that humans live in a virtual, computer-generated reality blew my mind. Consider it a modern retake of the classic children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit, which poses the question, “What’s real?” Well, except for special effects, high-tech weaponry, and software viruses that will kill you. The franchise should have stopped with the original.

19. Toy Story. Pixar’s first feature length film redefined animated movies. I saw the movie at the theater with my five-year-old daughter, and it was magical. Buzz Lightyear discovers love and friendship truly define life.

18. The Princess Bride. OK, the fantasy isn’t a manly-man’s sorta movie, but I rest secure in my machismo. The fairy tale cum children’s book features priceless scenes and quotes. The sword duel. Rodents of unusual size. “As you wish.” “Inconceivable!”

17. Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks portrays a simple man whose life shapes the major events of his day. Life really IS like a box of chocolates.

16. Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks makes a second appearance in my list as a platoon officer during World War II. I watched transfixed when the movie abruptly shifted from black and white to color during the Normandy D-Day invasion. The scene vividly portrayed the sacrifices of those who fight to protect our freedoms.

15. Die Hard. I hesitated to include the first in the Bruce Willis film franchise due to the language of the uncut version. However, the film redefined the action movie; AND I’ve never heard Beethoven’s Hymn to Joy in quite the same way again.

14. Caddy Shack. It’s a risqué movie one wouldn’t watch with school age children. However, Bill Murray as Carl the Groundskeeper steals the show. I’m laughing as I type this blog, recalling the scene where Carl fantasizes about playing in The Masters while lopping off the tops of flowers. “I got that going for me, which is nice!”

13. American Graffiti. The 1973 film featured a galaxy of future stars, including Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips, Cindy Williams, and, of course, Wolfman Jack. The movie captures the wonder and angst of adolescence.

12. Young Frankenstein. I’m not a huge Mel Brooks fan—his humor exceeds even my admittedly high silliness quotient. However, Gene Wilder shines with pure genius as Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson. “Werewolf? THERE wolf.” “Put the candle BACK.” “Frau Blucher!”

11. The Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a time-traveling robot from the future—need I say more? I must admit the sci-fi flick appears 11th in my list so that I can end this week’s blog with the Arnold’s favorite line, “I’ll be back!”


The Northside Church staff wears nametags with the church’s logo. It allows members and guests alike to identify staff members along with the areas in which they serve.

nametagDuring hospital visits and offsite meetings, I wear my nametag in the community. The practice facilitates visits at hospitals and other institutions; and at times, it has led to impromptu conversations about church and faith.

However, sometimes I forget I’m wearing a nametag.

Last year a group of five staff members went to lunch at a local eatery. Although the restaurant was not crowded, food service took forever. We expressed our disappointment to the server. Then we realized that each of us was proudly sporting a Northside Church nametag!

For those who call ourselves “Christian,” we constantly live with the tension of claiming the name of Christ but acting all too human. People are always watching to see if our practice equals our profession. Although I’m not prone to amnesia, wearing a nametag reminds me of who I am . . . and who I am called to be.

Suppose you wore a “Christian” nametag this week. How would it transform your words and actions?

Psalm 91:1-4

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord,

“He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

under his wings