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Movies to keep the Chilean miners sane


I had an interesting conversation with some colleagues this morning about the Chilean miners who’ve been trapped 2,200 feet underground for three weeks. There’s a lot of talk about how keep them sane because it’ll be months before they can dig a tunnel big enough to get them out. Here’s what one doctor had to say:

Dr. Jaime Manalich said rescuers are applying a holistic plan to support the miners’ well-being during the months it may take to carve out the tunnel, including exercise and other activities to keep them from gaining weight.

The goal is to “establish a daily and nightly routine” and “create an entertainment program.” They’ve been consulting experts in NASA and the Navy, who have experience dealing with people living in closed spaces. Rescuers have made it possible for the miners to watch movies to help with the mental health. But, apparently not all films will be approved. A local city councilwoman, says: “The psychologists will decide what movies they will see. It’s up to them if something like Avatar would be too upsetting.”

That got us talking about what movies we think are appropriate and inappropriate. I can’t figure out what would be wrong with “Avatar.” Maybe it’s too colorful. But I did have a few thoughts of movies that might be off limits. “Blair Witch Project,” with all that wobbly terror in the dark, came to mind. And, the new movie “Buried,” would seem extremely insensitive. Maybe on the positive side is a comedy like “The Hangover.” Or something inspirational like “Rocky.” Or, a national favorite like the top grossing movie in Chile, “The Motorcycle Diaries.”

What do do you think? What movies are off limits? What would keep you sane?

Responses to "Movies to keep the Chilean miners sane"

Jennifer says:

Spaceballs! I can always watch that movie

Niiice says:

I love it!
Instead of being trapped on a desert island with only three movies… which three movies would you take DOWN THE MINE!!!

Stephen says:

You’d either want to show mentally compelling movies so they could discuss them afterwards at length (keep the minds active), a musical (keep them singing or with a tune in their head), or fascinating documentary series films – something to keep them looking forward to the next episode.

So I recommend “Inception,” “All That Jazz,” and either “The Cosmos” or anything the BBC has done with David Attenborough.

I’d also show them all the seasons of ‘Deadliest Catch.’ Something they can relate to, a job that’s as hard or harder than theirs, with compelling characters and the soothing/interesting voice of Mike Rowe.

TimY says:

How about Alive.
Set in South America. About young men surviving against all odds.

“isn’t that the movie where they all eat each other?”…

Oh, never mind

Donald Munro says:

I think the best option would be getting them hooked on continuing stories, like Stephen suggested. Perhaps the mini-series route, or even a good, multi-season TV series they could watch in episode order. (Maybe something like “Battlestar Galactica — set far away from the real world.) Anything to keep them looking forward to the next installment.

KJ says:

With all the mining disasters lately, it’s hard for me to imagine a job harder than theirs….

Anyone notice how none of these guys are smiling?
Is that a Chilean thing? Don’t smile in your work photo?

How Green Was My Valley… a great story all about singing miners…. that would cheer them up!

BM says:

how insensitive!!

Jason says:

Definitely on the “Do not show” list:
Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole (
Neil Marshall’s The Descent (

What about Snow White? Aren’t the 7 Dwarfs miners?