On a normal day at Eastern, Duffy Robbins can be found teaching a youth ministry class, Chris Hall a theology class and Joe Modica a Bible class.
Jan. 26, however, was no normal day at Eastern.
The three professors, also long- time friends, came together as the Three Amigos to discuss their favorite movies in the weekly Windows on the World. Robbins said that the three would list their “favorite movies of all time that have had the greatest impact on mankind.”
The event began with a series of different video clips from movies, including Gandhi, Crash, Cinderella Man, Sixteen Blocks, Braveheart and Fargo.
This was followed by video clips of what Eastern students thought were some of the greatest films of all time. Choices included Remember the Titans, Hook, Dumb and Dumber and Braveheart. This left the audience wondering which movies would be chosen by the three professors.
One can say that these lists were years in the making. The trio began their friendship nearly 15 years ago. Modica and Hall knew each other while working at Drew University in the early ’90s, and Modica later joined Hall at Eastern in 1992.
In 1993, Modica and Hall began a friendship with Robbins, and they have been friends ever since.
“Almost consistently on a monthly basis, the three of us, together with our wives, have gotten together over a meal,” Modica said in an interview. “We talk about anything from politics to spirituality to our children.”
The group’s name, the Three Amigos, has been around for nearly ten years. According to Modica, the name was originally forged by his wife, and it has stuck ever since. The group appears at Windows on the World roughly once a year, and topics are always different and engaging.
“We try to cover topics that are interesting and that could pertain to students. These include topics about moral choices, friendships, as well as understanding scripture,” Modica said.
The moment finally arrived for the choices of the amigos to be revealed.
Three lists were displayed, and the audience was asked to try to match the Amigo with their own list. Hall’s list included It’s A Wonderful Life, Schindler’s List, Fargo, A Simple Plan and Forrest Gump.
Hall, in particular, commented on the “sacrifice and courage” displayed in Schindler’s List, as well as the “great love” found in Forrest Gump.
Robbins’ list came next, and he immediately stated his feelings about Sixteen Blocks.
“I love this movie. It is the ultimate redemptive story,” he said.
His list also included Remember the Titans and Braveheart, as well as the older Disney movie Night Crossing.
Modica then shared his favorites and the reason behind his choices.
“I am not a science fiction buff. I enjoy stories of people, even if they are fictional characters, though most of the time I do enjoy movies based on real stories,” he said.
It was no surprise to find movies like Gandhi, Rocky and Serpico on his list.
“The human drama is still quite compelling, and I often like to watch these movies over and over again,” Modica said.
Once the lists were completed, students and professors in the audience had a chance to respond and offer some of their favorite movie choices.
“I enjoyed how they personally steered away from cheesy Christian movies. I think Christians are afraid sometimes to watch worldly movies,” sophomore Shannon Kehoe said.
Professor of theology Phil Cary shared his favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, stating that he felt it showcased the exact opposite of the American dream.
“The response from the faculty and the students really made it feel like the community was talking together, and I loved Cary’s comment,” Kehoe said.
Throughout the entire discussion, all of the Amigos implemented their sense of humor. Modica commented on how he rarely sees as many movies as Hall and Robbins, while Hall jokingly shared that Robbins was the “only guy eating popcorn during Passion of the Christ.”