I've never been good at recreational entertainment. By that, I mean that I've never enjoyed watching movies, reading or listening to music just for the pure enjoyment of the experience. I need to be moved; to have my beliefs and attitudes challenged.
It's a character flaw, I'm sure, but that's me. I get bored easily...
The Easter/Passover celebrations have me highly reflective, and so I've created a list of the top 5 films that changed my life. Some of the changes were subtle, while others were significant and obvious. In no particular order, my Top 5 are:
1. Schindler's List: 1993. Spielberg's film was dramatic, sure. But for me at least, the power of this film was in it's revelation that the world could be saved (or improved upon) one life at a time. The poignant scene where Schindler realizes this (the scene involving the only color in the film, the young girl with the red coat)is awe-inspiring;
2. The Caine Mutiny: 1954. Humphrey Bogart is brilliant as Commander Queeg, the Naval officer who spirals into mental instability during the course of the film. As I watch Mutiny, I feel claustrophobic, and can sense Queeg's anxiety. The Caine Mutiny likely played a role in my choice of career, and gave me incredible insight into the frailty of humanity;
3. Brokeback Mountain: 2005. I predict that 50 years from now, Brokeback Mountain will be considered a classic film that influenced American acceptance of homosexuality. The film's greatness is in the development of likeable, decent characters who are like many people we already know. The movie moved me intellectually and emotionally;
4. Lost In America: 1985. In the mid-80's I had little idea what I wanted to do with my life, or how I would approach middle age. Albert Brooks' comedy made me begin contemplating these things in greater detail, and with a sense of humor;
5. The Last Temptation of Christ: 1988. Temptation allowed me to remove the legalistic and paternalistic view I had of God, and replace it with a deity that was more thoughtful and selfless. The film provided me a stepping stone toward faith, something I lacked sorely before seeing the movie.
That's my Top 5. What are yours?