Monday, April 17, 2006

5 Films That Changed My Life

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?

12 comments:

Cara said...

I thought for sure you were going to say that Hustle and Flow has inspired your budding new rap career. Oh well. I know it's hard out there for a pimp...keep your head up!

Cara said...

Seriously...what about Crash??

Hoyt said...

Great films. Lost in America is hilarious. I haven't seen The Caine Mutiny.

Your post has me thinking about my own top five...and posting my list.

The Film Geek said...

Crash was a great movie, but confirmed more for me than influenced me.

Hoyt, can't wait to read yours.

Anonymous said...

I thought for sure you would put Pretty Woman on your list. You accept gay people, what about hookers? Don't they deserve respect?

The Film Geek said...

Sure they do, unless their prices are beyond market value.

But, the list was about movies that influenced me. And Pretty Woman was mostly crap.

Interesting your comment comparing gay folk to prostitutes is inspired from an entry in which I talk about a selfless, thoughtful Jesus. If I recall my Good Book correctly, Jesus was respectful of those groups as well. Food for thought.

Kelly said...

it was a joke! Pretty woman is a total chick flick and takes no deep thought to enjoy. You know me, I'm a smart ass!

The Film Geek said...

Just smokin' you out! Thanks for adding your name!

primalscreamx said...

Only five... hmmm... that would be a challenge. One of them will have to be Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, the first movie where I ended up rooting for the bad guy.
I'll post my list shortly.

Anonymous said...

I thought you said you ALWAYS could tell when I posted?!

Jackie Lantern said...

Thanks for the inspiration. Narrowing it down to five is harder than it looks.
Lost in America is a great Albert Brooks movie.
Concerning #3, you could easily replace Brokeback Mountain with Top Gun :)

The Film Geek said...

Now that I think of it, you may be right...lol.