Friday, July 27, 2007

32 Films I Take With Me (14-11)

14. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
I haven’t really figured out yet what exactly I’m taking with me from this film, besides the big picture. Incredulity certainly shouldn’t keep me from recognizing that I will be watching it and thinking about it for years to come. 2001 probably has 3 of the top 5 scenes in movie history. Of course I’m overstating it, but not by much (I just love it when the monkey realizes he’s holding a tool, when the monolith appears on earth, and when the astronauts approach the monolith on the moon). I love the subtleties of the dialogue, the feeling of being in space that it gives, the plot, the ambitious scope of what it tackles, and the way it makes me think. There is no way to shake this one.

13. Peter and Paul (1981)
This made-for-TV movie is easily the best (and maybe the only) thing to rent at "Christian" book stores. I stumbled across it about 10 years ago and after watching it I felt a kinship to the early Christians almost like never before. It has always bothered me that such a dramatic and important book such as the Bible can so often be made trite and boring when put on film. When I saw this one I felt like they "brought it to life" the way they ought to have and it bore itself into my soul by capturing the essence of what I felt, and what I think we should feel, when we read the book of Acts. I’ve talked this movie up too much though. I watched it later and noticed a bit more of that TV-movie quality to it. But no matter, it was too late. There is little I can say to deny how powerful it was when I saw it in ‘97. Anthony Hopkins was Paul, and the distance of years was gone, and I wished for nothing more than to be counted among these apostle’s brothers.

12. The Fisher King (1991)

I feel like this film is underrated, although apparently it has had its kudos. I thought it was marvelous. I am so moved by these stories where humans bridge classes and find their common ground, where the stuck up find life in those whom they'd normally ignore, where the cast-aside is found to have something to him, where the beauty of the image of God is allowed to be seen even in those we'd disregard. This has all of that. And so well done. Such an ancient theme yet such an original story. When you get a good idea a light bulb goes off in your head. When truth and love spark inside you I think a heat lamp starts warming your heart. Far from simplistic and sappy, this film reminds me to see people.

11. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Do I have to say anything about this one? Seriously. If you've seen it you know. If you haven't you must. It doesn't get much better than this movie. What can you say? It makes me want to be a better father, citizen, Christian, friend, and basically a better person. And it helps me know what "better" might look like. When I saw this it was nothing I expected. Maybe the title threw me off. But the title is perfect.


matthew a. wilkinson said...

My favourite moment in 'Life is Beautiful' is when the little boy asks his father, "Why aren't Jews allowed in that store?" to which his father replies,

"Oh everyone has somebody they don't like. Is there anybody you don't like?"


"And I don't like Visigoths. Starting tomorrow we'll write 'No Spiders and Visigoths allowed' in our store."

Tony Tanti said...

Another great five. 2001 has at least 3 of the best 5 scenes I've ever seen, maybe more. Haven't seen Fisher King nor have I ever heard anything about it. I've heard of it but that's it. I must see it. And I must see Hopkins play Paul.