A couple years ago on my thirtieth birthday I sent an email of thanks to thirty people who had profoundly and positively influenced my life. I turn 32 in September, and this year, for what it’s worth, I am thanking movies. For the next few posts I will be counting down the list of 32 Films I Take With Me.
They are not necessarily my favourites, or my most recommended. Nor am I saying they are the 32 best, although they would all be up there, if you ask me. I’m just naming 32 movies that have stuck with and affected me the most. Some have raised questions, some offered answers that rung true, some have woken me up, some have brought me back to earth. And some have just plain made me laugh, cry, think, or feel more noticeably than others. In some way or other, each has connected with me deeply, and has rung around inside my heart and head ever since.
Feel free to quarrel with them, or share your impressions. There will be some omissions that might commonly appear on lists of my generation. Shawshank isn’t on here, though I liked it: I saw it after the hype and so it was sort of diluted for me. Braveheart isn’t on here, for the opposite reason: I saw it before the hype and then everyone loved it so much it just wasn’t mine anymore. Other runners up would include Misery, for rattling my bones; Meet Joe Black, for its abstractly wonderful story; White Squall, for stirring up an adventuresome spirit in me; Erin Brokovich, for stirring my heart for society’s underdogs; and Saving Private Ryan, for obvious reasons, as well as for being the movie I watched before proposing to my wife.
Feel free to mention some of your own, say so when you share the sentiment, or question my choices. In the next several posts, with all the pomp and circumstance that a twenty-reader blog can muster, I present 32 Films I Take With Me. Here are the first 2, just for starters:
32. The Truman Show (1998)
This was my first date with the woman who would become my wife. It also had everything I love in a movie. Original. Well done all around. Poignant. Philosophical and abstract and yet still a great story. It perfectly represents the dilemmas of our age. Who didn’t this movie stick with?
31. Alive (1993)
Powerful look at the resiliency of the human spirit that did not gloss over the diversity and foibles of it either. I was struck by the gritty reality of this story, which made the outcome that much more inspiring. Can something like a movie boost your love for diverse people and your resiliency to live? Of course it can. This one did for me, when I was 18.