Monday, July 16, 2007

32 Films I Take With Me

Like the oral history of ancient times and the story-times of recent history, the film has in our time become the carrier and the expression of human sentiment, thought, feeling and experience. Therefore I do not think I’m overstating it to say that movies have played a part in shaping who I am.

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.


Tony Tanti said...

Good start, I love Truman Show. I'm looking forward to the rest of this list.

4 stars for Die Hard eh? I haven't seen it yet but I'm curious to know how it doesn't receive all the same criticisms you leveled at Transformers?

Jon, Angie, Elijah & Brady said...

Well, it is all about buy in right? Die Hard was unbelievable in what it asked you to accept, but it did just enough to make me want to accept it and enjoy the ride. I also must confess that I am more attached to the Die Hard series than the Transformers series so that helped. I'll admit subjectivity in that regard. However, this is a better written and performed movie than Transformers, even with the ridiculous stunts and storyline. It was a pleasure to watch. Not quite a masterpeice, but very good. Way over the top, but that's Die Hard right? It probably only deserves 3 stars for how over the top it is, but I have to be honest. I enjoyed it a lot. Funny, the same kid is in it. He was better in this one though. Way better.

Tony Tanti said...

If you're talking about the main kid in Die Hard it's not the same kid as in Transformers. They're both good though.

I guess I had the buy in for Transformers, we'll see about Die Hard as I haven't seen it yet.

Your sentiments are similar to how I felt about Transformers, I know the dialogue was cheesy in parts but I bought in and enjoyed it so much it pains me to hear that you hated it.