I had originally planned to make a list of films which inspired me in some way, or changed the way I look at movies in general. However, whilst making the list, I found that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much I probably should have been. Now, I’m still making a list of sorts, but I’m doing it in a non-traditional way; rather fitting for a list which credits the films that have changed my life in some way. This list is more specifically about some of the movies that taught me valuable life lessons and movies that taught me to look at things differently; to be more open-minded. So without further ado, let us begin.
Believe it or not, I wasn’t always that big a movie fan. Even more surprising, that all changed when I saw ‘Spring Breakers’ (2012); that’s the one that changed how I look at movies. It also got me into the arthouse/independent genre of film. Now, ‘Spring Breakers’ is pretty much what the title would suggest – a group of girls go on spring break. Then they get in to some trouble and that’s when they meet James Franco’s character, Alien; otherwise known as one of the best characters ever put on screen, in my opinion. Anyway, he helps them out of trouble only to get them into more trouble. And that is the plot in a nutshell.
The reason why I love ‘Spring Breakers’ as much as I do is because of Alien, honestly. Plus, there’s a lot of nostalgia tied to that film for me as well. To describe the way this film changed my perspective on film in general is not an easy task, and I’m honestly not exactly sure. I just remember seeing it for the first time and being floored by just how amazing it was. The “OFF” switch in the movie section of my mind suddenly tripped to the “ON” position and the rest is history. From that moment on, I was aware that movies are more than just mindless fun, they’re art.
Following in the same vein as ‘Spring Breakers’ is the creepy sci-fi flick ‘Under the Skin’ (2013), starring Scarlett Johansson. This is another film that made me realise that movies are indeed art, and also how unimportant dialogue is, showing me the value of visual storytelling. Lastly, ‘Under The Skin’ taught me the importance of having an imagination, and I cannot thank this crazy film enough for that.
Switching gears here, and breaking in to the more recent past, Disney’s ‘Inside Out’ (2015) impacted me way more than I thought it would. Ironically, this clever animated film made me want to give up reviewing movies altogether, because I didn’t want to scrutinise ‘Inside Out’ as much as I do with most other movies; I just wanted to enjoy it for what it was. Since then, I have learned how to figuratively “turn my brain off” with some movies, and I am perfectly fine with that. Some movies are meant to be enjoyed, not analysed.
With just a couple more films to go, the beautifully tragic ‘500 Days of Summer’ (2009) taught me to never give up. It also taught me that the person you’re with should make you happy, and if it becomes a struggle, then maybe they’re not the person for you. It also taught me that rom-coms can indeed be good (I know this is technically a film about a lack of romance, but non-rom-com doesn’t sound as catchy).
Lastly, there’s ‘Office Space’ (1999). After watching ‘Office Space’, I just wanted to be Ron Livingston’s character, Peter. So I did just that. I became more relaxed and I started doing what made me happy. I’ve felt better than ever since I’ve made that change, so I owe a huge debt to this sardonic comedy movie.
This list could go on forever, but I’ll stop here. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what the point of this list is to those of you reading it, as this is a very personal list. But the more I think about it, the more I think that the point of movies is that they affect everyone in a different way. Movies are more important than they might seem to be on the surface; every movie, even the worst of the worst, has something to teach us.