I wrote a piece about movies last week. We pulled it due to a number of things, not the least of which was that monster over in Aurora. Now, it’s time to start talking about movies again.
I love going to the movies—lots of us do in the summer.
No one should be allowed to change that.
Let’s drive over to the multiplex of my mind and see what’s showing.
That, to me, is one of life’s greatest joys; going out to the movies. It seems as though every one of them has something relevant to my own struggle to be human. When the show stinks, believe me, I can relate. When I can’t exactly figure out the plot line—been there, done that. But when something moves me or makes me laugh, there’s a strange sense of connection as I slip out of the theatre and back into this reality.
I think my fondness for movies borders on a bit of a neurosis, perhaps. Digging a bit deeper, I may be addicted to that “oh yeah” feeling in the darkness. Something shifts in my pscyhe and reminds me of who my best self is. It may be a cheesy montage scene where the hero gets his act together, finally, or a realization that the villain has at the end about life meaning more than just jewels or bank notes.
With good movies, I’m always motivated — for the next ten minutes anyway — to do something important. And generally it’s not to call in sick and dupe my unsuspecting teachers and parents.
There are movies I go back to again and again, like Zach Braff’s amazing Garden State or the mind-expanding What The Bleep Do We Know? These films have become such friends to me and my family over the years, that we call on them over and over. At Christmas time, every year, lots of families huddle together to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and sure, that’s a fine tradition. But my family with teen girls, prefers the more modern and certainly edgier-than-1946 Love Actually.
Some films catch me completely off guard and I don’t know how I’m supposed to react. The brilliant Hamlet 2 is one of them. Didn’t Hamlet die in the original? They ask that in the movie. And, that’s why the film includes a time machine, Hillary Clinton and Jesus. With its show stopping tune, Rock Me Sexy Jesus, I didn’t know whether I was supposed to be offended or thrown into fits of laughter. I actually own a promotional t-shirt now with the aforementioned song title emblazoned across it.
I like it when movies do that to me, keep me guessing. Usually. I hated the controversial Tree Of Life.
The original Matrix and Men In Black always thrill me with the thought that this ordinary life may not be all there is. Yet after seeing Midnight in Paris a few times, I’ve resolved to be a better writer and care more about the here and now.
Field of Dreams? Yep. I cry every time.
I don’t mind conflict in movies, but I guess I’m a sucker for happy endings. When my daughters were little, I always fast-forwarded through the part in The Lion King where Mufasa dies (SPOILER ALERT: Mufasa dies). And maybe it was the great music in Disney’s Hercules that I enjoyed so much, or perhaps it was Megara’s voice that I fell in love with, but way back then, that tape was generally my first choice to slip into the VCR (remember those things?).
It looks like the movies I gravitate to most are the ones that incorporate reality or a real struggle. There should be pegs to hang my hat and coat on. But I also want a sense of the magical and greatness bestowed upon a character. To witness the transformation from everyday schlub to enlightened being — no matter how silly the process — is a theme that runs through these movies again and again.
That’s what I’m looking for, to be transformed and transported to a better me. I think that’s what most of us are looking for, deep down. Although that really doesn’t explain chase scenes, talking animals, or Harold and Kumar.
Cue the closing credits.