Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Movies that have shaped my life

I've always loved movies. Living in a small town that had no movie theater my only exposure to movies was from school or television. I remember staying after school to watch Dumbo in the gym. I paid one dollar (in pennies) and sat quietly eating a bag of popcorn. My sister was seven years older than me and she usually recommended movies to me.

I've seen hundreds of movies but only a few can be responsible for shaping my life. These movies aren't necessarily my favorites...this is not a 'my favorite movies' post. If there are any that made an impact on you, I'd like to hear.

Animal House (1978)-

What I learned from Animal House is that pretty girls will pretend not to like you when they're with their friends but if you can get them away from their stuck up friends and add alcohol to the've got yourself a good time. Another message is that it is fun to take your creative energy and ruin parades. This is a must see film.

American Graffiti (1973)-

This is a Lucas film that didn't suck. It also is a groundbreaking film for several big stars...but you can read about that on any two-bit movie website. What this movie taught me is that staying out all night and driving fast cars was fun. The greater impact it made on me was learning about moving on in life and making adult decisions. This movie made me think about all the losers that had left high school only to hang around our small town amounting to nothing. Countless 19 and 20 year olds died in car accidents in the area I lived because they never grew up. This movie also set the stage for Happy Days which was one of my all-time favorite shows. (at least the first 3 seasons)

Bad News Bears (1976)-

This isn't a kids movie. If you want a safer kids version watch The Mighty Ducks. I'm not just saying that...the Mighty Ducks is the exact same movie except cleaned up a bit. I've seen the recent remake and I don't hate it but it lacks the 'this is so wrong' feeling of the original. My favorite part was the ending where after losing the championship the entire team of 10 year olds celebrates with beers. Once more after gaining the respect of their arch-rivals (who win the championship) the Bad News Bears tell them to stick the trophy up their asses. Go to some bargain bin of DVD's and get this one for 7 bucks. I did.

King Kong (1976)-

As a kid this movie had everything I wanted: Full-color action of a giant gorilla that lived on a mysterious island. As a teenager I liked it because it spoke to the part of every red-blooded boy that wondered what it would be like to have a young Jessica Lange in the palm of your hand. The movie by today's standards is almost unwatchable (as most 70's movies are) but the most important elements of this movie are still in play and Jessica was central to it all.

Shadowlands (1993)-

I must confess this would be in my favorites as well. I love this movie and I love the story. The movie has never ceased to bring a tear to my eye. I love the expressions of faith and love that linger through the movie and provide the backbone of hope in what is an inspiring though profoundly sad story. As someone who has helped a few people in my life deal with loss, I try not to hold myself back from investing myself emotionally to people in need.

All of these movies may equal the total story of my life thus far. A kid who drinks beer and plays on a terrible baseball team causing trouble only to be a teenager that causes trouble and drives fast cars then joins a zoo fraternity and flunks out of college...then uses his creative energy to ruin a parade...and later becomes a giant gorilla and uses pretty women as play things only to be transformed by gestures of love and faith. Yup, that's me in a nutshell.

Any movies impact any of you?


robert the grump said...

You have an eclectic taste in movies. That's a polite way of saying you were influenced by movies that are completely assy - except for America Graffiti.

I learned from Death Race 2000 that David Carradine speaks with a vaguely Chinese accent even when he's not portraying a half-Chinese Kung Fu master. This glorious film by the late, great, Paul Bartel also taught me that old people and children are worth more points when you run them over.

Ben Affleck has made nearly 50 movies, all of them assy except for two. Dazed and Confused is almost a documentary of my high school years, and Affleck is perfect as the local bully who lives to terrify freshmen. Dogma is the other movie Affleck did that doesn't smell like New Jersey on a hot summer day.

The Warriors made me want to join a gang and wreak havoc on the big city, but only if I could wear a baseball uniform and paint my face half black and half white. I haven't been able to find a gang like that, so I've been forced to live a relatively clean life.

American Graffiti could have been about my older brother. That brings back painful memories, but I drove a muscle car for years, partly due the influence of Lucas.

Anonymous said...

Who watches a bunch of old movies. All these films are terrible. I like Titanic better than all of them, that's my favorite movie.

Gino said...

First Blood: taught me that sometimes something as priceless as respect was worth destroying half the town over, and there was honor in doing that.

Excalibur: taught me that dedicating your life to a greater moral good was indeed a greater good and i would be better for it.

Braveheart: to give it all for freedom would make you a hero to many, but in the end, somebody else will still be the king, making your efforts for naught, and yourself a 'useful idiot'.
this is when i started rethinking my commitement to political apparati.(mine was GOP)

Ronald said...

Titanic? Anon you're an idiot. The post wasn't about what movies you like but it's about movies that impact your life.

What about Titanic impacted your life except to have your Community College education represent the sinking ship in your life?

Forrest Gump should be the movie of your life. It would give you hope at success despite being a moron.

berburbaby said...

Ronald, I wish I could break down people as easily as that. All I could think was 'Titanic? WTF?'

Guess my Community College experience didn't prepare me for blog posting.

BTW Grump, Ben Affleck was only in a good movie by accident.

I don't know if any movies shaped my life, but I was exposed to a lot of "Porky's", "Hollywood Knights", and "Animal House" growing up. I saw what my Dad thought his high school days were like, and I was a little too free wheeling with the sexual jokes and references myself early in life.