Do you enjoy watching movies? I recently watched a video in which there were 5 movies from the 1980s that the narrator chose as being impactful for his growth and development. Interestingly, some of the movies on his list I had never even heard of. I started thinking of what films would be included on my list, impacting my teenage years. The first to come to my mind is Dead Poet’s Society. I am still currently working on this list but was reminded of another list I made about 15, maybe even 20 years ago. It was simply my favorite movies. When I made the list of 5 to 10 movies, I found that they revealed something about myself.
Movies are a snapshot of our culture, especially if they become popular. We respond to films for various reasons. Sometimes it is simply to escape and laugh. Sometimes, we are shaped….literally walk away feeling changed, feeling different. I’m not sure if we ever know for sure how impacted we will be before going in to watch and “be entertained.” The list I made almost 2 decades ago included I Am Sam, A Walk to Remember, and This Is Us. I currently want to revisit the list for a number of reasons, including the numerous films that have come out since I made the list.
One of the things I enjoyed about these movies was what they said about myself at the time. As a social worker, I am an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I Am Sam is a great example of the need for this. This is Us is a commentary on relationships and it spoke to me in so many ways. A Walk to Remember was a film that showed how we influence others, and it had some themes of faith that were hard to find in mainstream media, especially at that time. A Walk to Remember also had a “bucket list” of sorts that was inspiring. (As I type this, I find it amusing that the term “bucket list” was coined in a later film.)
What is on your list of top 5 or top 10 favorite movies of all time? What about a top movie in the last year? How about when you were a teenager, what films helped shape how you think? Movies, in general, are a snapshot in time. We have evolved and some things show up in movies that might make us cringe. There are themes from the 1980s, or earlier, or even in the early 2000s, that reflect things that were acceptable or “unnoticed” at the time….that we have since, as a culture, become more aware of and have attempted to correct. Watch your old favorites with this in mind. It may change how you feel about the movie, but it may have enough value despite this. 12 Angry Men is an example of a really good film, even though it is no longer just men on a jury. Knowing it is a glimpse of history while also watching the powerful narrative helps this movie hold its stand in being critically acclaimed.
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