We are three months into 2010 and I have quite the list of movies to share.
Must add to your Netflix NOW: The Prestige, City of God, Inglorious Bastards, Hurt Locker, Serious Man, Amelie, Away We Go, God Grew Tired of Us
Definitely worth seeing: Blue, 12 Angry Men, Heat, Cold Mountain, The Garden, Mystic River, Call & Response, Alice In Wonderland, Blind Side, Children of Men
Great movies, even the 2nd time around: Atonement, Crash, Memento, Hotel Rwanda
Entertaining: The Hangover, 27 Dresses, 500 Days of Summer, Avatar, Valentine’s Day, Shutter Island
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love movies.
For me, movies aren’t really entertainment. When I first began to really “watch” movies, I think it was to feel something. I’m not an especially emotional person. I more often think things and then act, there’s no emotional filter. When I watched movies, however, I was able to lose myself in the story enough to feel what the characters were feeling and sometimes what I needed to feel in my own life but couldn’t. Does this make sense?
The first movie I remember this happening with was I Am Sam (ironic because, well, I am Sam…but that’s just a coincidence). I came home on a Monday night after another Young Life Club turned game night because no one showed up. I felt like absolute crap and had reached the end of my rope. I was experiencing so much frustration, fear, insecurity, exhaustion, failure, I didn’t know what to do with it all. So I grabbed the saddest sounding movie in my apartment, closed the door to my room, and watched I Am Sam on my computer through my headphones. It (whatever “it” was) worked. I was hysterical. Sobbing. Snot. Red Eyes. Heaving breaths. It was gross. It is a sad, heart-warming story for sure, but I think more significantly it triggered an emotion inside of me that I couldn’t get to on my own. This movie unraveled me.
Since then, I’ve never watched a movie the same way. Movies make me feel. They allow me to see life and in a mysterious way to experience God. They make me think and evaluate my own life and story. They expose truth and reality, sometimes in a haunting way and sometimes through humor.
In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller says this: “I like movies. There’s something about a good story that helps me escape. If it was a good movie, the experience felt like somebody was resetting a compass in my brain so I could feel what was important in life and what wasn’t. The movies I like best are the slow literary movies that don’t seem to be about anything and yet are about everything at the same time” (10).
I totally resonate with this.
I think it’s been helpful for me to get lost in the stories of good movies. To see, hear, feel, and experience life and God through creative, moving art. I think it is also starting to create a certain amount of disquietedness in myself. A need to enter in and take some serious responsibility for my story. To hear, see, feel, and experience in the ACTION of my own life.
Ultimately I guess that’s what good movies should do, open our eyes and inspire us to write better stories for ourselves.
I’m beginning to realize that I may be in store for a different kind of unraveling.