Movies have always been a big part of my life. From the time I was a child, my parents took my brother and me to the theater. The house I grew up in didn't have air conditioning, and when it got hot in the summer, we spent a lot of lazy afternoons in the cool confines of our local movie house. As I grew up, my love of film remained. I could fall into the story and lose myself in it. Movies were magic.
Some of the wonder I felt as a child is gone, but there are movies I still fall in love with. There are some that enchant me from beginning to end and can watch over and over. Others have an element or two in them that intrigues or excites me. And yet others are wonderful movies that I'm glad I saw once, but have no desire to ever see again.
Platoon falls into the last category. It was an intense story, so intense that I couldn't take the stress--not nonstop--and I'd find myself flipping away from the movie and then going back to it when I thought I could handle it again. I'm kind of a wimp!
Titanic, the last movie I've seen in the theater, is another one of these watch once films. I tried to see it again because I did like it a lot, but it just didn't hold my attention the way it did the first time. Same with Dances With Wolves.
Then there are the movies that I could sit through every time they were on and never lose interest. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This movie has more quotable lines than any other I've ever seen. :-) Of course, I loved the Python show when I saw the reruns as a teenager, so it might be an acquired taste.
Speed and The Terminator both combine great action with a romance. What can be more romantic than a man who fell in love with a picture and travels across time to save you? (Terminator) Or a man who'll put his own life at risk to save you? (Speed)
My guilty pleasure movie is Valley Girl. I know, you're rolling your eyes and going, "Valley Girl?" But if you can totally, you know, like get past the slang, it's a sweet romance between a rich girl and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. And the movie has one of my favorite lines ever. Our heroine tells her dad she has a problem (meaning being torn between the popular guy who's after her and the punker boy she likes), but before she can explain what it is, he says: "Take it back and get the more expensive one. You know the more expensive ones always fit better."
Sometimes, though, it's just one element of a movie that intrigues me and leaves me so excited, I want to see it again and again. It happened recently when I saw Sliding Doors. In this film, our heroine's life diverges on two separate time lines. In one, she makes the train and arrives home to catch her live-in boyfriend in bed with his ex-lover. In the second, she misses the train and is none the wiser. I found the whole premise fascinating and I couldn't stop thinking about it.
Haven't we all wondered "What if?" What if I'd changed my major in college? What if I'd said yes to the guy that asked me to have coffee with him instead of hurrying to catch the bus? What if I'd gotten a call from the ad agency in Chicago before I agreed to work for the airline? And this movie doesn't even take a huge event like one of these scenarios. It looks at something small. How would your life be different if you missed the train? Wow! I still find myself intrigued by the idea that something so tiny can have such a profound ripple. Would we even realize that in our own lives?
The film I watched last night was Stranger Than Fiction and it had me wondering and thinking, too. In this movie, a man hears someone narrating his life and it turns out that he's a character in this author's book and she's going to kill him off! Can he stop her before it happens? Talk about totally intriguing! Maybe it's because I'm a writer, but I was rapt for the length of the picture. This is a story I'll be thinking about for a long time to come.
What movies attract and hold your attention? What's your guilty pleasure movie? What movie did you think you should have loved, but didn't? (Mine was Shakespeare In Love) Do you have a film that had an element that kept you thinking about it after the movie was over? If you could only choose three movies to watch and you'd never see another, which three would you choose?
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In the Midnight Hour -- August 2007