As we slowly wind down the year and prepare for another, we take a moment to stop and reflect on things – namely, people and things that we’re thankful for. Movies are my favorite form of entertainment, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you.
I chose to go with movies that had some sort of impact on me rather than movies that I thought were just awesome, like Kill Bill or The Departed. These movies affected me to my core in one way or another, and if you haven’t seen them, I strongly suggest that you take time out of your busy schedule to check them out.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The first film that I’m thankful for is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I remember seeing the first trailer and thinking that it looked really quirky. I had no idea the impact it’d have on me.
The film centers around the recently failed relationship of Joel and Clementine. Joel receives a notice in the mail that Clementine has had her memory erased of him, so he decides to do the same. During the process, however, he realizes that some memories are worth keeping, regardless of how things turn out.
If you’ve ever lost someone in life, whether it’s a significant other or a family member, you’ll be able to relate to this film and how seemingly insignificant memories of a random event can be your most cherished possession.
Wish I Was Here
The second film that I’m thankful for is the second film by Zach Braff, Wish I Was Here. I wrote a preview for this film earlier this year, but I didn’t actually get a chance to check it out until it came out on Blu-Ray. I loved Garden State, which had mixed reactions, and I figured that this film would be along the same lines.
In Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff stars as the 35-year-old Aiden Bloom as he struggles to find some sort of balance between his sort-of career as an actor, with his family, and with life in general. His wife is the primary source of income for the family, he can’t afford to keep his kids in the school they attend, and his father’s dying of cancer.
It’s an extremely touching film, perhaps a little predictable, but still very enjoyable. It really forces you to reevaluate all of the relationships in your life.
I really can’t put into words how much I love Almost Famous, but I’ll try. The film follows William Miller, a kid struggling to be cool (actually, an up-and-coming journalist), who somehow manages to land a gig with The Rolling Stone. He tours around the country with Stillwater, fronted by Jeff Bebe (played by Jason Lee). Along the way, he forms relationships with both the band and their groupies band-aids.
I think the scene that took this film from being pretty great to amazing was shortly after the party scene with Russell. Stillwater’s manager came to pick him up and they headed off to the next city. On the ride, they sang Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”, and William looks at Penny Lane and tells her that he needs to go home. She looks at him, holds up her hand, and says “you are home.”
I’m a huge fan of both music and movies, and this film is like the perfect marriage of both. The soundtrack’s amazing, too.
I can’t believe I originally had (500 Days of Summer) here, citing its realistic look at a relationship that didn’t work out. If you want a movie about that offers a true look at a relationship, look no further than Blue Valentine. It felt so real that during several scenes, I felt like I should leave the room to give them privacy.
To prepare for this role, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams lived together for a month or so. Their on-screen chemistry is unrivaled. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know that when the good times are good, it’s great, but when things are bad, life is hell. Relationships are a lot of hard work, and if you’ve ever been in one that hasn’t worked out, you’ll relate to this film. What’s even more amazing is that director Derek Cianfrance did away with the script, so almost everything you see in the film is improvised. It’s a must watch, but if you do watch this, watch it by yourself. More than one person has told me that they watched it with their significant other and broke up shortly afterward.
Ryan Gosling is on a roll for me, personally – Blue Valentine, Drive, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. were all fantastic. I haven’t even seen The Place Beyond the Pines, Gangster Squad, or Only God Forgives yet!
I hate to be the conductor on the Joseph Gordon-Levitt hype train, but he’s a fantastic actor, and it shows in 50/50. This film came to me at the perfect time in life, and I’m forever a fan of it for that reason.
50/50 is the story of Adam, a regular guy who is diagnosed with cancer. We’re along for the ride as he learns of his diagnosis, goes through the treatment, and eventually gets his one-shot surgery. It’s a story of love, loss, and hope. Seth Rogen gives a usual Seth Rogen performance, but in the end, he comes across as the best friend a guy could have during this situation.
The bottom five: Garden State, Into the Wild, I Am Sam, American Beauty, and Crazy, Stupid, Love (Don’t judge me).