Monday, April 10, 2017

Why Movies Matter

Somehow, a month has gone by without me posting. In that time, I've seen some movies I enjoyed quite a bit, some that got me looking at other films, and a couple that were eminently forgettable. But I don't want to talk about any of those right now. Instead, I want to talk about my "go-to" movies. You've got - at least I imagine you have - your own set of "go-tos." These are the movies that you go back to time and time again. They might be wonderful, classic films (I'm partial to Casablanca), but they're just as likely to be films that just make you belly-laugh (Blazing Saddles is one of those for me), or make you feel like you're a kid again when things were simpler and good was just destined to triumph (the original Star Wars trilogy for me). They might even include a movie that's objectively terrible, but somehow works for you (Teenagers from Outer Space with the MST3K commentary, for instance. "It's a multi-channel mixer. It SAYS so!").

These movies matter. Oh, sure, some of them are significant for historical, political, or artistic reasons, but movies matter for reasons other than that. Modern life is quite often absurd and I know I have days (weeks) in which it seems that not only am I not in control of things, I'm pretty sure there's no one at the switch. On those days, seeing Jake and Elwood hatch a hare-brained scheme to save the orphanage can help me remember that people can think of others before themselves. (And that Illinois Nazis are the worst.)

On other days, it just seems that everyone - including myself - is a walking phony and that hypocrites occupy the seats of power. On those days, I enjoy seeing Inigo Montoya take on the six-fingered man and being reminded that true love is the greatest thing in the world, next to a nice mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

Sometimes we need reluctant heroes whose clam is being damaged, sometimes we need unearthly blue Divas, and sometimes we need brave men who speak treason fluently - it's all there in the movies.

And those who bring these dreams and visions to life - truly, they are wizards and magicians. How fortunate we are to travel with them, if only for a little while.

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