Movies that shaped me

We’re a complex web of our experiences.  These experiences have some influence on what we become, shaping (in part) who we are.  We experience the world through our senses.  Our senses detect stimuli.  And that stimuli can take on a number of forms – sight, smell, sound, etc.  The media (TV, radio, press/publishing, internet) use multiple channels (shows/movies, music, books, websites) to reach us.  I’ve devoted a lot of time to music (“25 CDs” and “Playlist” post series) and websites (“Websites That Rule” post series), and now movies will have their time to shine.

No particular order.

“The Matrix” – taught me that the world isn’t what it seems and often, rules that seemed like hard-and-fast givens might be bent, or even broken, or at least manipulated, if you only look at the situation from the right angle and realize that you just might have more power than you thought.  (Also taught me that there are some sinister forces controlling everything we do and that we are stuck in an illusion, during which we are being farmed for our resources to feed an ever-growing malicious giant.)

“Anne of Green Gables” – taught me that red-headed outcasts who are dreamy, creative, hot-tempered, talkative, and gullible do have a precious place in the world.  Finally, I found solace – someone who reads, talks, and imagines vast, rich fantasy worlds, complete with being particular about her name – both the spelling of her real name, and the various names she wishes she had.

“Other Peoples’ Money” – taught me that a do-nothing, make-nothing, serve-no one capitalist can actually be correct and make sense – even when he’s in the process of killing off a company during a hostile takeover.

“Terminator 2” – taught me that women can have muscles as big as guys’ muscles (if we work out hard enough).  Women can be respectably bad-ass.

“Enemy of the State” – taught me that the government really can see what you’re doing and that you can be targeted and tracked for something that is no fault of your own.

“Alien” – gave my overactive, fearful, fight-or-flight mind something through which to channel all of that said fear and stress.

“Lolita” – showed me how a dirty taboo subject can be HOT, despite our best efforts to say, “that’s just wrong”.

“Silence of the Lambs” – made me want to be an FBI behavioral scientist and taught me to think and absorb information in a completely different way.  Also discovered some very kick-ass music through that movie.

“Karate Kid” – always makes me want to stretch the major muscle groups of the entire lower half of the body and do some serious roundhouse kicks.  Also makes me feel very surreal and meditative.  And then I want to move to Japan.  Taught me that no matter how bad you get your ass kicked, you CAN have the last laugh.

“Star Wars” – taught me that there is indeed a force that surrounds and permeates everything and that it can be used for good or bad.  The bad side is tempting and attractive, but the good side is worth the patience it requires and the softer tread on the world.

“Dazed and Confused” – taught me what life was like in high school in the ’70s in East Texas and it makes me want to go back to that simpler time.

“Pump Up the Volume” – made me want to own a radio station – but more for the music than the talk – although the talk was pretty damn funny and/or thought-provoking.

“Office Space” – taught me I’m not alone in despising the corporate world.  Reinforces my glee and pride to have not made a resume. Yay!

“Working Girl” – showed me how far we’ve come just since the ’80s (hopefully) and that sometimes you have to lie, pretend, and impersonate just to get to the top – but that it was all worth it and sometimes, you don’t even get into trouble for having been dishonest.

“Parenthood” – taught me a really useful diarrhea song that I gleefully sang in impeccably-timed situations.  Reinforced my decision to never have kids.

“Fried Green Tomatoes” – taught me about traditional (yet strong) southern women and how to be the tomboy maverick among them well into adulthood.  Also taught me the concept of Towanda and that I don’t have to sit back and let my gender and the passage of time happen to me.  Hint: you don’t always have to be a southern belle.

“Volcano” – taught me that there’s no history of anything till it happens.

“Angus” – taught me that you can either conform or self-combust…OR you can refuse to do either and stubbornly exert your influence on the rest of your surroundings.

“Green Mile” – taught me that not everyone on death row is guilty.

“The Wall” (Pink Floyd) – illustrated the depths of the human imagination.   It confirmed my suspicion that most educational institutions mass produce mediocre lemmings.   It also shocked me with just how tortured someone can be and still survive…barely.

“A League of Their Own” – taught me exactly what women had to put up with just because their plumbing is inside the body.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – taught our generation just how to make the very most of a day of hookie.  Also found some kickass music in that movie, too.

“JFK” – taught me that there was an entire underbelly of his assassination that will go with some people to the grave.  It really does look like it was an inside job.  And they hate Oliver Stone for it, too.  Because he’s more than likely right.

“Terms of Endearment” – taught me not to live in a dysfunctional relationship. It will eat you alive (literally).

“Clan of the Cave Bear” – taught me that a woman (and one who looks much different, at that) can be different and strong and revered.

“Less Than Zero” – taught me just how badly drugs can fuck up your life.  Unbelievably frightening.

“Hackers” – provided the motivation to get into computers.  And electronic music.  And to never sleep.

“The Net” – showed me just how easily someone can easily overthrow and scramble your life.  With the click of a mouse, to change some 1’s and 0’s.  Boom, just like that.

“Neverending Story” – taught me that it’s perfectly OK to dream and fantasize.  Sticking your head in the clouds just might keep some rock-biter alive somewhere.  Made me wonder which books weren’t “safe”, though!

“Seventh Sign” – implanted a fascination deep inside me of Israel and the whole Biblical Kingdom area.  Very deep and visceral, too.

“The Craft” – made me want to summon the 4 Corners.  Until halfway through.  I’m still Wiccan-to-be, though.  (Hint: the movie has hardly anything to do with the religion.)

“X-Files” – made me wonder exactly what *else* the Powers  That Be are hiding/covering up.

There are probably more.  But dinner’s ready.


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