We all watch a lot of movies these days, but only a few make an impression beyond the credits. Here are 5 of my favorites that left a mark. There are so many types of movies out there, sad and funny, terrifying and predictable. But I can count on one hand those that really made my head spin. A few were surprising in their message, or I may have just been in the right place to let my mind run . . . Spoiler alert, I may talk a bit in depth on these so don’t be mad if I ruin it for you.
1. The Matrix – I know, it’s a bit overplayed. But I came out of that theater with a strange feeling that I was being watched. It turned me on to the idea that we’re just slipping through time on a treadmill that served just about no purpose in the end. That’s when I turned a lot of my time around to focus more on making a difference and leaving a legacy through my kids and the things I do with my time and energy. I was the right age at the right time, and this one really, really moved me. And yes, I agree they completely ruined it with the sequels.
2. 12 Monkeys – What a brutal trap this movie was. The circles it took and the inevitability of the destructive power of time, no matter what we try to do. That was hard to watch. I actually started looking at the things in my life I had control over, and those I didn’t. It gave me a bit of freedom knowing that sometimes events are inevitable, and others have far reaching consequences, so put out the best of you and make those butterfly effects count.
3. Fight Club – I’m still not sure how I really feel about this movie. The in your face message was jarring, but pretty solid. It speaks to an instinctual, latent part of our brain that seems to be screaming during the day-to-day of your life. I watched this about the same time I read a book called Wild at Heart and they both spoke to the fact that it was essential to listen to that beat in your heart before you snapped and blew up your world.
4. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – Ah, love. When I first saw this movie, I hadn’t actually been in love yet, but it drove a point home that I’ll never lose. The mantra I keep in mind is along the lines of “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” There are so many things in a relationship that we build a life on. Every moment leaves an impression and in the end we are a sum of those. Even with a few rough ones mixed in, I believe that the entire experience is what makes us something special. This movie made me think of all of the people and experiences in my life that tweaked my mind in a thousand little ways and I came out the other side amazingly thankful for them. It also made me mindful of the little moments moving forwards with my wife and my kids, to really be present and soak up the small pieces that were making me into a deeper, more complete person.
5. Saving Private Ryan – This movie made me hate war, and really hate the fact that people had the authority to command scared young men to come up against other scared young men and kill each other. It always bothered me that the main reason they were there was to keep this kid from dying because of the political fallout that would follow. The real, brutal side of war was woven into that movie pretty impressively and it left a mark on the way I feel about how we’re OK with old men sending our young men to die for a commonly vague and cloudy purpose.
Have a few you think I should add to the list? I’d love to hear feedback!