Thursday, 31 January 2013

4 Movies That Changed My Life

Often times I watch a movie just as a way to be entertained or to zone out from the world around me.   But there have been those times when I step out of a movie and my whole life has been shaken.  Some of these movies had the power to change my life or at the very least change my mindset on a certain topic or issue.  Even some huge blockbusters have been able to reach me on a subconscious level leaving me with unanswered questions and a deeply seeded desire to change myself, my thought process and the world around me.  Unfortunately, you will not find any Michael Bay on this list, but here are 4 movies that changed my life.

4. The Matrix

Already I can hear you thinking, "How is The Matrix life changing in any way?"  Let me explain.  I don't think to many movies have shaken my perceptions of the world around me quite like The Matrix.  The Wachowski brothers really sent my mind to places it had never been before questioning what I previous believed as truth.  Quick disclaimer, I did not leave The Matrix believing that everything around me was false and that are whole life and understanding is controlled by a race of super computers from the future.  I may be delusional, but not that bad.  I do, however, understand that I really have know idea what the truth is behind the universe around me no matter what lessons I have learned from Sunday School.  I believe what I perceive to be true could very well be wrong.

I will always be interested in what is the truth and I hope to never stop searching for it.  In the Matrix, Keanu Reeves character is left with a choice to take either a blue pill or a red pill.  The blue pill will send him back to his ordinary life.  The red pill will send him down a rabbit hole on a difficult journey of understanding truth - but atleast he will be living the truth.

"Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?"

After several viewings of The Matrix into my adult life I have always tried to live a red pill lifestyle.  I have avoided the blissfulness of ignorance to hopefully make the world around me better in whatever small ways I can.

3. Shawshank Redemption

Hope has gotten me through several dark times in  my life.  I have held on to the belief that the battles I won would one day be worth it.  Shawshank Redemtion presents hope in a beautiful way, showing how hope can guide anyone through any ordeal.

Tim Robbins plays a banker who spends nearly 20 years in Shawshank State Prison for 2 murders he did not commit.  As he joins the other inmates in the prison, it isn't long until he expereinces and witnesses some of the brutality and injustices that go well beyond simple prison sentences.  At times the film can be hard to watch because of its constant reminder of how cruel humanity can be.

However, even through the most brutal circumstances, there is one emotion that can give the power to fight for our lives and live to see tomorrow - hope.  Out of the cesspool of despair that is Shawshank Prison the beauty of hope and love between friends prevails over all types of injustice.  Through hope they do not break.  Shawshank Redemption is an emotional and beautiful reminder of how important hope is, and how strong the human spirt can be.

I think anyone can find hope with Morgan Freeman as a friend

2. Pay It Forward

This movie is focused solely on changing lives and in many ways it changed my life.  Haley Joel Osment plays a young boy who believes so strongly in the goodness of human nature that he sets out to change the world.  And the beautiful part is, he succeeds.

Pay It Forward really proved the simplicity required to be a good person.  An act of goodness can actually change the world if we follow the above diagram.  I am a firm believer in the goodness of human nature, but I also believe goodness does not happen accidentally.  I cannot simply stumble into being kind in a any given situation, I have to be deliberate in my actions.  I have to make an easy choice to be kind to someone and if that person passes it on the kindness will never end. 

Sometimes I am easy to give over to despair when I look at the world around me.  The amount of suffering and tragedy can easily lead anyone to doubt the goodness in the world around them.  But Haley Joel Osment's character in Pay It Forward proved an act of goodness can actually be easy and is a legitimate step to changing the world around us.

1. American History X

I once had a friend describe American History X to me as an experience not a movie.  How true that is.  The tagline for this movie is "His father taught him to hate.  His friends taught him to rage.  His enemies gave him hope.

Edward Norton plays a neo-nazi skinhead who's entire life is consumed by hate.  The movie chronicles how his characters decisions slowly ruin his own life and the lives of those closest to him.  He however finds hope and acceptance in the last place he ever thought to look.

Do not watch this movie with anyone who is feint of heart

 Many times throughout my life I have given over to hate and nonacceptance, not to the extent of this movie, but I have hated people for things that were genuinely out of their control.  This movie more than any other movie I have watched basically scared me out of my improper beliefs.  Watching hate basically tear a family apart and leave a man hopeless and with nothing to show for it made me believe hate was a feeling I can do without.

Many movies have changed my life and I hope many more do in the future.

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