Frank’s Truthful Tuesday Q & A challenge for this week asks us to spill the beans on our cinematic proclivities:
What three movies best sum up your taste in movies, and why?
To get as close to the Truth as possible, I’m going to expand the question just a tad to what three categories and examples from each sum up my tastes in movies. It’s the best I can do as so many movies crowd into my mind and so many overlap in many ways that I can’t quite decide which are representative of my taste.
So the first category would be fantasy and science fiction. The films that I like best in this genre try to get at the things that matter in life beyond what we see and taste and feel. They also ask interesting questions about reality and faith. The following movies come to mind: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Blade Runner, The Red Planet, Inception, The Thing and even Kubrick’s The Shining.
The second category would be films that deal with historical or personal dramas, films that show an ordinary person confronted with an extraordinary or painful event. In the process, he or she realizes strengths and resources that they didn’t know they possessed. Watching these affirm strengths and weaknesses we can all identify with and give us hope. Films that fall into this category for me would be The Thin Red Line, Schindler’s List, The Notebook, Healing River¹, The Fiddler on the Roof, Dark Knight, and M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs among countless more.
The third category would be comedies. I absolutely can’t get enough of Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, How to Steal a Million, While You Were Sleeping, The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, The Princess Bride, Analyze This, America’s Sweethearts and any Buster Keaton movie.
¹For more on Healing River, see my post for Day 25 of the 30 Day Film Challenge.
In response to SandmanJazz’s 30 Day Film Challenge for Day 22, and interpreting fantasy to include sci-fi as well, today I’ve got to go with Red Planet (2000). It’s a science fiction thriller directed by Antony Hoffman, written by Chuck Pfarrer, and starring Val Kilmer & Carrie-Anne Moss, with Terence Stamp.
Okay, maybe also Blade Runner (1982), another science fiction thriller but directed by Ridley Scott and based on a novel by Phillip K. Dick, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer.
It’s a tie then, because both are terribly entertaining and the plots keep your heart pumping, and the images and landscapes are mesmerizing, but by the time the credits are rolling, they’ve also got you thinking about the choices we make, the judgments we’re driven to, and the nature of life and what we make of it. As Bud Chantilas (played by Terence Stamp), an aging scientist and surgeon in Red Planet, asks one of the main characters, Robby Gallagher,
Chantilas: [Suppose] we just finished poisoning the earth and everyone was dead in a hundred years. Then what was the point of anything? Art, beauty-all gone-the Greeks, the Constitution, people dying for freedom, ideas. None of it meant anything? What about religion? Do we give up on God too?
Gallagher: You didn’t just give up being a scientist one day, did you?
Chantilas: I realized science couldn’t answer any of the really interesting questions. So, I turned to philosophy. I’ve been searching for God ever since. Who knows, I may pick up a rock and it’ll say underneath, “Made by God.” The universe is full of surprises.
And in Blade Runner, Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) reflects on the AI that he had been hired to hunt down and kill:
Deckard: [narrating] I don’t know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life – anybody’s life; my life. All he’d wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.