Films To Change Your Life

A selection of movies that have a powerful impact.

Film has the power to create emotion and to allow the viewer to experience and learn vicariously from the characters that come alive on the silver screen, in ways that a book can not. Movies create an entire emotional atmosphere that is consuming and enveloping when done right. Here is a selection of films that have affected me. Some are well known, and some are not, but this list is a curation of my favorites.

This movie has followed me through my life, I have watched it many many times and it never fails to evoke the sense of literary power and the possibilities of youth. When I was younger I was caught up in it’s evocation of beauty in life as exposed through poetry, as I have aged, I see the other side too; I see the idealism and passion of the youths in the story as a protest against the inevitable mellowing and compromising that comes as we all get older and sometimes less wise..

When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I had a small group of friends who would go to a local all-night restaurant and sit late into the night and smoke cigars (back when you could do that in a restaurant) and write, read and recite poetry. The cast of characters changed over the years and ultimately disbanded, but those nights were very formative to me, and I think back on them with a nostalgic sense of loss. I wrote some of my best poetry late late at night around a table hazy with smoke and scattered with papers and old books of poetry. It was a kind of dead-poets society of our own, and though not directly inspired by this film, it was definitely part of the cannon. Like so many things of youth it was perhaps greater in retrospect than we knew at the time. I wonder what kind of impact those night had on my friends, I wonder if it was as great as the impact on me.

If you have never watched this masterpiece by Peter Weir, and the now departed Robin Williams, then you must go watch it. Don’t wait; Carpe Diem!!

A visual bombardment, a magnificent, opulent, tremendous, stupendous, gargantuan, bedazzlement, a sensual ravishment. Moulin Rouge is best watched on the big screen with full audio and no distractions. This is near the top of my list for several reasons; it is a mashup of contemporary music with the turn of the century Montmartre Paris and the Moulin Rouge brothel as the backdrop. It is clichéd and intertwined with verbal puns and visual contrasts.

There is little I can really do to describe it other than it is a film that you will either love or hate. I know several people who love it as much as I do, and others who just as viscerally hate it. So it is up to you. Watch it and figure out where you stand. There is no other film that I am aware of that feels like Moulin Rouge!, if there is another one like it, I want to know.

I love the transportation to another world and emotional rollercoaster that this film evokes, I love the passionate singing and soul wrenching conclusion. Go watch it with someone you love.

The journey of an arrogant mountaineer during the latter days of WWII, and his escape into Tibet, this is a quiet story that is well told in this contemplative film. After watching the movie, I read the memoirs of Heinrich Harrer and actually found the film preferable, which is unusual.  The sweeping landscapes that are a beautiful as they are lonely and the portraits of a simple life and the inner workings of the forbidden city make this a wanna-be travelers delight.

The soundtrack is just as beautiful, and is in my list of favorite film scores. This is a great movie, long and slow paced like the journey itself.



Into The Wild (2007)

Meet Joe Black (1998)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Matrix (1999)
Requiem For A Dream (2000)
Vanilla Skies (2001)
The Pursuit Of Happyness
The Pianist
Fight Club
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Lord Of The Rings
Great Epectations
Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (1927)
Grapes Of Wrath (