Movies that Influenced My Love of Film
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As a three year old, my uncle decided it was finally time to take me to the movie theater. The film was Aladdin. Seeing something on a screen that big with all that sound was...well...INCREDIBLE. Yes, my body could barely hold the seat down, but this is the movie that started it all for me.
Fantasia (1940) (1941)
A love of art and film started with this movie. Of course I was obsessed with the dinosaurs. Fantasia was that film that I wore down the tape, and the one movie I probably watched the most as a child.
I got my father for his birthday the original trilogy on VHS back in 1995. The first thing he did with the new movies was sit down and watch a New Hope with me. It wasn't the first Star Wars film that I had seen (Return of the Jedi), but I will still never forget that father son bonding experience. It showed how important some films are to people. Just like legends and lore, they feel obligated to share it with the next generation.
I hated it, my sister loved it (she loved dark films for some odd reason when she was really little). It was too dark for me when I was younger, even though now it is my favorite film in the series. It could classify as the first dark film that I had ever watched in my life.
Besides being the first Star Wars film that I had ever seen, the space battle at the end is still one of the greatest visual achievements in all of cinema history. I pressed rewind a dozen times on this movie to watch it in the '90s. Yes, CGI effects were beat out in my mind by a film made a decade earlier. That is the magic of cinema!
Jurassic Park (1993)
Everyone I knew had the VHS. I was always sad because my mother refused to let me see it in the theaters. JP though was the start of the CGI era in films. As my little sister, who probably watched the movie more than i put it, "How could I have not loved Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs at the time looked so real!"
Seven Samurai (1954)
Another foreign film that influenced my love of the movies. However, this was in a different manner. It showed me how much one movie can influence other movies. It showed me that I had to explore deeper into cinema.
I wasn't allowed to see it in theaters, even though all my friends saw it multiple times. It was the movie that swept the world in 1997. I remember how bad I wanted to be a part of the hype. Eventually, I was able to sneak downstairs and watch it without my parents knowing. It was the first time I realized that films could make people go crazy and capture the imagination of EVERYONE.
La Dolce Vita (1960)
This film is simply beautiful. A top ten film of mine, it was the first foreign film that I had seen. It introduced me to a world of films outside of mainstream American films. It developed my love of foreign cinema.
Ok, so most people thought the movie sucked, but for me it was an experience. It was the first Star Wars film that I had ever seen on the big screen. From the opening scroll, the sword play, the sound, and sights, it was an incredible experience for a fourth grader. It was the most fun I had ever had at a movie.
12 Angry Men (1957)
When I watched this movie in my civics class in junior high school, I thought it was awesome. Over the years it has become of my favorite films. It opened my eyes to the world of classics. Soon after this, my goal was to watch most of the films on AFI's 100 list.
I always seem to watch this movie with the women I love. Why not, it maybe the greatest romance film of all time. In a way though, it is even more than that. It is in my opinion, it is the perfect film and the best to this day that I have ever seen. It is tough for other films to measure up to it.
Schindler's List (1993)
I cry every time I see the movie. I become angry, sad, happy, and hopeful. It is a movie about hate, destruction, love, and redemption. No movie sways my emotions more and probably no movie ever will either.
Taxi Driver (1976)
The first really dark film that I seen that was rated R. It was disturbing at first, but it gave me an appreciation that films could go to the darkest corners of the human mind.
I loved all of the films in this series, but I have never anticipated a film more than Return of the King. Incredible is simply the way to describe the whole aura around the film in 2003.
I saw this film five times in theaters. I was in denial that Star Wars was not coming back to theaters (at least until Lucas was short on cash and needed something else to rake in the dough). I anticipated this movie for years, speculated about it as a little kid. It was the end of an adventure for me, almost like leaving my childhood in the past. It is a film I ignored all the bad aspects because I didn't want to lose out on all the fun the series provided me throughout the years.
When I first saw Network, I thought to myself, "wow this is just like today's media." It is too, and that's why Network had so much influence over me. Like great authors, Lumet demonstrated that films can help show us where we are going as a society. It is creepy to watch and see how right he was in '76.
Lost in Translation (2003)
The film that taught me, simple is better. The one movie I have watched in recent times that made me realize you don't have to try hard to make incredible films.
The most recent film that I have seen that has influenced me, it reminded me how important animated films are (we often forget them when evaluating cinema), and again that sometimes less is better when it comes to making art.
Back to the Future (1985)
This was the movie of the 80s. Growing up in the 90s, it was always on TV. My cousins or father always seemed to have it on. How could I hate watching it over and over? It was so good! The visuals were awesome and of course it was funny. It is a movie that I appreciate more and more as I grow up too.
I was forced to watch this movie in my junior high band multiple times. It is the film that taught me that it isn't that hard to weather long running times and that artistic films are just as fun as your run of the mill action-adventure film.
The best Hitchcock film that I have ever seen, it was also the first one that I viewed. It was a milestone for me, introducing me to one of my favorite directors, and how great thrillers are really made.
While a Clockwork Orange may have disturbed me, Alien just scared me. It took me years to get over my fear of the movie. Funny thing is though, as much as it scared me, I always wanted to watch it when it was on television. It was a welcome to the world of horror.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
My friends and I all sit around and watch this movie. It seems that we have all the lines memorized. Why? There is no script in the world like it! Good writing is all it takes to make a film memorable, and in my case, a film everyone watches when together.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
It was made in 1939, but was a staple of my movie viewing in the 1990s. If there is one lesson from the Wizard of Oz that I learned, some films can never die. Yes, I realized cinema makes some people and things immortal.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
When I watched this movie first in elementary school, it scared me. Looking back I don't know why it did. However, it was my introduction to films that moved me. Even as a child, it was sad to watch E.T. die and then so joyful when he survives. Little did I realize this was the first film that ever truly moved me emotionally.
A Clockwork Orange (1972)
The book is my favorite book of all time. It influenced me so much that I am studying what I am studying because of it. However, the movie influenced me in a different way. I have never been bothered by a movie so much. I will probably never watch it again. I never knew that artistic films could have such power.
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Movies can bring people together. Christmas Vacation brings my family together at least once or twice in late November and throughout December. It amazes me that movies, even like this, can become a part of your family, your tradition, and your life.
"Snakes, why does it have to be snakes?" One of those films that my family loves to watch, it was a movie that took adventure to another level. Again, it is a film that very few people can hate.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
A musical without all the corn? A musical with incredible songs? A musical that is fun to watch and listen to? Singin' in the Rain is the perfect musical, and almost a perfect film. I at one time thought musicals had to be over the top and cheesy. Apparently not!
These movies, good and bad, influenced how much I love movies. They changed me, where miles stones movies for me, or just great films that I seem to hold in highest of standards!
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