Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movies That Touch Our Lives

Every once in a while, a movie comes a long that touches you to the core of your being. I’m talking about message movies. They come in all varieties: drama, comedy, dramedy, sci-fi, and horror. Movies are my passion anyway, but as I get older and wiser, I am finding that the movies that I enjoyed yesterday are not necessarily the movies that I enjoy today.

I used to love action films. Still do to a certain extent. Recently, I have found, though, that the extreme violence is a bit boring and unnecessary. I find that I now prefer to rent the action films so that I can fast forward through the violent scenes, yet still get the gist of the movie.

I have seen many message movies over the years, probably too many to mention. The first one that I saw that had the most impact on me was “Billy Jack” (and later it’s sequels). It influenced me so much that I lived on an Indian reservation in British Columbia for a summer and made many life-long friends (though I’ve always called them my family). (http://www.billyjack.com/)

Another movie I remember that really affected me was “Pay It Forward.” For a school project, a young boy develops a system of kindness. If you perform a kindness for someone, then rather than them paying it back to you, they would pay it forward to three other people, who would pay it forward to three other people, and on it would go. There are now countless “Pay It Forward” groups across the world. (http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/)

I also really enjoyed “Bruce Almighty” starring Jim Carrey, and “Evan Almighty” starring Steve Carrell. I just love Morgan Freeman as God. If I could imagine God looking like any human, it would be in the persona of Morgan Freeman. He makes a great god (if I could imagine what God would look like and how he would act)! (http://www.brucealmighty.com/ & http://www.evanalmighty.com/ )

Two movies I saw just recently were “Seven Pounds” starring Will Smith, and “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey.

“Seven Pounds” was a very sad, feel-good movie. Every scene was like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, and you didn’t see the whole picture until the very end of the movie. Therefore, I cannot tell you what it was about or it would spoil the movie for you. What I can tell you is that it has to do with one man’s struggle with the meaning of life, and how he found the compassion to help other people, while being a very tortured soul himself. (If you cry easily at movies, you might want to take a box of Kleenex.) In a recent interview with Oprah, Will Smith said that "if you’re not making someone's life better, then you’re wasting your life." In the same interview, he said "the difference between depression and joy is purpose." (I think I'm going to start calling his quotes "Willism's.") (http://www.sevenpounds.com/)

After I saw “Seven Pounds,” I immediately went in to see “Yes Man.” I did not want to go home feeling so sad (though a good sad), and thought a comedy would do the trick. I really enjoy most of Jim Carrey’s movies, but I’m just not into what I call “silly comedy” movies (his or anyone else’s). Some of his are quite thought provoking in a funny way, and this was one of them. Jim’s character spent his life alone and miserable because he was always saying no to people’s invitations. One day, he went to a seminar where people are encouraged to say yes to anything and everything. Of course, Jim’s character pretty much at first tosses common sense out the window to do so, but as the story unfolds, he realizes that the real motivation is to say yes to life. It really makes us think how we pass up so many opportunities in our lives, and how our lives might be different, even better, if we did say yes to life more often. (http://yesisthenewno.warnerbros.com/)

There are many, many more movies out there such as “Forrest Gump,” “Star Wars,” “What Dreams May Come,” “Field of Dreams,” “Joe Somebody,” “Tears of the Sun,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “Beyond Borders,” “Radio,” “Mr. Deeds,” “The Terminal,” “Click,” “K-Pax,” “What the Bleep Do We Know,” “The Secret,” and countless others. You can add your own favorites.

As more and more actors (as well as producers, directors, etc.) are finding themselves on their own spiritual journey and finding their purpose in life as a life of service, they are making more movies with messages. Movies that touch people’s hearts, and may even have a hand in changing the collective consciousness of the world for the betterment of humanity.

Movies can be inspirational, informative, entertaining, thought provoking, and heart wrenching. Some of the most popular movies today are the animated movies, made for children, including the children in all of us. They all have positive and empowering messages, too, which are great for anyone of any age.

Therefore, for the critics out there who think that all movies are destroying our world….think again. If you look for the good movies, you’ll find them. And they can influence people for the better and change lives.

For a list of message movies, I found a good site at: http://www.plannedlegacy.com/newsletter/movies-with-feeling.html

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