As hard as it is for some people to believe, I love watching movies. About 20 years ago, Gal and I agreed that going to the movies would be one of our regular "dates" as a couple. When Eden was just 11 months old, we got her a babysitter and went out for a movie. The town we lived in was so small it had one cinema that showed the same movie for 3 weeks, so we sometimes just went for a walk and talked about the movies.
There are movies we like and movies we do not like, but we always like to discuss the movies we have watched, their messages and what we can learn from them. This is the reason Gal and I make a huge effort to watch movies with our kids. It gives all of us the opportunity to learn from one another's perspective, because we do not have enough time in this life to experience everything ourselves. Of course, it also creates a deeper shared family experience.
I think that movies are like books - a lifelong experience is condensed into 1½ hours (lately more like 2½ hours) or 300 pages, with the possibility to shape our perspective on life and change our attitude. To me, movies are a lot more than motion pictures - some movies are a real form of art.
I separate the movies to the ones that move me or the ones that make no impact on my life. I especially like movies that make me think and that leave an impression on me that lasts longer than the movie.
Making a list of the movies I loved can you discover what kind of movies and what kind of messages have shaped your thinking. It can also be used to support your beliefs or question them. For example, I had a certain philosophy about the importance of emotions to navigate our lives. I had been working with emotional intelligence for many years, but when I watched the movie Equilibrium, my vague philosophy about teaching people to feel was greatly strengthened.
The same thing happened to me with the desire to live forever and the challenges of living forever. I had some vague ideas about the challenges, but the movie Tuck Everlasting brought up one big challenge in the most beautiful way, which made me define my ideas better. You see, one sentence, one incident, one message from a movie can do a lot for our health and wellbeing.
How to list 100 movies you loved
Try to remember the movies of your childhood. Naturally, it will be easier to remember movies you have seen recently, but if you do remember movies you have seen in the past, it is usually a sign they have had a big impact on you - at least big enough for your brain to record it
- Talk to others and ask them about their favorite movies and why they liked them. It may give you some ideas and trigger some of your own memories
- Rate your movies. Be your own movie critic. Give each movie a rating from 1-100. Obviously, you did not like all the top 100 the same. Rating them is a very good way to measure their impact on your life. If you give a movie a high rating, it has obviously done something to you
- Ask yourself "What was the main thing I got from this movie?" Again, the important thing is not what the movie was about but what it was about for you and what you got out of watching it
- If you remember who played the main roles, write that down. Sometimes, we like a movie not because of the plot but because of what the actors represent to us
- If you remember who the director/producer of the movie was, write it down. Same as actors, sometimes we love movies because we like the messages the director or producer represent. For example, at one stage, I loved the messages Clint Eastwood made and I went to see every new movie he produced straight away. It was not the movie. It was the director (I did not like him as Dirty Harry - it was too tough and rough for me)
- Split your list of movies you into genres. You may find that you like a specific genre more than others. For example, I love science fiction, but not the ugly creatures, heavy machinery and sound effects. I like science fiction films that highlight humanity or present some philosophical debate, like Isaac Asimov who for me was one of the greatest philosophers ever existed, not because he wrote about robots, but because he used robots to discuss humanity
- Write what was in each movie that moved you so much it made your top 100 list. I must say that sometimes "moved" does not mean you came out of it with total admiration and inspiration, but it changed your life. I had 2 movies like that, which changed my life and attitude. One of them was "Halloween", a horror movie about a kid murdering his babysitters, and the second one was "Alien". I could not sleep at night for days after watching those movies. After watching Halloween, I had nightmares that turned into "daymares" about someone popping up from behind the wall. After watching Alien, I could not sleep for days, imagining the creature on my face and not being able to breathe. These films moved me big time, because I learned from them that horror movies are not my cup of tea. I have not watched a horror movie ever since and I do not encourage my kids to watch them. Tsoof watched Spiderman when he was young and could not sleep at night, so now, I am very suspicious of the word "suspense" in movie descriptions and am more concerned about the official rating of the movies
- You can add to this list some surprises you have had - movies you have seen that had an unexpected big message for you
- By working on this list with your kids, you can help them develop critical thinking. It is funny how kids react to movies. They tend to like what others like and follow what the other kids say. Too often, they say, "It was the best movie I have ever seen", which is usually a sign they did not question the message. Yes, we do change our mind as we grow, but you can help them stretch their mind and develop their judgment by asking them about why they liked the film, what message they got out of it and how it was like (or unlike) real life
Remember, making a list of movies you like is an activity that will help you get familiar with your inner thoughts, ideas and beliefs. Movies are a lot more than just moving pictures - they can help us understand ourselves (Crash), develop our thinking (The Island), encourage us (The Pursuit of Happyness), evolve our judgment and compassion (District 9), surprise us (Amadeus - my surprise movie) and inspire us to be kind (Avatar). I think it is an easy way to get lessons that would otherwise require a lifetime to learn.
Happy list making,
This post is part of the series Make a List:
- Make a list: List Making
- Make a list: About Myself
- Make a list: Friends and Friendships
- Make a list: My Lifetime
- Make a list: Things I am Happy about
- Make a list: Childhood Memories
- Make a list: Ways to say “I love you!”
- Make a list: What I like about me
- Make a list: Things to ask for my birthday
- Make a list: Improve My Life
- Make a list: Things to tell my parents
- Make a list: Beliefs about Money
- Make a list: Feelings I Want to Feel
- Make a list: If I Could Live Forever
- Make a list: Beliefs about Kids
- Make a list: Beliefs about Kids cont.
- Make a list: Events that have shaped my life
- Make a list: Ways to be kind
- Make a list: Be More Productive
- Make a list: Mistakes (and what I can learn from them)
- Make a list: Expectations
- Make a list: Beliefs about Traveling
- Make a list: Rules I Follow
- Make a list: Good Parenting Qualities
- Make a list: Excuses
- Make a list: Quotes to live by
- Make a list: How to use my time better
- Make a list: If I were Santa Claus
- Make a list: If I had one year to live
- Make a list: Things that Make Me Happy
- Make a list: Movies I loved
- Make a List: My Fears
- Make a List: Find your Happy-ism
- Make a List: Inspiring People
- Make a List: Books that have changed my life
- Make a list: Inspiring Movies