Yesterday the big news on the Internet was that Howard Zinn died and J D Salinger. I have not read Zinns work but he seems to have been quite the polarizing figure. I personally know people who are progressives that love him and I know a few conservatives who feel that he was worthless. It makes me want to track down his writings to see what all the hubbub is about.
Now as far as Salinger goes I have read 'The Catcher in the Rye' it was several years ago. Actually over a decade and I am unable to remember if I thought it was good on not. That isn't a good sign for me. If I really like something I am going to remember it and I can point to 'The Hobbit' or 'Fight Club' as books that have carried a real weight for me. Yesterday as I was looking around and seeing different things about Salinger I came across a clip from the film 'Dead Poets Society'. The clip I linked is from the end of the movie after they have SPOILER ALERT.......fired the teacher and he is returning to the class room to collect his personals.
Now when this movie was released I was working at a movie theater in Salem and going to Chemeketa Community College and had a pipe dream of working someday as a film director. I took film classes at school and really lived and breathed the movies. I was a projectionist at the theater and would often watch the movies from the booth as they ran. It wasn't a great viewing experience. The machines would clank and squeal and I would have to make sure the change over happened just right or I would have a real mess on my hands. But every now and then a film would come along that as I watched it from my perch in the booth. Viewing it through a grimy little window, a film would transcend its surroundings and take me away. 'Dead Poets Society' was such a film for me. I would stand in the booth and weep. I want you to watch that clip above and if you have seen the film before just enjoy the power of it. Watch it and think back to when you were younger and things seemed so important. When it felt like no one was listening to you and all that you had was your books or art or movies or music or whatever it was that made you a special person.
When you knew deep down in your heart that 'The Man' existed solely to stop you from achieving your greatness. Then take a look around you and realize that somehow with out you realizing it you have become 'The Man'. I would watch movies like 'Dead Poets Society' and get so mad. I would weep with frustration at the actions of the parents in the films and shake my fists at the screen. "How can they not understand?" I remember yelling out in the middle of 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' as one of them was going to be sent to military school. "Just punch him!!'. Well people around me laughed and that was all well and good but I was not trying to be funny. I was legitimately angry.I miss the passion that movies used to generate in me. I still love film and I think I have a pretty nice and intelligent DVD collection of some classics as well as some more of the modern films. But the passion I used to feel is not there.
I think that is partially the fault of modern cinema but that is a story for another day. All that being said I want to know your top 5 most emotionally impactful films.
1. Dead Poets Society
2. Fight Club
4. Requiem For a Dream
5. Charlie or Flowers For Algernon