F is for 10 films that have influenced me

I was reading this Facebook chat with someone I knew and his friend, who suggested that the world was black and white until the early 1960s.

beingthereThere’s some online game in which you name ten films that heavily influenced your way of thinking, or world view, or whatever. They need not be GOOD films or your FAVORITE films. If I picked Annie Hall, which may be my favorite, it would be selected, as I noted before, because of my hatred of going into a movie after it starts, just like Alvy Singer (Woody Allen). But let me look elsewhere.

Being There (1979) – Can a guy uttering stuff he’s heard on TV be embraced as a wise and profound leader? Seemed ridiculous at the time, save for televangelists, but now reality-show “celebrities” often drive the national dialogue (see: Jersey Shore, Duck Dynasty, The Real Housewives of Topeka, et al.)

Field of Dreams (1989) – While I LOVE the baseball talk, especially as espoused by the James Earl Jones character, for me, the key is the relationship between Ray (Kevin Costner) and his late father, which ALWAYS gets to me.

King of Hearts/Le roi de coeur (1966) – Blurs the line between who is sane and who is not.

Long Night’s Journey Into Day (2000)- After apartheid fell in South Africa, there was a Truth and Reconciliation Commission designed, not to punish, but to have people own up to the abuses that took place. (A similar action took place in Rwanda, to great effect.) If only the United States had had something similar after the Civil War, instead of a brief Reconstruction, followed by years of Jim Crow segregation.

Midnight Cowboy (1969) – one can find friendship in the most unlikely places. Plus a pedestrian should assert his right to cross the street.

Pleasantville (1998) – I was reading this Facebook chat with someone I knew and his friend; the latter suggested that the world was black and white until the early 1960s. I suspect that perception comes from photographs and television largely being in b&w until then. The conceit of this movie is that once someone becomes really engaged in life, they turn from b&w to color. (Notice in this Pentatonix video, Evolution of Music, it segues from b&w to color in the early 1960s.)

The Truman Show (1998) – To his surprise, a guy’s whole life is actually a television show. Now, it seems, there’s no end of people who are willing to be on television, spilling intimate details, in exchange for counseling, money, fame. There’s even drama in going on those home rehab shows on HGTV. EVERYBODY is a star, for the requisite 15 minutes, it appears.

War Games (1983) – I didn’t think at the time that someone playing video games could almost start World War III. Since then, I’m less convinced of my initial convictions.

West Side Story (1961) – The movie looks a little dated, last I watched it, yet the music is timeless.

Woodstock (1970) – Music groups I was introduced to, such as Santana, plus groups I saw in a different light, such as Sly & the Family Stone. Someone on Facebook wrote last month, “The New York State Thruway is closed, man,” and right away there was a whole dialogue about brown acid and kosher bacon.
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