Movies have always been a big part of my life. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how movies flow in and out of my life; arriving when I need them, leaving for a while when I don’t, and then coming back when I’m feeling nostalgic.
When I was little my most favorite movies were Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, Goonies and any other fantasy movie I could find. I was also big on Disney movies (particularly Oliver and Company, Beauty and the Beast and Robin Hood) and anything Henson/Muppets. These movies continue to be a part of my life and shape many of my interests and adventures even now.
Moving into middle school, Grease became a big part of my movie watching experience. I didn’t get everything in it till years later, but I loved the music, time period and everything I did understand about the movie. In fact, anything from (or that represented) the 1950’s or ’60’s became a huge influence on everything else in my life around age 13. I “discovered” The Beatles with a friend and together we became obsessed. A Hard Days’ Night was another frequently viewed film, along with even more fantasy movies like Willow and The Princess Bride. This is when my “musical identity” started to take shape. I grew up listening to a lot of oldies and a lot of classic rock and around this time period I held onto that music despite my classmates.
In high school I started to focus on the Rebels. I felt like an outsider in school, but I wasn’t as cool as the outsiders I admired from Hackers, Empire Records, Pretty in Pink and Foxfire. So I lived vicariously through these movies.
Skipping ahead past college and post college when my movie watching was crazy varied and doesn’t really have an identifiable theme, we will move to around now – 2013. At age 30, movies like Away We Go, The Brothers Bloom, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Penelope, and even The Village Barbershop call to me more often than others. All movies about identity, home and finding your place in the world. Because those are the things that I am thinking about right now. And so it makes sense.
What I’m not sure about is if these movies inspire me and push me forward, or if they simply let me imagine what could be. The older I get, the braver I get. I wasn’t able to be a “cool” rebel in high school, but I am more likely to take direction from Away We Go (and in fact our second road trip was very much based on that movie) at this point in my life and see where it takes me. It’s interesting to look back and see how the movies that I watched were based on how I wanted to be or how I wanted to be seen. But I was never brave enough to take it past watching and into my own life.
Maybe it’s because the movies that I am drawn to now are more “realistic” and less overly dramatic. Or maybe I’m just ready. Ready to adventure onward and find my place in the world. I am thinking a lot about change right now. Changing my hair, changing my schedule, changing my location. Trying to add more freelance work to give myself a bit of change in my work. Maybe 31, not 30, will be my year of change. Maybe these next few months until my birthday are a time to reflect and decide where I want my life to go.
Do you notice a theme in the movies you watch or the books you read? How do they influence you in your real life?