One of the most jarring feelings as a kid is finding out that not every family is exactly like yours. There are certain things that become so habitual and ingrained in you that you can’t imagine anyone living without them. Growing up in a close-knit family led to me experiencing this a lot as a kid. What do you mean you don’t eat dinner together every night? What do you mean you don’t really know your cousins? It’s the nature of every kid, I think, to believe that everyone’s life is just like theirs, and part of the fun of growing up is realizing how unique your experience is and how many different types of families there are.
One of the things I realized as I ventured out of the nest was this: my family is a movie family. We had “forced family viewing” of movies my dad considered essential, and it was always an event. Movies are not something you talk through or put on in the background — movies are to be watched, discussed, and remembered, with proper lighting, sound, and snacks. One of the things outsiders first notice about my family is our ability to carry on almost full conversations in movie quotes.
Because of this, I put a lot of stock into people’s favorite movies. I don’t just want to know the prepared answer for “what’s your favorite movie,” I want to know what movie you’ve seen more than any other and what movie you reference most and what your go-to movie is when you’re sick. The best way I’ve ever seen it phrased is this: which movies would someone need to watch to know you better? In the interest of sharing a little about myself, here are my three go-to movies if I’m looking for something to watch.
1. Watching the Detectives
Reasons this movie is essential to understanding me:
Obscure movie about people who like obscure movies
Is somehow my exact brand of niche humor
When I try to describe this movie it sounds like I’m playing Mad Libs. Romantic comedy starring Cillian Murphy and Lucy Liu, directed by one of the guys from Super Troopers, about a guy who owns a video rental store. It’s ridiculous and quirky and it’s my go-to movie when I’m not feeling well or if I can’t decide on something to watch. Marshall and I quote it to one another constantly, but it’s so under the radar that if I meet someone who’s even seen it I like them automatically. It also brought me my favorite scene from any movie ever:
Fun fact, this movie was a) released the same year as Watching the Detectives, and b) originally supposed to feature Cillian Murphy as the lead.
If you haven’t realized this about me yet, my entire life is the six degrees of Cillian Murphy.
Anyway. THIS MOVIE.
I was sixteen when this movie came out. At sixteen, I thought I was going to be a singer/songwriter, and this movie made a mark on my heart that I’ve never been able to erase. There’s so much I love about this movie that I’m not really sure where to start, but I think it all boils down to the fact that, instead of hiring actors, they cast the musicians in the lead roles. Because of that, the entire thing feels like more of a documentary than a movie in spite of the fact that it is fictional. The raw chemistry between the two leads, the beautifully underproduced soundtrack, the handheld camera shots and the somewhat wandering plot come together to make you feel like you’re watching a special once-in-a-lifetime bit of magic unfold.
This movie and its soundtrack are never far from my fingertips at any given time. If you haven’t watched it, give it a shot, especially if you’re a musician.
3. The Fellowship of the Ring
I could, and probably will eventually, write a whole essay on Lord of the Rings as a whole and how much it means to me. But Fellowship was the first and therefore will always be foremost to me.
I will forever marvel at this movie. The special effects have held up so well. The music is emotional and unforgettable. The casting is some of the best of all time. It was the perfect opening piece to a movie trilogy that changed the fantasy genre forever.
My love for this film is deeply entwined with a love for the story itself, which makes it all the more emotional for me. I cry as soon as the Shire theme starts. Don’t talk to me about Boromir. Everything this story stands for and believes in is written on my heart, and for that reason, I’ll never say no to watching this.
So those are my three. I’m sure I’ll look back on this and realize I’ve forgotten something crucial, but that’s for another Movie Monday. What movies would someone need to watch to get to know you better? What should I add to my watch list?