Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reelizations: On Movies That Define Me

One look into my laptop's movie folder and my collection of less-than-legal DVDs will tell you that I'm nothing of a film buff. I do like watching movies; I regard them as one of my favorite leisure activities. Often though, I find that I'm not willing to part with the time and money involved in watching films. As a result, I'm more of an HBO viewer, or else I tend to watch movies on the basis of my friends' recommendations and coercions. This passively affectionate relationship I have with movies makes it difficult for me to name particular ones that define me, so I've decided to do it by categories.

Except for one, that is. I might as well start with the exception. I've recently watched Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, and it struck me mostly because lesbian couple movies are rare. Also, it reminded me of me and my girlfriend, with a slight twist. While I'm (quite obviously) the soft butch one with the Ellen Degerenes clothing preferences, she's the more accomplished and slightly workaholic one. And while I’m pretty self-directed (unlike Julianne Moore’s character), I’m the one who got delayed because of shifting; besides, seeing my girlfriend’s diligence can make anyone feel like a slacker. She’d cancel or turn down some dates or meet-ups for the sake of her thesis or org activities. Admittedly, it’s caused endless issues between us, but we work it out and we’re otherwise very happy—which is why we’ve lasted this long. (In fact, every time I tell people we’ve been together on and off for seven years, I’m greeted with either respectful awe or slight alarm, depending on how fearful of homosexuality and/or commitment they happen to be.) I’m too young to think about settling down and having a big old lesbian family like the one they have on the film (minus the cheating and all), but I hope that when both the time and person for it comes around, my family and other people dear to me would be accepting, or respectful at the very least.

Next up are chick flicks/love stories, which would tell you that I am a sap. Yes, there’s just no use in denying the fact. Love Actually is one of my current favorites, particularly the subplot about the best man (Mark) who is secretly in love with his best friend’s bride. He surprises her on Christmas and tells her how he feels, even when he knows there’s nothing else that can be done about it. I guess the hopeless romantic in me can relate. Among many others, I liked 500 Days of Summer, a non-love story; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a love story where each character tries very hard, and yet fails, to not be in love with the other; and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which I rather liked, despite unnecessary displays of Jason Segel’s…err…private parts. In hindsight, I seem to like bittersweet love stories, which I guess makes me an “emo” sap. Actually, it makes sense, seeing how I like to watch chick flicks whenever I’m depressed. Sometimes I just like to shut myself in my room, surrounded by comfort food, lamenting over the fact that—unlike most of the movie characters—I would probably die loveless and alone.

Last on my list are reality-bending movies such as The Truman Show. I only ever saw it once, as a kid, but the concept of creating an entire environment—an entire life—for a person really stuck. Then there’s Inception, the mind-bending film which also happened to be the first one I watched in a movie theater all by myself. I’m enchanted with the idea of subtly altering people’s perceptions. One of my ultimate dreams used to be to change the world—but with the jadedness that comes with growing up, I’ve settled for changing at least one person’s life, or even just a couple of people’s minds. Also, I love these types of films because they distract me completely, and take me away from the overwhelming monotony of everyday. 

After all, isn’t that why we watch movies in the first place? Escapism is a tricky thing, though. At the end of the day, all the films we watch and remember are reality-benders. Truly, we choose movies to take us away. But then, I think it’s about time we choose how much of them we take in, too.

[This was an assigned essay for my Audio-Visual Communication class.]


Adrian Mendizabal said...

Escapism can be a hard word to use as a label to cinema, but its interesting that people escape the everyday monotony of life with movies because, like my friend used to say, a movie is a complete artistic experience because it touches you visually, psychologically, morally etc. I hope you won't quit cinema! :D

firewomyn said...

I admit being entertained by watching films, but i also believe and it is true for me, that films are powerful tools for social mobilization for challenging our realities and strong-held beliefs. =)


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