A good movie can be a powerful experience.
It can open your eyes to new ways of living, elevate your understanding of human nature, and show you the ways of the world.
Although most films that have been made are utter garbage and will do the opposite from the above and harm your mind, there are quite a few gems out there.
One of my useless degrees is in the arts and while obtaining it I was able to study film for a couple of years. This was also right around the time Netflix came out, so I was in a bit of a movie-heaven for a while.
Studying under masters of the art, indulging in different styles, genres, directors and actors was an enlightening time in life.
As I revisit some classics, and view some new ones, I will post films that will bring value to the viewers life.
I don’t like giving away much of the story, its best to go in to most films with a clean slate, but I can guarantee that these will have a good influence.
Lets start off with these three.
Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)
Watching this, like a lot of Bergman, is like reading a book. It requires concentration, looking between the lines, and can be interpreted in 100 different ways.
Prepare yourself for this one, it is just over three hours in length, every scene holds a key to understanding Bergman’s vision, and some intense shit goes down.
A reason I love foreign films is because the good ones can give you a glimpse into cultures that you have never imagined.
This one shows you how some people in Sweden live, what they eat, how they interact, and what they believe. Bergman does it right.
It is also beautifully composed, every scene can be paused and viewed as a photograph, the colors are incredible, and the sets are fascinating.
I don’t want to give away the story at all, its better to go in to a film like this one blind–it will make you more observant.
But its a great one and will stand the test of time, it was made before I was born and still feels fresh.
*There is a 5 hour version of this that was made for TV and the 3 hour film version. I have yet to watch the 5 hour one, but plan on tackling it someday.
Mean Streets (1973, Martin Scorsese)
I can’t think of another film that has acting as raw as this one. Harvey Kietel and Robert De Niro play two scrappy Italian New Yorkers living in Little Italy and trying to get by.
It is as real as American film gets and provides an excellent snapshot into the gritty life of the old New York City.
The story is run-of-the-mill, but the style of direction and perfection of the acting put this movie as one of the best of the 1970’s.
It is also a great lesson in how toxic people and women can bring you down.
Self destructive people have a tendency to make you feel sorry for them and always help them out. But if they show no signs of trying to better their situation, it is best to cut them out of your life completely.
Women are a great complement and can provide incredible feminine energy, sex and enjoyment–but in no way should they be controlling your life.
This film illustrates these two truths perfectly and in an original way.
The Deer Hunter (1979, Michael Cimino)
De Niro is one of my favorite actors of all time. In this film he is paired up with Christopher Walken, another favorite of mine, and they both dominate the screen with no apologies.
This is the portrayal of two natural alphas. Men who embrace their masculinity, do what they want, and are not afraid to be brutally honest with one another.
De Niro is the greater alpha of the two, excels in everything he does, is a true leader (this is proved fully in one of the most intense scenes I have ever seen on film, you will know it when you see it), and earns the respect of everyone around him.
Even though he can accomplish all of these things, he is hopeless and insecure when it comes to dealing with women.
This hit home for me because my father is the same way, and I had been that way for most of my life.
Its baffling and backwards when you are able to accomplish any goal you put your mind to, can excel in any endeavor, defeat monumental obstacles and come out stronger…yet still cave when in the presence of an attractive female.
Thats not what the film is about, but you will notice it.
Enjoy this gripping masterpiece and be prepared for your heart to pump.