I was impossibly demanding of my dear readers in our movie contest on August 12th when I asked you to choose the single film which had most impacted you in life and to tell me why in great detail, to boot! The response was overwhelming! You were so good to participate, so kind to indulge us and so creative in articulating the impact of the movie and your love for it. Thank you, thank you so much to my 30 fabulous participants and all of you who commented and supported us!
How I would have myself begun to answer this challenge is still beyond me! A single film from the many, many unforgettable, cherished and touching ones over the course of my life? A single one above all the rest? Where would I even begin? As the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland” advised, “Begin at the Beginning …” and so I shall in response to all of you who asked me for my favorite film(s!!!).
There have been so many films to love. I love When Harry Met Sally – for the brilliant dialogues and classic wisdom. I love Shining Through because it reminds us of the horrific days of WWII, the price of freedom, and the power of love. I love Cinema Paradiso for all these reasons despite all the tears. I love Gone with the Wind if for no other reason than Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara and it being my Mom’s favorite film. I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s because Audrey Hepburn was not just a star but an angel, a stunning one in both. I love The Godfather because it’s a fantastic story, a timeless classic and actually does justice to Mario Puzo’s masterpiece. I love Point of No Return because of the incredible music and because I could feel – somehow, someway – Maggie’s pain and desperation. I love The Birdcage because it has afforded me countless belly laughs even years after watching it – and because Robin Williams doubles his genius when paired with Nathan Lane. I love Star Wars (the original trilogy) because my husband introduced me to this deeply ingrained part of the American culture and to Spielberg’s genius creation. I, like you, love many films and feel very lucky to live in a world which makes movies.
Now the big announcement: We did our judging fair and square. We scored in private and anonymously (contestant names removed). We used the criteria mentioned in the movie contest post. We even used Perl script written by Sina (my brother but better known as many other things!) to calculate results. And we have two winners to congratulate and present with a $20 Amazon Gift Card to do with as they please….(buy a movie perhaps?!). Really, congratulations to Emiel and Steve. May you be next in line!
Our First Winner – Contestant #29: Emiel Vandenboomen from The Act of Traveling
Movie Selection: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
It is 1985. The world is much smaller than it is now. No internet, no cable TV, no long-distance holidays. There are not many possibility to escape from daily life, exploring new worlds and new people….
What happened back in 1985? There was this kid, 15 years old. He was crazy about movies as well as astronomy. On clear nights he stepped outside in the garden and looked for a spot where the street and city lights would not bother and distract him. He needed complete darkness to search for the zodiac signs in the sky. Or wait for a falling star…
As a teenager he had his own troubles. He was not the most popular guy at school, but he felt comfort in the ways he found for himself to escape daily life. Away from troubles, away from pressure to perform.
Watching the stars he dreamed about space travels, light years away from earth. If he would become an astronaut and was asked to go on a space journey for years and years, would he go and leave everything behind? If aliens would visit the earth, from another galaxy, would he be tempted to go with them?
The answer was always definitely yes. He didn’t think about the rest of his life, his future. He was looking for moments of escape. But then again, would he be that one person that would be picked by aliens? Could he be the chosen one?
It was all about imagination. For him, escaping the real world was possible only by using his imagination. And then he watched a movie. The one movie that made such an impact on him, that he has never forgotten one single scene, ever. A movie that showed exactly the way he felt. That movie was called Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Looking back I realise that Close Encounters is about dreams, dreams to escape and to explore the undiscovered. Outer space has and will always inspire people to dream about new worlds and new opportunities. When I was young I felt jealous about Roy Neary, the main character who was chosen by the aliens, together with a couple of other people, to join them. He received this strange signals drawing him to a remote area in Wyoming. Nothing could stop him, he was ready to leave earth and discover a new world, a new life.
Don’t we all feel like that sometimes? I still love watching this movie. When I watch it I suddenly go back in time. I feel a teenager again. And at the end I am full of positive energy, ready to enjoy and explore!”
Our Second Winner – Contestant #19: Steve Scott from Steve Scott Site
Movie Selection: It’s a Wonderful Life
“Gosh, this is a tough one. I have been a movie lover my whole life and I can think of so many that touched me. Gump. Office Space. Shawshank Redemption. Godfather. Citizen Kane. Star Wars. Silence of the Lambs.
Very tough decision. I think I have to go for a Golden Oldie, made the year my mom and dad were born. (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life.
I have loved this movie since I was a child. It is dated. It is old. Much of the humor does not translate that well in the 64 years since it was made, but there is no movie that comes close in my opinion to the sheer power of that movie.
George Bailey is my idol in so many ways. A quite man who just does his duty. Jimmy Stewart plays Bailey with such an earnest goodness that it is nearly comical in our cynical and jaded age.
In some ways this is actually a dark movie. A good man pushed to the edge of despair by a greedy evil banker. Bailey is actually contemplating suicide in the beginning, but would never do it because of the bad effects it would have on people he cares about.
This common and good man who believes he has never done or achieved anything of significance is given a glimpse of what life would be without him and is able to see the deep impact that simple goodness can have on the lives of people around him.
It is a movie that could never be made today, it seems sappy and naive. But that is it’s power. It shows the way life could and should be. It is an incredible story of hope and redemption for a hardworking and honest man.
Though I have seen this movie at least 25 times over the past 35 years I still have tears in my eyes when I see all the townspeople rally around George in the end.
What this movie really shows clearly is the way your life can interact with others friends, family and acquaintances if you are a kind and giving person.
If we had a world full of George Baileys, rather than Mr. Potters, the world would be an incredible place.
Thanks for having a wonderful competition and reading my rant.”
An enormous thank you to ALL of you for playing and most of all, for sharing your favorite movies. Here is our 30 Best Films from all of you:
Angels and Demons
My Sassy Girl (The original Korean version)
Pride and Prejudice (1995 adaptation) (x2)
Gone with the Wind
Harold and Maude
It’s a Wonderful Life (x3)
Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Fame (The original 1980 version)
Split Shift (directed by our own Katie Tallo)!
Star Trek: The Search for Spock
Not of This World
Match Point (x2)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Your Thoughts for next Contest?
I thoroughly enjoy running these contests as it is a way not only to appreciate you, my readers but also a way to get to know you better. This was our 3rd contest after the previous successful two: A Photo Contest and A Book Contest. Movies, books and photos! What wonderful things in life! As I take much inspiration from you, tell me please what type of contest you would like to see next here?
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