Movie Picks

Jared asked me to comment on some of my favorite movies, and I am happy to comply to his request. I love movies, though I’m not as broad in categories and genres as I would like to be. Mostly I like dramas and the occasional thriller, I appreciate a smart screenplay and a good twist ending. But as far as movies that have shaped me and have left an indelible mark on me, here are just a few (not in chronological order):


  MagnoliaIts hard to say that I have a favorite film, but this one might just be it. One of the few movies that I like Tom Cruise’s acting, and he plays a horrible person so well so that might be the catch of it. There has been a trend lately in films to weave various tales and plotlines in and out of the overall narrative, this isn’t the first to do so, but probably does the best job. There are so many great performances, and this film is so emotionally hard to watch sometimes, but in the end I think there is a hope in this story that doesn’t make the pain of it all feel cheapened.



Not much of a science fiction fan, but this one is great and highly original. There are a lot of questions that are raised in this one, issues of how we use science, how societies fundamentally work, and how we view humanity. I think I’ve only seen it once but I remember it really provoked me.

The Station Agent

The Station Agent

This is a quaint story about how humans long for each other, for friendship, for intimacy. Each character in this film is strangely familiar, flawed, and yet beautifully authentic. There are parts that seem a tad bit sentimental, but I think the filmmakers and actors don’t let it get out of hand. I love watching this movie with other people, especially those who have yet to see it.

Life as a House

Life as a House (New Line Platinum Series)

Kevin Kline is one of my favorite actors, and this is my absolute favorite role of his. Tragic, funny, and deeply moving. I think Hayden Christensen (aka Anakin Skywalker) even does a good job in it! I have watched this movie so many times, and it gets me everytime.


Unbreakable (Two-Disc Vista Series)

Say what you will about M. Night Shyamalan, but this and Lady in the Water are my favorite movies of this director, who I tend to really enjoy. Sam Jackson may be over the top in parts, but that is what makes him great! I love comic books, and I think this connects with me on so many levels.

Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting (Miramax Collector's Series)I could watch this movie at least once a day, good thing I don’t own it. Matt Damon proves he is the better half of the Damon/ Affleck duo, Affleck proves that he can ride on coat tails. I think Robin William’s performance in this is second best to Dead Poet’s Society. Plus, the Elliot Smith infused soundtrack is greatness.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption

Okay, I know just about everybody has this in their top 3, 5, 10 all time favorite films, but there is a reason. It is just a great movie, and one that I really enjoyed the ending. That doesn’t happen too much in films for me, but I liked the happy ending for once.

The Sandlot

The Sandlot

First movie that I ever really saw gospel parallels in! Makes me want to eat a S’more…

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird (Universal Legacy Series)

Atticus Finch is one of my favorite characters from a book/movie, and Gregory Peck was perfect in this role. Explores issues of social class and racism through the lens of Depression-era children. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, you are missing out on a great story.

What are your most formative film experiences?



Filed under ramblings

3 responses to “Movie Picks

  1. Jared

    Thanks for the compliance.

    I suppose I’d have to say the movies that have influenced me are:

    FIght Club- It hit me at a time when I needed it. There are tons of themes (son against father, student against teacher, the struggle to achieve manhood, etc.) that resonate with me. I see the desire to redefine the world and start over refreshing. The violence is not the center of this movie, people are.

    Good Will Hunting- This movie has a lot of the same themes as Fight Club, but without the presence of the violence. Which is probably why it’s my number two. It’s not that I think violence is an acceptible representation of the gospel, it’s not, but that violence serves to shock the viewer and present an opportunity to see grace and redemption in the aims of Project Mayhem.

    Garden State- I love that Zach Braff wrote a plot-driven script about going home and feeling. He’s not running from the slings and arrows of life in family and community. He’s running straight into those things and finding love all the way through.

    Adaptation- Just watch this movie. The battle with nrcissism is funny, sad and eye-opening, to say the least.

    Millions- A little boy who finds a ton of money shows everyone that God’s presence is not in shock and awe type miracles, but the lives of his saints.

    I Heart Huckabees-I love to see people struggling with identity, morality and community, and that’s what this movie is. My favorite character is Mark Wahlberg’s (sp?). He’s so passionate and that makes him frustrated and tempts him to isolate himself. Fortunately he learns that he can’t do that.

    Love Actually-This movie shows love in almost all of the ways it manifests itself in our lives, not just romance. On top of that its incredibly funny.

    Snatch-I like this movie in spite of the revenge theme. It’s got good acting, interesting plot and fantastic visuals.

    Amile-I don’t so much like the story, it’s not that outstanding, as I do the visuals. There is a crisp, clean look to this movie that was intoxicating. I see why so many people like it.

    Shopgirl- I wrote a long blog about this movie on Myspace so I won’t go into all of the details about why I liked it so much. I will say that Steve Martin, whether he meant to or not, wrote a novella that became a movie about people in flux and it is beautiful.

    The Family Stone- This movie shows us what a family that cares so much is makes mistakes. There are no heroes in this movie and I like that the most. There are people who pride themselves on being so open that they won’t let someone in. This is a constant reminder that the church needs to welcome even when it causes pain.

    Ther are so many more movies that I want to list, but I’ll save them for my blog(s).

  2. Chad

    If I had a nickname, I think I would want it to be “Prince of Weasels”, because then I could go up and bite people and they would turn around and go, “What the-?” And then they would recognize me, and go, “Oh, it’s you, the Prince of Weasels.”

    (btw….I’m not on your “Rivendell Bloggers”link….)

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