“I love movies. Gosh I love movies. I love watching them, and I love making them.”- Keanu Reeves
I can relate a whole lot to Keanu Reeves and his love of film. I am a huge comic book fan, and I have been collecting comics for years. I also love television, literature, music, etc. But there is no form of art I love more than filmmaking. From Star Wars to Toy Story, from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man to Pulp Fiction, I have spent my life watching as many movies as I can trying to gather as much knowledge about the artform as possible, like a student studying textbooks.
There is very little that has affected my life as much as movies have. I often claim that a big part of the person I am today comes from the lessons I learned watching superhero movies as a child. The messages conveyed in, for example, Spider-Man (2002) about doing the right thing no matter what the cost have always stuck with me. Because of that film, almost everyone has heard the phrase “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And I like to think that some people actually take that to heart, and let it change their life in a good way. I know I do. That just goes to show the impact movies can have on society.
When we look back and study ancient histories, we analyze their artwork. Their paintings, poems, and other literature. I believe in 1000 years when people study our “ancient” culture, they will look back on the films we made as a big indicator of what our world was like. Art reflects life, and that includes film. Most media is made in response to something in the real world. For a recent example, Joker (2019) directed by Todd Philips directly addresses prevalent mental health issues faced in society today. Because we do, in fact, live in a society. It shines a light on the struggles of the average person who may feel left behind by the rest of the world, and how that can lead to extreme circumstances. I believe films like Joker can go a long way to making these issues more well known and addressed, rather than ignored.
But I don’t just love movies because of the impact they can have on society, I love them because of the impact they can make on individuals, especially me. One good film with a good message can change someone’s life. I’ve struggled with heavy depression and anxiety for a long time, and when I’m at my worst movies have always been there to inspire me or make things better. Relatively recently, I was in a very dark place but went to see Toy Story 4 (2019) with my little sisters and it simply lit up my world. The theme about letting go from the past and finding out who you are at this moment in time really struck a chord with me. It reminded me that yes, what happened happened, but there’s always the next thing, a new adventure in life to embark on, and don’t get so caught up in the past or worried about the future that you forget to live in the now. Woody had always worried about others, but in this film it was time for him to find out who he really is, and to be himself again. There have been many times I forget who I am and how to be myself, and it’s movies like that that help me crawl back out of that hole. So if you are in a dark place, I’m sorry, I hope you can look to film and other art to help you find what you need.
I haven’t even begun to mention that movies are just entertaining. Every emotion can be felt while watching films, including just straight up excitement. Marvel movies are a good example of this. Like I said, I have been collecting comic books for years, so I am a huge Marvel fan, so there is nothing more exciting than seeing my favorite characters come to life on the big screen. When you are sad, films may not always provide the deep answers to life you are looking for, but they can definitely take you out of this world and into a universe that you can enjoy and forget about all the problems of the real world for a second.
Movies are important, and there’s so much more I can say about them, and I have on my podcast Creative Conversations on my YouTube channel Stay Creative with my creative partner Donna. Please check it out for over hour long conversations about all things creative and culture, including film.