But Hubbell – ‘People ARE their principles.’ The Way We Were
‘With all due respect, I believe this will be our finest hour.’ Apollo 13
‘We’ve got serious problems and we need serious people to solve them … I’m Andrew Shepherd and I AM the President.’ An American President
‘If I forget to tell you later, I had a great time tonight.’ Pretty Woman
I said this in my first blog, but I definitely think in movies, song lyrics and books.
True confession: A lot of what I know about Passover traditions comes from the movie The Ten Commandments. Most of what I know about the space program comes from the movie Apollo 13. And a lot of what I know about Christianity comes from the movie (and album and play) Jesus Christ Superstar.
I don’t retain facts and figures, names and dates well [upcoming blog to come on this]. But I’ll remember song lyrics and movie lines, gestures and conversations pretty much forever. And I realized that maybe it’s not so weird to get meaningful information and insights from movies and books and plays and songs. Maybe that’s the point when people create and write these materials to begin with.
It’s like what the Meg Ryan character in You’ve Got Mail says: ‘ … so much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?’ (Case in point – I’m using a fictional movie and character to talk about how I often think in fictional terms!)
The movies that move me are always about people. As my kids will say, ‘Mom can take a nap’ when we go to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or any action-packed, special effects film – ironically often during some of the ‘most exciting’ scenes in a big, noisy, surround-sound theater environment. I love anything that’s inspiring and thought-provoking and I can watch the same movie over and over again, with my family and I tending to talk in movie lines.
A great example is The Sound of Music, which I saw back in the 1960s (did I just admit that?) at Radio City Music Hall. Along with The Lion King, I think it has one of the most dramatically wonderful openings of any movie, especially on the big screen – the big, sweeping vistas of the Austrian hillside, the gorgeous Oscars & Hammerstein music and lyrics, sung by a young, incomparable Julie Andrews. I went on to see that movie in the theater five times and a million more over the years.
I remember being disappointed (much like The Partridge Family ‘bombshell’ that they weren’t a ‘real band’ … lol) when I found out the story was based on a ‘real family’ and a ‘real Maria.’ I wanted the people I saw in the movie to be ‘real,’ like they were to me. (Just like I’ve wanted Andrew Shepherd to be our ‘real’ American President … or Jed Bartlet from West Wing.)
In the ’70s, I was a little obsessed with young Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were. After that first time in the theater, my mom and I would watch it over and over again, always debating whether Katie should have stayed with Hubbell at the end. We’ve usually disagreed … funnily, often on both sides of the issue over the years.
One time we borrowed the VHS tape from the local library. It was Saturday night, we were in the den, had our popcorn ready and were super-excited about the imminent romance to come. We started to play it and there were unrecognizable men in suits sitting on a panel talking about ‘Plainview/Old Bethpage – The Way We Were.’ I can still feel the disappointment! But we still laugh at the fact that we were probably the only ones in the history of the library (and our Long Island, NY hometown of Plainview/Old Bethpage) to take out that video!
For what it’s worth, here are some of my favorite all-time movies, in addition to some mentioned above:
Jerry Maguire (featured in a previous blog)
As Good As It Gets
Terms of Endearment
Lost in Translation
Children of a Lesser God
To Sir with Love
Defending Your Life