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September 16, 2008

Comments

Claire O'Brien

I see very few movies and do not watch tv. But one movie I remember, aside from "To Kill A Mockingbird" that affected me, is "Lawrence of Arabia." I bought the book "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" because of it. The scene that has stayed with me is when Peter O'Toole must decide to stay the course or veer off for destruction as his mercenaries are urging him, "NO PRISONERS!" It shows me the influence the masses can have if one is not careful to stay the course of the most integrity. Another one is "The Day of the Jackal." It is the bed scene where the humble chief investigator who has located the area of the Jackal within two blocks is abrupty dismissed. He stumbles home to a yard full of animals and falls into a large billowing bed with white sheets. Only to be awakened, rudely, a short time later to return to the hunt. I love the scene because I love my own bed and going to bed at night. (This scene, my favorite, was eliminated from the video we purchased!)

Sincerely,

Claire O'Brien

Suellen Miller

The movie that had the most impact on me was "Lawrence of Arabia". I first saw it in 1963. I then began reading about Lawrence ... starting with children's biographies, and more adult biographies as I grew older. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one interested in Lawrence (the historical figure) and then discovered the T.E. Lawrence Society in England. Being a member has taken me to many of their symposia ... and I've met wonderful people from around the world ... all interested in Lawrence. There's a group in the U.S. that gets together for conferences, too.

Aside from reading about Lawrence, I do "collect" material by and about Lawrence, and even co-edit a newsletter.

Reading about Lawrence, and who he knew, then took me to reading about Antarctica ... which opened up a whole new area of discovery.

Debbie Gouldin

While probably not considered blue bloods in terms of movies, I would have to say that The Shawshank Redemption was life changing for me in that it helped me to realize that not all who are behind bars should be. I think it helped me decide to become part of a prison ministry that I have participated in for the past 3 years. It has been one of the most fulfilling endeavors of my life.

Valdez

The movie that changed my life was "The Sound of Music."
For me it changed my life on two accounts. It was in 1965, I was a little country girl from Paducah, Kentucky. My brother and I had gone to New York to stay with our aunt. Back then, there were only a few houses that had TVs, and they were only in black and white. And the way it changed my life the most was, we got to go to the movies with the white folks. We didn't have to go up in the balcony. To this day every time I see "The Sound of Music," I am that little girl with wide eyes, hearing music like I'd never heard before and seeing landscapes like I'd never seen before, sitting in those soft chairs with the BIGGEST smile on my face, looking at this BIG screen in color. When I hear the opening music, I get that big smile on my face and my heart pounds in anticipation of Julie Andrews coming up over that hill. I sing along with every song. I feel the joy of that little girl. And I remember walking out of the movie, changed from that little girl that walked in. I remember holding my aunt's hand, and looking around at white folks and black folks walking together in the same building. When I think of that movie, I think of possibilities. . .

Rich Goldschmidt

I am in the same age range as you, Steve. I can certainly relate to your choice of Cuckoo's Nest. The movie that has influenced me is the Star Wars series.
Specifically, the character Yoda. He is wise, insightful and filled with 'The Force'. His quote: "There is Do and Do Not ... there is no Try" has influenced my thinking and my actions as a Small Business owner.

Ron Weekes

Helen Hanff's book "84 Charing Cross Road," was one of the most delightful reads. I was equally surprised with the film adaptation and thought Bancroft, Hopkins and Dentsch did an admirable job. Being a die-hard bibliophile there could not be a more relevant film!

John McGinty

Paul Newman is my favorite actor, always has been, always will be, and is one of the few who anonymously gives back to society in many ways. We all need to think about his life work, and hope for him now, as he is most probably seriously ill. Little is known by the public. His greatest movie, "The Verdict," did not change my life, but was cathartic for me as I had observed, as a lawyer and in a small way, the same process depicted in that movie. Second in line, a small, low-budget, largely ignored movie is "Nobody's Fool" for its realism and humor. There are a lot of very good movies out there, and each one seems to relate best to our own individual experiences when we attempt to make these choices. John McGinty

Barb Stephens

When I was a kid on welfare back in the 1960s, I got laid off from what was supposed to be my summer babysitting job when the couple ran out of money to pay me. They gave me a week's severance pay and turned me loose. I started home on the bus and had to transfer in downtown Denver.

"The Unsinkable Molly Brown" was playing at one of the movie theaters and, having nothing to do for the rest of the day...and not wanting to go home, I paid out of my next/last week's pay and went into the dark, cool theater. This was in the days when you could watch over and over without paying again...and I did!

Every time Debbie Reynolds sang "I ain't down yet" I cried. The song goes on to proclaim "I'm going to learn to read and write. I'm going to see what there is to see. If you're on the road from nowhere on the way to somewhere and you meet anyone, you'll know it's me!"

That became my theme, somehow. I learned in my bones that an education would get me out...and, luckily, I had good academic abilities. With work, and help from the War on Poverty and a number of mentors, I now have two master's degrees and have retired from 30 years of serving the State of Colorado in various civil rights and business assistance positions. I continue to work in a variety of paid and volunteer capacities to try to make this world a better place...and I'll always be grateful to Molly Brown/aka Debbie Reynolds for helping me pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again (different song)...when I was feeling like such a failure because I couldn't even hold onto a summer job!

Thomas Layne

"Cuckoo's Nest" is at the top of my eclectic life-influencing list of films. I read the book, saw it on stage (twice) in San Francisco, and have seen the movie innumerable times. I also almost lost a job over the book. I suggested it as a "read" by a church high school youth group for a weekend retreat, as a base for exploring "Law 'n' Order" vs. creativity. Unfortunately, the parents were livid from page 1 on. The kids who did read it loved it -- and got it.

How did it play on stage? Excellent! E.g., When Chief would comment in his head about what was happening on stage, the actors froze in place and posture, and a war film with sound was superimposed upon the actors. Very effective.

mym

Generally, life-changing events occur in our youth, when we are making up our minds about who we are going to be. Your age then and reaction to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is a perfect 1960's era example. Mine was "The Battle of Algiers." We young people were fighting to end the Viet Nam War. This film emboldened and encouraged us to believe we had a chance of peace. (And with one side of the block, apartment kids blared "Let It Be," while the other side screamed "Let it Bleed," another column on how music changed my life might be in order.)
Now in my mid-50's, life-changes don't come so frequently. One exception is the magnificent "Habla con Ella," a Pedro Almodovar film that makes us evaluate life, love and fidelity, even morality.

Arturo Fierro

I am a lawyer, and although my career has taken a number of very unexpected turns, I know that I was inspired to go into law by some of the movies I saw as a kid. These include "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "And Justice for All" (my favorite line is probably "You're out of order, you're all out of order!"). These movies showed me, when I had never met a lawyer in real life and had no idea what law practice was like, that to be a lawyer was to be able to fight for the underdog and against the odds.

Meg Lark

While not exactly a movie, the TV series "Due South" completely turned around the life of my son. Up to that point, he was very much an outsider (having Asperger's Syndrome, which was undiagnosed), and very angry about it; he had several fights with other kids at school, and had been suspended often. Then came "Due South," about a Canadian Mountie living in Chicago, and my son came to see that people who try to live ethically *are* often "outsiders" -- and that it was still a good and honorable thing to continue to live an ethical life, and that people ultimately respected you more for making that effort. It completely turned his life around. Today he is a productive member of society, and, to his great surprise and delight -- he has many friends.

Jill Faison

I really love movies, and have seen many, many that are dear to me for one reason or another… but the one that I always seem to come back to as being my all-time favorite is "Being There" with Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine. I find Sellers' character to be at once touching, sad, brilliant and inspirational. Being a "simple" man, he always perceived and responded to his world in "simple" ways… and consistently met with success. He was content to just "BE", without a thought or a worry about what would, should, or could happen next… and things always worked out. I'll never forget the way the final scene of that movie literally took my breath away!

Paul Lagasse

Many movies have influenced me in different ways, but there's only one that I can say "changed my life" -- Marat/Sade, the 1967 film of the Peter Weiss play. I caught it on TV one very late night when I was a teenager, and the next day the world just looked different. I can't really articulate why it was so life-changing for me, which is funny because it definitely influenced my career choice as a writer. Or maybe it's appropriate that I can't explain it.

Barbara F. Campbell

Though I love to watch movies, especially old movies, I usually take most in stride. But one movie that changed me was October Sky. It was very powerful in its message of a "can do" spirit. If all of our children were given this gift of "anything is possible" and "self confidence" along with positive and moral backing, we would have far fewer crazy kids in this country. This is a movie every parent should watch with their kids annually to drive the point home. The beauty of this movie is that it not only teaches kids, it also teaches parents.

Bryan Koop

Steve , a great question.
Some movies have stimulated some thoughts; however, I still have found that a quote I heard years ago remains true: In this world there are only two things that can improve your life, the people you meet and the books you read.

Barb Shubinski

I realized a couple of years ago that the movie "Mary Poppins," which I saw in its first theatrical run while I was five years old, had had a profound impact on my life's priorities.

"Feed the birds": use that tuppence now rather than bank it and watch it grow. "The saints and apostles...are smiling each time someone shows that he cares." So make caring for others more important than posturing yourself.

Every day's a holiday, worth celebrating. "You find the fun and -- snap! -- the job's a game!" shows that you can change your perspective and attitude. "A spoonful of sugar" really does help "the medicine go down," both literally and metaphorically. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: for some situations in life there really are no appropriate words. Most people love to be entertained. There's no such thing as too much laughter. Even in the saddest situations, people appreciate some gentle humor.

If you have trouble getting to sleep, just try to stay awake: you'll fall asleep in no time.

Don't judge people by the clothes they wear or the titles they hold: more wisdom can be found in a chimney sweep than an investment banker.

Pay attention to children and don't squash their dreams: they won't be children forever. Fly those kites today! Cherish those closest to you; don't take them for granted.

Dance on the rooftops!

Amelia30

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