Happy Be Brave Month! It’s March, which means it’s nearly spring and as good time a time as any for change and growth. Over the next four weeks, we’ll look into four areas of your life that, with a little courage, can be expanded, improved, classed-up, and generally made more awesome, so you can feel more awesome, too, and get a little closer to being the best “you” possible.
This week we’ll cover movies. Between Netflix, on-demand services, Redbox, and the handful of remaining brick-and-mortar rental stores, we’re inundated with movie options. We also have a huge variety of devices on which to watch all these thousands of movies we’re able to access. So why settle for reruns of “Scrubs?” Try a new movie and stretch your celluloid-loving brain cells.
1. Watch a documentary. I’ll make this insanely easy for you: watch “Life in a Day.” This was Ridley Scott’s YouTube project which invited everyone with a camera to film their day on July 24th, 2010. The final result, compiled from 80,000 submissions from 192 countries, is a beautiful, poignant, eye-opening look at daily life for ordinary people around the world, sunrise to sunset. You’ll see everything from how a young Japanese widower copes with raising his young son to what Aussie ranch hands eat for breakfast. The film is also available on Netflix instant.
2. Watch a foreign film. Yeah, I know, your eyes are rolling. Subtitles? Weird symbolism? Boring story? But chances are you’ve already seen a foreign film and actually enjoyed it:
- Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
- Seven Samurai
- Slumdog Millionaire
- Pan’s Labyrinth
- La Vie En Rose
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (original Swedish adaptation)
If you’re up for more of a challenge, check out the works of great directors like Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, or Ang Lee, or cruise the list of Best Foreign Language Academy Award winners. I also recommend the more story-friendly and less retina-slaughtering anime films of Hayao Miyazaki.
3. Try adaptations. Been watching “Downton Abbey?” The BBC is brimming with other juicy costume-dramas and literary adaptations. Their “Jane Eyre” starring Ruth Wilson and the classic “Pride & Prejudice” with Colin Firth are my gold standards for period pieces. Of course, the BBC isn’t the only source for good adaptations: try “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Much Ado About Nothing” with Kenneth Branagh, “Atonement,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “Blade Runner,” all great films based on great books.
4. Follow a resume. Like an actor or a director? Check out the rest of their oeuvre. Even if it’s something totally unfamiliar, you’ll still have that one name or face to rely on.
5. Go back in time. “The Artist” has made silent films cool again (kinda), but some of the originals set standards and provided inspiration for the entirety of cinema. “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928), “City Lights” (1931), and “Metropolis” (1927) are frequently mentioned as early influential greats, but you can check out other recommendations on this list.
And let’s not forget Hollywood’s Golden Age – Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, and oh so many more contributed to some of the greatest stories ever put on a screen. “Casablanca,” “Philadelphia Story,” and “Singin’ in the Rain” are all worth watching, and you might also appreciate “Gone with the Wind,” “The Maltese Falcon,” or “Citizen Kane.” Hitchcock hit his prime in this era, and classics like “The Wizard of Oz” and many groundbreaking Disney animated features (like “Snow White” and “Fantasia”) hit the screen here.
What else do you recommend for someone who’s looking to expand his or her movie repertoire?