TTT: L’Abri Film Night

I’m celebrating this week’s movie freebie by reminiscing about my time at L’Abri, a Christian hospitality ministry.  I was at their location in England for three months earlier this year.  Every week, on Wednesday evening, our study room was transformed into a theater.  One of the staff members would pick a film and we would watch it while eating cinnamon-sugar popcorn.  When the movie ended, we’d spend half an hour or so discussing it.

The movies that were chosen were usually the kind that make you think.  I got to see several fantastic titles (some of which I’ve included in my list) and lots of foreign films.  I love watching movies that engage you on a deeper level than mere entertainment.

So, I’ve chosen a list of movies that I would show at L’Abri if I had the chance.

  1. Midnight in Paris (2011): One of my all-time favorites, this movie has a lot to say about nostalgia and the dangers of Golden-Age thinking.
  2. The Imitation Game (2014): I watched this one on an airplane and had to stop it multiple times just to think about what was going on.  In addition to being a great historical piece, the messages about homosexuality is an important one.
  3. Les Miserables (2012): Although I prefer the stage version, the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece raises great questions about grace, forgiveness, and redemption.
  4. Inside Out (2015): I watched this one while at L’Abri.  Pixar movies do such a great job at creating movies that are both entertaining and enlightening.  Inside Out is no exception with messages about the complexity of emotions.  It can also be seen as a critique of American uber-positivity.
  5. Lars and the Real Girl (2007): Here’s another one I was introduced to at L’Abri.  The premise is odd and uncomfortable at times, but it’s really a beautiful message about community.
  6. About Time (2013): Again, one of my favorite movies and one of the few to make me cry.  You think it’s going to be a happy romantic comedy, but then it turns out to be a beautiful story about family and what makes life worthwhile.
  7. Her (2013): This movie is super weird and uncomfortable at points.  I include it on my list because, when we watched it at L’Abri, it raised so many question and thoughts that we were still talking about it for a week and a half later.
  8. The Truman Show (1998): This movie raises so many ethical questions, especially since it predates the rise of reality television, and I’d love to have a discussion about it.

What movies make you think?  What ones would you like to have an intellectual group discussion about?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!

What’s Your Favorite Movie? (Writing 101, Day 8)

A while back, my friend Holly from In Spec made a post about the movie Lost in Translation. When you’re done reading this post, please check her site out because she is a smashing good writer. At the end of the post, she posed a question: What is your favorite movie?

(I love it when bloggers ask questions at the end of their posts because I’m the type of person who usually doesn’t comment on things. If I don’t have anything to say, I usually keep silent. That’s why I love the “like” button so much. It allows me to appreciate without articulation. But I digress.)

Holly is an old friend (we went to high school AND college together), so of course I answered her question. I told her that my favorite movie is Midnight in Paris.

If you’ve never seen it, let me give you a synopsis. Normally, I’d post the trailer, but it is one of the few that reveals little to nothing about the movie. Midnight in Paris is about a man who goes to Paris with his fiancé and future in-laws. This man is an idealistic dreamer. Although he made his millions writing Hollywood screenplays, he has always dreamed of writing novels. When we meet him, he has just finished a major draft. During the day, our characters, joined by some friends they unexpectedly meet, soak in Parisian culture by visiting museums, palaces, and wine tastings. Frustrated his companion’s shallow pseudo intellectualism, our hero takes a midnight stroll to clear his mind and finds himself… well… I don’t want to spoil things.

I adore this film. The first time I saw it, I was practically rolling around on the ground salivating. (Yes, I was geeking out that much. My mother can verify this.) Midnight in Paris feels literary—with themes, motifs, cultural statements… all the things that gets a former English major excited.

Midnight in Paris is all about nostalgia. It’s about the longing that dreamers have for times-gone-by. The film deconstructs the idea of the “Golden Age”. It explores the way we idealize the past and beautifully points out that the people in our Golden Ages were doing the exact same thing. Ultimately, the film celebrates times gone by, but encourages viewers to appreciate and delight in the present.

I’m a naturally nostalgic person, so this film tugs at all my heartstrings. It’s got a star-studded cast, filled with all kinds of fun surprises. The film is poignant, frustrating, and very, very beautiful.

Since Holly has given me such a great model, I’m going to end this post in the same way she ended hers:

What is your favorite movie? What do you like about it?

Sublimity, films, and Friday nights

Most college students spend their Friday nights relieving the week’s stress by piling into strangers’ crowded houses and drinking themselves silly.

Me?  After a surprise birthday party for my roommate at a local restaurant, I’m spending my Friday night unwinding in the apartment.  The cold wind is howling outside, but I’m stretched out on the couch with a cup of cocoa and  my sketchbook.  My roommates are all out, our Christmas lights are on, and I’ve popped in one of my all time favorite films.

The first time I saw Midnight in Paris, I nearly died of English major perfection.  It’s a film about nostalgia and literature, one that you cannot watch without aching for times gone by and longing to wander the streets of Paris.  The movie takes the deep musings of my soul and puts them into tangible words and images.  It’s absolutely sublime.

What’s your favorite way to spend a Friday night?