I like watching movies. Having seen more than 1600 of them, including the TOP 250 by IMDb ratings should prove that.
I’m still grateful for this one thing for the girl I dated on and off after high school: showing me that movies can be as good as books. This was the beginning of my “art horizont” growing beyond literature. And watching movies is one of the few arts that one can enjoy in company.
Robin hood: The prince of thieves (1991, with Kevin Costner) – This is the only one from the list I would not really recommend now. But I still watched it at least 30 times (on Hungarian dubbed VHS) at home until I turned 12.
Saving Private Ryan (1998) – other than the cruel scenes with death, blood, severed limbs and guts and intro to the horrors of war, this movie showed both meaningless, random deaths and an opportunity for a meaningful life. One of the first times I’d cry on a movie.
American beauty (1999) – the first favourite movie of my conscious life. After watching it a couple times I decided I’d quit my job once from one day to another. And so I did, not so long ago. One of the best decisions of my life. Thanks, Lester!
Good Will Hunting (1997) – have you ever wondered about the fact that Will hasn’t taken any job offer and just went after the girl? A message I loved in high school where everyone pushed me on a daily basis to decide what you want to do for the next 50 years. I learned that even if you are a whizzkid with numbers you can choose whatever else you want to do. (I was quite good in math and physics but was interested in literature and history – and chose this latter path.)
Fight club (1999) – an introduction to counterculture and alternative lifestyles. Gave me strong ideas that one can live in an abandoned house without comfort, money, prestige, work, etc. It has had a lasting effect on my decisions & lifestyle until this day.
Vektor (2004) – this one is a redubbed and recut version of Matrix (1 & 2). 2,5 hours of laughter: but only for fluent Hungarian speakers. A movie whose script we learned by heart from first to last sentence with a good friend while we watched it probably over 40 times from late teens to early 20s.
The fact that something great and well-known can be transformed into a comedy and every single scene can get a completely new meaning gave me a big push in my pursuit to prove: action is senseless and human life is meaningless. (To get an idea about this, you can watch a short German parody of Lord of the Rings with English subs here.) I wrote an article in Hungarian about this one.
Hot shots Part Deux (1993) – the king of parodies… Having watched it several times it made us believe the world was a great place where there was nothing else to do for us – but laugh and enjoy ourselves. A feeling I hope more and more people are able to experience for some time.
Cool Hand Luke (1967) – if I had to choose only one, this would be my favourite movie. The essence of non-conformity. Even in a most limited environment (harsh prison) one can stand tall and keep to his principles. This movie showed me that we can – and should remain true to our inner ideas under any circumstances.
Rang de Basanti [Young revolutionaries] (2006) – although not a fan of Indian movies this one is right on spot. A most simple message: rather than complaining about the outside world and having fun all the time you can and should do something about it. I think a message as important in India as in Hungary or the US. This movie gave me a great push to get more involved in volunteering, civil associations and politics.
Idi i smotri [Come and see] (1985) – I was raised a pacifist and have remained one. I think war is the single worst thing that ever happened to humanity and society. Idi i smotri strengthened this view greatly. This movie is the real thing. Belarus, Soviet Union in WWII through eyes of adolescents. The most haunting picture I’ve ever seen.
Ikiru [To live] (1952) – I usually need some time to convince myself to watch 60 year old, Japanese, black&white movies from the 1950s. This wasn’t an exception: it probably “laid” on my computer for 2 years. Watching it gave me a whole new world of ideas on how to find meaning in terribly difficult circumstances. Also, it made me incredibly grateful for the life I have.