Yup. The “Films that Made an Impact Posts” have been making the Facebook rounds lately. I’ll bite! I’ll go through a list of films that made an impact on me and explain WHY they made an impact! Most of these films are going to be on the older side, since what better way to judge a movie’s long-term staying power in terms of how it influenced you in the long run?
1. The Godfather (1972)
I saw this movie when I was quite young at a small town theater. My parents weren’t real keen on always taking us kids to age-appropriate movies, though we did get to see some Disney animated flicks and Godzilla movies! Plus, my brother and I were both pretty good about sitting still and keeping quiet when they did take us to movies!
Truth be told, I’m pretty sure I didn’t follow too much of what was going on in The Godfather, but there was one scene in particular that made a LOT of sense. And it hit home…it was the scene where Vito Corleone died while playing in the yard with his grandson.
Why it made an impact
Because my own grandfather had died recently. He died in June, 1976 when I was just 4 years old. Unlike Vito, who died suddenly, my own grandfather died after a long battle with cancer. I may not have understood mob hits, a horse head in the bed, the “mattress sequence, ” Luca Brasi “sleeping with the fishes” or vendettas, but I completely understood what happened in this scene. Vito was dead and he wasn’t coming back. Just like my Grandpa, who also wasn’t coming back. Pretty simple stuff for a 4-year-old girl.
2. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
I was THRILLED by this movie and remember seeing this one in theaters a few times! I think my dad took me to see it for the first time (maybe mom wanted to get him out of the house so she could clean it or something…that’s totally something she would do). The singing, the colors, the comic relief supplied by the dwarfs…and most of all… the Evil Queen! My best friend at the time, Jenny from the block (she really did live in the same block, LOL) and I would pretend that the Evil Queen lived in the woods behind my swingset…which made us swing all the higher! Later, we would eat nightshade berries from that woods and have to go to the emergency room in Jenny’s mother’s Ford Pinto (my mom did not have her driver’s license yet). That Pinto was FUN!
Why It Made an Impact
Seeing this movie was a seminal event in my life. From that moment, I decided that I wasn’t going to be a “princess” sort of girl. The antagonists are ALWAYS more complex and interesting than those goody-goody heroes/heroines! This doesn’t mean I wound up becoming evil or anything like that, but it probably did help give me a deeper understanding of people. Even “bad” people. I like to keep an open mind about all people to this day.
3. 9 to 5 (1980)
My mom took me and my brother to see this one in theaters. There were no VCRs back then, so “going to the movies” or waiting for them to air on TV was pretty much the only way to see movies! This one was very entertaining to watch as kid – featuring three women who all get “revenge” on a nasty boss in a very unique way.
Why It Made An Impact
In the long run, it probably gave me an appreciation for how women have had to struggle in the workplace over the centuries. And over the years, I would learn about women in my own family who had also gone through similar struggles in their own work experiences. My grandmother suddenly became a widow in 1954, and had to find a job to support her four kids (the youngest of whom was my dad). Her husband died following an experimental open-heart surgical procedure at a Detroit area hospital, to correct problems caused from having rheumatic fever as a child. His death devastated her, from what other family members have told me. She wound up being a manager of an unemployment office in Ypsilanti, MI (the Standard Printing office is located in that building now), though because of “glass ceiling” politics, she was never really a manager in “name.”
A couple of my aunts worked as “bar maids” following divorces from their own husbands. I don’t even want to think about what kind of ass-grabbing, lewd comments and garden-variety sexual harassment they had to deal with daily. I’m sure they figured it was all “part of the job.” This is why I never mistreat people who serve my drinks (male or female). Tip them well if service warrants it!
4. Batman (1989)
I saw this one several times when it was released in theaters. I thought it was amazing! The art deco, the costumes, the dark themes… I had never seen a “comic book” movie on film before, and this one didn’t fail to impress! I was already kind of a Tim Burton fan from having seen Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice, so this wasn’t exactly a tough sell! The Joker pretty much stole the show, but Michael Keaton’s cagey performance as Batman was none too shabby either!
Why It Made An Impact
Because of its complex look at good and evil. Joker was evil, to be sure…but he was also brilliant – and screwed over by his bosses. He was also a product of his environment. Plus, I really liked Vicky Vale’s hair. She inspired me to stop getting perms. Also, this movie instilled me with a lifelong fascination with Batman/Bruce Wayne…. brilliant brooding billionaire playboy…what’s not to like? What woman doesn’t want to try cheering up THIS bastard? If there is better proof than Bruce Wayne that money doesn’t bring you happiness besides Eminem, I’d like to hear it!
Look at that HAIR! So gorgeous…