10 Movies That Have Changed My World

I’m not recommending these as classics or as family viewing fun or even movies you’ll enjoy. But these 10 movies have profoundly impacted my life in a way that I feel deep, deep down inside.

1. Joe Vs. The Volcano (1990). Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan
IMDB plot summary: “When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.”

Like Joe I suffer from the evil powers of fluorescent lights. Like Joe I find it easier to retreat from a dream than to take the leap. His prayer to the “god I do not know” convicted me of my complacency.

Movie Quote:
Patricia: Nobody knows anything, Joe. We’ll take this leap, and we’ll see. We’ll jump, and we’ll see. That’s life, right?

2. Philadelphia (1993) Tom Hanks / Denzel Washington
IMDB plot summary: “When a man with AIDS is fired by a conservative law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.”

O.K., let me start with saying I hate the word homophobic. People come down on people for being ‘homophobic’. That’s like coming down on someone (like me) who is claustrophobic or arachnaphobic or agoraphobic. And that’s dumb.

This movie, however, caused me to see that people I perceived as being as different from me at E.T. were really just like me. There is no conspiracy, just people.

Movie Quote:
Librarian: Sir, wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a study room?
[Andrew looks up and sees people in the library staring at him]
Andrew Beckett: No. Would it make you more comfortable?

3. Groundhog Day (1993) Bill Murray
IMDB plot summary: “A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.”

When a man gets to the end of himself what does he have to live for but everyone else and in living for everyone else he finally finds himself. Harold Ramis + Bill Murray = Genius. I could watch this movie everyday…

Movie Quote:
Phil: [Phil has described several people in the diner.] What about me, Phil? Do you know me too?
Phil: I know all about you. You like producing, but you hope for more than Channel 9 Pittsburgh.
Rita: Well, everyone knows that!
Phil: You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There’s a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You’re very generous. You’re kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.
Rita: [in wonder] How are you doing this?
Phil: I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

4. Clean and Sober (1988) Michael Keaton / Morgan Freeman
IMDB Plot Summary: “Michael Keaton plays Daryl Poynter, a hot shot real estate agent who just happens to have a cocaine and drinking problem.”

I think probably Michael Keaton’s greatest performance. This movie let me see the people behind the problem and prepared me for friendships with A.A.ers and addicts like counseling courses never did. It’s also an honest story of this struggle, not everyone makes it out alive.

Movie Quote:
Darryl: What is it with you guys and food?
Richard: Addicts are compulsive.

5. Buckaroo Banzaii: Across the Eighth Dimension (1984) Peter Weller / John Lithgow
IMDB Plot Summary: “Adventurer/surgeon/rock musician Buckaroo Banzai and his band of men, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, take on evil alien invaders from the 8th dimension.”

Honestly, do I need to add more? This movie made me hungry for great friends and community and for being more than what I have been. This movie worked for me on so many levels from touching my inner geek (who loves it when I do that) to seeing guys having deep and tight friendships that go beyond sports and power tools (not that those are bad things…).

Part two tomorrow – don’t forget to comment to enter the contest!

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About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
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22 Responses to 10 Movies That Have Changed My World

  1. Sarah Jendrick says:

    The movies sound good. Like movies though you shouldn’t do posting in two parts cause I’m inpatient and don’t want to have to keep checking back.

  2. Patty says:

    I have always been amazed at your unique way of seeing things in stuff that most people would just overlook.

  3. Jeff Tarr says:

    Wow. I’ve only seen one of these movies, and parts of one other. “Buckaroo Banzaii?” Man, that’s one from the archives. Do they have Block Buster stores in Canada? Just checking … You need to get out more. 😉

  4. brianmpei says:

    Sarah, I bow to your wisdom. I hate two parters almost as much as I hated the 3rd Matrix.

    Patty, thanks, you are too kind.

    Jeff! Groundhogs day is for you! Can’t watch it without thinking of you! Blockbuster is a yes AND I DO need to get out more! Miss ya!

  5. Out of those 5 movies, I only watched Groundhog Day. I like Bill Murray in most of his movies. He is funny but thought provoking at the same time.

  6. Darwin says:

    Hi Brian,

    Keep writing, I’m in need of this therapy right now.

    I’m presuming Buckaroo is your idea of an action movie. I haven’t seen that one but do enjoy Groundhog Day every time I see it.

    The moon shot on the water in Joe vs Volcano was incredible and I will never forget it.

  7. brianmpei says:

    Yeah, that’s my favourite shot too Darwin. I got a screen-grab and use it as my desktop sometimes. Thanks for reading!

  8. Donna says:

    Well, I have seen all but one of those movies, and I do enjoy Buckaroo for the fun memories with the Starks. The others…….. Anyway I was wondering if Sense and Sensibility will be on your next 5. Love you.

  9. brianmpei says:

    Well everyone, that’s the elusive Donna. Much Like John Green’s Yeti over on Brotherhood 2.0. Once she realizes she can now be ‘googled’ she’ll slip back into the off-line forest where she can’t be seen.

    And no, S&S will NOT be in my next 5! But she knew that. It would however be in her top 10 as #1, #3 and #7. The rest of the spots would be taken up with A&E’s “Pride & Prejudice” (damn you Colin Firth!), except for #8 which would be “While You Were Sleeping”.

    We don’t go to a lot of movies together!

  10. allie says:

    Ok Brian, so I might just have to pick your brain about Groundhog Day… I just didn’t get that one. Mark, on the other hand laughed hysterically.

    Now Bill Murray in What about Bob – that I loved. Gotta be a preach in there somewhere. :o)

  11. brianmpei says:

    What About Bob is hilarious Allie, one of my favourites. You wouldn’t believe how many times, when someone has come in to see me about an issue they’re working through, that I suggest they set an attainable goal and they respond, “baby steps”. Maybe I should just keep that movie at the office.

  12. Rachael says:

    Groundhog Day, I love that movie!! I used to watch it on the Superstation whenever it came on. Bill Murray is BRILLIANT.

  13. Nathan says:

    Good old ‘Groundhog day’, I look back and remember all those nights you used to inject culture into our lives by making us sit on the couch at stare at bill trying to kill himself… it’s no wonder why i have so many problems…

  14. brianmpei says:

    Sorry Nate. Send me the Therapist’s bill.

  15. allie says:

    You need a set of those therapy dolls for Nathan, Josh and Em, Brian. One for Donna too. Ha. She’d kill you!

  16. Brett Nissen says:

    Yes mate…for sure “Joe vs. The Volcano”. I’m still suprised i haven’t bought it yet! Wow…what a [doing hand motions while at the monitor] …the word ‘essence’ comes to mind. Especially around the opening scene where Joe is somberly chatting with Meg Ryan’s character [and the lighting is fascinating during this scene]. It really hit me where i was at right then. It’s an inspiration even though i don’t ‘agree’ with all of the movie. The end gets a bit too weirded out.

    Bless you mate!

  17. allie says:

    i agree with groundhog day, it’s a very good movie, i loved it!!!! just like to say hey to my friends em, fi, meg1, meg2, tori, mary, issy and lots more! also have a great time in Vietnam kate!!! Cya xoxoxo

  18. allie says:

    also weren’t there supposed to be 10 movies not 5!!!!!!!!

  19. brianmpei says:

    sorry allie, it’s in two parts.

  20. brianmpei says:

    oh, and Kate, I’m with allie, have a great time!

  21. Michelle says:

    You’ve picked a lot of fairly philosophical movies that deal with the nature of existence; of the internal struggle to find meaning and purpose in our life. I’ve seen/enjoyed most of these movies but somehow missed #5 even after wasting a decade smoking weed and watching weird flicks.

    • brianmpei says:

      If there was ever a movie made for smoking weed it was definitely #5. I hadn’t thought about the philosophical side of those movies as connection they all shared. I suppose that explains my deep love for “Stranger Than Fiction” as well.

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