Resonating Themes

Mrs. J and I had an interesting discussion about the movies that we like. Mrs. J pointed out that I tend to like science fiction and fantasy, but I countered with a different perspective. I mentioned that I liked all sorts of movies, but the common thread throughout all of them was a rich history.

What I mean by that is, within the movie itself, there are references to events that happen outside the scope of the movie that help give the characters depth. I happen to like rich character history. Unfortunately, not all movies do this very well.

However, on Sunday night, as I was falling asleep, I wondered if that was the prime requisite for my ability to enjoy a movie. Maybe not even just movies, but television as well…

I saw two movies this past weekend. Mrs. J and I saw Reign Over Me, and I watched 300 on my own.

Those movies are very different.

Yet, there is a common thread between the two: deep friendship.

And I wondered if this was not a bigger contributor to my enjoyment of visual entertainment than the rich tapestry of a well thought-out history.

I value my friendships a great deal. Even those that one would consider simple associations.

My joy and faith in my friends is almost child-like in nature. I am so easily excited by the idea of spending time with friends, that it’s probably overwhelming to them.

I enjoy what my friends mean to me.

I have a small circle of very close friends, each of whom I love for my own reasons. Each of them mean a great deal to me.

So when I see characters on the big (or little) screen that are written to portray strong bonds with their friends, I tend to enjoy what I am watching even more.

Here are some examples. I will try to be as spoiler-free as I can…

Reign Over Me

Alan Johnson, a dentist, runs into Charlie Fineman, his old college roommate. Charlie’s family died during 9/11, and he just doesn’t seem the same. A lot of the movie deals with they way that Alan copes with this, toeing the line between doing the right thing for his friend, and making sure he doesn’t shatter his friend’s delicate state of mind. It’s a heartwarming tale of dedication and friendship, and really makes you value who your friends are.


This movie wasn’t made to be a tear jerker. That being said, it is still an incredible story of a group of men who were more than just soldiers. They were brothers and friends who believed in each other, standing together against impossible odds to defend their homeland. It’s certainly possible to train to fight as a group, but there is an extra advantage when you are all friends. It’s almost as if unspoken communication takes over, allowing you to act as one.

While I could go on listing all of my favourite shows all day, I’ll leave it at that. It’s interesting to think about why certain stories resonate with yourself.

I’m curious as to what sorts of stories that all of you like. More importantly, why do you like them? Do you have similar reasons?

8 Responses

  1. I’m a huge fan of “Drop Dead Fred,” and I think it has something to do with the friendship between Fred and Lizzy. Well, their friendship and the fact that Fred wipes stinky stinky dog poo all along the Mega Bitch’s chair! Booya!

    (300 was a great film for many reasons, and the bond amoungst the men was certainly one of them. And their chiselled chests… and loin cloths…)

  2. After reading this its been decided that I REALLY need to catch up on my movie watching!

    I tend to like movies and stories with intense or deep relationships. People who are drawn together out of really odd circumstances but making their friendship work.

  3. I like movies where the underdog prevails in spite of huge odds. Also, the underdog should be slightly unhinged and probably not at all sane.

    (Also – movies where the older woman gets the younger man. That’s a running theme in several of the movies in my collection.)

  4. I agree with most of your statement . Finding deep bonds and history can make a movie so moving that it will stay with you forever it seems . ” BraveHeart ” taught loyalty , love that draws a strength and brings out the best in man/woman . The rights to freedom as in “Blood Diamond ” ” Hotel Rowanda ” ( sorry for the spelling) . “The Thin Red Line” were the pysic is explored. I also like totally silly movies like “over the Hedge” .
    Well I have spoken enough … take care

  5. I absolutely adore “circle of friends” movies. You can have absolutely nothing happen in a movie, plotwise, and you’ll still keep me hooked with believable character interactions and banter.

    Barring that, I like lots of beefcake in movies.


  6. Very interesting food for thought.
    I can’t pin down an exact genre that I like, but I think my favorite movie of all time is, “An American in Paris” circa 1951-ish.
    It’s a wonderful movie about love, friendships, and the simplicity of a gentler era. And a whole lot of singing and dancing. Maybe in my mind’s eye, in a perfect world, this is how every day would be….

  7. I also am normally moved when the underdog beats the odds to do well or win outright (like when John Candy pilots The Barnacle to a win in Summer Rental). I also get oddly emotional during Disney/Pixar cartoon movies and I don’t know why. I am a mess.

  8. Dave and I loved Reign Over Me—we both cried. We saw a double bill of Dream Girls and Notes on a Scandal that left us so conflicted—is it OK to like a movie because Eddie Murphy is amazing in it when Judy Dench is amazing in everything?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: