Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Food For Thought

 These past few weeks the topic for A Novel Creation has focused on jumpstarting our brains. Winter and isolation have taken their toll on us. Our bodies are succumbing to inactivity and becoming even more lethargic. Our brains, left to mindless inactivity will become less mindful… or would that be mind-filled. Those posts were about activities in which we can deliberately engage to stimulate brainpower. If you missed those blogs to brush off your thinking cap these past weeks, they are still available. 


Today though, instead of activity, I want to explore what we feed our brains. The fuel we pour into our thinking machine.  


You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” The notion is that if we eat healthy, our bodies are healthy. What we consume influences our growth and development. The same is true of our thinking. What movies do you love? What books do you read? What television programs can you set your watch by? What music fills the empty spaces in your life?


This week, I want to look specifically at movies. Movies are powerful. They can shape our thinking. That fact is, in part, why the rating system started showing up in 1968. It was to provide a guide about what movies would be suitable for audiences of varying maturity levels. Some content and language is not appropriate for all audiences. 


When it came to the theaters, Tom and I took our children to see Goonies. We trusted the rating. We were wrong. The opening of the show was filled with profanity. We walked out. It made a lasting impression on our children. I know. My son-in-law asked us about it. He couldn’t believe we did that. My middle daughter told me it taught her a valuable lesson. 


Tom and I felt strongly we shouldn’t knowingly put that sort of language into those young minds. To stay would have been to condone it or dismiss it. Either way, we felt, would be irresponsible.


Movies influence our language, our thinking about social issues, and the way we treat others. They play a big role in shaping our way of life. But there is more. Our values and ideas are reflected by our movie choices.


James L. Rubart spoke at the February writers meeting for Ohio. His talk was about identifying the theme of your life. He has a gift. He can tell you the theme of your life if you give him the names of five of your all-time favorite movies. He says our favorite movies, even if they are seemingly quite different, reveal our life’s theme. He could be right. 


I asked him if I should be worried because my all time favorite movie is Legally Blond. (This from a woman who is legally gray.)


I’m serious, though. I never saw the movie in the theater. I watched it for the first time on late night television. And I loved it. Mr. Rubart had an answer. He spoke of the character Reese Witherspoon portrayed. Elle Wood was smart, strong, and cared for people. She was ethical and demonstrated a strong sense of right and wrong. I could see that as part of the draw. 


I like smart, strong people who stand up for the underdog and overcome social obstacles. I’ve since considered other movies I love. The ones I will stop the remote for in the evening hours. Legally BlondApollo 13, Bridge Over the River Kuai, Remember the Titans, and Groundhog Day remain favorites. 


So what is the theme of my life? What is it that runs through each of these movies one way or another? I think, in part, it is the notion of reinventing yourself; becoming the person you need to be despite seemingly overwhelming odds, social expectations, and personal feelings of inadequacy. Rising to the cause. And the cause is always bigger than “self.”


I have one friend who asserts everyone should watch Patton at least once a year.


I have another friend who watches Steel Magnolias every time she needs a good cry.


I asked my three adult daughters about the movies they watch over and over.

My oldest, without hesitation, said, “The Greatest Showman.”

My middle daughter said she loves almost any musical, but the one she’ll                     always stop and watch is Singing in the Rain.

The Notebook remains my youngest daughter’s all-time favorite.


And not to be left out, my soon-to-be ten-year-old granddaughter asserted she has two movies she has watched more than once or twice: Hidden Figures and Wonder


Tom and I must have done something right.


What are your go-to movies? What four or five movies are worth watching more than once? What might they say about the theme of your life?

Oh, and be sure to email me at rebecca@waterswords.com to be added to my newsletter list.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your comments here. I look forward to hearing from you.