Okay, sorry, I know I promised my top 20 films. But that's going to have to wait...another decade. At the moment, I am home alone. Not really alone. About 10 meters behind me and in a different room sits my roommate, Julia, whom I get along with very well, it's just that I've decided to seclude myself for my own self-pitying reasons. But for hyperbole's sake, I am home alone. I have been like this the past TWO nights. Friday and tonight. Now, I'm not a party animal, no way. But I pride myself in finding something to do on weekends. I look forward to weekends because of that ability. So why is it that I have been by myself these past two nights, watching my instant Netflix queue and writing mildly depressing entries in my journal? It isn't as if I haven't tried to do something. I have texted, called, and tried to make plans with many of my friends here. But those that have significant others are too busy getting their Valentines on and the other people I know without their "soul mate" have something else planned that I wasn't a part of. So here I am. Angry. Mopey. Laughing here and there at old Scrubs episodes and getting cinematic inspiration from watching critically acclaimed documentaries and foreign films. But for the most part being pitiful. I almost feel abandoned and unwanted. The friends that I thought would be there for me bail on the ONE WEEKEND that no single person wants to endure by themselves. At this point, my only consolation is that I will be making a wal-mart trip with someone later tonight and that tomorrow I plan on vomiting for reasons unknown (This link takes you to a youtube video of a group of guys eating bananas, then chugging Sprite, and vomiting. You have been warned.). So. I can easily say that my Valentines Day weekend has been awful. Except I watched "Paris, Je T'aime" and I think that might make a spot in the top 20 movies.
So, change of subject. I was reading up on the application into the Media Arts program here at BYU, and found out that I will have to make a 10 Significant Things list. This list is the top 10 media things (books, movies, photos, paintings, music, video games, etc) that have influenced your life and then write 4-5 sentences on why it made your list. So I am going to attempt to do that right now:
1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: How do I even begin...well, when I was a kid, I remember my mom reading the first two books to me and my sister Sarah before we went to bed and I would dream of witches and wizards and owl post and magic. J.K. Rowling had me enchanted with her beloved characters and I was hooked. 12 years later, I am still reading the books annually (twice a year if I can manage it) and Harry has become something of a sibling to me. I even got my roommate, Julia, to read the first book. She read it in a day.
2. Unmistaken Child: I watched this documentary about 3 months ago and the film touched me in ways that no other documentary has done yet. It's amazing to see a different religion in practice and to see how their faith shapes their lives when mine is such a big part of my own life. It doesn't matter what religion you are, you can see that these people are holy and pure. It's a beautiful film and has really changed my life.
3. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughn Williams: From first listening to this song in the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, I fell in love with the classical music piece and have obsessed over it from time to time. The music swells in just the right places and brings tears to my eyes with it's heart-wrenching melodies and beautiful string solos. I love the whole thing from beginning to end.
4. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris: This was the first memoir I read by David Sedaris (not counting the SantaLand Diaries) and it was so raw, so real and yet so funny that Sedaris has won my heart over and he's won my respect as a writer. He writes with no reservations and puts everything out there, even a story involving the purchase of a catheter just because he thought the idea of peeing while doing other things was too alluring to pass up (this story, I believe, is actually in "When You Are Engulfed in Flames," not "Me Talk Pretty One Day"...). Sedaris writes at a level I aspire to achieve when I write memoirs.
5. Everything's Not Lost by Coldplay: This song has single-handedly pulled me through many dark places in my life. It reminds me that I should evaluate my life and know that everything really isn't lost. This song got me through the 6 month fight between me and my best friend, Sara, it got me through many times when I wondered why I was doing what I was doing and what I should do with my life, and it even got me through tonight. I love everything by Coldplay, but this song is definitely the one that I can say is my favorite.
6. Arrested Development: Unfortunately, I fell in love with this show AFTER it had it's unfortunate series finale, but at least I can say that I have watched it. There are many poor souls out there who are "blissfully" ignorant of such brilliance, though I wouldn't call their state "blissful." No one knows true happiness and hilarity until they watch this show and so thus they live a bland, humorless life. The characters are horrendously charming and each viewing I find that I have a a different favorite character (most recently, it's Buster). Watch it, love it, and finally consider your life fulfilled.
7. Band of Brothers: I first came across this mini-series on Memorial Day when I was in the 9th grade. It was showing on History Channel and I decided to watch it. The segment being shown at that time was "Bastogne" and I was hooked. Eugene Roe (Doc, as they call him) was the focus that episode and his story drew me in. After that, I had to see the rest of the mini-series to see what happened to him. After that, I came to love Richard Winters, Lewis Nixon, Bill Guanere, George Luz and everyone else as I watched each part. I now have seen the series about 4 times through and can not tell anyone enough how much this series rocks. I love it and can easily say that it had some part to play in why I finally made the jump and joined the ROTC. It's not the REASON. It influence me.
8. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: After Harry Potter, this is my favorite book. My dad gave it to me for my birthday one year and I read it in about two days. It's short but really poignant. When I finished it, I was crying for reasons I didn't know and I remember hugging the book to my chest and feeling blessed that I had read it. I have since read it a thousand times and recommend it to as many people as I can. There's something about the simple philosophies that make this book so lovable. That, and the little prince as a character is so charming and sweet, you understand the pilot's attachment to him by the end of the book.
9. Piano Man by Billy Joel: Billy Joel in general has a special place in my heart. I was raised on oldies, but Piano Man takes the cake, though Goodnight Saigon was a close second. At the musical cast parties at Hickman High, we would end the night holding hands in a circle (cast, crew, pit orchestra, everyone), and we would sway and sing along to Piano Man, all of us crying because this was the last musical for some of the students or because we knew that we would never have this close of a connection with anyone else at any other time. After tonight, it was done. People would go on with life, and, unwillingly, so would we. So, whenever I hear this song, I think of those times in that circle, usually holding my dear friend Charlie's hand, and crying while wailing along to Billy's lyrics.
10. The Lord of the Rings film trilogy: I wouldn't be a part of my family if this wasn't included in the line up. These movies are going to be a part of cinematic history forever. It was an amazing achievement and I still get goosebumps when I hear the soundtrack or remember certain scenes (like Sam going after Frodo at the end of the first film). The books are great, but it's the movies that really got me into the world of Middle Earth and emotionally invested in the lives of these fantastical beings. Gosh, such a GREAT trilogy. (And the link is a bit of an understatement of how amazing those films are, but I just think the video is HILARIOUS).
I probably edited that list about 4 times before I was satisfied. And I still feel guilty because I left out some amazing things from this list. But here it is. It'll probs change before I turn in my official application to BYU to be in the Media Arts program. So there it is. I'm proud of my selections. I guess I challenge you all to make your own lists. Do it. Or die!