As you have learned by reading my blog over the last year and a half, I have been blessed with many impressive, yet mostly useless, talents. You already know about my ability to hum and whistle simultaneously and how I can “predict the weather” by the Wal-Mart parking lot, but something you probably do not know about me is that I am a genius when it comes to movie trivia. Now, I do not toss around words like “genius” lightly, and I do not want to brag, but when it comes to absorbing information about movies my mind is like a steel trap. I may not remember to run an errand, go to a dental appointment, or send an email, but I can tell you what actor was in “Air Force One,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” without even thinking (Gary Oldman). In a way, I am kind of like a movie trivia “Rain Man” (another piece of film knowledge). As much as I cherish my cinematic savantism though (I drank free many times thanks to bars having “movie trivia night”), it is not the most precious thing that the silver screen has given me. All of the films that I have watched throughout my life have given me something that I value more than almost anything, and it is a gift that I will hold dear for my entire life.
Growing up, my parents always stressed the importance of family and doing things together. As you are well aware if you have children or siblings, it is not all that easy to find activities that five people of different ages and interests will all enjoy (or at least tolerate indifferently). When you throw the fact that one of these five people is disabled, and cannot do certain things due to their physical limitations, this list of potential activities gets even shorter. Nonetheless, my mom and dad always came up with fun, enjoyable, and memorable ways for us to spend time together. One of the family activities that we did most often while I was growing up, and something we still enjoy doing to this day, was watching movies. Many nights when I was a kid, we would rent a movie, make some popcorn, and gather together in our living room to escape from reality for a couple hours. It was something we all liked doing, it was fairly inexpensive, and, most importantly, it was something that we could do as a family. We would laugh, cry, or ponder together, and then we would discuss things like how bad the ending was, whether there would be a sequel, or what actor would have been better for a certain role. It was through this family activity that I gained my extensive knowledge of movie trivia, but it is also one of the things that helped forge the powerful bond that my family shares.
By watching all of these films together and discussing what we thought about them, my parents, siblings, and I were able to learn so much about each other. It is amazing what you can find out about people just from how they feel about movies. Everything from the types of films they choose to watch, what actors they like the most, and the way they think about movies after they see them, can tell you a lot about who a person is. For example, my mom likes “thrillers” and trying to figure out the mystery before the ending is revealed, which shows you her affinity for puzzles and games. Not only do people’s movie preferences and opinions reveal information about their personalities, but the discussions you have with them about a certain movie or scene after you see it can give you an even greater insight into their mind. Whether it is discussing the sickening beauty of “Schindler’s List” or trying to figure out what the hell the end of “2001: A Space Odyssey” means, you can learn a lot about how a person thinks and feels about the world by talking about movies. It was through these cinematic conversations with my family that I was able to gain an understanding of who my siblings were and how they saw the world, even at a young age. These dialogues about the films we watched, which often ended up as arguments or at least heated debates, were one of the most influential factors that led to the incredible connection we share today.
Especially in today’s society, where family is all too often given a low priority in people’s lives, I am incredibly thankful for the strong connections that I have with my siblings and parents. Even though we are now five grown adults, each with their own life and career, spread across four different cities, we all still maintain a healthy relationship with one another and make an effort to be together for at least a few days every year. The bonds I share with my family are some of the most important things in my life, and without all of the time we spent enjoying and discussing movies together over the years, I doubt that we would have the strong connections we do. Thanks to the magic, entertainment, and escape that motion pictures gave us, and the insights we gained from them, my family was able to form ironclad relationships that will last forever. I am so grateful that my parents were able to show me the importance of family, and that they had the vision to see how movies can bring you together. I am certain that if you think about your own life, that you will be able to find numerous moments where the magic of the silver screen taught you something about someone special in your life. The next time you gather with your family or friends and go to the movies, turn on Netflix, or make a run to Redbox, as the opening credits roll take a few moments to think about how influential movies have been on your life and relationships. You will be surprised at the positive impact they have been, as well as how much happiness they can bring to your life.
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