What philosophical moment have you taken from a film that has influenced your life?
My number one would be the entire movie Dogma. It was just an interesting take on spirituality, religion and Christianity.
Secondly was in The Devil Wears Prada when Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci are in a workroom and Hathaway is threatening to quit the fashion magazine because she is a “real journalist” and that she couldn’t possibly learn anything from these people who take fashion so seriously. Tucci says “Okay, quit then. Why should we care? But remember that what you deign to do, others would kill to do.” That hit home me. I realized that I did exactly the same attitude as her and that he was right. It made me re-evaluate the way I worked and to try and get the most out of every job I took. But mostly I learned from that one scene to respect the passion of others even if my passions lay elsewhere.
There are some excellent, true but negative moments. Men in Black smartly said that a person is smart, but people are panicky and stupid. The Usual Suspects taught us that power is often just about being willing to do what others won’t. Star Trek V asked us why God needs a spaceship, by which they really meant to look closely at what people are telling you God wants. But the one that influenced me the most is Spock in Star Trek II: “I have been and always shall be your friend.” This reminds me that good friends are friends you keep forever.
Panelist: Tennessee Jed
One that comes to mind is the character (hence the film) Dirty Harry. The point was, of course, that sometimes the only difference between the bad guys who would do us harm, and the people we pay far too little to protect us from them, is only a matter of which side they are on. This is an oft repeated theme, of course (see Jack Bauer and 24, for example.) I think it reminded me that policemen, despite their training, are only human. Yet they are so often reviled and considered pigs. It has reminded me to cut them a certain amount of slack.
"Every age is the same. It's only love that makes any of them bearable." - H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell), Time After Time
"Curiosity, that's what kills us. Not muggers or all that bulls--- about the ozone layer. It's our own hearts and minds!" - Greek chorus leader (F. Murray Abraham), Mighty Aphrodite
As a Christian, I'll say Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. All too often of course, religion becomes either too intellectual and unfeeling or, at the other extreme, all feeling and little thought. I tend toward the former in my faith -- favoring reason over emotion -- sometimes too much. Mel Gibson's depiction of the Crucifixion put a visceral stamp on an event that is not just mere historical fact -- but one of eternal spiritual significance. In other words -- it is an event that should spark an emotional response as well as an intellectual acknowledgement. And while I believe Christ's words to St. Thomas (aka "Doubting Thomas") that "Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." I also know that seeing does help make lasting impressions. While this Protestant doesn't believe all of the Catholic theology in Gibson's film, we agree on the essentials and his masterful film helped solidify an already strongly held faith.