American Beauty : This movie changed my outlook on life and film

This movie changed my outlook on life and film

I wasn't raised to like good movies. My parents taste in movies are wretched.

I was a teen working at the cinema at the time and I got free movies. I decided to see this by myself after a shift, as a completely random decision. I saw the poster hanging, and decided based on that. It could have been about Rose Monsters for all I knew. I had never heard of this movie before. I didn't read a single review or even a plot synopsis. I didn't know who starred in it.

I was completely blown away by it. I had never seen anything like that. Prior to this, movies that my parents took me to were Indian in the Cupboard, Encino Man, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. At that moment I knew it was the best movie I had ever seen.

I talked to my parents, "you have to see this!" and convinced my entire extended my family to see it with me. I think I saw it 5 times in the cinema. I was confident that my dad would like it, but after, he said it sucked. I was shocked.

In fact another movie that was playing at this same time was Drive Me Crazy, that I took my dad too, and that's the one he liked. Go figure.

It went on to win Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, etc at the Academy Awards. So I kind of knew what I was talking about.

The best film experience is when one accidentally sees a film that's going to win Best Picture. I would do this again with Slumdog Millionaire. This is very hard to do: because, one would have to not be seeking it out, not read reviews, and have no expectations going into it.

I'm glad I saw this when I did; had I not, I might be enjoying Transformers and Hallmark movies right now.

When we're over 30, our interests and intelligence is just an amalgamation of everything we had learned during childhood and our developmental years.

Over 30, it's too late to master new things you've never done before: like mastering a foreign language, mastering an instrument, being an Olympic swimmer or a figure-skating pro. And, it's hard to change someone's taste in film. You can't convince your uneducated Uncle Chuck who lives in trailer in Mississippi to sit through a movie like American Beauty and like it - they simply won't get it. They do not understand social commentary and symbolism and subtext in film. They will be bored. But when you learn things in childhood and adolescence, it stays with you as you grow.

Anyway, now I check Rotten Tomatoes scores and look to see what the Oscar nominations are - and make decisions based on that. But the experience is not quite the same, as I already know they're critically-acclaimed and have different expectations.

Oh, around this same time, we watched Pulp Fiction in my acting class, too. I had never heard of it before, and my classmates were like, "You've never heard of Pulp Fiction?" We didn't finish the whole thing, but I was so captivated by the scenes I did see that I bought it and watched the whole thing. Again, blown away. So that helped too.

And then there's Dazed and Confused. I am going back to 7th grade here. I had a best friend at the time who started wearing Arizona baggy jeans - like JNCO's, very baggy jeans. I overheard his dad say he "wants to copy off Dazed and Confused" (because they wear bellbottoms). At the time, a 13yo doesn't like Dazed and Confused because it's a "good art" - they like it because it's teens smoking the reefer. He had other shitty ones, too, like The Stoned Age. So I went over his house and watched it, and I'm omg wow.

We liked it for different reasons. He pulled out a joint and smoked it. Meanwhile I was looking up who Richard Linklater was and find out the other movies he has directed.

Anyway, TLDR, American Beauty = greatest movie ever made. It had an impact on my life.

Re: This movie changed my outlook on life and film

One of my favorite movies of all time.

Isn’t it interesting that Thora Birch’s character wanted to get a boob job even though she already had some big ole whoppers while Mena Suvari had little nubbins but her confidence made her appear more attractive? Perception is everything.

Re: This movie changed my outlook on life and film

I cannot recall specifically which movie I saw when I recognized that filmmaking was an art form. I just understood at some point that it just is..
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