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“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
Gladiator was made in 2000, directed by Ridley Scott. Starring award-winning actors like Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix tells the story of Maximus Decimus Meridius and his revenge/redemption story (depending on how you look at it) after his fall from grace due to a change in power. To avenge his family who has been murdered, Maximus fights through rounds in the ring as a gladiator, facing death until he is found out and Emperor Commodus.
Gladiator is a movie I recommend everyone, especially young men, to watch. It is a story of avenging family, love of country, and the true strength of the human mind and body.
“The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed.”
The 300 is a 2007 historical action film directed by Zack Snyder and depicts a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in the Persian wars. Starring Gerard Butler as King Leonidas of Sparta, the movie tells the tale of the battle between the Greeks and the Persians during the Persian War. The story centers around the city-state of Sparta and the 300 Spartan warriors that fought in the battle. The story is one of the most incredible underdog tales ever to be brought to the big screen. Although many critics will talk about how many details are inaccurate such as how the Spartans dress and other details, the overall premise of the movie and motifs are undeniable in how they can affect and empower the audience to overcome what seems to be impossible in life’s battles.
“Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.”
Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather might be a surprising pick for the reasons I have. I am not saying join the mafia, nor am I saying to do the acts that many of these characters do in the movie. However, loyalty, love, and respect for family are something that all people should learn from this movie. At the basis of everything is the family. The family can be and should be the strongest bond between people, whether it is your blood family or a chosen one. Betrayal is the biggest sin in the movie, and I believe that it is vital to take into the real world, not nearly to the extreme the Corleone family does, but someone betrays you or your family, you must put your foot down, and you must also know who you can trust and who you can’t because it can make the difference between success and failure or life and death.
Saving Private Ryan
“Is that what I’m supposed to tell your mother when she gets another folded American flag?”
There is no denying Steven Spielberg’s talent, and Saving Private Ryan is just another example on the long list to prove his skills. I could write an entire essay on why one should watch Saving Private Ryan and other movies of the same caliber, but the point I am going to make for this small synopsis in this article is to watch it to understand the terror of war not just from an active sense but also a sidelines way. The mother of these men nearly has to bury all of her sons as the search for Ryan is underway. The terror of that realization and the knowledge that these are real-world events that are still occurring. Whether it is in war or other horrendous ways, parents are forced to bury their children, and that is a pain to the extent that no one can imagine until it happens to them. The other and more event reason is that the scenes occurring in the movie are said to be accurate enough to cause veterans to leave the theatre. The ordinary civilian and most certain people now can not fully grasp the inhuman and hellish event of WW2, the war the men who fought there did. To be able to sit and watch a movie that is said, by veterans, to be accurate, is something that I don’t think is appreciated and understood to the level it needs to be.
“Not ‘rich, but still nice.’ She’s nice because she’s rich. Hell, if I had all this money. I’d be nice, too!”
I don’t think anyone expected Jung Jae-il’s Parasite to explode on an international scale the way it did. With a budget of merely 17.0 billion wons (~15.5 million US dollars) compared to an average budget of around $65+ million, the movie caused a massive following and launched the cast and crew to some of the most important and influential awards shows in the world. There are multiple interpretations of the movie, but primarily for me, it was a lesson in how using people and manipulation can bring you success and also harm you just as much. Everyone in the movie uses people and gains something from it; whether it is helpful in the house or a job, everyone, for the most part in the main cast, is using someone to benefit themselves. However, as the movie continues and the cast starts to come face to face with the reality of their consequences and many everyone at the end of the novel is hurt by the usage and manipulation of people. Between mental trauma, death, and prison, the cast learns the hard way that their actions have consequences. There are many lessons to be learned from this film, and you may disagree with this interpretation of the movie, but the main lesson I took away from it is to make sure you don’t take too much that you can’t pay back with karma comes around.
Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse
“I know how hard this is, to have to figure this stuff out on your own. It’s kinda nice not being the only Spider-Person around.”
From the talented directorial team of Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, and Rodney Rothman, Into the Spider-Verse was the superhero movie we didn’t know we needed. From the new take on classic characters and tropes to the fantastic animation different from what we have seen before from Hollywood. The movie has the classic hero tropes and lessons- with great power becomes great responsibility, teamwork, protecting family, rising to the challenge, etc. But the animation style and the cast that comes from different backgrounds and storylines crossing paths is something rarely seen in the Spider-Man series being many of them follow the same villains, heroes, and storylines just having years between them. Into the Spider-Verse gives us the same lessons but does it in a way that is fresh and shows the true talent of the hero genre that Hollywood refuses to provide us with.
“Isn’t it wrong to lie?”
The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, is an underrated movie, in my opinion. The film poses the question of whether or not it is okay to lie to someone you care about. As her grandmother is dying of cancer, the cast of characters debates whether or not they should tell the grandmother, who seems unaware of her health state. I believe this movie is heartfelt and helps the audience work their way through the idea of lying. We are told lying is wrong but is it okay to lie to make someone feel better. The movie is a sweet and heartfelt family movie that will surely pull at the heartstrings even if you have not had the same experiences.
The Rocky Series
“Get up, you son of a bitch, ‘cause Mickey loves ya’.”
Rocky, from start to end, is another fantastic underdog story. From Sylvester Stallone having to sell his dog to make enough money to produce the script to the character of Rocky starting at the bottom and working his way to the top only to lose it all and have to start over, the series shows the audience the importance of hard work and continue pushing towards your goals. There is no denying the movies teach us to always get back on our feet, climb the steps, and make it to the top no matter what.
Life is beautiful
“Buon giorno, Principessa!”
La Vita e Bella is a movie that has always stuck with me throughout the years. Directed by Roberto Benigni is a film about an Italian Jewish family during the Holocaust. Mixing imagination, humor, and love, Guido, the main character, protects his son from the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps after the family finds themselves there. This man’s love for his wife and son is on full display during this movie as you watch him continuously try to make them smile and make life a little brighter for them even while they face death and hell on earth. If there is any movie I recommend, people to watch this one is always at the top of the list as it shows a story of love, family, and hope even in our darkest moments in life.