7 Films to Watch When You Want to Contemplate Life

7 Films to Watch When You Want to Contemplate Life

A collection of some of the deepest, most thought-provoking pieces of film out there (don't worry, there's no spoilers!).

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Is it 4 A.M. and you can't sleep? Did you just hop out of the shower after having a long, deep, internal monologue? Are you ready to get your philosophy on? Well throw some popcorn in the microwave and look no further because these movies are guaranteed to leave you staring at your screen as the credits roll wondering what it really was that you just watched.


"Donnie Darko" (2001)

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A cult classic film by writer and director Richard Kelly staring the one and only Jake Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko follows the tale of a young boy whose monster rabbit friend "Frank" informs him that the world is ending. Although the premise of the film seems rather obscure, the main character, Donnie Darko, is simply an ordinary teenage boy who finds himself caught in an anything-but-ordinary situation. If you're looking for a movie that's going to leave you sitting on your couch for hours afterward wondering what just happened, this is definitely the film for you.

"Cloud Atlas" (2012)

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This is one of those movies where you can't look away. Literally. Directed by the Wachowskis, Cloud Atlas weaves together six different stories from different eras, but each separate tale contains so many aspects of the one before that you could miss something just by blinking. The film is so beautifully put together that each individual plot could have been made into its own movie. Based on the novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas places its six protagonists in dilemmas that at the surface appear dramatically different but are ultimately connected in every way. The best word to describe the film is elegant, and it is a must-see for any philosophy geek.

"Interstellar" (2014)

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One of the more recent movies on this list, Interstellar is a space-centered science-fiction movie directed by Christopher Nolan which contemplates the situations that humanity may find itself in some time in the future. Although the movie aims to move across dimensions and place space exploration and all it entails in a truly extravagant light, it mainly focuses on one family and contains extremely relatable characters that cause the viewer to understand the characters' pain despite being years away from them. The movie is nearly three hours long, but those searching for an emotional take on the human condition with a sci-fi spin will certainly enjoy Interstellar.

"The Twilight Zone: Eye of the Beholder" (S2E6) (1960)

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Yes, I know that this isn't a movie, but it certainly deserves the merit of one. The Twilight Zone is a TV series from the 1960s that essentially tells twisted, mind-boggling tales. If you've ever heard someone say "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity," it was probably a reference to The Twilight Zone's introduction. This episode specifically contemplates human existence and more specifically human perspective. It's a very short episode, but if you enjoy it be sure to watch more of the series as well!

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (2013)

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I never thought that I would see a Ben Stiller movie on a list like this, but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (based on James Thurber's novel of the same title) just hit too close to home for me to not include it. The movie follows your everyday average Joe as he goes to work at Life Magazine. Everything about his life seems ordinary, except for his excessive daydreaming. The film follows Walter Mitty through his mid-life crisis as he follows his path to a sort of "modern-day enlightenment." The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a movie for everyone and is a great choice when you're down in the dumps and need a pick-me-up.

"Black Mirror: San Junipero" (S3E4) (2016)

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Yes, I know that this one isn't a movie either, but it DEFINITELY deserves the merit of one. Black Mirror is a British series that has been referred to as the "modern-day Twilight Zone" (hence it's inclusion on this list). This episode is truly a 1980s old-school love story between the two main characters Yorkie and Kelly. However, as the episode evolves, the reality of the existential dilemma that these characters find themselves in begins to present itself to the viewer in one of the most aesthetically pleasing visuals of our time.

"Contact" (1997)

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Finally, a film adaptation of Carl Sagan's novel of the same title, Contact is a science-fiction film about a woman (Dr. Arroway played by Jodie Foster) who uses radio frequencies to search for and interact with life on other planets. The two and a half hour movie is filled with emotional twists and turns as you root for the protagonist, but it also allows the viewer to sit back and truly understand their place in a universe so much bigger than they are. Fans of space, science-fiction, and philosophy will all enjoy Contact.

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?

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With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.



We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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