11 More Life Changing Movies

11 More Life Changing Movies

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a list of what I called "11 Life Changing Movies," because like anybody else, I feel that my taste in everything is superior to everyone else's, especially when it comes to movies. And because my taste in movies is so incredible, I'm back with another list of 11 movies guaranteed to change your outlook on life. And if they don't, it's probably because you're the kind of person who can quote "Dude, Where's My Car" from start to finish.

11. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Easily one of the strangest movies I've ever seen. Elvis and JFK team up to stop the mummy that's sucking out their friends' souls in a retirement home in east Texas.

Trust me, I know, but it's a great movie.

Why you should watch it: At worst, the protagonists are insane senior citizens roaming around East Texas fighting a figment of their imagination. At best, it's Elvis and JFK, alive and kicking, bringing down an ancient villain. Either way, it's a surprisingly poignant film about two old and neglected men becoming friends in the face of adversity.


10. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Imagine Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence hate each other. Now imagine they've hated each other for over three decades. Now imagine someone casting them in a movie together as sisters who have had a rivalry for twice that long. That is the twisted, multi-layered magic behind this film which stars Bette Davis as "Baby Jane" Hudson and Joan Crawford as her crippled sister Blanche.


Long story short, Jane was famous and successful while Blanche wasn't, then Blanche was famous and successful while Jane wasn't, now they're old and they hate each other, Jane slowly goes insane, bam, classic horror movie/legendary sibling rivalry.

Why you should watch it: While time has definitely stripped this movie of its original horror, there is still a strong element of suspense, and Davis' downward spiral into insanity is mesmerizing. That, and it's incredible to see two Academy Award-winning legends breathe life into an otherwise cheesy script. The fact that these two hated one another for nearly all of their lives adds a new dimension of realism to the movie.


9. Carmen Jones (1954)

A lot of movies are often described as the pinnacle of excellence in black films. "A Raisin In the Sun", "Cabin In the Sky", "Porgy & Bess", all are amazing and all are well worth watching, but none of them hold a candle to the musical "Carmen Jones". In it, Carmen (Dorothy Dandridge) leads young soldier Joe (Harry Belafonte) astray. He sacrifices his fiancé, his promising future, and eventually his freedom, all for Carmen.

Why you should watch it: It's an obvious cautionary tale but every character is so nuanced, and every actor is so amazing at every aspect of performing in the film.


8. The Turning Point (1977)

Another movie about showbiz rivals, but without the murder and psychopathic rage. In "The Turning Point", ballerina DeeDee (Shirley MacLaine) leaves her dance company after getting pregnant, leaving Emma (Anne Bancroft) to take the spotlight. Years later, their mutual jealousy boils over while they both deal with changes in their own lives.

Why you should watch it: Worried about getting old? Watch this movie. Growing distant from your family? Watch this movie. Jealous of where your friends are in life right now? Watch this movie. This movie may be about two bitter, middle-aged women but it will speak to any and every college student on so many levels.


7. A Place In the Sun (1951)

George Eastman (Monty Clift) begins working in his uncle's factory. While there, he meets and starts an affair with Alice (Shelley Winters), a poor and naive young factory worker. He accidentally gets her pregnant, and while he's leading her along, he starts a serious relationship with Angela Vickers (Liz Taylor), a girl from a local wealthy family. Eventually, George does what he feels he needs to do to ensure his happiness. No spoilers, but someone dies.


I wonder who it is.

Why you should watch it: It's very easy to be an opportunist, but money and prestige can never rarely take the place of true, grounded relationships. It's also a sharp criticism of America and the capitalist system, pointing a finger at the man who would rather commit murder to further himself and his career than own up to his responsibilities and accept his fate.


6. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

Any movie with the tagline "people are the ultimate spectacle" has to be grim, but this goes above and beyond. It follows a series of contestants in a dance competition which lasts several weeks in Los Angeles in 1932. The hours are long, the cash prize is minimal, and to spice up the event, the contest promoters force the contestants to do various publicity stunts. People die. C'est la vie.

Why you should watch it: To humble yourself. This movie is two hours of bleak existentialism, and the fact that it's set in a dance contest makes it all the more disturbing.


5. The Bad Seed (1956)

Rhoda Penmark is an adorable little 8-year-old girl with blonde pigtails and perfect manners.

She's also a serial killer.

It's a well-made movie with strong performances by every actor, and it straddles the border of (unintentionally) hilarious and horrifying.

Why you should watch it: Spank your kids or they'll murder their classmates with tap shoes. A little discipline never hurt anybody.


4. Mr. Skeffington (1944)

Fanny Trellis (Bette Davis) is the most beautiful women in town, and every man wants her goodies. To save her brother from jail, she marries his boss, Mr. Skeffington. He worships her but she doesn't love him and only stays with him for his money and the sake of their daughter, Fanny Jr (God bless any child named Fanny Jr.). They eventually split up, Fanny catches diphtheria, and loses her looks and will to live. Then her husband comes back from Europe, it turns out he went blind, and they live happily ever after.

Why you should watch it: Bette Davis. And Bette Davis. Also, it offers a great message: if you're ugly, just marry a blind person. Then you can lie like hell about how "attractive" you are.

Or something about vanity and hubris, idk, I'm not God, don't ask me about morals.


3. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

It's like Zac Efron's "Seventeen Again" if it didn't suck. Peggy Sue Bodell faints at her 25th high school reunion and wakes up in 1960. She does high school completely differently but eventually realizes that she was happy with the life she chose. Doesn't every time travel movie work that way?

Why you should watch it: It's the third best non-musical movie about high school behind "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Election", and this one has Nicolas Cage back when he was a good actor. It makes getting old seem like less of a living hell, it's inspiring, and will speak to anybody doubtful about the paths they've chosen.


2. The War of the Roses (1989)

This is how Smart Cars are made

Two young, attractive college students meet. They fall in love. They get rich. They get married. They fall out of love. They start doing everything they can to make each other miserable. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme.

Why you should watch it: It has one of my favorite closing scenes of any movie ever. Life doesn't always have happy endings, and I firmly believe that movies shouldn't always have them, either. The close of the story is dark and hilariously tragic, a fitting end to an amazing black comedy. And, if you've seen "Peggy Sue", you get to see her be vicious.


1. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

A murderer posing as a preacher chases two children with $10,000 across the Depression-era countryside. He's slick, he's deadly, he's pure evil, and he wants that money. He fools everyone with his smooth talking and hymns except Rachel Cooper, an angel with a shotgun who takes in and cares for orphaned and abandoned children and who is one of the best fictional characters that isn't from the Harry Potter series.

The movie, despite the intricate plot, is a simple exploration and presentation of good versus evil. It's a beautiful (literally and figuratively) story told through absolutes: the absolute evil of Reverend Powell juxtaposed with the absolute goodness of Rachel Cooper.

Why you should watch it: This movie is an unbelievable masterpiece from start to finish. The cinematography is amazing even after 60 years with still-modern camera angles and exaggerated shadows (very German expressionist for all y'all film students. See? I can get technical), and Robert Mitchum (Reverend Powell) is one of the greatest actors of all time. It's a suspenseful (and surprisingly scary) movie with a very satisfying ending. I cannot recommend this movie enough.


Movies are important to me. If you make a good one, and I mean a truly amazing film, time can't touch it. These movies may be old, and they may not be as exciting as "Transformers 17: Can You People Even Tell the Robots Apart Anymore?" but if you watch them with an open mind, a critical eye, and a decent attention span, you'll be rewarded with unparalleled art.

Now I'm going to watch "The Night of the Hunter" again. It's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: http://thelastdrivein.com/2015/01/17/quote-of-the-day-night-of-the-hunter-1955/

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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