Movies are often reminders, like little movie markers at turns in the road. I better remember parts of my life because of the movies I saw at the time. I remember dates I went on because of the movies we watched: Overboard, and Jerry Maguire, and Kill Bill. I still remember the first movie I saw with my wife: Lincoln Lawyer. I remember a day spent with my sister and her kids as we watched The Smurfs. I vividly remember a classroom because we watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in it during one of the last days of school. I remember skipping school that same year to go to the movies with my best friend. I remember a different classroom and a particular teacher because of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This teacher offered her students some extra credit if they would come in on a Saturday morning to watch some educational film about the Middle Ages. I took her up on the offer. I showed up to school on the given Saturday along with maybe a dozen others. Our teacher then popped in The Holy Grail and produced some popcorn for us. Yes, I earned extra credit for watching Monty Python.
Movies mark the passing of time in my life. Not only that, but they have shaped me during those years as well. Movies can deliver powerful messages that can change your life. Not all movies, of course. I didn’t walk away from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with any life-changing thoughts. However, speaking of memories, Bill and Ted’s is tied to a strong middle school memory of a discussion I had with two friends about how I was disappointed in the movie. My friends had really built it up, so that by the time I saw it nothing could live up to the expectations my young teenage mind had for it. The point is, I not only remember who I was because of the movies I have seen, but I am who I am in part because of the movies I have seen.
Never before has that been more true than over the past few years. To say my life has been tumultuous recently would be an understatement. Over this time, I can point out a handful of documentaries that will not only serve as reminders to me of this time in my life, but have also helped reform my views of myself, of this world, and of my place in it. The most recent, among many, of the big changes I have made is becoming a vegan.
A couple weeks ago my wife and I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. We followed that up the very next night with Forks Over Knives and thus began our journey to becoming vegans. Not to bore you with the details, but while some parts of this lifestyle change have been harder than others, we have already felt the health benefits touted by these two movies. Because of watching them, my life has been forever changed. It’s funny; my wife and I were talking about maybe still mixing in a little cheese into our diet, because damn! We miss cheese. Then along comes another documentary called Vegucated. We were already on board the train to Veganville for the health benefits (which is why justifying a little cheese might have been easy), but after watching Vegucated we are buying into the ethical reasons for being vegans well. This movie took cheese completely off the table. I was in tears at one point watching Vegucated.
Now while I plan on staying vegan for the rest of my life, I am also not stupid enough to think that life never changes. I know it does. A few years ago I wouldn’t have guessed I would be where I am today or who I am today. I would like to think that my experience watching these movies will be strong enough to forever change me, much like Kelly LeBrock standing in that doorway in Weird Science forever changed me… but I digress. Point is, life changes, and whether I stick to the vegan plan or not, I will always have these movies to look back on, to remind me of this time in my life. They will serve as the markers at this turn in the road.