40 Years, 40 Movies: Writing a Cinematic Autobiography
While I have felt like An Old™ for a long time, it’s now official. I was born on December 23, 1980. Today, I’m 40.
God, it sucks so bad.
So I’m going to deal with the soul-crushing depression the only way I know how: With movies. Over the last few days, I’ve found myself in a reflective mood. At first I thought about compiling a list of the best movies of my lifetime. But that seemed kind of generic, and not all that different from a list anyone could make if they were picking the cinematic highlights of the last 40 years.
Instead, I decided to pick just one movie from each of my 40 years that would, collectively, add up to something like an autobiography told through movies: The films that meant the most to me personally, the films I’ve watched the most, the ones whose viewing experiences were particularly memorable, and the ones that I link with important periods, events, and people in my life. The titles I chose didn’t necessarily have to be important to me the year they came out — if they had, picking something from 1980, when I was seven days old, would have been tough — but they did have to be released at some point in the last 40 years. So beloved movies from before I was born, things like The Producers, The Sting, Playtime, Citizen Kane, The Awful Truth, and many others, were disqualified.
Still, taken as a whole, this does a pretty good job of explaining who I am and where I’ve been. And maybe watching a couple of these today will make me feel a bit less decrepit. So let’s take a tour through my cinematic life story, shall we? Our journey begins way (waaaaay) back in the year 1980...