1. What's Eating Gilbert Grape*
This is the first film I saw that mirrored my actual life. It mad me feel normal. It made me think my life could be like the movies - because it already was one.
Along the same lines as Gilbert Grape: my life was onscreen being played back to me. This time coming from a network that hit a little closer to home. Because it took place in a suburb (versus the small town setting of WEGG) some scenes seemed to have been copied exactly from my past.
2. Up In The Air
I very clearly remember seeing this in the theater: it was about 10PM a month after the release. I had had a huge falling out with my friend group and I felt really lost. I related to George Clooney's character more than I realized and to be honest I was relieved at the end when he got back on the plane. As soon as it ended, I applied for an airline mileage program and have been traveling solo ever since.
3. Runaway Bride
I had a pretty big crush on Richard Gere as a kid, so when he encourages Julia Robert's character to be a strong woman before entering into a romantic relationship, that hit home. He tells her to "figure out what kind of eggs [she] likes" and it definitely impacted me in terms of how romantic relationships function. Looking back, my independence can be traced back to the millions of times I watched this movie as a little girl.
4. Star Wars Episode I: Phantom Menace
I had terrible taste as a child (save the above mentioned). I vaguely remember seeing the original Star Wars movies before this one came out, but I specifically remember watching this one in the theater and being completely overwhelmed. It was my first foray into nerd culture and revealed my obsessive tendencies.
5. Notting Hill
I feel so very cliche having a Richard Curtis chick flick on this list, but it's so much more than that. In the second act there is one of the most glorious montages I've ever seen. Set to Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine the main character William walks through Portobello Road market over the span of a year, illustrated via the four seasons, and all the lifestyle changes they bring. At the start of the market there is a pregnant woman, fast forward to the end and there she is holding a nine month old. It is so seamless and beautiful. It really opened my eyes to how creative movie making can be. After about my billionth viewing, I knew I wanted to be apart of something so creative and moving. Notting Hill also exacerbated my Anglophilia. Thanks, Curtis.