When I decided to write about a film I’m grateful for every day in November, I thought the difficult part would be keeping pace with the writing.
But that turned out to be easy—the difficult part was narrowing the list down to 30.
In the end I decided to let my intuition be my guide. I didn’t consciously try to make sure I didn’t have too many comedies, or too many movies from the 90s. I wrote about the films I wanted to write about, and rewatched about half of them in the process.
I had thought I was writing a tribute to the films that have shaped me, but what actually came out was something more specific—a love letter to the movie theater itself.
The theaters where I saw many of these movies are gone now—Showcase Cinema in Monroeville is a Sheetz gas station, as is The Cheswick. I’ve forgotten the name of the little movie theater behind the Monroeville Mall but it’s now a Best Buy.
And the fairly new theater at the Pittsburgh Mills survived the pandemic.
But there’s no doubt the movie theater’s heyday is long behind it. It’s not only that people would rather stay home—it’s that many of the stories people want to see are no longer made into big blockbuster films.
Today the buzz, the creativity, and the best acting is done on television. Novels like Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Game of Thrones that once might’ve been made into big films are now adapted into TV shows with award winning actors.
Remove the superhero movies and Tom Cruise, and what does the movie theater have left?
But one of my life’s mottos is that we must live in the world the way it is, not the way we wish it to be.
I will always have a sweet nostalgia for the movie going experience of my youth, but one should never spend so much time looking over one’s shoulder at the past that they miss what’s in front of them.
Maybe you can’t just plop yourself down in the theater every Saturday night like I used to, but if you sniff around, you can always find the stories you’re most interested in.
Novels, blog posts, blockbuster films, television shows, YouTube videos.
The methods of delivery may change, but we’ll always tell each other stories.
The truth is there’s never been a better time to be alive if you want to discover or tell stories.
And that’s what I’m most thankful for.
Thanks for taking the journey with me.
The film I most enjoyed rewatching: Moulin Rouge! (2001)
The film I cut from the list after rewatching: True Romance (1993)
The films I already regret not including: Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Elizabeth (1998), Clueless (1995), Miracle (2004), and Cruel Intentions (1999).
Actor with the most appearances on the list: Tom Cruise 3 (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Far and Away, Interview with the Vampire) and Brad Pitt 3 (Thelma and Louise, Interview with the Vampire, Legends of the Fall)
This is the final post of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, which ran daily through the month of November.
Films Covered: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry: Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians | Under the Tuscan Sun | Terminator 2 | Moulin Rouge! | How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | Practical Magic | Schindler’s List | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Stardust | The Man in the Moon | The Others | Little Women | Cruella | Sliding Doors | Far and Away | The Magdalene Sisters | The Heat | The Last Five Years | Shakespeare In Love | Erin Brockovich | The Bear | Braveheart | Interview with the Vampire | Legends of the Fall | Titanic