Films are amazing creatures. They can ooze into you, probe your soul, transport you and, by placing you into another life, make you question who you are and what you believe. They can also be beautiful. One of my favorite feelings is that glow when I uncover the unexpected, going into a movie theatre to see a film I knew nothing about and walking out transformed.
When I watch films and television shows, for me the most important flavors are the characters and the themes. As my high school discovery, Joss Whedon TV shows were my first love. Angel and Firefly are two of my favorites. Whedon stands out to me for his genuine empathy for his characters and his ability to sculpt each of them into multidimensional, nuanced beings, even his ship in Firefly, “Serenity.” My favorite TV shows tend to lie in the science fiction and fantasy realm. I believe that these two underappreciated genres are fundamentally important because by giving us a through understanding of the inhuman, they also allow us to gain perspective about its counterpart: being human. Some other shows I enjoy, on the drama side of things, are Pushing Daisies and Orphan Black. On the comedy side, Community and Parks & Rec are inventive and just pure zinging joy.
As for films, I like the works of Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom), Ang Lee (Sense and Sensibility, The Wedding Banquet) and Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel). But Hayao Miyazaki films are probably some of the dearest to my heart.
One of Miyazaki’s masterpieces, Princess Mononoke, embodies everything I love about a good film. It has beautiful animation and lush scenery, a great soundtrack (always handy for emotional impact!), wonderful attention to detail and movement, complex themes, a strong hero, no villains, and, most surprisingly, a recognition in the ending of the film of the realistic and the idealistic.
As a Molecular Biology major entering my junior year, I certainly will be spending more time in the labs this year. But I would be remiss if I didn’t keep exploring more films and shows, or engage in some of my other movie-related pastimes: reading reviews or watching a newly found animated short. Even if I am working, I won’t be far. You still just might find me sitting at my desk, bobbing up and down to my latest movie soundtrack discovery.