It’s that time again: a new year means a new you. If you’re like me, and the stereotypical resolutions bore you (exercise, eat better, try new things, etc.), then a serious and heavy dose of inspiration is in order.
To that end, I have compiled a list of three movies that have changed my life — for real.
1. Zombieland (2009)
While this may seem an odd one to kick off a list of movies that will change your life, I included it for two reasons. First, it’s an amazing and hilarious movie (and Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Woody Harrelson should be in all the things). Second, the list of rules.
The main character Columbus keeps a list of rules. These include helpful rules like, “Wear your seatbelt,” zombie-specific rules like, “Double-tap,” and life-applicable rules, like Rule #32: “Enjoy the little things.”
The film also touches on topics like friendship and family, and how those are sometimes the same thing, and overcoming one’s fears.
If you are looking for a new perspective on your life, try doing things that scare you. Try finding people who are both your friends and your family. And try to enjoy the little things.
Because sometimes the little things are the most important.
2. How to Be Single (2016)
I did not expect this movie to change my life, but it did. While much of the film was just an enjoyable comedy about the pitfalls of love and life as a 20-something, there were moments where they went a bit deeper.
While the obvious message of the movie is that being single is pretty great (hence the title), there is still something to be gained for those who are already in relationships and kind of want to stay there.
What makes this movie interesting is that despite it being about “How to Be Single,” the main characters in the movie spend most of their time in relationships of varying levels of commitment. It is a monologue at the end of the movie, though, that really clarifies what the movie is trying to accomplish:
The thing about being single is…you should cherish it. Because, in a week, or a lifetime, of being alone, you may only get one moment. One moment, when you’re not tied up in a relationship with anyone. A parent, a pet, a sibling, a friend. One moment, when you stand on your own. Really, truly single. And then…it’s gone.
So if you find yourself at the beginning of this year alone — or if you don’t — consider spending this year taking time to learn what it means to stand on your own, to be independent.
There is nothing wrong with being in relationships, but this movie taught me that it’s when we are single that we learn the most about ourselves.
3. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This critically-acclaimed movie is the last on my list, though the list of films that have changed me could continue forever. I had to include this one, though, because it puts forward an altogether counter-intuitive and even counter-cultural message that has changed the way I view success and failure.
The film celebrates mediocrity in all its glory, challenging the view we’re all too often fed, that success is the only option, and failure is and should be defeating.
One of my favorite lines in the movie says that losers are not people who fail, but that losers are people who are “so afraid of not winning [they] don’t even try.”
This movie has changed my perspective so that I, slowly but surely, am learning not to cringe when I fail at something, or mess up, but instead to embrace my failure. Failing means I tried — and more than that, it means I can try again.
This year, instead of focusing on all the things you want to accomplish, I hope that you can learn, with me, to be brave enough to fail. A lot. Over and over again. Every day, if possible.
We have grown up in a society where we are told that failure is not an option, and too often, this means we don’t even try. Daring to fail means daring to try, knowing that failure might be an option — but so might success.
What about you?
What movies have changed your life for the better? Who do you want to be this year? Leave a comment below so we can chat!