A Valentine’s Day Special

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s a day to spread love to those who are close to you. It is a day to forge that passion and create everlasting sweet memories. Yes, I am talking about Valentine’s Day, people! In this piece, I will be discussing films that represent what true love really means. I will be writing my thoughts on how these films showcase my love life to the fullest, and what they mean to me, so as to become a great advocate of love…

…Yeah, right!

What I will actually be doing is choosing three films that are very special to me in specific ways. These particular movies don’t cater to the usual Valentine’s Day tradition, but instead lure me in with their characters, story-telling, and their overall impact on my life. Although some may see their imperfections, I selfishly cannot help but call them nothing but flawless. In short, these movies are my top three favourites of all time and will forever remain my beloved works from the big screen.

1. Rush Hour 2 (2001)

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In my elementary school years,  my sister dated a Chinese man (whom she would later marry and have kids with). This man introduced my brother and I to Chinese culture through various aspects, such as food, tradition, and their love for martial arts films. This is where Jackie Chan comes into the picture. My now brother-in-law would bring Jackie Chan movies for us to watch, and Rush Hour 2 was the first film that made me a fan. Imagine my little self in awe of Jackie’s moves; the way he flows through obstacles with ease, and the fact that he somehow always comes out on top, no matter what kind of situation he finds himself in. He inspired me to take karate lessons (only later did I learn that karate is actually a Japanese martial art) and helped me overcome obstacles that I always seem to have trouble with. That is what I take from Jackie Chan, and that is why he became my first hero.

Rush Hour 2 was the first true film that I could never get tired of. Whenever it was on TV, I glued my face to the screen. Not only did Jackie Chan have the insane move-sets, but his charisma, which is a mixture of drama and humour, is what clicked for me. And then comes the funny man, Chris Tucker. If we talk about actors and their use of charisma, Chris Tucker should be up there in the discussion. He drives this movie to the next level and attracts viewers  who may be Jackie Chan movie virgins. Their chemistry was perfect, in my eyes, and to me it paved the way for future buddy-cop action movies, such as Ride Along. Rush Hour and Rush Hour 3 are very enjoyable, as well, but it is the second film that really showed how Jackie and Chris put in one hundred percent effort into making a classic, pulp culture phenomenon.

2. The Dark Knight (2008) 

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If you don’t already know, I currently work at a movie theatre where employees are allowed to stick the title of their favourite movie under their name. As of now, my name tag is movie-less. Guests always comment on my name tag and ask which movie I would put on my name tag. The answer is always simple: The Dark Knight.

I have to admit, it took me a while to really get into The Caped Crusader. When the movie came out in 2008, I was one of those kids that didn’t understand or appreciate the hype. To put it in simpler terms, I thought Batman was lame. Can you really blame me, though? I mean, I always believed Batman was just a boring superhero with no powers that dresses up as an animal to save the day. Think about it, that’s insane! It’s ludicrous! But the more you think about it, that becomes the whole point of the Batman mythology.

The Dark Knight pushed forward the concept of righteousness and immorality, order and corruption, and what is considered good and bad. The movie examines different perspectives on the theme of chaos, and it is not afraid to drive down the complex road of the idea of destruction creating an established world. It is a dark and confusing theory. With that being said, Heath Ledger’s Joker was portrayed here to be the forefront of an ataxia of morals. The characters of Batman and The Joker are legendary, and are seen as perfect symbols of what a hero and villain should be. They will always be on the opposite side, face-to-face, battling from their different views of life. And that is what I love about The Dark Knight.

3. The Lion King (1994) 

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To be honest, I don’t know how to start off with this one. What is there to talk about with this film? I mean, what I’m trying to get at is that it is a simple story with similar themes and characters we’ve seen portrayed in other media. Some have worked to reintroduce a common topic and make it their own, but others need that unique aspect, and as a result, failed. But, keeping those factors in mind, this film worked beautifully and perfectly as a refreshed Disney movie in its time. I can understand and allow (slightly) some critics picking at Rush Hour 2 and The Dark Knight for some spots of imperfections, but I dare any reader to come up with a flaw about The Lion King, because there is none.

The Lion King is a perfect tale that has been combined with a number of common character archetypes: the protagonist, antagonist, love interest, comic relief, and sage. In terms of storyline, Simba’s adventure goes through stages such as the peak of pursuit, adversity, self-reflection, and an optimistic climax. With all those elements in mind, The Lion King brought in a rich ingredient that attracted me as a kid: experience. As a viewer, we got a chance to go through the same emotional trials as Simba. From young and brash to hardship, and from self-loathing to acceptance, we grew with Simba as we were guided by those familiar archetypes. It is clever usage from a clever company, and draws me to conclude that The Lion King is a perfectly relatable movie from childhood to adulthood.

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