Posted by: ritagone | September 21, 2011

Yet Another Lesson in Life from the Movies

There is a concept I have believed for years and years which has proven once more to be true through a most mundane channel in the past few months, and it is this:

You don’t know what you don’t know.

And here’s that channel and how it came to be true once again for me.

Months ago I got hold of a list of all the major movies released in the year 2010, and I thought it would be fun and challenging to see if I could watch each and every one of them!  I think a friend actually sent me the list, and I’m not sure where she got it.  It’s not the top movies, nor the best movies, nor the movies with the most Academy Award nominations or anything like that.  Just 270 movies, foreign and American, some animated, short and long, good and bad, just a non-descript list.  So I set out on the adventure of watching them, renting them or streaming them via either iTunes or Netflix if I hadn’t already seen them in the theaters when they were released originally, which was true of some of the major films like “The King’s Speech” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” latest release.  Watching them and then marking them off one at a time played right into my OCD ability to put a red mark through the ones I had seen, and it was pure joy as the red marks increased.

That malady aside, a lesson in life began to evolve as I watched, and it’s a lesson that you can pull out of many events and situations, but mine came from watching these movies on the 2010 list.

And here it is: hidden in this list of movies were some wonderful little gems, films I would never have discovered if I hadn’t made a commitment to watch as many of them as I could.  I don’t think anyone would have recommended them, because as I mention them to people, no one seems to know of them.  And so they would have gone unnoticed and unknown.

Have you ever discovered something that blessed you, something that you realize might easily have passed you by?  And smiled at the realization that something quirky pointed you to that thing?  That’s the way I feel about some of these little movies.  I hesitate to recommend them to you because what if you don’t like them?  But I’ll take a chance!  So here goes.  There’s “Heartbreaker” and “Oceans” and “Creation.”  One is a French film (with subtitles), one is a Disney nature film that has the most breathtaking photography I’ve ever seen in this genre, and one is about the struggle Charles Darwin had with putting forth his theory of evolution in the face of his faith-believing wife and what it did to their relationship.  All of these were small films in terms of box office, but magnificent to watch.  And none of them would have been on my radar screen without this list of 2010 movies.

This isn’t earth-shattering business, by any means.

But what it taught me is that all around us are things we don’t know about, and we don’t know we don’t know about them.  We are ignorant of what we are ignorant of.  Again the realization: so often I find myself spouting off about things when in reality I know so very little.

It reminds me of my sister-in-law who made the comment during a heated family debate two summers ago that “filmmakers don’t know squat about making movies.”  It was said with such authority and venom that it literally stopped all conversation for quite a few minutes.  After that kind of statement, what could be said?  Absolutely nothing.  This was a dinner table discussion about favorite movies.  My husband innocently (he should have known better) claimed that “Lawrence of Arabia” was his favorite film of all time, whereupon our sister-in-law almost screamed, “Oh, I hate that movie!  Hate it!”  Now, why did she have to say that?  Truthfully, there was absolutely no reason.  In the first place, even if she did hate that classic, amazing film, why say something when someone has just said it is his favorite?  But say it she did, because, well, that’s just the kind of person she is. (But that’s a whole other story.) And then Michael couldn’t help himself; he had to go deeper.  So he made the comment, “Well, filmmakers down through the decades have said that this movie is a classic,” which was the comment that solicited her statement about the knowledge – or lack of it – about filmmakers and filmmaking.  Talk about not knowing what we don’t know: she is the quintessential illustration of it, and it is appalling.

I wish sometimes I could train myself to keep silent more and listen more often.  Instead, why do I think I know so much?  What is there within us that must prove to others – and to ourselves – that we are knowledgeable when in reality we are not?

So from now on, I want to remember that there’s a lot I don’t know.  Much more, in fact, than about little independent movies.  In fact, a whole lot more.

Truly, we don’t know what we don’t know.


  1. Wow! ALL films of 2011!? That’s quite an endeavor! You really are OCD! Please tell us there are some genres in which you did not watch all the films……. or should we be expecting reviews of “Saw 3D”, “Hard Ride to Hell”, ” I spit on your Grave” ( although that one holds some interest for me:) ) or “Cold Prey 3” ?

    ps…loved Oceans!

    • Dolly, there are some on the list I just can’t bring myself to watch. I am minor OCD, not full blown!

  2. Did you know that the human head weighs 8-12 pounds?

    • Yours or mine?

  3. Now you know!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: