I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone who has read anything on this blog that I’m a big fan of action and fantasy when it comes to my viewing preferences. I like car chases and fight scenes and explosions. I love it if there’s magic involved in those things.
The first movie I watch when the holiday season hits is Die Hard. I may or may not have a history of dressing up like characters from Star Wars and I wanted nothing more as a kid (and, let’s face it, adult) than to become an Animorph. Give me some wisecracking heroes embarking on a crazy adventure where there will no doubt be a plethora of bad ass moments and I am a happy girl.
Which is why it sometimes surprises even me how much I love 12 Angry Men.
I put it on this weekend, while I was getting some stuff done around the apartment. I figured I’d seen it a bunch of times, it would be better background noise than something I hadn’t watched yet.
Foolish, foolish thought process.
It happened as it always happens. The movie starts and I glance over at the TV as the jurors are closed in their room. A little over and hour and half later, I’m shocked to see the credits come up and realize that I have somehow ended up nestled into the couch, complete with blanket.
I can’t not get sucked into this movie. (Yup, enjoy all those negatives.)
There’s no magic, but I’m completely enthralled. Nothing blows up, but I’m on the edge of my seat. The fights aren’t physical, but I still catch myself flinching.
It’s just twelve dudes in one room, arguing with each other. And I can’t look away.
The plot is simple. A jury must decide on the guilt of a teenager on trial for his father’s murder.
The overall stakes are clear. If they decide he is the judge has made it clear that the teenager will receive the death penalty. So, life or death.
And then there are the characters. I’ve already mentioned that my true love in all stories are always the characters, above all else, and man, do I adore each of these flawed fellas.
Every one of them has individual stakes. They each have a reason for the way they vote. They each have a reason they want to finish the jury process. Each character is distinct and each character is important. While Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb may be the ring leaders of the opposing sides, not one character is there simply as window dressing. They all matter. They all represent something. And at the end of the movie you remember each of them, even though you never know most of their names.
This is why I will go back to this movie a floppity-jillion times during the rest of my life and each time be completely engaged.
What movies do that for you?