Life Crisis Cinema

Sometimes, movies can actually teach something substantial--other than how great everyone and everything looks in slow motion with the latest pop song blaring in the background, that is. The following titles are about life crises aka changes, turning points, and "what it's all about."
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1.
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
 
2.
Network (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit. (121 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis." ” - juan_ice
 
3.
Death of a Salesman (1985 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An aging traveling salesman recognizes the emptiness of his life and tries to fix it. (136 mins.)
“ I run out of that building and I see... the sky. I see all the things I love in this world. The work, the food, the time to sit and smoke. And I look at this pen and I ask myself, "What the hell am I grabbing this thing for? Why am I trying to become something I don't wanna become when all I want is out there waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am?" ” - juan_ice
 
4.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A prep school student needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated. (156 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
“ It's all right, Charlie. You break my heart, son. All my life I've stood up to everyone and everything, because it made me feel *important*. You do it... because you mean it. You've got integrity, Charlie. I don't know whether to shoot you or adopt ya. ” - juan_ice
 
5.
My Life (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A terminally ill man prepares for his death. (117 mins.)
“ Dying's a really hard way to learn about life. ” - juan_ice
 
6.
Falling Down (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A borderline personality disordered defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them. (113 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
“ What the hell are you trying to do? Kill me with a golf ball? It's not enough you have all these beautiful acres fenced in for your little game, but you gotta kill me with a golf ball? You should have children playing here, you should have families having picnics, you should have a goddamn petting zoo. But instead you've got these stupid electric carts for you old men with nothing better to do. [Fires his shotgun at a golf cart, causing it to roll down the hill]
Now aren't you ashamed? ” - juan_ice
 
7.
As Good as It Gets (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A single mother/waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery. (139 mins.)
Director: James L. Brooks
“ Is this fun for you? You lucky devil. It just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it? I'm losing my apartment, Melvin. And Frank, he wants me to beg my parents, who haven't called me, for help. And I won't. And... I... I don't want to paint any more. So the life that I was trying for, is over. the life that I had is gone, and I'm feeling so damn sorry for myself that it's difficult to breathe. ” - juan_ice
 
8.
After Life (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After death, people have just one week to choose only a memory to keep for eternity. (118 mins.)
 
9.
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
“ Remember those posters that said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"? Well, that's true of every day but one - the day you die. ” - juan_ice
 
10.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a alter-ego devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more... (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy *beep* we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off. ” - juan_ice
 
11.
About Schmidt (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man upon retirement embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected. (125 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ I know we're all pretty small in the big scheme of things, and I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference, but what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me? Relatively soon, I will die. Maybe in 20 years, maybe tomorrow, it doesn't matter. Once I am dead and everyone who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never existed. What difference has my life made to anyone? None that I can think of. None at all. ” - juan_ice
 
12.
Lost in Translation (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo. (101 mins.)
Director: Sofia Coppola
“ You're probably just having a mid-life crisis. Did you buy a Porsche yet? ” - juan_ice
 
13.
The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
During his final days, a dying man is reunited with old friends, former lovers, his ex-wife, and his estranged son. (99 mins.)
Director: Denys Arcand
“ Contrary to belief, the 20th century wasn't that bloody. It's agreed that wars caused 100 million deaths. Add 10 million for the Russian gulags. The Chinese camps, we'll never know, but say 20 million. So 130, 145 million dead. Not all that impressive. In the 16th century, the Spanish and Portuguese managed, without gas chambers or bombs, to slaughter 150 million Indians in Latin America. With axes! That's a lot of work, sister. Even if they had church support, it was an achievement. So much so tha the Dutch, English, French, and later Americans followed their lead and butchered another 50 million. 200 million dead in all! The greatest massacre in history took place right here. And not the tiniest holocaust museum. The history of mankind is a history of horrors. ” - juan_ice
 
14.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. (101 mins.)
“ You know what? *beep* beauty contests. Life is one *beep* beauty contest after another. You know, school, then college, then work, *beep* that. And *beep* the air force academy. If I wanna fly, I'll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and *beep* the rest. ” - juan_ice
 
15.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death. (113 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
“ As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And, so it was, a wristwatch saved Harold Crick. ” - juan_ice
 
16.
The Bucket List (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. (97 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
“ Edward Perryman Cole died in May. It was a Sunday in the afternoon and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. He was 81 years old. Even now, I can't claim to understand the measure of a life, but I can tell you this: I know that when he died, his eyes were closed and his heart was open, and I'm pretty sure he was happy with his final resting place because he was buried on the mountain, and that was against the law. ” - juan_ice
 
17.
Gran Torino (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino. (116 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
“ Walt Kowalski once said to me that I knew nothing about life or death, because I was an over-educated, 27-year-old virgin who held the hand of superstitious old women and promised them eternity. [the congregation chuckles politely and somberly] Walt definitely had no problem calling it like he saw it. But he was right. I knew really nothing about life or death, until I got to know Walt... and boy, did I learn. ” - juan_ice
 
18.
An Education (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age. (100 mins.)
Director: Lone Scherfig
“ Studying is hard and boring. Teaching is hard and boring. So, what you're telling me is to be bored, and then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life? This whole stupid country is bored! There's no life in it, or color, or fun! It's probably just as well the Russians are going to drop a nuclear bomb on us any day now. So my choice is to do something hard and boring, or to marry my... Jew, and go to Paris and Rome and listen to jazz, and read, and eat good food in nice restaurants, and have fun! It's not enough to educate us anymore Ms. Walters. You've got to tell us why you're doing it. ” - juan_ice
 
19.
Hesher (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young boy has lost his mother and is losing touch with his father and the world around him. Then he meets Hesher who manages to make his life even more chaotic. (106 mins.)
Director: Spencer Susser
 
20.
The Beaver (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating. (91 mins.)
Director: Jodie Foster
 
21.
50/50 (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (100 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Levine
 
22.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. (114 mins.)
Director: Ben Stiller