After finishing Six Feet Under yesterday, I went to read what my favorite Salon.com writer, TV critic Heather Havrilevsky, had to say about the finale when she wrote about it back in '05. In her reaction, which pretty much echoed mine, she says:
"And then, something comes along and shakes you awake: You fall in love, hear some heart-wrenching song, experience some tragic event, or read an incredible book, and what was once a mundane world changes into an incredible, glowing, rich, exquisitely sad, humbling, beautiful place. Art is designed to have this effect: to inspire us and wake us from the stupor of day-to-day life. The very best art feels incredibly personal, highlighting our most treasured memories and dredging up our deepest sorrows and pointing us toward a more passionate future. Each of us has a different collection of cherished items that we hold close to our hearts. My own messy tangle of favorite things includes REM's "Reckoning," the Rabbit series by John Updike, Charlie Kaufman's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen, almost any Sufjan Stevens song, the last chapter of Wallace Stegner's "Angle of Repose," and Alan Ball's "Six Feet Under."
This got me thinking about what cultural items I would put on a similar list. I'll steal "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and now "Six Feet Under" from Heather and add every Todd Solondz movie, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", "I'll Believe in Anything" by Wolf Parade, "Lord of the Flies," the Dismemberment Plan, Goya's "Saturn Devouring One of His Children" and the 2004 Coachella Music Festival. You know when something unexpectedly gives you nightmares (Todd Solondz's "Storytelling"), puts you in a daze for a week ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") or causes you to cry unstoppably for two hours (the "Six Feet Under" finale), something's going right.
Feel free to post your own list! I've already picked up a copy of "The Corrections," so I'd love to hear about what other life-altering experiences I could be having.