Recently I was asked, if you were about to be put to death (let’s just say that in my case it’d likely be for thoughtcrime), what is the last movie you’d request to watch?

It’s a riff on the more-traditional “what would be your last meal” sort of question (short answer: Brinner), but it stopped me in my tracks.

My initial response was “something really long” and a hearty chuckle was shared. I’m one of the great comedy minds of my generation, as evidenced each week on Words With Nerds™.

I couldn’t decide, though. I had to beg for an evening to consider.

So Many Factors

After all, there are so many questions that the basic premise raises!

In a situation like that, you’d feel arguably obliged to choose your favorite movie of all time. It follows that if this is the last piece of entertainment you’ll ever see., it should presumably be the favorite one, a teddy bear experience that soothes and lets you lose track of the running time so that you lose track of what would undoubtedly be a stressful watching experience.

Because otherwise, these sorts of questions rely on the thought that you’re at peace with being killed to begin with. I can assure you that if I knew the time of my final moment, I’d be distracted by that fact.

And I Wonder

So I wondered how I could choose. There’s the inevitable mental conflict between selecting a Batman movie and a Star Wars film. As an odd side note, I never considered Burton’s 1989 Batman, though it’s probably the moment I started down the path of being a “geek.”

The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, with their themes of heroism and rebirth, could easily distract me from thinking incessantly about the final question of my faith put to the test. I adore both films, and they’d be a reassuring pat on the butt, as it were.

Both move me to that moment of heroic emotion as well, that great feeling of victory for the righteous. Which, when I meet God, is what I hope the general feeling to be. Because the opposite would suck.

For heroism as well, I could choose The Last of the Mohicans by Michael Mann, with its bittersweet ending wrapped in both victory and sorrow. The soundtrack alone is something marvelous and the cinematography in the film is some of the best you’ll ever see.

Then my mind wandered back to Star Wars as a whole and Revenge of the Sith, my favorite of favorites, in specific.

But then I’d be ignoring The Godfather Part II! Which got ruled out immediately, because I don’t
want to go out on a down note.

And though Revenge of the Sith ends with a note of hope still, I realized I’d have to rule it out as well. There’s a lot of darkness there. And so long as I’m ruling out darkness, I have to disqualify the original The Godfather as well as Vertigo.

Citizen Kane would seem apropos, but I’d prefer not to go out with a message of how small even the greatest of us are.

Musicals!

The only problem with indulging my love of musicals is, how to select a favorite? The field is littered with larger-than-life options that have a special place in my heart.

Singin’ in the Rain, The Music Man, 1776, Godspell (maybe it counts as an extra little prayer at the end?), my treasured Guys and Dolls.

But then I know, if it’s a musical, it has to be Scrooge with Albert Finney. It’s the one version of A Christmas Carol that makes me weep still, and reminds me of warm Christmases with my family and especially my dad singing along with “Thank You Very Much.”

But Then…

A musical is fine, but I don’t know if it can deliver the type of spiritual oomph I’d need.

I wonder if, knowing it’s your last film, you could really enjoy it?

Is this all an argument against watching bad movies since, theoretically, each one could be the last one you see?

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