Hello, inner hero
- LEE WILLIAMS
- Portland Tribune - Features
The films you love reveal a lot about your soul, a new book says
Do your favorite movies of all time include 'Say Anything …' 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' and 'When Harry Met Sally…'?
Then as loud and clear as Meg Ryan's restaurant scream scene, you are a VR - a Vivacious Romantic.
That's according to 'Cinescopes' (Quirk Books), a book out this month that blends the cinematic savvy of Roger Ebert with the psychological models of Carl Jung.
The book determines your personality type - and an equivalent cinematic hero - based on your list of Top 10 Favorite Movies of All Time.
What we love to watch on the big screen provides a window to our psyches, the the two authors of 'Cinescopes' contend.
Your favorite films 'reveal both what you are, and what you want to be,' co-author Risa Williams says. 'If you're a Vivacious Romantic, you're definitely looking for love. But it's also a glamorized view - how you hope to see yourself.'
Williams and 'Cinescopes' collaborator Ezra Werb are Los Angeles-based friends, film buffs and professional behavioral therapists. Williams specializes in cognitive therapy for adults. Werb counsels autistic children.
The book began as a Web site, with hundreds of strangers contributing their lists for blind, individual analysis. Patterns and common themes began to emerge, and with some referencing of Joseph Campbell's mythic archetypes, the two forged the 16 personality models found in 'Cinescopes.'
There's the Chosen Adventurer (think Indiana Jones); the Rebellious Lover (Meryl Streep in 'Out of Africa'); and the Respected Champion (cue the theme to 'Rocky').
'Some, like Dedicated Idealist, personified by Jimmy Stewart, are uniquely Hollywood figures,' Werb says. 'And Hollywood has the ability to bring them back again and again.'
You won't find villains among the archetypes, though. The authors focused on our more positive attributes.
'As therapists, we're way more interested in inspiring people,' Werb says.
'We wanted to help create identity and have people see this noble side of themselves,' Williams adds.
For some, the results have proved uncomfortably accurate.
'Some feminists haven't appreciated being known as Vivacious Romantics,' Werb says.
'And some men, too,' Williams adds, with a laugh. 'We say, 'Well then, don't watch those movies.' '
To get an idea of how the book works, seven Portlanders kindly consented to share their lists for a blind reading.
The Portland Tribune ran five of the lists through the process outlined in the book to come up with the personality type.
For two mayoral candidates, Williams and Werb offered some additional analysis. No information on their backgrounds was provided to the authors. Just their favorite movie lists.
So is 'Cinescopes' pure party-book fun? Is it silly Hollywood hokum? Or do the book's readings prove unnervingly accurate?
But you might want to keep in mind co-author Williams' words: 'You are what you watch.'
• Sam Adams, city commissioner and mayoral candidate: '
Harlan County U.S.A.,' 'My Own Private Idaho,' 'Far From Heaven,' 'An Inconvenient Truth,' 'Smoke Signals,' 'Dr. Strangelove,' 'Moulin Rouge,' 'The Sum of Us,' 'Sicko,' 'The Big Country'
Cinescope: Determined Survivor
From Williams and Werb:
'Determined Survivors possess emotional strength and wisdom attained from difficult life experiences,' the authors explain. 'They've navigated stormy waters, so they're able to stay calm and collected during chaotic situations.
'As leaders, Survivors have a natural likability that helps people relate to them on an everyday level. Determined Survivors love movies about heroes who must overcome personal tragedy or oppression.
'As Scott Favor says in 'My Own Private Idaho': 'When you wake up, wipe the slugs off your face. Be ready for a new day!' '
Famous Determined Survivors: Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone with the Wind'; Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in 'The Shawshank Redemption'
• Sho Dozono, chief executive officer and president of Azumano Travel, and mayoral candidate:
'It's a Wonderful Life,' 'An Affair to Remember,' 'The Graduate,' 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?,' 'The Seven Samurai,' 'Miracle on 34th Street,' 'Schindler's List,' 'After Life' (Japanese film title: 'Wandâfuru Raifu'), 'Star Wars,' 'Bambi'
Cinescope: Passionate Maverick
From Williams and Werb:
'On behalf of the meek and the voiceless, Passionate Mavericks seek to make the world a better place. Mavericks are driven, inspired and committed leaders, working tirelessly to battle injustice.
'They're truly at their best when they're rallying the masses to take up their cause. Passionate Mavericks love movies about rebels who swim upstream. As Doris Walker says in 'Miracle on 34th Street,' 'Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.' '
Famous Passionate Mavericks: William Wallace (Mel Gibson) in 'Braveheart'; Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in 'Scarface'
• Bruce Carey, restaurateur
Cinescope: Charismatic Performer
Harsh food critics take note: with a list of favorite movies that includes classics 'All About Eve,' 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Citizen Kane,' the culinary king behind Saucebox, Bluehour, 23 Hoyt and Clarklewis emerges as a Charismatic Performer, described by the authors as 'artistic, talented and witty … natural charmers who win everyone, even the most resistant, over.'
One weakness: the Charismatic Performer's own perfectionism can drive others crazy.
Famous Charismatic Performers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 'Amadeus'; Margo Channing in 'All About Eve'
• Monica Carlson, 'American Gladiators' semifinalist
Cinescope: Loyal Warrior
The fitness model, former Blazer Dancer and mother of twins from Milwaukie battled on NBC's revived 'American Gladiators' to make it to the semifinals.
Her Cinescope shows, hands down, she's in it to win it - and not just for herself.
'Loyal Warriors believe that true success isn't worth having unless you can share it with your friends,' according to 'Cinescopes.'
Along with 'Braveheart,' 'Legends of the Fall' and 'Gladiator,' Carlson lists comedies 'Shanghai Noon' and 'Wedding Crashers,' giving her additional traits of an Invincible Optimist.
Famous Loyal Warriors: Coach Norman Dale in 'Hoosiers'; King Arthur in 'Camelot'
• Laura Fitzpatrick, founder and owner of Oh Baby lingerie shops
Cinescope: Passionate Maverick
Fitzpatrick has made her own fashion mark in Portland offering sexy and tasteful choices in comfortable retail spaces where shoppers won't blush, just like a Passionate Maverick.
They're 'like fish swimming against the current,' the 'Cinescopes' description says. 'They don't make trends, they set them.'
Fitzpatrick's cinematic favorites (including 'Chinatown' and 'Wag the Dog') reflect an inner drive, while a few thrillers ('Sexy Beast,' 'Les Diaboliques') belie a beguiling nature.
• Mark Lindsay, owner of Mark Lindsay's Rock and Roll Cafe, radio DJ, K-Hits (106.7 FM)
Cinescope: Existential Savior
In Lindsay's list of films such as 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Easy Rider,' 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' and '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Cinescopes finds an Existential Savior embarked on lifelong quest find the meaning of life and himself.
Existential Saviors are 'insightful heroes who must realize they have the power to make the world what they want it to be.' And they have all the tools they need - whether it's a saxophone, a DJ microphone or ruby red slippers.
Famous Existential Saviors: The Dude (Jeff Bridges) in 'The Big Lebowski'; Neo in 'The Matrix'
• Seth Sonstein, co-owner, Clinton Street Theater
Cinescope: Dedicated Idealist
Illustrating the Southeast Portland movie theater's commitment to independent films, Sonstein's list includes edgy director Gregg Araki's 'Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy,' 'Repo Man' and Kurosawa's classic 'Throne of Blood,' as well as 'Fletch' and 'Goodfellas' - straight Hollywood.
As a Dedicated Idealist, Sonstein is possessed of sure dreams, often loftier goals and an unflagging work ethic.
Famous Dedicated Idealists: Max ('I'm as-mad-as-hell') Schumacher in 'Network'; Peter Gibbons in 'Office Space'; Tess McGill in 'Working Girl'
For information and your own analysis, submit your list to www.cinescopes.com. The do-it-yourself book is available at bookstores.