Things That I Learned at the Movies


1. “Ignorance is bliss.” The Matrix - Joe Pantoliano (Cypher)

In The Matrix, Cypher and multiple other crew members of his ship, were awakened from an induced state of sleep to find out that the world that they were living in was a lie, and that the real world was a much more unpleasant and dangerous place. He longs for the time when he didn’t know the truth. Sometimes the truth is infinitely more painful, than living in a fantasy. Ignorance is bliss.

2. “Sometimes when you win, you really lose. Sometimes when you lose, you really win. Sometimes when you win, you really tie. And, sometimes when you tie, you really win or lose.” White Men Can’t Jump – Rosie Perez (Gloria Clemente)

Gloria was trying to get her boyfriend to see that every action that you take affects someone or something else. Some results are obvious and intended, but occasionally they have negative, unintended affects too. Her boyfriend had lost substantial amounts of money playing basketball, despite being great at it. He finally came through on his promise to win money in the game, but found her gone when he came home. He won the game, but lost his girl. You can yell at your boss in staff meetings, sleep with his wife on his desk, and pee on the carpet in his office, but you probably will not keep your job. So, unless you are waiting on a hefty inheritance, you should thoroughly think through the repercussions of your behavior before you do anything. Sometimes, your first instinct is not the best one.

which brings me to my next point…

3. “Always listen to the woman.” White Men Can’t Jump – Wesley Snipes (Sidney Deane)

Gloria told her boyfriend countless times that she wanted him to listen to her. She was patient and careful with his many missteps, but he did not understand what she said until it was too late. In general, men and women think and behave differently. Men behave more impulsively and are much less likely to plan an action. Women are more intuitive and have great insight into situations. They are more likely to have a plan before they do anything. Because of this, men should always listen to the woman.

4. “Here’s the deal, I’m the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.” Talledhega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby – Will Ferrell (Ricky Bobby)

If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. Plain and simple. Everyday that you are here, you should be ready to take on the world because you believe in you.

5. “Sharpness is a state of mind.” Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Chow Yun-Fat (Li Mu Bai)

Any battle that you fight, whether physical or mental, starts with you. You have to be mentally prepared for the obstacles that will stand in your way, instead of counting on outside sources to help you succeed. Li Mu Bai was teaching his young, martial arts pupil that her weapon should be an extension of her own voracity in combat, not the source of it. Similarly, any success that you have will come from your attention to detail and persistence towards a goal and not from anywhere else.  

6. “You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.” The Matrix – Lawrence Fishburne (Morpheus)

The only thing that can stop you from accomplishing everything that you have dreamed of, is you. Once you believe that something is possible, it becomes possible. Fear stunts our ability to succeed in our professional and personal lives.

I’m guessing there was a pretty bad choice here.

7. “We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.” The Matrix – Gloria Foster (the Oracle)

This statement ties into following your most base instincts and into metacognition. The Oracle is telling Neo, that his decision has already been made, but that he will not know how to proceed until he understands why his decision was made. In essence, she was saying to trust your intuition, but to understand why your choice was made before you act on it.

8. “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” Fight Club – Edward Norton (nameless narrator)

Life is short. Wasting your time in a fruitless job, talking to people that you abhor, and waiting for some miracle to happen is foolish.

9. Never watch a chick flick with your girlfriend.

This isn’t a quote, but it is the truth. If you enjoy the movie more than she does, you will never live it down. She will ostracize you publicly and emasculate you whenever possible. And she should. On a completely unrelated subject, see The Notebook. It’s awesome!*

10. “Every man dies, not every man truly lives.” Braveheart – Mel Gibson (William Wallace)

Do the things that will make you happy. Try to vacation, raise a family, party away a decade. You are only here for a little while, make good use of your time.

11. “Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” The Dark Knight – Michael Caine (Alfred)

You need to know who you’re dealing with at all times. There are people that are not happy unless they see you suffer. There are people that only in function well in chaos. Recognize them quickly and keep them at the appropriate distance. They show up in all facets of your life, like work and in romantic relationships. Always seek to understand who you are talking to first, because a person’s desire fuels their actions.

12. In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women. Scarface – Al Pacino (Tony Montana)

Get your priorities in order. Before you start chasing the opposite sex, find a way to make some money and make a name for yourself. If you work hard to be the best at what you do, you will succeed. Once you are paid and respected, the women will come.

 

*The awesomeness of this movie is completely dependent on your own personal awesomeness and not on the personal preferences of the author.
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*Bonus quote – You can put a cat in the oven, but that don’t make it a biscuit. White Men Can’t Jump – Wesley Snipes (Sidney Deane)
What you get out of a situation depends on what was put in it.

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