"All of life's riddles are answered in the movies." - Steve Martin as Davis, Grand Canyon

Oct 31 2011

"That's part of your problem, you know - you haven't seen enough movies. All of life's riddles are answered in the movies." - Steve Martin as Davis, Grand Canyon

Some families follow pro sports teams and, through example, teach their children some very interesting curse words. Some families go camping - another fine opportunity to allow your children to overhear you shouting words you wish they didn't know that you know.
    In my family, it was always movies.
    Saturday mornings were spent doing chores, but Saturday afternoons were spent watching Cary Grant or Katherine Hepburn films on the local TV stations. If you stayed home sick from school, you watched movies all day. If one of us went to see a film and was dazzled or moved, we ran home to drag everyone else back to the theater to share it with them.
    It should come as no surprise that my family speaks in movie dialogue. It's a kind of shorthand we use with each other. This can lead to confusing situations when other people are around.
    For example, my mother and I both know that "Yes, have some!" accompanied by enthusiastic nodding is Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters when Annie Potts asks him if he wants a cup of coffee and Harold Ramis sternly advises, "Yes, have some." Rick's giddy mimicry has been adopted by the women in my family whenever we find ourselves too flustered to think clearly and start asking for advice on the smallest decisions.
    "Do I want sprinkles?"
    "Yes, have some!"
    To strangers around us, we look and sound insane.
    It's a shame when so many of these bits of life wisdom go unnoticed by those around us, because by watching generations of mistakes made by fictional characters onscreen, we've avoided making some of those mistakes ourselves. For example...
    - If your boss breaks her leg skiing, you don't have to lie about who you are to get your ideas heard or Harrison Ford to love you.
     - If someone asks you if you want to go see a real, live dinosaur on a remote island, say no.
    - Always take the bigger boat. Always, always, always.
    The world seems to be full of those horrid little books of "365" such-and-such to "get you through the year". 365 Inspirational Quotes! 365 Inspirational Biblical Quotes! 365 Inspirational Biblical Quotes with Pictures of Kittens! 
    We've evolved so far as a species. Can't we do better?
    The answer is yes, and here's a fine place to start. From time to time - I could promise you specific output, but as soon as I make that promise, something will happen that prevents it, so let's just hope for the best, shall we? - I'll select a film quote that I feel teaches something everyone should know about life. It might cause you to reflect deeply, or laugh deeply, or roll your eyes clear into the back of your skull. It might remind you of a film you loved that you haven't seen in years, or might cause you to add something new to your "need to rent that" list.
    And if you stop by with the kids, the actors will be doing the cursing. Mostly.

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