Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned From Watching Movies

Over at the Daily Post, Anna Fonté – who blogs at girl in the hat, and it’s a terrific blog you need to add to your blogroll RIGHT NOW – is hosting this week’s writing challenge, and she’s come up with an outstanding one that’s right in my wheelhouse. In “Listing Towards Something,” Anna challenges us to make a list, a random list, but to transcend that list in the numerical or orderly format that lists usually fall into. By digging deeper into the list, we mine more into the story we’re searching for.

Challenge accepted.

Lists are a big deal for me. As an obsessive list-maker, lists chronicle important aspects of my life, and the obsessive qualities that I carry with me throughout my life. As an example, this coming Friday the 30th will be the first in a series of list-type blogs in which I’ll countdown a favorite thing of mine (favorite film, book, music, etc.), and document what each item on that list means and how that item has impacted me. This Friday the 30th will feature Part One of “101 Favorite Films: #101-91. Stay tuned.

I wrote “Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned From Watching Movies” as a way to describe a few personal tenets I’ve picked up along the way in my journey through life. Thoughts about taking principled stands, falling in love, having a personal philosophy, things of such nature, I’ve found that several of my favorite films echo these very same sentiments.

Here now, is a list of personal tenets and philosophies that I’ve learned just from watching movies.

Enjoy.

 

ON DOING WHAT’S RIGHT

“Just get up off the ground, that’s all I ask. Get up there with that lady that’s up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won’t just see scenery; you’ll see the whole parade of what Man’s carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so’s he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That’s what you’d see. There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that’s what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we’d better get those boys’ camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it’s not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here; you just have to see them again!”

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

 
ON RACISM

“All right, we’ll give some land to the n*****s and the c****s, but we DON’T WANT THE IRISH!”

Blazing Saddles (1974)

 
ON DIVERSITY

“I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”

Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

 
ON LOVE

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

 
ON REKINDLING AN OLD FLAME

“Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now… Here’s looking at you kid.”

Casablanca (1942)

 
ON REGRET

“You don’t understand! I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

On The Waterfront (1954)

 
ON FINDING THE RIGHT CAREER

“It’s important to have a job that makes a difference, boys. That’s why I manually masturbate caged animals for artificial insemination.”

Clerks (1994)

 
ON BEING FED A LINE OF HORSESHIT

“Well, I’ve been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones!”

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb (1964)

 
ON PHILOSOPHY

“Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. [pause] Goodnight.”

Bull Durham (1988)

 

ON BUSINESS SAVVY

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

– The Godfather (1972)

 

ON THE BANALITY OF EVIL

“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 (2008)

 

ON LIVING UP TO THE EXPECTATIONS SET BY OTHERS

“This never happened to the other fellow.”

– On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

 
ON SPONTANEITY

“Let’s just say we’re taking a flying fuck at a rolling donut.”

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

 
ON SEX

“I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school!”

Fight Club (1999)

 
ON THE MEANING OF LIFE

“Vice, Virtue. It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much *life*. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully.”

Harold and Maude (1971)

 
ON DEATH

“I’m obsessed with uh, with death, I think. Big – big subject with me, yeah. I have a very pessimistic view of life. You should know this about me if we’re gonna go out. You know, I – I feel that life is – is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. Those are the two categories, you know. The – the horrible would be like, um, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. You know, and the miserable is everyone else. That’s – that’s – so – so – when you go through life – you should be thankful that you’re miserable because you’re very lucky to be miserable.”

Annie Hall (1977)

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5 thoughts on “Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned From Watching Movies

  1. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge: List Lesson | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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