What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten From A Movie?
“What movie advice changed you,” my friend asked.
For a moment, I thought. Then I squirmed. And just after that, I whined, “do I have to pick just one?”
What happened next was a mixture of nostalgia, laughter, occasional and thoughtful silence, and maybe even a tear or two. Movie quotes we love passed between us like a rich dessert you never want to end, and yet can’t stop eating.
These are just some of the movies that changed me. What movie changed you? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from a movie?
There Is No Spoon …
The guns. The glasses. The severely slick black outfits and groundbreaking fight scenes: When The Matrix debuted, it changed everything.
Yet, what lives on inside me today isn’t the action or the effects, it’s the philosophy.
The Oracle and her monks, Morpheus’ endless optimism, and Smith ranting about humans defining themselves through misery. It was another layer of perfection. Then Neo says it, while staring thoughtfully at a kitchen utensil, he says it, and I was transformed.
“There is no spoon.”
Ever since, whenever an impossible problem occurs, I tell myself, “there is no spoon.” And crazy as it sounds, it helps.
He’s Not Coming Back …
Seriously, this isn’t a love letter to Keanu Reeves. But what can you say, the guy is breathtaking. And he’s in exceptional films. Like Point Break.
Some might scoff at such a 90s inspired action romp dispensing meaningful guidance, and for the most part, they’d be right. But near the end of the film, when Johnny Utah lets his friend Bodhi paddle out to sea, he turns says to the furious police officer and says one of the most heartbreaking lines I’ve ever heard.
“He’s not coming back.”
That gets me every time.
Bodhi taught Utah to surf. And while that sounds silly; I guess you have to surf to get it. Or have had a friend. A real one. One you loved. One that left.
Before Utah infiltrated the clan of bank-robbing surfers — man that’s weird to write — he was a suit with goals. After skydiving, surfing, and just generally hanging out with Bodhi, Utah transforms. Bodhi, after all, means “awakening.”
“He’s not coming back” means, to me anyway, that some people come into our lives to teach us how to live. And we’d better listen because they won’t be around forever. No matter how much we want them to be.
Show Me …
And back to The Matrix. Is it any surprise, really? I mean, The Matrix … Keanu … joy!
In The Matrix, you acquire new skills by uploading them directly into your mind. Need to know how to fight? No problem, we have an app for that. Think flying a helicopter might come in handy? Only takes a second. Want to learn how to hotwire a motorcycle instantly? Cool, let me jack into that USB port in the back of your skull.
It’s exactly as cool as it sounds. Especially when The One turns to Morpheus after a marathon of education and says,” I know kung-fu.”
But that’s not even the best line. It’s what Morpheus says in return that makes the scene, and the memory.
To this day, every time I think I know something, I remember Morpheus. “Show me,” he says. Because if you can’t, then you don’t know.
It’s Only After You’ve Lost Everything…
Of all the memorable movie quotes, this is the scariest.
It’s from Fight Club, another 1999 masterpiece, the chemical burn scene to be exact. One of the best moments to ever grace cinema. It’s so perfectly timed, and so unlike anything else, it deserves its own film study. And it all works to deliver one of the most relevant lines:
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything, that you’re free to do anything.”
Throw it all away. Eliminate attachment. No more things. No more lives lived without scars. If you really want to do something special, you’re gonna have to get rid of everything holding you back.
If You Try And Run …
My best friend and I watched “From Dusk Till Dawn” with zero expectations. And were blown away.
Two brothers, career criminals, on the run from the law, happen upon a family traveling the country in an RV. And WHAM — vampires.
I don’t think I’ve been as surprised since. And not just because of the insanely fun plot, but because of the dialogue. Mad, witty, brash; and yet, somehow, fitting.
None of which stood out more, however, than this:
“If you try and run, I have six little friends who can all run faster than you can.”
It’s uncomplicated. Even absurd in its blatant truth. But it’s delivered in a way that makes it real. And whenever I think of quitting, I think of Seth holding a gun to my head, and no matter how fast I run, I can’t get away. So might as well stay and fight.
You Won’t Remember Me …
I had a friend once. Someone I cared for as much as myself. Maybe more. And it scared me.
And just like Mad Hatter at the end of Alice in Wonderland, I told her this painful truth.
“You won’t remember me.”
And I was right.
I have no doubt she remembers something, but it’s not the real me. Just how she’s created me to be. It’s a good reminder that no matter how much you love some people, no matter how much you do for them, they’ll forget.
Frodo Wouldn’t Have …
By the end of the final LOR movie, we learn who the real hero is, and it’s not Frodo.
Technically, maybe it’s not Sam either. Maybe the real hero in Lord of the Rings is the concept of genuine friendship. Frodo obviously couldn’t have done it without Sam’s heart and optimism, but Sam couldn’t have done it with someone who’s increasing brokenness caused him to rise to the occasion.
“Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam.”
Indeed. And none of us get anywhere without one, true friend.
We’re Here To Do The Job …
1408, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, is an underrated, totally rewatchable horror film with tons of one-liners. In fact, it was a toss-up between “we’re here to do the job, and we don’t rattle,” and “I lived the life of a selfish man, but I don’t have to die that way.” But after I really thought about it, “we’re here to do the job, and we don’t rattle,” takes up more space in my brain.
Every time I see that line, I think of ghosts. I imagine myself in a haunted house and wonder what I’d do. I see Stephen King’s “It” and remember that The Losers beat him by belief, not by strength or smarts or any of that, but by standing their ground.
Not fearless, of course. That’s psychotic. Don’t mistake “we don’t rattle,” for “we’re not afraid.” It’s not like that. Ghosts are scary. Cosmic, killer clowns are terrifying. Starting a business, going to a new gym, leaving on a mission trip; all these things are freaky as can be. And so what. Everyone is afraid. Do them anyway.
Do the job. The cold, calculating, heartless job, no matter the apparitions or old memories or horrendous possibilities. Do it in the face of — in spite of — the fear.
“We’re here to do the job, and we don’t rattle.”