Life Lessons on Film – By Brian Morton

You know, sometimes I catch my wife just looking at me, and I ask…naturally…"What The Hell Are You Looking At??", and she usually replies with something along the lines of, ‘I’m just wondering what makes a man like you, a man like you.’ Of course, what she usually actually says it something like "I’m just sitting here wondering what the hell is wrong with you?", but I know what she means. But, this got me to thinking, why am I the way I am? So, I decided that a little soul-searching was in order, and after a long and thoughtful ten minutes or so, I discovered that most of what makes me the man I am today, has to do with the movies I watched as a kid. I know most men will tell you that it was their fathers who influenced them the most in life, but, I have to admit, my father and I get along as well and oil and water. It was the movies that influenced me the most in life. Now, I know there’s a lot of you out there going "Awww, poor Brian" but, let me just say this, in the most kind and gentle way I can "Shut It!!!"

So, let’s get to the teaching, I learned pretty early on that the strong should take care of the weak, and I learned this from Adam West as Batman. Batman had it all, he was rich, he had cool gadgets, the chicks dug him and yet he used his powers to defend the weak and defenseless. As a child, sitting in front of my tube, this made a lasting impression on me and I still believe that you shouldn’t bully people smaller than you and you should always do you best to help the helpless. Thanks, Batman

But, I also learned that there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. You should never let somone who’s bigger than you win just because they’re bigger or outnumber you. I was a little older when I learned this lesson, but it’s an important lesson nonetheless. I learned this from a little movie I like to call Mad Max. I like to call it Mad Max because if I called it Battle Beyond The Stars, you’d rent a completely different movie! Max was just a hard working cop in a world that was coming apart around him, but still he believed in law and order…until the day the bad guys went too far. When the bad guys hurt his family, Max gets Mad…hence the title. Max doesn’t cross the line until the line is crossed for him, but once crossed Max sets out to win at any cost, and if you’ve seen the movie you know, HE WINS. And if you haven’t seen this movie, where have you been? Under a rock? Mad Max teaches us the second most important guy rule of all: Never Let The Bastards Win! Thanks to you, Maxwell!

Now, the next lesson you can learn from anyone. Now, this might seem a little simple, but let me show you an example. Who would think that even Jason Voorhees would teach me a life lesson? Well, he did. After seeing most of the Friday The 13th movie series, I learned that it’s important to be your own man. Never be a ‘momma’s boy’. You see, Jason was a wimp, a, pardon the expression, girly man. His mom wouldn’t even let him go to camp alone, and when something happened, mommy came in and started killing counselors. Nothing is more embarassing for a young boy than to have his mommy fight his battles. Well, after mom is gone, Jason blooms. He becomes a big strong, unstoppable monster. Now, this kind of conflicts with lesson one, but if you stop short of killing camp counselors for fun, you can learn from Jason to be your own man. So, from Jason we learn two lessons, be your own man, and never think that you can’t learn a lesson from a person just because they’re a giant malformed killer mongoloid!

Our next lesson comes from a movie that made us believe that a man could fly. What? You don’t believe that? Well, then you’ve probably never seen Superman or Superman 2! Because I saw them and I believed. But, flying aside, there’s a couple of important lessons to learn from these movies. First, you don’t see Superman running around telling everyone how great he is. In fact, Supes does the opposite! Teaching us that most important thing isn’t the glory, doing the right thing should be it’s own reward. Also, in case you forgot, Superman gives up his powers for love, with dire consequences to the world and then has to struggle across harsh terrain to get his powers back. This taught me that if you have a duty you should honor that commitment. So, from what seems like just another comic book movie, I took away humility and honor, not too bad for a comic book movie, eh??

And the last lesson that we should all learn is that you’re never too old to learn. They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but trust me, speaking here as an old dog myself, I learn new tricks every day! And, no, I didn’t learn this from Benji or Lassie, I just figured them out for myself. So, the next time someone tells you to stop wasting your time watching that movie, just tell them that you’re not just watching, you’re learning. I take great pride in the fact that I’ve watched a lot of movies in my time! Movies were my friends when I didn’t have a lot of friends and I’ve never turned my back on them! And my wife understands, movies aren’t my life, it’s an addition to my life, it helps me get through the tough times and they’re always there. When I have a bad day or just don’t feel like dealing with reality, movies are there to hang out and, if I’m lucky, teach me a life lesson that I can carry with me!