Silver Linings

In 2015 many fantastic movies will be released, but Liam Neeson’s Taken 3 is not one of them. Even though I saw it at the theatre on half-price Tuesday, and saved two mortgage payments by sneaking in my homemade popcorn and coke, I still felt robbed.

This was the first time I’d seen an audience applaud credits. But like digging through the .99 cent DVD bin at Walmart, you can find something worthwhile if you’re willing to look hard enough.

Some of the worst movies I’ve ever watched have surprised me by revealing a gem of a life lesson hidden in the most messy places. Like watching a diamond jump out a pigs behind, or in this case Taken 3’s, you have no idea what it was doing in there. Here are 3 movie quotes which have given me amazing life lessons, wonderful silver linings in an otherwise tortuous experience.

Taken 3:
In the middle of this barbiturate mess, there is a car chase on the highway, bullets are flying and Brian Mills hijacks a police car. The officer who was forced to get out and put his hands on his head turns to Brian and tells him – you should turn yourself in and give up because this wont end well for you! To which Brian coolly and unexpectedly scoffs before driving off; “don’t be so pessimistic!”

This stuck with me. Sometimes when you’re trying to accomplish something great in life, against all odds, the ones who love and care about you the most give you advice based on their fears. They mean well but their advice would do you harm. As a kid I was an absolute fanatic for computers and wanted to learn everything I could about them. I locked myself up in my room read and learned.

My mom became fearful of this apparent obsession and tried to get me to stop, to ease up, to go outside and play like the other kids for fear of bad things happening to me. I built an awesome career in technology based on those formidable years and made my mom very proud in the process. Though I didn’t say it out loud, my rebellion against that advice said mom, “don’t be so pessimistic!”

Maid in Manhattan:
I still see a shrink for having sat through this movie. But after fighting to save their beloved hotel, the Maitre d’ (Bob Hoskin’s character) got fired. I remember one of the maids, played by J-Lo tried to console him. He said he was going to be alright and that he always wanted for many years to leave and start his own hotel but was too afraid to do so, and now he finally can, so getting fired was a good thing. But what he specifically said was “We often are forced into directions we ought to have found for ourselves.”

I’ll never forget this line. I’ve been in relationships I should have left eons ago but stayed, on jobs I should have walked away from and in all kinds of situations where I didn’t have the strength to leave until the door was actually closed in my face just so I could change direction to see the awesome gates of opportunity that awaited me, open like loving arms. So I know that beginnings are often disguised as endings, and that we should run to our new destinations so that our prize doesn’t disappear before we get there.

Big Trouble In Little Tokyo:

Ok, I’ll admit I actually liked this little B flick as a kid. Although it won’t win any oscar awards for deep plots and it only gets a 6 out of 10 on IMDB, where it scores a 10 is in its silver lining message. Dolph Lundgren’s character was talking to Tia Carrera, his love interest (and my love fantasy at the time), and he was praising her for making some noble decision. She didn’t feel so noble considering her motives were based on money. She told him “it’s harder to do the right things for the right reasons than you know”.

That was 15 years ago and I still always think about that scene and that message. It made the whole movie better to me. I think of scenarios like when a cashier overpays you at the register and you happen to have a lot of cash, you may opt to point out to her that she overpaid and feel like you did it because you’re honest and don’t want her to get in trouble at the end of the day.

But what happens when she overpays you but you’re dead broke? Many people would go “oh child, this is a gift from God.. thank you!” It’s easier for our actions to coincide with what is right if someone is watching or we won’t benefit otherwise, but what is your decision making process when it comes to doing something just because its the right thing to do, even if its not convenient or beneficial to you?

This scene made me go beyond looking only at people’s actions in isolation (including my own) to being more concerned about the motives behind these actions.

If you want to have richer life experiences, don’t ignore the silver linings, the gems that crappy movies or crappy life situations can hide. The crap will eventually go away but the gems will leave with them, unless you were smart enough to pick them out first.

“Good Luck!”

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