There’s a scene in Saving Private Ryan where Matt Damon’s character complains that he “can’t picture his brothers’ faces” anymore. Tom Hanks tells him, “You’ve got to think of a context. Think about something specific, something you’ve done together.” So Matt Damon thinks back, and recalls a story about him & his brothers making fun of his older brother for making out with an ugly girl.
The trick works in real life, too. In fact, whenever someone in the movies says, “I can’t even remember what so-and-so looked like,” I’m always tempted to shout at the screen: “THINK OF A CONTEXT!”
What uncommonly good advice have you learned from the movies?
Watch crop dusting biplanes carefully
If Ingrid Bergman says you get to choose, get on the #*~ing plane with her
Do not use the toilet of the dangerous man you are searching for, or if go you must, keep you firearm close to hand
Don’t get into a car with a man who is carrying cannoli
“One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.” – Guys and Dolls. I think of this whenever someone offers to bet me about something.
And of course,
“If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country’d be full of rich men and good-looking women… Too bad it isn’t that easy. In short, when someone else says you’re a writer, that’s when you’re a writer… not before.” – Hearts of the West.
Actually, I was hoping to hear examples of serious advice that you can apply on a daily basis (as opposed to never getting involved in a land war in Asia.) A strange thing to find in the movies, but that’s kinda my point.
“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” - she always called me Elwood - “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.” - Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey
I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, “wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?” So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.