Five Ways Your Life Is Not Like the Movies

1.  Most Fights Never Last Beyond Two or Three Exchanges of Blows

If you base your idea of a fistfight on the fights staged in the movies, then the prospect of getting into a bar fight is almost epic.  The movies would have us believe that you can take five minutes of bone crunching punches in the face, the back of the head, a chair smashed across a back.  Reality comes crashing in when you realize that most (and I mean, even the really BIG motherfuckers out there) can only handle one or two of those hardcore face shots and that almost no one is powerful enough to break a chair over someone's head - chairs are made for fatasses to sit on - try to just break one over a window sill.  It ain't gonna happen.

A typical real world fight looks like a couple of seven year olds flailing around and wrestling, pulling hair, slapping, and lots of yelling.  And, honestly, drunk women are FAR more fierce than dudes.

2.  The Government is Not Organized Enough to Proliferate Major Conspiracies

In the Hollywood version of the World, the government is filled with brilliant strategists and evil geniuses who can plot complicated and sinister master plans - assassinations, effective wiretapping, jury-rigging, and global conspiracies.  In the real world, most government plots involve making you wait in long lines and losing your registration forms.  In the real world, the Brilliant Evil Congress is filled with Michelle Bachman and Todd Akin.

Reality is that the true power conspiracies come from the fabulously wealthy which is why they are so often defeated in the movies - they simply do not get defeated in real life but we feel like they do because Gordon Gecko went to jail so that's like justice right?

3.  Most Criminals, Welfare Recipients, and Drug Addicts Are Not Black

Seriously.  I think it's just bizarre to hear about how frightened white people are of black people given that it has been white people who have routinely brutalized, incarcerated, and lynched blacks.  How is it that we can be both the Centuries Old Bully AND the Victim?

Blacks in Hollywood are either criminals or Morgan Freeman (who started out on the Electric Company, got an Oscar playing a criminal and has since played the President, God, and Nelson Mandela.)  Reality is that more whites are criminals - from car thieves to Wall Street hedge fund managers - and more whites are on welfare and collect food stamps than blacks, browns or tans.  And all those black drug dealers wouldn't be in prison if their clientele weren't overwhelmingly white.

Remember, no one gave a shit about crack cocaine until it hit Iowa and there are only three black people in that entire state.

4.  Change - Real Change - Takes a Long Time

In the movies, a fat guy loses all his weight and looks like an Adonis after a three-minute montage.  In real life, it takes months, sometimes years, of discipline and denial and self control to lose a bunch of weight.  In the movies, if a President is handed one of the worst Recessions in 80 years, it will only take two hours in a fictional four years to effectively turn things around.  In real life, it takes longer than four years for a single college student to pay off his student loans.

Change that isn't merely cosmetic takes FAR longer than the movies would have us accept.  Which is why we have the collective patience of an ADHD four year old in a room full of Starburst Fruit Chews.

5.  Romantic Relationships Take Longer Than Two Hours to Grow

In the movies, a couple meets, falls in love, breaks up and gets back together in the span of 80 minutes. It fuels our desire for things to be perfect instantly (or at least within the first month).  In the movies, Lloyd Dobbler is a relentless romantic; in real life, he's a stalker.  In the movies, relationships end on a high note; in real life, relationships do not END.  Even when they self destruct, there is a constant dance around it for the rest of your life.

Real life is the melodrama of power dynamics, the missteps of unearned criticism and a dance of needs that simply never ends.  Sex is a transaction more often than not and love is something we all want so much in our lives that we'll make it up just so we don't have to sit in a room by ourselves, pining away to pictures of our infatuation having fun posted on Facebook.

Real life, like real romance, is just messier than the movies and takes a lot longer to work at than Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Dechanel.

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Honestly, the only filmmaker whose films even remotely resemble real life are those of Terrence Malick.  His films are longer than you thought they'd be and only make sense after thinking about them for a long time (and sometimes they don't make any sense at all but we'll kill ourselves imposing our own narrative on them because we can't stand chaos).  And they are mostly about how awful life is except for tiny moments of grace mingled in there amongst the chaos of nature and the brutality of the death sentence we all have on our ledgers from birth.