When I was growing up, I wished my life was like a movie. I remember watching films and thinking how amazing it would be if you really could transform from the ugliest girl in school into the prettiest by shaking out the ponytail and taking off the glasses.
I mean, think of all the body-image issues and eating disorders that would be cleared up if all you had to do to go from ugly duckling to swan was throw away the specs and ban the bun. (and wouldn’t it make a great episode of Extreme Makeover if, instead of the usual plucking, fat dumping and breast pumping, stylist looked contestants up and down and said “OK four-eyes, take off the glasses, shake out the scrunchie and we’re done!”)
Sadly, in real life, it doesn’t work that way.
But movies can also be dangerous and misleading for kids. When I was a teenager, I certainly wished fights were more like they were in the movies. In every action film, no matter how many villians are attacking the hero, they would always join the fight one at a time – as if they had taken a ticket at the deli counter and were waiting their turns. When my brother got into a fight (which was fairly often, mind), the other kids obviously hadn’t read their movie fight rules of engagement because they would all punch at the same time. That never happened to Jackie Chan.
And while I’m on the subject of high school, what about the prom? In movies, all dilemmas, problems and major storylines are always cleared up at the prom. Plus, I thought they must have had a prom every second week, yet I didn’t experience one single prom in my entire 6 years of high school. Sure we had Blue Light Discos run by the Victorian Police, but you couldn’t solve problems at Blue Light Discos.
But it’s not just on the big issues that movies are misleading – the small stuff always seems easier too. Phone calls seem much simpler. No time for hello or a chat, it is always straight to the point, then hang up – no need for ‘goodbye’ or ‘let’s talk in the morning’.
I would have been hopeless in a movie: “Well there you go, there’s all the important information you need to save the world, so I guess I should go then. No you hang up … no you hang up. OK, on the count of three, we’ll hang up together. 1, 2, 3 … You didn’t hang up!”
The same applies for catching taxis. In a movie, the hero can be in the middle of an intense chase, jump in a cab, shout “Follow that taxi”, and not only go the whole journey without once saying “So, have you been busy?” but always have the right amount of change for the trip. If it were me, I’d be chasing the baddie and when the cab pulled up, I’d suddenly have to say “Sorry mate. Can you change a $50?”
And in movies, if you can’t find a cab, then don’t worry. Because any movie hero (or villain for that matter) worth their salt can hot-wire any car, and have it started within three seconds.
I’m still constantly amazed by this, because I can’t start my car in less than a minute and I have the keys.
And don’t even get me started on movie musicals. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have been down at the local 7-11 and tried to start singing and dancing and, instead of joining in on the tune and choreography as they do in the movies (particularly the Bollywood variety), everyone else has just stared at me as if I was the crazy one.
It’s enough to drive you to drink. In fact, bartender, can I have a scotch on the rocks, please? Screw it, just leave the whole bottle. What do you mean you can’t just leave the whole bottle. They do it all the time in the movies!