Today I will be analyzing important life lessons that awful movies and television shows unintentionally taught me.
First, Spider-Man 3.
Official Synopsis: A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.
Lessons Learned: Many people blame the strutting emo Peter Parker scene and convoluted plot structure for what made this film come off so flat. I would disagree. Instead, I would suggest that the film fundamentally fails because it traces all of Peter’s actions back to this evil alien slime of doom from outer space. They are not a result of his own deep-rooted faults. Everything that goes wrong is because “the aliens made him do it.”
Where is the opportunity for true growth as a character if the character’s doing just fine until the slime takes control? The most recent Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader suffers from the same problem. It’s that darn green mist that causes Caspian and Edmund to fight, not their lingering sin nature and character flaws.
All this is to make the point that we so readily blame our own fallenness and need for redemption on some external force. Rather than face the issue and resolve it, we point fingers. And for those who point fingers, this guy has a few words to say to you. Click to view video (starts at 0:38).
Here is where I will contradict myself. The movie does show that Peter has faults outside of those caused by the slime, however they aren’t aggression and emo haircuts. Instead, they are the smug way he interacts with people, his sense of entitlement, and the belief that he is invulnerable.
Regardless of how well or poorly these scenes were written, when Peter Parker doesn’t care about MJ’s struggles, fails in proposing to her, and kisses Gwen in front of everyone, the film clearly communicated to me that when everything appears to be going swell, that’s when we should be the most careful.
I often struggle with believing that the goal in life is to have “arrived” and have all of my life figured out. Popularity/loved by Everyone? Check! Hot girlfriend? Check! In a dream job? Check! I’m obviously now immune from having to face any struggles ever again for the rest of my life.
So when I do feel like things are going well, Spider-Man 3 taught me to “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Believing ourselves to be invulnerable can hurt those around us more than we know. Peter slapped his girlfriend in public for crying out loud.
One final take away is that difficulties in life are a blessing in disguise. Peter in Spider-Man 2 could honestly say that his life wasn’t too great, but he had people he genuinely cared about who cared about him. This kept him straight and shaped him as a person more than he could see at the time.
Next, the Naked Brothers Band.
Official Synopsis: The Naked Brothers Band is an American musical comedy series created by Polly Draper. The show depicts the daily lives of Draper’s sons, who lead a fictional world-renowned rock band from New York City.
Lessons Learned: This show was quite possibly the bane of my existence for its short run on air. Following a made-for-TV movie that was equally as awful, the show chronicles Nat and Alex Wolff’s lives as “””Rock Stars.””” I had to use multiple quotes because it is a term I’m sure the stars and only the stars of the show would refer to themselves as. Much to my chagrin, the show’s debut saw Nickelodeon experiencing its highest ratings in seven years.
The premise of the show is innocent enough. Nat and Alex, while not the most talented, are not trying to rival Rebecca Black. What really gets me about this show is the size of the kids’ egos. We’re talking planet-sized here. Going for a faux-reality show style only comparable to Jersey Shore, the two stars use every opportunity they can to capitalize on drama.
If the kids were in their late teens, although still rather unbearable, the drama would come across as at least slightly believable. However, the problem is that Nat was only 12 and Alex only 9 when the series premiered. Yet, despite their age, they seem to have bought into the same lie that our pal Peter Parker did that they had “arrived” and the world belonged to them. Such self-misconceptions ooze throughout their songwriting.
This is what made the show so exceptionally irksome. These prepubescent kids were creating drama for themselves. This drama stemmed from their own immaturity, and yet their ego told them that they were mature enough and famous enough to deal with it.
Nat’s love interest Rosalina, who happens to be two years older than him, has got Nat in the friendzone. So much of the shows drama stems from this one point, and it is reinforced over and over again how immature Nat really is in how he treats her. She is the one thing standing in his way from “arriving.” The kids viewing the show are going to see someone their age facing relationship drama in a fictional setting and wrongly feel equipped to do the same.
My point here is that so much drama in our lives could be avoided if we were mature enough to accept that we don’t need to deal with it. When in the heat of the moment, every situation seems like either the end of the world or the last step necessary to “arrive.” The circumstances may be exaggerated in the show, but the same issue still applies.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to step back from the drama we’ve created, honestly ask ourselves if the drama is necessary at our current level of maturity, and determine what the best way to diffuse it is. Giant explosive confrontation might make great television (or subpar in this case), but can be incredibly damaging and hurtful in real-life.
So that’s all for this week, sorry for skipping one. I’m going to try and keep these blogs on a regular basis. If you happen to have an idea for something you want me to analyze, feel free to leave a comment or zip me an email. They’re always much appreciated.