I don’t have to tell you that movies are awesome. Chances are, unless your a tibetan monk, that you’ve seen your fair share of good films. Part of the reason that we like them so much is that they present us with a world better than our own. They give us a world where the news isn’t consumed by monotonous congressional proceedings, where everyone finds their one true love, a world where everything explodes in slow motion.
It’s not just movies either. The same thing goes for books, and TV, even ye olde theater. The only problem with this is it creates irrational and nigh on unreachable expectations. The fact is life is nowhere near as awesome as all those books and movies. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill aren’t going to shoot up your senior prom, Iron Man isn’t going to defend you from an endless horde of contextually ambiguous aliens, and you’re probably not going to answer an ad on craigslist to find yourself living in a dysfunctional loft and partaking in all sorts of shenanigans (Watch New Girl at 9/8c on Fox!).
Plays are the worst with this. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the idea of spontaneously bursting into exuberant song to express your discontent of the socioeconomic status of 17th century peasants living in industrialized paris, but it’s wholly impractical. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for plays (in fact I used to be in them), and I’ve recently gotten really into the Les Miserables soundtrack (shut up, I don’t care if “the french version is way better”), but as much as I like the notion, no one is going to stop in the middle of a battle so that you can “sing it out”, sorry Jean-Valjean, but you’re dead.
So what? Who cares if movies aren’t realistic? They’re movies, they’re job is to be interesting, not to be accurate. Maaatt!! Shut up, and let me finish. The real problem arises when we take the rules that movies live by, and we internalize them. Suddenly we start expecting too much out of life. We expect everyone to pay attention to us, and love us because in our minds we become the protagonist of our own little movie. We expect people to join us when we burst into passionate song in the middle of Tech Square, rather than looking at us like we have a mental illness. We expect to accidentally bump into Zooey Deschanel while trying to save a kitten out of a dumpster and immediately fall in love.
We live inside of this tiny little bubble (for the record, it’s a really nice bubble) in which we are the star, we are the center, and the world revolves around us (well really just me, no one cares about you). All of this is sustainable until we rub up against reality. We find that no matter how many cats you recklessly throw into dumpsters, we aren’t going to meet Zooey Deschanel (apparently she isn’t a cat-dumpster inspector, who’d have thought?). That’s when everything starts coming crumbling down. Everything collapses, we find out that the world doesn’t revolve around us, and in fact, the world doesn’t give two craps about who we are and where we’re from. And it is a bitch.
But that’s the real reason we so willingly accept these false expectations. We want to feel important, we want to matter, and if the world doesn’t already, then we’ll manufacture a world in which we do. And you know what, I like that world better. So, I’m gonna go back to listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack, and writing screenplays about my life, because I’m young, and hip and the world revolves around me gatdamnit! Vive La France!!