CINEMATIC INSPIRATION: Pleny of life lessons learned from the seat of a movie theater

Mar 5 2012 - 10:58am


Illustration by WINNIE CHOW/Clearfield High School/
Illustration by WINNIE CHOW/Clearfield High School/

The whole point of the book, "How to Fight, Lie, and Cry Your Way to Popularity (and a Prom Date): Lousy Life Lessons from 50 Teen Movies," is stated in the title.

This witty little book goes through a list of popular teen movies, giving the basic plot along with snide comments about the impractical lessons people can learn from these films. With life lessons from movies ranging from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "Easy A," there's advice for every situation.

One favorite lesson comes from the 1999 movie "10 Things I Hate About You" -- "Money can buy you love. And it's even better if it's someone else's money."

Some of the advice in the 2011 book, published by Zest Books, is pretty accurate, but some of it isn't, so take what you read with a grain of salt. And don't take any of it too seriously! Like the advice from the 1976 movie "Carrie." The book says, "When girls are bullying you at school, solve the problem by killing them with your telekinetic powers, and then finish the job on your mom."

Even if your life sucks and your mom is controlling, it's not smart to kill everyone with your telekinetic powers.

From the movie "Twilight" we learn that, "It's OK to date a dead, murderous vampire so long as he's hot and has great hair."

Or from the 2004 hit "Mean Girls" comes this lesson: "The best way to take the popular girl down: Be more abusive than she is. Then apologize to the whole school and all will be well."

Author Nikki Roddy has looked past the clichA(c) love affairs and teen angst, which is what all teen movies are about, to find the simple albeit more cynical lessons these movies teach.

Besides the hilarious and slightly biting lessons from each film, there are also quotes or "sound bites" that emphasize the point that the author was trying to make. There are also steps that tell you exactly how to do what the character in the movie did, all presented in the satiric and comical manner that the rest of the book is written in.

After reading "How To Fight, Lie, and Cry Your Way to Popularity (and a Prom Date)," we were inspired to think about some lessons -- lousy and not -- from other teen movies we've seen.

"Labyrinth" (1986)

* It is possible to exchange unwanted siblings for an unwanted smoking hot stalker.

"An Education" (2009)

* Don't date men who are double your age with mysterious backgrounds.

* When everything seems lost, stop having a cry fest and fix it.

"Fame" (2009)

* Give up your childhood to have a snowflake's chance in heck of becoming a star.

"Dirty Dancing" (1987)

* Rich guys, that seem nice at the beginning, turn into jerks.

* Poor guys, with sweet dance moves, are jerks who turn into sweethearts.

"A Summer Place" (1959)

* Grown-ups are way more messed up than teens will ever be.

"Hairspray" (2007)

* Doesn't matter how you look as long as you can sing and dance.

"Romeo and Juliet" (1968)

* Don't act rashly.

* Don't take relationship advice from a celibate monk.

"Juno" (2007)

* When you get knocked up by your best guy friend, make sure you try not to break up the marriage of the adoptive parents you're giving your child to. Of course, if they get divorced anyway, make sure you're still supportive of them and your baby.

* Do this, and even though your step mom thinks you've been acting promiscuously, you'll end up happy and in love with your baby's daddy.

"Sydney White" (2007)

*  Living up to everything you ever dreamed about, including following in your deceased mother's footsteps, is overrated.

* When the sorority president hates you and doesn't make you a sister because of petty disagreements (and the fact that her ex is totally into you) make sure to sabotage her campaign for student body president. Land the boy and the president's office. How about them apples?

"Napoleon Dynamite" (2004)

* Nerds will rule the world, eventually at least.

* Don't forget to bust a sweet move when your buddy's election speech flops -- it'll win you respect and a standing ovation.

* When your hideous uncle destroys your friendship with the only girl in school that will talk to you, just point him in the direction of the local martial arts teacher.

* Make yourself a gad-dang cassadilla!

"Nacho Libre" (2006)

* If your boss won't give you the funds you need to make decent food, go out and fight for it -- literally.

* Even though you're breaking monastic laws, and you get in trouble for it, stick with your fighting career. It'll benefit you and your orphans in the long run. And hey, you'll also get the girl!

"Weird Science" (1985)

* When none of the girls at school will talk to you, date you or even acknowledge your existence, grab your best friend, a Barbie doll and your super computer and make a girl that only answers to your commands. Just make sure when you start taking her in public that she doesn't do anything too drastic, even if it does spell popularity for you.

"Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" (2008)

* When a mean girl dumps her rocker boyfriend, pick up the mixed CDs of his that she's also dropping in the trash. Her sloppy-seconds are far better than the jerk you're dating right now.

* When the three of you go to New York to chase you and new boyfriend's favorite band, make sure you leave the mean girl standing on the side of the road in the Lower East Side.

"13 Going on 30" (2004)

* Even though the popular girls have the nicest clothes and the hottest boyfriends, they're not always the best people to be with. In fact, your popular "friend" will lock you in a closet, steal your ideas and possibly wreck your life.

* To avoid all this drama, just admit it to yourself and your pudgy best guy friend that you're in love with him and live happily ever after.

Madison Ostberg is a junior at Bonneville High School. Email her at

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Abby Payne is a senior at Bear River High School. Email her at

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