Most movies make me very frustrated. Don’t confuse this with not enjoying them, I frequent the movies as often as possible. I’ve found it’s one of the few activities where I can “relax” pretty easily. When at the movies I am forced to not check email for an extended period of time and my mind can’t easily wander back to it’s usual pathways, it’s a nice reprieve from my regularly scheduled life.
What frustrates me about the movies is the disconnect they present between the stores they tell and reality (be it past, present, or future). I’m not so much irked by the fact that they present a disconnect, but more based on the fact that I fear at no point in my life will I have the opportunity to remotely come close to experiencing what they present. Alright, I could probably model my life such that I’d have the equivalent of a background role in a film like Superbad, but focusing on any serious movie that potential drops to near zero. Take Oblivion, a film I saw this weekend. Two of the primary characters in the film live in a clear house in some picturesque location above the clouds. I would like to live in a glass house, I’m willing to give up the large (also clear) pool and lofty location but these two compromises don’t make it any more likely to happen. I’d even settle for the simple things, like a clear door that slides open when I touch it or windows that don’t have fake panes or unsightly rails / sashes around them.
Yes, I know this movie is set in the future and things are always super in the future, but who’s doing anything to make future a reality? I suspect most people, myself included, are just sitting down and consuming these movies than carrying on with our fairly uninspiring lives. Lately I’ve been “reflecting” back on the folks I graduated high school with (reflecting may be a nicer way of saying researching vigorously) seeing what people are up to. In time I’ll probably execute the same queries against my college class, though I know far fewer of them.
Most of the top 15% of my high school class seems to have done a good job settling into a fairly stable life path with little hope of having an objectively substantial impact on any large environment. I don’t doubt these people have the potential, if they aren’t already, to become top performers in their fields or personal lives, but the vast majority of these fields have existed for decades and will, in all likelihood, continue to do so rather unchanged into the future as well. Teachers seem like a good example of this. I’m not sure if they just complain a lot more or have more time to use social media, but I feel I hear from a sizable majority of up-and-coming teachers. I think it’s great that you’re feeling called to work with the youth of the world to make them smarter or something like that, but do you really feel the model of doing so in a classroom of 20-40 students that’s used 9/12 moths of the year is really the way to do that at scale? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything ghastly wrong with the current model, there’s just substantial room for the kind of improvement best classified as a paradigm shift and not something sponsored by the PTA as an after school activity.
I get frustrated when I review my life thus far and conclude that I’ve not done enough to make tomorrow happen. It’s really easy to sit back with a kids pack of popcorn and enjoy the movie, letting yourself be entertained for a few hours instead of doing something hard to make that entertainment more like a reality.