Tuesday, December 15, 2015

At the Movies: 5 Lessons from "The Good Dinosaur"

Christmas is the best time of the year for movies, true or false? If you said false, you're wrong. Summer is close second, if you thought that - but no one beats Christmas. And truth be told, I'm probably going to spend most of my paycheck at the movies this Christmas. Judge me. Don't care.

I know I've already talked about "CREED", but today I wanted to talk a little about "The Good Dinosaur".  It is BY FAR one of the most stunning visual experiences I've ever had. It blows "Avatar" out of the water. Kudos, snaps, and high fives to whoever animated it. So awesome.

"The Good Dinosaur" introduces us to a world where dinosaurs are still living. The main character is  Arlo. And "The Good Dinosaur" is about Arlo, who, by mistake, goes on an epic journey - and finds out what he's made of along the way.

It's definitely a kids movie, but I think there are a few important lessons to be learned from kids movies. Here's a few I picked up while watching this one:

1// "It's never fair."

Whether we're talking about life in general, the ending of a sports game, or playing cards with your niece (who totally cheats..she's 8..it's fine, I'm fine.) - it's never exactly fair. Nothing will ever come out 50-50. Someone will always put in more effort, someone will always put in less. It doesn't mean that you stop trying or count yourself out - it just is what it is. And then you wake up do it all again the next day..because life is too cool not to.

2// "You don't know until you try."

You learn very quickly that Arlo is a little afraid, of everything. His father, like many fathers, tries to figure out a way to "rid" Arlo of the fear that infuses his life. There's a wonderful scene in which Poppa wakes Arlo up in the middle of the night and has him follow him outside. Poppa has Arlo follow him into deep grass, and shows him the fireflies that are heavy in the area. And then he tells Arlo: "You have to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side." We are all always quick to run when fear has us in it's clutches, but if we do - we may miss out on something way better. There is always something better than fear - we just have to find the guts to stick around and see it.

3// "Sometimes you choose your family."

Arlo has a great family. The strong father, the kind mother, the rambunctious older brother and sister. He's got it made. But you know how Pixar/Disney movies work..something happens, and Arlo is forced on a solo adventure. Not exactly something he planned, and while he didn't plan it - it happens to be exactly what he needs. Sometimes people are put into your life exactly when you need them, and they become your family. You're never far from those who birthed and fed and raised you, but sometimes others are needed. Needed to grow and change you into the person you need to be - and they become your other family. The family you chose. Your tribe.

4// "You fight like hell or you lose."

On said journey, Arlo encounters several battles. Battles with bigger dinosaurs, with dinosaurs that do not have good intentions, and battles within himself. He's forced to see what he's made of in very real situations, and comes to the fact that you have to fight. You have to fight or you will lose. There are winners and there really are losers in this life. I know that your 4th grade teacher or your grandmother won't tell you that you can lose, but I will. And you're to blame for losing. It's not something you can sugar coat, but it is something you can beat. You never lose if you try. The attempt is always better than losing.

5// "Never eat rotten berries. You will go on an acid trip."

His journey has very real things that you can take from it. Things you should learn in your life, but there is also some very funny parts. Ones that remind you that not everything is serious, and that, like in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" - laughter is a way to get rid of the darkness. It's fully ready for use in your arsenal, and you should use it..often.

One last thing..it doesn't really fit into the lessons theme. One quote that stood out to me was one that Arlo's Poppa said to him. He says "you are me, and more." It's something my father has said to me, in one way or another. It's a reminder that you are the good things in those that you look up to, but you're also some things yourself. You see things in other that you wish you were yourself, but there's always going to be a situation that you're forced into - that reveals that very thing you wish you had. 

Be brave, friends. Don't forget - you are me, and more.


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