We all know there’s a LOT of rubbish on screen these days, endless hours of dross that can slowly sap the viewer’s brain juices dry.
Unfortunately, if you can’t live without your Netflix and spend a large part of your week enjoying the gogglebox, chances are at some point in life someone has passed negative judgement on how you spend your free time. ‘They’, these harbingers of TV related doom, will tell all who listen that too much screen time will destroy brain cells, filling those left with useless drivel.
But is it truly useless? Can films and TV teach you anything of note?
Well, of course they can but I’m not talking about the wonderful array of documentaries, natural history series and those dedicated to education in general. I mean life lessons gleaned from entertainment – tips and tricks you draw on in real life, thanks to blockbuster movies and your TV heroes!
There are many quotes and catchphrases that can happily be pulled out from entertainment, in relation to a particular scenario – Forrest Gump’s ‘Life’s not a box of chocolates‘ is always helpful and thanks to the Ghostbusters, knowing that you ‘don’t cross the streams‘ has… well a myriad of uses!
My list, however, contains some personal tips I use to get through life that I wouldn’t have learned had it not been for seeing them on screen. (Okay, there’s one on the list that I was intelligent enough to work out by myself, honestly…)
Oh, and I’ve scored them, because…well I wanted to. So I give you, my entertaining education!
LESSONS IN… STRESS RELIEF.
Michael Bay may not be the director that springs to mind when it comes to anti-stress, seeing as his films are generally a fast-paced, extravaganza of explosions and fighting! However, in 1995, a certain Bad Boy had many of us reaching for our ear-lobes, uttering the the words, ‘Woosaaah’ in an attempt to calm our nerves.
And it works! Ear reflexology is totally a thing and, especially in children, is a sure fire way to soothe away your grumbles. I think the breathing associated with woosah-ing must also be a factor but whatever the reason, give it a try next time you feel like everything is getting on your nerves!
Life Skill Effectiveness: 3/5
LESSONS IN… RELAXATION.
There’s clearly something about being a heroic, law enforcer and needing to let off steam. Or your shoes…
Yes, I am of course talking about Bruce Willis and his fabulous portrayal of John McClane in Die Hard. Upon reaching the Nakatomi Plaza, one of the first things he does is kick off his shoes and socks, sinking his bare feet into the deep pile carpet.
Making fists with his feet relaxed him after his flight and made him seem so much more badass when he was running around barefoot, stopping Alan Rickman (RIP) from blowing the place up!
It works, although not as well as the ear lobes. But it feels lovely, and is a rite of passage when a new carpet is laid. And if you’re wearing a vest at the same time, you can pretend to save the world…
Life Skill Effectiveness: 2/5
LESSONS IN… FIRE SAFETY.
Not being a camper, or an arsonist, I’ve never had to light my own fire and therefore knowing how to ‘read’ the flames is not something I’d be familiar with.
However, thanks to the undead, specifically The Walking Dead, I now know whether a fire is in full burn or on its way to fizzling out. According to Carol, black smoke = still burning, white smoke = fire’s dying out.
Now, I know what you outdoor folk are going to say. I’ve looked into the scientific accuracy of this and it seems it’s not 100% true because the material burning can effect the colour of smoke. But, from a basic knowledge point of view, it works for me… for all those times I need to know the life expectancy of a fire…
Life Skill Effectiveness: 3/5
Another, probably better, fire-related skill I learned from film was to being aware of backdrafts, from…erm…Backdraft!
Despite training at school and visits from our local fire department, the lessons served by De Niro, Kurt Russell and William Baldwin, about checking the backs of doors with your hand to see how hot it was, have stuck with me far more.
Life Skill Effectiveness: 4/5
LESSONS IN… SCIENCE.
Sitting in a caravan, looking out at some grazing cows, a young priest makes a surprising discovery. Or so he thinks…
Cue Father Ted and his lesson to teach Dougal about visual perspective!
Okay, so this one I worked out by myself – I’m fully aware of the difference in size of a toy and a real world equivalent! But I have used it several times as a means to explain the idea to children and how the eye perceives things.
So, for ongoing use as a teaching tool…
Life Skill Effectiveness: 4/5
LESSONS IN… ETIQUETTE.
I learned my manners from a very early age. I knew how and when I should speak in different situations and developed a ‘telephone voice’ around the age of 5, being quite capable of taking and passing on messages for the family.
Similarly, I knew how to behave in public and how to dress appropriately for the occasion. However, one thing I never learned, was which cutlery went where. Not beyond the basic fork, knife and spoon. In fact for years, I found it very odd when I saw someone eat cake…with a fork!
In my defence, I had no need to know beyond the basic implements as a child: it wasn’t until years later I would eat in restaurants that offered a selection of silverware.
Thank goodness then, for Pretty Woman!
(Geeky side note…how did we ever watch anything in standard def?!)
Julia Roberts’ etiquette training as Vivian has come in quite useful for me over the years and is my number one skill learned from the screen. Although I don’t count the number of prongs on a fork before selecting the correct one, I do, still, mentally remind myself to work ‘from the outside, in’ so as not to make a faux pas!
Somebody perhaps needs to tell me not to tuck my napkin into my collar though…
Life Skill Effectiveness: 5/5!
So what skills have you learned from TV or film? Are there subjects you were never sure about / dare not broach, only to have your prayers answered by on-screen stars?
Let me know in the comments and as always, thanks for reading! 🙂
Image Credits: YouTube, andertoons.com, Huffington Post, walkingdead.com, giphy.com and memegenerator.