Student shares lesson cult classic films have taught


*Spoiler alert*

As an average high school student, and a more-than-average angsty teen, I know first hand how hard our lives can be. We have so many expectations. All we want is to live like a slogan on a Forever 21 tee, “eat, sleep, repeat.” That would be the life, but that is not the case for most of us. I’m up to my neck in school work every week, they recently shut down Club Penguin and I’m so emotionally unstable that one wrong look makes me re-evaluate every life choice I’ve ever made. Somewhere along the line, society made it unacceptable to show everyone how crazy you actually are, but I say we end this. I take comfort in the fact that almost everyone around me is also dealing with problems similar to mine — what can I say, misery loves company. As humans, our struggles make us more approachable. Despite what your Instagram bio says, I know you’re not “running through the six with your woes,” but that’s OK. You don’t have to pretend like everything’s fine and dandy anymore, because in these next few paragraphs, I will have hopefully changed your life from a mess to no stress. The secret: cult classic films.


I believe it best to watch at least one cult classic a week. I like to think of it as a new juice cleanse that will clear my head in preparation for the hectic days to come — it’s almost therapeutic. Cult classics are similar to Shakespearean English in that they are quite confusing for the inexperienced. To understand their teachings you must read between the lines, and I am here to provide you with my interpretation.


Isn’t it just the worst when you get caught in a case of mistaken identity resulting in a man peeing on your rug? Well if you ever find yourself dealing with a similar problem, look to The Dude. He has shown us how to react in this very common situation. The Big Lebowski is full of suspicious characters, and somehow the most reliable one is a 48-year-old, laid-back stoner who likes to bowl and refers to himself as The Dude. Throughout the movie, blackmail, scams and lies all test him. Remarkably, he manages to overcome every one, even making a baby in the process. Throughout all the ups and downs, he always ends up back at the beginning, sitting in a plastic orange chair at Hollywood Star Lanes, a White Russian in hand. The Dude doesn’t stress, because he knows who he is. Even when the world around him is mass chaos, he will always be there for himself, because The Dude abides no matter what.


The only thing in your life that is truly constant is the fact that you’re pretty much stuck with yourself for the rest of your life. Once you learn to love yourself, you’re set for life. Well actually that isn’t the case. last I checked, self-confidence isn’t a sustainable food source. You’ll still need things like money and a job. This brings us to our next lesson. Don’t let the man get you down. Before I get ahead of myself, I would like to clarify who “the man” is. Your parents, legal guardians, teachers, etc. are not “the man.” You can’t just tell your teacher you’re not taking the test because the test “gets you down.” That’s not how this works. When I say “the man” I’m talking about the people in your life who are not necessary for your survival or education. For example, your Spanish partner is “the man,” your siblings or second cousins could be “the man” and the clerk who tells you that you took too long to return the shoes and now you’re stuck with them is “the man.” These people are just extras to your leading role, so don’t let them out-shine you.


A great man — I use “great” loosely — once said, “You gotta do what [insert your name] wants to do, man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get, the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” Granted, that man was Wooderson, a 20-something-year-old burnout from Dazed and Confused, who still hangs around high school students, specifically the girls, and insists upon reciting “alright alright alright” whenever he sees said girls. Despite being a pervert, Wooderson has the right idea. You can’t let the people around you affect you because then you’re letting “the man” win.


Overcoming the mystique of “the man” takes discipline, but once mastered, you’re ready for the third and final step on the stairway to heaven. This last lesson may sound cliche, but it is necessary, plus cliches aren’t all that bad. So without further ado, I give you my final words of wisdom: always play it cool. I am well aware that “keep calm and carry on” is overused, but I’m bringing it back. It’s true, whenever you are thrown in a situation that makes you feel overwhelmed, stay cool. Everyone around will look to you in awe, they’ll be wondering how you manage to stay so composed. Sure you may be falling apart at the seams, but they’ll never know. As teens, we have to be awkward, there’s no way around it. All these gorgeous 15-year-olds you see all over the Internet are trying to skip their awkward phases, and it’s just not fair. We all have to go through the awkward phase, and the best way to get through it is to throw on some invisible shades. Turn your imaginary hat sideways, and tie your shoelaces — you might trip. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


One of my role models for keeping it cool is the queen of Pulp Fiction herself; Mia Wallace. Mia marched, or should I say danced, to the beat of her own drum and was always well composed. An hour after an accidental overdose followed by a medical needle to the heart, Mia decided the best way to relieve the tension was with a lame joke about a family of tomatoes. Pure genius. Embrace your lame, but always play it cool. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch The Breakfast Club.