by Kim Pederson…….
August 25 marked the 77th anniversary of the 1939 film Wizard of Oz opening in theaters. August 25 wasn’t the world premiere, however. That happened fourteen days earlier in, of all places, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Why bring this up now? Because, in an online note about the anniversary, NBC’s Today show reminds us there are still seven lessons to be learned from the film today:
- Dream big
- The right shoes can pull a look together
- Don’t be afraid to ask for directions
- Always have heart
- There are worse things than witches
- Kill ’em with kindness
- And, of course, there’s no place like home
- Accompanying each “lesson” is a clip from the movie to illustrate.
So do movies really teach us anything? Apparently, they do, at least according to various web articles on the topic. One that caught my eye was “I Watch Therefore I Am: Seven Movies that Teach Us Key Philosophy Lessons,” written by various authors for The Guardian. Here are the questions answered (sort of) and the attendant films:
- How can we do the right thing? (Force Majeure)
- What makes a life worth living? (It’s a Wonderful Life)
- Can anything really be justified? (Ida)
- Is there more to us than biology? (Gattaca)
- Are the things we imagine real? (Galaxy Quest)
- What is the enduring self? (Memento)
- Is the quest for good a road to evil? (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring)
After reading the discussions of these films and questions by the various and sundry erudemics [erudite academics], I felt more than a little shamed. It’s not that I don’t learn things from movies. I do. It’s just that the lessons I take away are like “I should have gotten a bigger popcorn.”
I’m obviously going to have to work harder on getting the full value that films have to offer. I’ll start here with The Wizard of OZ. After thinking hard (i.e., more than the usual five seconds), I have come up with my own lesson to offer from it. Should some very small people who have snorted too much helium tell you to follow a yellow brick road, pay no attention to them.
(And now for a totally shameless SEO non sequitur: National Dog Day.)
Visit Kim Pederson’s blog RatBlurt: Mostly Random Short-Attention-Span Musings.