3 Everyday Hacks to Make Reality Behave Like a Movie
Life is dull. That's why we escape to movies. Movies allow us to live vicariously through the exciting adventures of much more interesting people than us for two hours at a time, which is more cumulative adventure than most of us will ever have. Life for real people will never be a rip-roaring Indiana Jones-style globetrotting romp, or a gritty Blade Runner detective tale, or an operatic space battle like Star Wars -- basically, real life is not a Harrison Ford movie, but it's also not most other movies.
Luckily, there are small things people do by the thousands -- if not millions -- every single day that, if done correctly, can replicate the excitement, thrill, and suspense of your favorite movie tropes on a small scale. If you've got the proper mindset, when you do these things today, tomorrow, and every day after that, you'll feel like you're living a movie.
Mobsters Exchanging Money
Whenever a shady deal goes down in a movie, there's a fragile moment during the exchange where the characters are afraid of screwing up, having the whole deal fall apart, and everyone dying in a hail of gun fire. It's that moment a character is handed a bunch of money and is expected to trust that it's all there. One of the characters usually says something like, "I trust it's all there?" or, "I don't have to count it, do I?" or, "I believe you. You look like a nice enough criminal," followed by the person receiving the money eyeballing the other guy like he's a body-language expert and can tell half of the cash is Monopoly money by the way the guy's left elbow is kind of not totally straight.
How to Make It Real:
If you want to feel that same level of tension brought on by a moment where another person is begging you to not take them on their word, order something at a fast food drive-through -- maybe a lot of somethings with a lot of specific modifications to the order -- and wait for them to give you the bag. Your instinct is to check the order to make sure they didn't turn your double cheeseburger with special sauce, extra pickles, and no onions into a chicken sandwich topped with shoelaces and bottle caps. But the person at the window will just stand there, watching, daring you to talk some shit about the order they and their crew put together.
"I will cut you with a plastic knife if you have a problem with this meal."
It's a tense standoff. You have every right to check that bag. It's your food. Your hard-earned money paid for that food. You're going to have to eat that food. Why shouldn't you check it? Trust. Wanting to believe you can take someone at their word. They're a fast food professional. So, when you get that bag, don't look in it. Give the drive-through worker a quick scan for tells. Does he look nervous? Is there something off about him? Is he the Hamburgler, and do you feel he's swapped out the bag of burgers for hair nets filled with dead dumpster rats of equal weight to deceive you? You're not going to be able to tell any of that. In fact, the person at the window probably goes through the same motions with the people who put the order together, because the window guy is the face of the operation. He's the one who's going to get yelled at if the burgers are in disarray.
He's like a big kleptomaniac demon baby.
Will the order be correct? Drive away with the bag and find out when you get home. Don't dare disrespect their work and their trust. They won't pull out their Tommy guns and pump you full of lead, but they can redo your order exactly to your original specifications, with an added dollop of spit and a drizzling of pubes.
Protective energy barriers are a staple of all kinds of fantastical fiction. In fantasy, it's magic-based. In sci-fi, a ship's shields are powered by a shield generator or some other fake machine. Someone's lobbing a magic spell, or a rebel fleet led by the Millennium Falcon is heading toward your space station -- flip on a protective barrier and everything you need to protect will be encased within an impenetrable bubble of safety.
How to Make It Real:
In real life, we're coming close to developing force fields, but we're not quite there yet. So until we work out the kinks, there's only one way to accurately simulate the effects of an invisible barrier: taking a picture in public.
Like this, but you probably don't have a black friend.
For best results, try taking a traditional, non-selfie picture when you're in a crowded place. Like on the floor of a convention, or a theme park, or even the mall -- any place there's a lot of people walking around. Have a couple of people pose for a picture while you take the photo from about five feet away. When everyone is in position, the camera will release a magical aura -- a shield composed mostly of people's unwillingness to be the asshole who wanders through other people's photo ops. The torrent of oncoming walkers will move around the photo-taking party. It'll look like a big rock thrown in a brook. Your invisible barrier will prevent them from taking a single step into the picture zone.
Won't protect from blasts of energy.
If you've posed for the picture and you've successfully repelled an onslaught of people, congratulations! You've just become the Death Star, Han and Leia haven't destroyed the shield generator yet, and Lando is telling all craft to pull up.
A Prison Break
I don't want to be locked away for decades, but I do want to taste the sweet freedom Andy Dufresne feels at the climax of The Shawshank Redemption. Hands hoisted in the air, fully embracing the world beyond the prison walls. It's the same air and the same grass and the same dirt as in the prison, but once Andy tunnels away from being a prison bitch and being under the thumb of a corrupt warden, the air, grass, and dirt must feel different: new, yet familiar. In that moment when Andy looks like he's trying and failing to hug rain, he's actually hugging freedom. Freedom's a good hugger.
How to Make It Real:
Boiled down, a prison break is all about freedom, the sense of escaping ridged, agonizing confinement. If you want to know what it's like to feel that same sense of regained freedom, all you've got to do is drive your car behind a bunch of slow, obnoxious assholes. Or, as I've talked about in another column, be a cop in the dreaded Cop Trap.
The frustration of being stuck behind some dipshit twerp motherfucker who's going 10 below the speed limit and is getting passed by joggers pushing baby strollers can create an angry, wadded, million-fingered fist of bubbling madness. Claustrophobia creeps in, as your car suddenly goes from being a symbol of freedom to a mobile prison. Stuck -- stuck behind some nowhere-to-be loser who has all the time in the world and not a rat's ass to give about anyone else's schedule. They're just riding out whatever time they've got left, probably hoping their heart will give out a couple miles up the road and their foot will slowly lift off the accelerator, allowing the car to drift and drift until it veers into a lake so they can die among the algae.
You have to escape. You have to break free from the oppressive, creeping wake of this person who, come to think of it, could have jumped out of the car a mile back to escape a monster attack and their car is still rolling to a stop. You check left -- drats! A truck! You check right -- a sliver of an opportunity. With a quick zig-zag, you can dart away from the slow mover, get just behind a slow mover a little ahead in the right lane, then pray to all the gods that there's enough space between the two to cut in front of the slow driver and escape to an open road of endless possibilities.
You did it. You're free. And with no prison rape or gang shivvings, which is nice.
For more from Luis, check out 5 Failed Attempts At Keeping Up With Modern Pop Music. And then check out 30 Mind-Blowing (True) Facts about Famous Movie Scenes.