The Guy's Movie Guide To Becoming A Badass
I've said it before and I'll say it again, finding your way in this world is hard. With the quarter-life-crisis now a real thing and the increasing number of young people doing cool stuff and making you feel bad about yourself, it's safe to say that it is tricky these days to be a young adult. You're expected to know exactly what your ~deal~ is and be an expert in your field and earning 30k, all by the age of 23.
I guess there's not much we can do about the state of the world, the only thing we can do is try to wade through the Facebook engagement announcements and LinkedIn job announcements and try to find ourselves and learn about the big bad world in amongst the noise.
My method of self discovery has always been movies. There's a lot we can learn about ourselves from how we align ourselves alongside our favourite fictional characters. Last week we broke down the essential movies to help women contemplate the universe, and this week it's the guys' turn.
The Godfather, 1972
Yeah we all know that The Godfather is undoubtedly one of the coolest and most badass films ever made. It won the Best Picture and Best Leading Actor statues at the 1973 Academy Awards and spurred a collection of phrases and cliches that are still around today, almost 45 years later (e.g. "sleeping with the fishes", "an offer he can't refuse"), so it's safe to say that this film is a classic and needs to be watched regardless.
However the reason that it is specifically featured on this list is Al Pacino's character, Michael Corleone. The second instalment of the famed trilogy is often thought to be the better picture, however at that point Michael has already replaced his father as Godfather. No, the interesting part of the first film is Michael 'finding himself'. That's right, fucking Don Corleone went through the same shitty existential crisis you're going through right now.
The film starts with Michael returning to his family home for his sister's wedding. He's just been off fighting in World War II, he's got hot Diane Keaton for a girlfriend, and is uninterested in joining his family business - think you returning home after uni.
However his family draws him in and after the (spoiler alert for a film probably twice your age) death of his brother, Sonny, Michael has to step up and become the man his family needs him to be. And look pretty fucking cool while doing it too.
Do The Right Thing, 1989
In 1999 the U.S. Library of Congress deemed Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing as "culturally significant" so this is a pretty important one to watch. It's also often thought of as Lee's best work, but I guess that one's up for debate.
The Academy Award nominated film documents the racial tensions between the blacks and Italians living a in Brooklyn neighbourhood.
Before the film was released, reviewers were nervous that it would incite a race war causing young black men to riot. White reviewers were telling a young black man what to do with his own art. Spike Lee had written, directed, produced, starred in, breathed, lived this film to fight this exact thing from happening. He refused to listen to criticism and released what would become his most significant film. So no matter what 'the man' tells you, trust your instincts it'll probably work out, huh.
Also great to watch for fashion inspiration for the upcoming summer months.
Reservoir Dogs, 1992
Quentin Tarantino's cinematic debut Reservoir Dogs is another classic movie that needs to be seen regardless of where you are on the self discovery spectrum. I mean just look at Michael Madsen in that gif above, he's cool as balls. Maybe watch this just for swag tips from Vic Vega if nothing else.
Let's just take a moment to acknowledge the fact that before this movie was released and changed the cinematic playing field for everyone, its creator ol' QT was a 29 year old video store clerk who's only party trick (to our knowledge) was his encyclopaedic knowledge of pop culture. So you know, don't feel too bad about all those hungover sofa days watching endless movies. Maybe you're just preparing yourself for you're higher calling.
Shaun of the Dead, 2004
The first film of the 'Cornetto Trilogy' and the film that introduced Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's style of pop-culture-nerd comedy to the mainstream - yeah, there had been Spaced a few years prior but that didn't gain cult status until later.
Pegg plays Shaun, a young man trying to find his way in the world by dealing with a shit job, a girlfriend that's dumped him and his step dad who he hates (sound familiar?), all alongside his loser best mate Ed, played by Nick Frost, who is perfectly content being unemployed and perpetually pissed (tbh that sounds kinda familiar, too).
Oh, and there's zombies about too.
Maybe you won't have a catalyst like a nationwide zombie apocalypse to force you into acting like a bonafide adult but watching this could be the next best thing?
Adulthood, the sequel to 2006's Kidulthood, doesn't get as much praise as its predecessor. They are very different films but that doesn't mean Adulthood is the lesser, quite the contrary in fact.
Kidulthood kickstarted the grime genre in film and television and documented, even celebrated London youth sub culture and its violent tendencies. Adulthood on the other hand is about atonement and redemption and focuses on, well, being an adult.
Six years after (spoiler alert if you haven't seen Kidulthood) killing Trife with a baseball bat, Sam is released from prison and must assimilate back into society. It's an, admittedly extreme, tale of growing up and making up for your younger self's mistakes which is something we can definitely all relate to. Plus the soundtrack is on point as you would expect.
So there you go, the ultimate movie handbook to guiding yourself through this weird millennial perpetual adolescence, all without having to the leave the comfort of your sofa. You're welcome.
By Trudy Barry, published on 13/05/2016