Who said it?: “Dom” Cobb
The story behind the quote: This quote comes from the smash-hit Inception. One of the highest grossing films of all time, Inception tells the story of Dominic “Dom” Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a professional criminal who enters the minds of his targets to steal their ideas. However, Dom’s team has been hired to do the opposite; instead of stealing ideas, their job in the film is to actually implant an idea in the target’s mind.
The story goes deeper into that just that. The director of the film, Christopher Nolan, weaves a brilliant tale regarding Dom’s backstory about his life and why he decides to take the job. Inception is a film that is thought provoking and something that should be seen by geeks and people who love movies in general.
Geek wisdom: It’s hard to underestimate the power of an idea. A lot of our modern culture is actually derived from ideas. The airplane came from the idea that people can fly. Even simple conveniences that we take for granted, such as paper, were derived from the idea that we should be able to write on something light and portable.
We all have ideas. No matter how small they are, we have to nurture these ideas into maturity because we can never know how great the idea actually is until we make the idea into reality.
From: Star Wars
Who said it?: Obi-Wan Kenobi
The story behind the quote: If you haven’t heard this quote before, you may be on the wrong site. Kidding! Anyway, the quote comes from the first Star Wars film (technically called Episode IV: A New Hope) of the original trilogy. While the Force is mentioned several times throughout the film, the most iconic time it was uttered in the movie was during the attack on the Death Star.
Luke Skywalker flies his X-Wing into the trenches of the massive space station to fire a missile into a hole “that’s no bigger than a womp rat” (meaning its pretty small). While there are computers on board his X-Wing to “accurately” fire the shot, an early attempt failed even with the equipment. As Luke approaches the hole, he hears the ghost of Obi-Wan, his mentor, to turn off the targeting computer and let the Force guide the shot. He does follow the advice and manages to score a direct hit, obliterating the Death Star.
Geek wisdom: All of us have the potential to do great things, but we are sometimes hindered by the thought that we can’t do it. We essentially don’t believe in ourselves anymore. Sometimes, we have to forget modern conveniences and actually perform the things we need to do by ourselves without assistance.
From: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Who said it?: Ferris Bueller
The story behind the quote: One of the most memorable films from John Hughes. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the story of the titular character, played by Matthew Broderick, skipping school for one day to enjoy life. Ferris manages to coax his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), and “spring” his girlfriend, Sloan (Mia Sara), from school to take the day off from school.
The quote is actually mentioned twice. The first time is when Ferris a few minutes into the movie, after he convinces his parents that he’s sick so he can stay at home and “recover.” He walks around the house, talking to the audience to deliver that piece of advice.
The second time the quote is delivered is at the end of the movie. Ferris successfully to return home before his parents get home to check up on him. After his parents leave the room, he looks back to the audience and tells the quote to the audience again.
Geek wisdom: In this day of age, we tend to take life too seriously and postpone our happiness. We think that, once we do this or achieve that, then that’s when we’ll be happy. Well, what’s wrong with being happy now? It’s always a good idea to take a break from the hassles of life once in a while. Take the time to appreciate what life can bring us.
Live it up a little. We only have a short time on this Earth. Take the time to revel in all the good things it can offer because we never know when it’ll be over.
From: Back to the Future
Who said it?: Marty McFly
The story behind the quote: The Back to the Future series of movies was pretty awesome, however, it wouldn’t have been possible if the first film wasn’t so awesome to begin with. It established great characters (Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and Chrisopher Llyod’s Doc Brown) and even terms from the movie, such as “flux capacitor, ” “1.21 gigawatts” and “88 miles per hour” have been ingrained in geek culture.
The time machine is another reason why the film is so popular. Doc Brown built his time machine from a DeLorean DMC-12, which is pretty odd if you think about it since most time machines before were, well, stationary objects. In fact, after their first test run, Marty also exclaims that he can’t believe that the car was actually a time machine.
Geek wisdom: Sometimes, we gotta go with style over substance. Sure it may seem shallow, but as Doc Brown said, its good to add some flair as well. While it does pay to be practical most of the time, it can be boring. We all want to get things and do stuff that, in the long run, are not really useful. Buying an expensive shirt or eating at a very fancy place may seem useless. However, if you do enjoy it, then there is some use to it.
Life isn’t just about surviving. Life is also enjoying living. We all have to balance our “fun” and “survival” in the right amounts.
From: The Matrix
Who said it?: Morpheus
The story behind the quote: Released in 1999, The Matrix was a groundbreaking film that was unlike any other. First, the trailer did not reveal a single thing about the plot. It only asked “What is the Matrix?” Because of this, people were hooked! They just had to see it! Before I go into the plot, people that haven’t watched it yet should go watch it first… this will get kinda spoiler-y. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.
Watched it already? Good!
So the plot of the movie is that machines have actually taken over the world and the world that human think they’re living in is just a computer simulation called The Matrix. All of humanity are plugged into machines where our bio-chemistry gives energy to the machines. Essentially, we’re all just giant living batteries. Only a small segment of humanity know about this and are trying to fight the machines.
The hero, Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) gets an audience with Morpheus (portrayed by Lawrence Fishburne). Morpheus gives Neo a chance to take a blue pill (which will just knock him out but he will never learn that we’re just giant batteries) or a red pill (which will make him wake up from The Matrix).
Geek wisdom: Throughout life, we are given the choice of taking the blue pill or ignorance or the red pill of knowledge. While there is a saying that ignorance is bliss, having knowledge is always going to be better. Now, the thing is, every thing that we learn is actually through our own choice.
All of us have a great capacity to learn new things on a daily basis. However, a lot of us don’t even try. Even reading a geeky site about wisdom you can find in pop culture (ahem!) adds to one’s knowledge about life. What we become educated on is wholly dependent on our own choice to educate ourselves with what is available in the world.
From: Rocky Balboa
Who said it?: Michael “Mickey” Goldmill
The story behind the quote: Ahh, the Rocky films. The quintessential story of an underdog trying to make himself better. Each of the six movies in the series tells the story of Robert “Rocky” Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone), a down on his luck boxer who eventually becomes the World Heavyweight Champion of the world. This is thanks to no small part of his trainer and mentor, Micheal Goldmill… Mickey for short (portrayed by Burgess Meredith).
The quote comes from a flashback scene in the last film in the series, appropriately titled Rocky Balboa. Rocky, who now owns a respectable restaurant in Philadelphia, visits his old gym. Here, he remembers one of Mickey speeches. The speech is about how Mickey trained him and that he loved him like his own flesh and blood. He also tells Rocky that he’s proud with all of his accomplishments. Finally, Rocky remembers that whenever he feels that he’s in trouble and needs help, Mickey always believed in him, so he should never give up on himself.
Geek wisdom: Sometimes, we feel like giving up. It could be a dream or just life in general. However, we have to remember that there are always going to be people to help you when you’re down… there are people that believe in you. We can forget that, especially when we feel that we are in the lowest point of our lives.
So, when you feel that you can’t go on anymore, remember… there are always people there to help you out when you’re in trouble.
Who said it?: Columbus
The story behind the quote: Zombieland is a 2009 film about, well, zombies. However, unlike previous films of the genre, it is not a horror movie. It’s more of an action-comedy movie about a group of people trying to survive after the zombie apocalypse. Another thing that makes it different from other zombie films out there is that the survivors are actually pretty good at going about living in the world. One of the reasons why they are so successful is because of the rules Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg) created. He created a whole list of them and they all proved pretty effective in ensuring that he lives.
The quote comes from the 4th rule, which is “Double Tap.” In most zombie movies, the survivors shoot at zombies and, when it falls down, they do the stupid action of getting close to check on the supposedly dead body. Columbus suggests that people shouldn’t be stingy with their bullets at a time when survival is the main goal. Shooting the zombie once more make sure that they’re downed.
Geek wisdom: Like in real life, people should always make sure about stuff. There’s no harm in checking and re-checking if what you did is correct. For students, it could be the answers for a test. For people at their jobs, it could be the work you’re gonna submit to your boss.
“Double tapping” just takes a few minutes of your time and it’ll give you peace of mind that you did your job right.
From: Transformers: The Movie
Genre: Movies, Cartoons
Who said it?: Kup
The story behind the quote: This quote comes from the Transformers: The Movie. Not the live action Michael Bay films. This is from the animated movie that was released in 1986. The film was actually pretty controversial for its time because of the deaths of practically the entire cast of the TV Series… during the first 20 minutes, no less!
The movie is set in the year 2005 (which was pretty far off in the future then) and, somehow, the treacherous Decepticons have managed to conquer the Autobots home world of Cybertron. The Autobots, however, refuses to give up the fight and have set up bases on the planet’s moons. Unknown to them, both factions face a bigger threat than themselves: the planet eater called Unicron.
Anyway, the quote comes during two parts in the film. The first part is when Kup and Hot Rod, two Autobots who had to retreat from a recent battle encountering a group of shark-like robots. The elder Kup tries to make friends with them by giving the “Universal Greeting,” which is the quote. However, this is met with disastrous results…
The second time the quote is used is when Hot Rod and Kup rendezvous with their fellow Autobots who were under attack by a group of robots called the Junkions. Here, Hot Rod tries his hand at using the Universal Greeting…
Geek wisdom: The Universal Greeting is actually kinda smart as it proves that its not really the words that people look at when you first meet them; its actually the actions of people that are more important. People tend to focus on the words people use and that’s okay.
However, words are just that: words. We tend to forget that actions always speak louder than words. It’s easy to make promises and say what we’re gonna to do something but they’ll have no meaning unless we can back it up by actually doing them.
Who said it?: King Leonidas
The story behind the quote: 300 is a stylized retelling of Battle of Thermopylae. Based on the comic book of Frank Miller called, well, 300, the story revolves around how 300 Spartans from, well, Sparta, took a stand against an huge invading army from Persia. While the odds were definitely against them, since the Spartans were trained to fight since birth, they were very successful in killing off a huge swath of Persian soldiers. While they did lose in the end, their story (or the story that was told to the rest of Greece anyway) inspired the country to stand up against the invaders.
The quote comes from a scene where the 300 Spartans come across a huge number of Arcadians who are willing to fight off the Persians. The Arcadians are initially dismayed as there are only 300 Spartans; that number is just too small when compared to the invader’s army. King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler, asks several of the Arcadians what their jobs were. They replied that they were simple workers, such as potters and sculptures. King Leonidas then turns to his fellow Spartans and asks them what is their profession. The Spartans all howl in several fearsome bellows in reply. The King of Sparta then states that he actually has more soldiers than the Arcadians assembled there.
Geek wisdom: We have to select the right tool for the right job. Like the Arcadians in the scene, a substitute can do in a pinch. However, if you want the job to be done and done right, the right equipment will beat out the substitute anytime.
The Spartans were bred to be warriors and that’s what they’re good at. They were the right tool to use for fighting and holding off an invading army of thousands, even if they were only 300. Accepting substitutes is okay, but nothing beats the real thing.
From: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Who said it?: Tuco
The story behind the quote: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is a classic spaghetti western. Probably best known for its soundtrack (the whistle song… its kinda hard to describe) and starring Clint Eastwood before he made it big. It’s pretty easy to make a summary of the story: three guys that don’t trust each other are searching for buried gold. However, that summary doesn’t really do the story justice. There are a lot of twists throughout the film that keeps it interesting.
Anyway, the quote in question comes from one scene where Tuco, the “Ugly” noted in the title, is taking a bath. A bounty hunter who was injured during the start of the film, manages to track down the wanted man. Since he has Tuco (presumably) corners, the bounty hunter starts to ramble about how he was searching for him for months. What he didn’t know was Tuco was pretty much prepared for that situation.
Geek wisdom: You’ve seen supervillians do this all the time. Before they kill the hero, they brag about their plan and how they’re gonna kill them. What usually happens? The hero escapes! Simply put, if you gotta do something, just do it! Don’t waste time talking about it. Execute whatever you need to do and let your actions speak for themselves.