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: Red vs. Blue
Genre: Web Series
Who said it?: Pvt. Leonard Church
The story behind the quote: Here’s another quote from “the popular web series” Red Vs. Blue. Not only is the show pretty funny, but there are also a lot of inspirational quotes there if you come to think of it.
The quote comes from Episode 100, which pretty much closed out The Blood Gulch Chronicles. In the closing scene of the episode, a couple of the Blues, namely Church and Caboose are talking. Caboose asks Church why are they there in the first place, mirroring the Reds conversation in the very first episode. Church then gives an impassionate speech about how he didn’t care before who he was ordered to fight. But, after recent events, he realized that you don’t hate someone because you were told to hate him or her; you have to hate them because you hate them.
Geek wisdom: There are a lot of people in the world that will tell you that a group of people are bad. The thing is, you shouldn’t lump anyone together. Whether it be race, religion or age, everyone is different. Everyone has different values. Hating a certain type of people without any basis is just wrong.
Now, if you do hate someone, then that’s fine, too. As Church said, you have to hate someone for the right reasons. You can hate someone if they wronged you, they act like idiots or they just rub you the wrong way. That’s okay. At least you have a reason.
From: Phineas and Ferb
Genre: Cartoons, Television
Who said it?: Various delivery people
The story behind the quote: This quote comes from a very recent cartoon from Disney called Phieas and Ferb. The overall story is pretty unique. Each episode consist of two stories happening at the same time. First, there are two brothers, Phineas and Ferb, who do fantastic things, such as building a rocket, fighting a mummy and climbing up the Eiffel Tower, to name a few. Candace, their older sister, always tries to tell their mom about this the mother never gets to witness it (she just thinks they have such wonderful imaginations).
The reason why the mother never sees these acts because of the second story. The brother’s pet platypus, Perry, is actually a secret agent who stops the evil “genius,” Dr. Doofenshmirtz, from taking over “the entire Tri-State area!” While stopping the doctor from using his latest invention, Perry inadvertently destroys Phineas and Ferb’s invention.
The quote actually comes from the various delivery persons who delivers the materials for the brother’s inventions. As they are pretty young to be building something like a rocket, they ask Phineas and Ferb that they seem to be too young to be constructing something like that. To which Phineas always replies, “Yes. Yes, we are.”
The clip below comes from “Rollercoaster: The Musical,” where the boys construct another rollercoaster in their backyard… only as a musical.
Geek wisdom: When it comes to dreams, there is no such thing as age. You’re never too old or too young to follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Sometimes, you just need to take the chance. Just make sure to pursue it to the end.
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.
From: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Genre: Television and Cartoons
Who said it?: He-Man/Prince Adam
The story behind the quote: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is actually several things: a highly successful 80’s Saturday morning cartoon, a widely hated animated series in the 90’s and a well-received remake in 2002. Still, the story behind all of them is ridiculously simple. The villians, led by the aptly named Skeletor, an apparently very muscular sorcerer who has a skull for a head, wants to take over the planet, generally Eternia. When the bad guys do attack, Prince Adam will held aloft his magic sword and… well, yell out the quote. This transforms Prince Adam in the He-Man, “the most powerful man in the universe!”
Here is the intro for the original 80s version of the show…
Now, the weirdly different 90s version…
Finally, the very serious but still quite awesome 2002 remake…
Geek wisdom: Sometimes, we can forget our roots. We can become very successful or very wealthy and forget that we didn’t do it alone. All successful people needed the help of other people to be in the position that they are in. Whenever Prince Adam would use the quote to transform into He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe), he is actually acknowledging that his power is not his: its given to him by another. In this case, the magical castle of Greyskull.
People should not forget where they come from. It’s a big part of why they are the way they are now. We have to acknowledge this and remember the people that helped us along the way.
From: Superman II
Who said it?: General Zod
The story behind the quote: Superman II is, obviously, a sequel. And this is actually kind of important to note since we actually get to see what happens to the three criminals that were sent to the Phantom Zone during the first Superman movie. So, if you’ve watched the 1st Superman film and wondered, “Hey! What happened to those guys that were encased in a floating square?” then you really need to watch this movie.
Anyway, the leader of the criminals, General Zod, tried to take over Krypton, which is why he and two of his followers were jailed in the Phantom Zone. Because of the events that unfolded during the 1st film, Zod and his group managed to escape and, this time, try to take over Earth. They actually succeeded for the most part. However, with the timely return of Superman (long story, just watch the original or the Richard Donner cut, with the latter being more serious in tone), the Man of Steel challenges the General to battle. This is when General Zod yells and orders the Last Son of Krypton to kneel before him.
Geek wisdom: There is going to be a time, when pushed too far, we have to fight back against what we hate. While we do symbolically kneel before those things sometimes (following orders from a boss you don’t like or stuck in a hurtful relationship), we have to gauge when enough is enough. We do eventually have to stand up, say that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.
Speaking of which…
(God, I just love this clip!)
Who said it?: Mary Jane Watson
The story behind the quote: Wow, when it comes to comics, I seem to either go to Batman or Spider-Man… but this is a bit different since it isn’t the hero that gives the quote. Rather, it’s the love interest of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson.
We have to get into a lot of backstory regarding this quote to really get the full impact of the wisdom from it. Prior to her first (official) appearance in the comics, she was just this faceless girl that Aunt May kept on trying to set Peter Parker up for a date (initially mentioned in Amazing Spider-Man #15). Peter kept blowing it off since he assumed that, since his aunt liked her so much, he wouldn’t really like her. This actually kept on for a really long time and it became somewhat of running joke of the series.
Finally, in Amazing Spider-Man #42 (around two years after she was initially mentioned), Peter does meet Mary Jane, who turns out to be a bombshell of a red-head who jokingly mentions how lucky he is.
Geek wisdom: You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things once in a while. Sure there’s going to be a chance that the experience is awful. However, unless you try it, you’ll never know if its something that’s plain god-awful or something given from God. Imagine if Peter Parker never met Mary Jane. He wouldn’t have had met the love of his life. Remember, you may hit the jackpot, too, if you try something new.
From: Street Fighter: The Movie
Who said it?: M. Bison
The story behind the quote: This quote comes from the “so bad its good” movie adaption of the Street Fighter video game. But first, let’s go through a little history behind the film. With the success of Street Fighter II, it was highly inevitable that someone in Hollywood would get the idea to cash in on its popularity and develop of movie about it. However, like most of the early video games turned movies (Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon), this really didn’t turn out very well. The story doesn’t follow much of the plot of the game. Well, to be honest, the game doesn’t really have much of a plot to begin with, but there were too many liberties taken regarding all of the characters’ backstory, such as Ryu and Ken being smugglers and Chun-Li being a reporter. This movie also has the “privilege” of getting an even more horrible video game based on it (Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game)!
Now that’s out of the way, the quote comes when Chun-Li (played by Ming-Na) gets captured by M. Bison (portrayed by the late Raul Julia) and retells the story of how Bison murdered her father a long time ago when the warlord tried to take over her village. Bison simply tells the reporter (not an Interpol officer like in the games) that he has no recollection of the matter since it was just an ordinary day for him.
Geek wisdom: We normally think of how people would react to things based on how we would react to them. This is, of course, flawed. The way a person reacts or remembers something will be different for each and every one of us. They were raised differently so their manner of thinking is different. Even identical twins will have some very notable differences on how they would handle certain issues.
We cannot just substitute their mindset with ours. Simply put, we put other people in our shoes when we should be thinking of putting ourselves in theirs. For Chun-Li, the death of her father was the memory that molded her into what she is today. For Bison, it was just another day in the office.
From: The Karate Kid (1984)
Who said it?: Mr. Miyagi
The story behind the quote: The Karate Kid is actually one of the quintessential geek movies since it seems to be written like a piece of wish-fulfillment of a geek. A new kid named Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) moves into a new town and is picked on by a bunch of bullies. He then finds out that the groundskeeper of the building he lives in, Mr. Miyagi (portrayed by Pat Morita), actually knows karate. Daniel manages to convince Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate to defend himself. If you were a nerd back in school, you do know the feeling of being bullied and dream of actually being strong enough to defend yourself. So, this movie sort of touches on this dream. More than that, however, the film itself has a lot of memorable scenes like the crane kick and the karate tournament.
This movie is also remembered because of the unconventional way Mr. Miyagi would train Daniel. Mr. Miyagi had Daniel do a lot of chores, such as painting a fence, sanding the floor and, of course, the memorable “Wax on. Wax off” scene where he tells Daniel that he has to wax and shine a bunch of cars. While all of what Daniel may have seemed to be useless, Mr. Miyagi actually shows him (and the audience) that it all had a purpose.
Geek wisdom: There are actually two bits of wisdom we can get from this quote. One, practicing something really pays off. The more you do something, the better you become at it. Daniel probably had to do the same circular motions more than a million times on that one day! Because of this, he was able to perform the right and proper motions on instinct. Great martial artists do amazing things, such as breaking boards or performing triple kicks. They probably weren’t able to do these things their first go at it, but they kept on trying until they actually could do it consistently.
The second thing we can learn from this is that, while something may seem useless when we learn something, it can prove to be very useful later on. Take the “Wax on. Wax off” part. Daniel (and the viewer) had no idea that there was an actual reason why the motions had to be circular. By the end, we all knew that Mr. Miyagi knew what he was doing. This happens when we study in school. We have subject that we don’t care about and we question why we have to learn it. Still, its best to learn it because we don’t know if it may wind up being useful in the future.
From: Office Space
Who said it?: Michael Bolton
The story behind the quote: Office Space is a cult classic movie from Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-head. The story generally focuses of a group of frustrated office workers who work for Initech, a software company, with their manager, Bill Lumberg. One of them gets accidentally hypnotized to enter a state of complete relaxation. So much so that he openly displays his lack of motivation while in the office. Oddly enough, this gets him promoted to a managerial position while his friends, despite trying their best to keep their jobs, are set to be downsized. This is a very rough summary and I know I’m not doing justice to this film describing it. Suffice to say, it deserves its cult classic status. There are a lot of scenes in this movie that are hilarious and memorable.
In one particular scene, one of the disgruntled office workers, the tragically named Michael Bolton, is talking with his friends Peter Gibbons (they guy who eventually get promoted) and Samir Nagheenanajar (a guy with a name no one can pronounce) while printing a document. The printer delivers a PC Load Letter error, at which Michael exclaims that he has no idea what the error is supposed to mean.
Geek wisdom: A lot of times, people can speak and use words that are hard to understand, like the error message given by the printer. This can be either accidental or intentional. If you’ve ever read a EULA, licensing agreement or a legal document, you know how frustrating this can be. Life is already complicated as it is. Let’s not add to it.