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.
Genre: Cartoons, Television
Who said it?: Lion-O
The story behind the quote: If you really think about it, the concept behind the Thundercats cartoon is weird: A bunch of anthropomorphic alien cats fighting a sorcerer-slash-mummy for the peace and order on Third Earth. Still, it was a great show in the 1980s. The remake currently being shown on the Cartoon Network still retains the basic idea but adds more history and backstory, making it a much more interesting show, especially for those who watch the original.
The quote comes from Lion-O, the leader of the Thundercats. He wields the Sword of Omens, possibly the most powerful weapon in the show. The power of the sword comes from the Eye of Thundera, a gem or jewel built right into the hilt. The Sword of Omens has various abilities, such as casting a signal in the air to call the other Thundercats, absorb magical blasts thrown by Mum-Ra, the aforementioned mummy and, by giving the command “Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight,” the user will be able to look at far away places, detect hidden enemies, and even find allies that are missing.
Geek wisdom: While there are a lot of pieces of technology that can give us “sight beyond sight” like binoculars and satellite views, we can actually do the Sword can’t: we can predict the future. Well, not really “predict” per say. Rather, people can think of possible scenarios of what will happen based on information.
While it can be fun to be spontaneous once in a while, its always a great idea to plan for the future. Whether it be short-term like planning what to do during the weekend, or something more long-term, such as saving up for retirement, planning is always the prudent thing to do.
From: Star Wars
Who said it?: Darth Vader
The story behind the quote: Ahh, Star Wars. One of the most impressive movies of all time. Released in 1977, the film boasted special effects that was previously unseen before. More than that, however, it was the imaginative universe which included worlds, aliens and technology that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away. This film also introduced the Force. As described by Obi-Wan, the Force “…surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” While the Force can be used for good and helping people, there is a dark side to it which can be used for evil.
In one of the first scenes of the film, the Empire has just completed the construction of the Death Star, a massive space station capable of destroying a planet in a single blast. Darth Vader comments that, while the station is powerful, it pales in comparison to the power of the Force. One of the lieutenants scoff at this claim saying that it is a very antiquated concept. Vader, however, will have none of it and proceeds to choke the lieutenant using the Force while stating the quote above.
Geek wisdom: Let’s talk about faith. Faith does not have to be about religion. You can have faith in your family and friends that they’ll be there for you, faith in your general community that, deep down, they’re all good people or even faith in yourself.
Having faith is important: we all need something to believe in. It may be in God (or Gods), in other people,with yourself or even an intangible Force that is all around us. We all need to have faith in something to keep us going in order to push through the tough times in life.
Who said it?: Spider-man
The story behind the quote: One of the most popular, yet misunderstood, powers of Peter Parker/Spider-man is his Spider Sense, mostly because the hero himself doesn’t know how it works as well. In general, this ability gives him the ability to feel danger. One of the problems of this is that it doesn’t really tell him what the danger is. It could be as simple as a punch coming at him while he’s fighting a bad guy but it also could manifest if his secret identity is also in danger of being exposed. However, even with this small drawback, it has been really useful in saving his butt in a lot of instances.
Spider-man has been able to use this in conjunction with the Spider Tracers he’s invented. Initially, the tracers would have to be tracked by a small device he carried. However, in later stories, he managed to adapt the tracers to work with his Spider Sense. So, while it’s still a mystery on how it works exactly, the Web Head does have some sort of handle on it.
Geek wisdom: Actually, if you really think about it, we all have this ability (even if we haven’t been bitten by a radioactive spider). It’s called a gut feeling. We’ve all felt at one time or another to go against conventional logic and just go with our instincts and what feels right. Realistically, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. However, the point is it does pay off from time to time!
Against all logic and reason, your gut feeling is correct sometimes. The point here is that while logic is good and all, sometimes we gotta go with our instincts.