August 04, 2011
1. Mayor Vaughn refuses to close the beaches of Amity Island. JAWS
The mayor of “shark city” actually made several mistakes in “JAWS” – from his anchor-festooned blazer right on down to his refusal to cut off the shark’s food supply. The lesson to be learned here is that you should always heed the warning signs of impending disaster. Act sooner rather than later. What’s worse – losing summer dollars or watching voters be digested by a killer shark?
2. Hotel owner puts Baby in a corner; unleashes youth dance, dance revolution. DIRTY DANCING
When resort owner Max Kellerman fired dance instructor Johnny Castle and cancelled the big dance party at summer’s end, he unleashes a revolt among the young ‘uns. The lesson: Don’t stimy people’s creativity. It will find ways to be demonstrated, so better to harness the energy and let it ride. Because nobody puts baby in a corner.
3. Beverly Hills boutique owner disses ‘ho turned shopper Julie Roberts. PRETTY WOMAN
OK, so maybe the thigh-high boots were too risque for Rodeo Drive, but the snobby boutique owner who asks Julia Roberts’s hooker with a heart of gold to leave the store, she was making a “big mistake. Huge.” The lesson here: Never judge a customer by his/her cover and don’t turn away business for superficial reasons. If you do, you could miss out on an orgy of sugar daddy spending when Richard Gere talks his woman – and his wallet – elsewhere.
4. Financial wizard betrays friend to make a fast buck. GHOST
Greed drives Tony Goldwyn’s character to hire a thug to mug Patrick Swayze’s Sam Wheat in order to embezzle money, but the plot goes awry and Wheat dies. The takeaway here: Karma is a cruel teacher, and what goes around comes around. Never betray your friends or colleagues. If you do, you might be dragging into Hell by a bunch of poorly rendered ghouls.
5. Movie mogul refuses to cast actor with mob ties, sleeps with severed horse head. THE GODFATHER
It’s one of Hollywood’s most iconic scenes: Studio head Jack Woltz refuses to throw some work in the direction of Johnny Fontane and – more importantly – disses mob boss Vito Corleone. As a consequence, he wakes up to find the severed head of his prized racehorse under the covers. We can learn a lot from this. Of course there’s the obvious lesson – never cross the mob. The broader lesson is to avoid making enemies at all costs. It’s much wiser – and healthier – to never burn a bridge. You may need to cross it later. In business you will not always be able to say Yes to requests, but there’s a nice way to say No. Being mean might bring undue harm to your business – or your livestock.
6. Heroic figures learn the evil they’ve been fighting is in fact their Daddy-o. STAR WARS
Not only did Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia learn very late in game that Darth Vader was, in fact, their father – they nearly engaged in what would have been an incestuous relationship. Take note: You should never make assumptions, and you should ALWAYS do your homework. Assumptions can lead you to badly misjudge a situation. The rule is simple: Trust that she’s your Mother when she says she is, but verify.
7. Tycoon creates island theme park featuring cloned dinosaurs. JURASSIC PARK
Uber-rich entrepreneur John Hammond’s team of scientists clone dinosaurs and turn a remote island into a tourist attraction featuring their wee beasties. All hell breaks loose when power to the park fails and the dinosaurs start snacking on the guests. The lesson: Mother Nature is the boss. Period. If you’re planning an outdoor event, make sure you have an alternative plan in place because it could rain, snow, sleet or send down hellfire. Also, never put people at risk. Make safety the top priority at all times.
8. Earth-sent planet conquerers threaten to destroy a whole society of creatures, unleash war. AVATAR
The blue creatures of Pandora and their entire ecosystem is endangered when a gaggle of Marines are deployed to prepare the lush planet for colonization. But the native Na’vi prove very strong and resourceful when they fight back. This is, of course, a cautionary tale about the dangers of rushing into a situation unprepared. You should take time to learn about an organization or culture before you attempt to become a part of it. The height of arrogance is to assume you can change a pre-existing culture – especially when you’re on the outside looking in.
9. Inept psych ward employees allow madman to escape sanitarium. HALLOWEEN
The spookiest night of the year is a lot scarier when a group of nitwit psychiatrists underestimate Michael Myers – allowing him to escape their facility and return to his hometown, where he stalks a babysitter and murders her band of teenage friends. What we can learn from this is the importance of heeding expert advice. When your own experts are telling you something will fail or could cause trouble, don’t stand in their way. Give them everything they need to address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. And it might not hurt to investigate your family tree in search of black sheep uncles who might have psychotic tendencies.
10. Fickle rich girl loves what she can’t have and takes for granted that which is right in front of her. GONE WITH THE WIND
Southern belle Scarlett O’hara had her on many fine gentlemen, but what truly made her heart go pitter-patter were the unattainable men (married or otherwise). So when Ashley Wilkes marries sweet, retiring Melonie, Scarlett decides she must have him for herself. She fails to see that her true love – Rhett Butler – was waiting in the wings all the while. This is an important lesson for us all. Don’t take for granted that which you have. We spend far too much time in pursuit of things beyond our reach when we should be cultivating and improving those people, places and things that are already a part of our lives. If you haven’t learned this lesson yet, don’t fret. After all – tomorrow is another day.
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