Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy: Life Lessons from Scarface (really.)

The thing about time, I’m learning, is how fast it goes by, completely ignoring your goals or presuppositions for the week. Today may be Monday, the day you mourn the weekend’s quick demise, but yet the way everything has been going lately, I swear you blink twice and it’s Friday.

Over the weekend, I watched Scarface (the 1983 version) for the first time and I was really struck by a scene that’s honestly not like THE major part of the movie, but man, I keep thinking about it. Towards the end of the (three hour) movie, Tony Montana is sitting at a extremely formal, high class restaurant with his wife and best friend. If you’ve never seen Scarface, a little backstory: Tony has BASICALLY lived the American dream. Came from Cuba on a boat,  started washing dishes and is now the ultra rich druglord of Miami. (I mean, that’s everyone’s American dream, I’m assuming.) He has it all: the woman he pined after, the money and lifestyle that comes with the money, the power, lots of cocaine (although “don’t get high on your own supply”), all of it. In this super fancy restaurant filled with old people, Tony comes to a really interesting and surprising realization:


Cue malaise.

“Is this it? Is this all that it’s about? Eating, drinking, snorting…is this all that I worked for? With these hands? Is that what I killed for [Okay, he’s not the BEST role model/one at all] …is this how it ends? And I thought I was a winner?”

While Scarface is probably THE least likely place to get a life lesson other than “Don’t do any of these things ever,” not going to lie, I was totally moved by this scene.

Sometimes I think you have those “restaurant scenes in Scarface” moments in life when you can somehow see a glimpse into what the future of your life path looks like. And maybe that’s a good forecast! But for me, Chronic Overthinker, it’s so easy to get caught up in the negative potentials and then spiral from there into what I consider the WORST future: being stuck in a mediocre life too far gone (or too painful)  for change. Especially with time moving so fast.

But I’ve over-thought my way to a conclusion: Yeah, habits and choices change our lives (like choosing to get into the Miami drug business), but maybe it’s never too late to change. Maybe it’s never too late, once you’ve seen the potential future path you’re on, to turn around. Because maybe that thing that you’re afraid of has already happened to you, as Elizabeth Gilbert writes.  And maybe only the boringly mediocre care about not being mediocre–everyone else is too busy living to care. Life lesson tl;dr: I want to be in that latter group, not in the same boat as Tony Montana.

NEVER take life advice from movie trailers: a short tale of awkwardness

Did you ever see “We Bought A Zoo,” that Matt Damon movie where, spoiler alert, they buy a zoo?

Well, as of last summer, I had just seen the trailer. (Just remember this little fact.)

I was working at a really cool advertising agency in downtown Dallas (remember that?) and really wanted to connect & especially meet people my age during the summer. This may sound literally elementary (I’m talking Kindergarten), but I never get tired of making new friends! If my life was constantly like an episode of Arthur, I’d be okay with that.


But okay, let’s be real. There was also a guy.

I know that I’m practically creating a self-fulfilling prophecy when I say this, but if I’m being honest, I’m kind of awkward around guys I’m interested in. I always seem to ignore those I’m into and literally go completely out of my way to avoid them. It’s really stupid, yes. (And also I know it’s super popular for girls to be like “Giggle, I’m so awkward but that makes me cute and adorkable! Giggle!” (for reference, watch anything with Zooey Deschanel) and I rebuke that. “Adorkable” is the worst word mashup on the planet. Maybe even worse than “gradumacated.”)

Texas guy had a desk directly behind mine and was super interesting to me. Mainly because he was an introvert (gasp!) and thus, an absolute enigma. (Yep, I’m apparently very easily fascinated.) On the very first day of my internship, I told myself that my summer goal was to become friends with him. Gotta love summer goals.

Day two of the internship, I was ready to get my plan into motion. But how could I go up and talk to him without it being totally psycho? Well, in case I ever write a book about how to be scary/awkward, step one: use the resources (or lack thereof) around you. My desk was missing a trashcan, so NATURALLY, the best and most organic topic to first start talking to someone is missing trash receptacles.

I went on a decoy trip to the restroom and in the 9 second walk to Texas Guy’s desk, I kept telling myself the stupid mantra from “We Bought A Zoo.”


Not actually that bad of a motto…

YES. I used a line from a MOVIE TRAILER to support my plan to introduce myself to a guy. Not the movie itself. A movie TRAILER. But was that stopping me from completely adopting the motto and running with it? Of course not!

I marched over to his desk, quickly said something awkwardly jumbled like “So, my desk is missing a trash can. Where did you get yours? I’m Kelsy by the way,” tried to make more small talk, and then later returned to my desk. Yeah, I’m really suave.

Long story (and long summer) short, with him, I learned that sometimes “enigmatic” can sometimes just mean “fake.” (To hear those stories, just enroll in my Doc Moe’s, my old boss, Intro to COMM class. She legitimately tells them there, as they’re pretty crazy.)

But hey, in case you were wondering, I got a trashcan for my desk.

I’m a Loser (…but okay with that.)


“Little Miss Sunshine” is easily the scariest movie I have ever seen. I know I’m a good six and a half years behind, but I just watched it the other day for the first time and walked away feeling terrified.  I’ll save the effort of explaining the plot (what do you think imdb is for?), but know that one of the key themes is being a loser.  Throughout the film, several dreams and plans of multiple characters are foiled by cold, harsh realities.

As a soon-to-be college grad, the idea of watching my dreams crash and burn before my eyes scares me. Already, I’ve experienced post-grad rejection: I interviewed for the summer internship of my dreams in NYC , made it to the final round of interviews, and was denied (and the funny part is they most likely went with someone younger…read: still in college). “Little Miss Sunshine” was an one hundred and three minute reminder that sometimes you pursue the wrong dream in life and end up feeling like a complete loser.  I really don’t know how to handle losing (just ask anyone who plays a board game with me) and have grown up with the confidence that I’m a winner. But, dealing with rejection is a really fundamental part of becoming a thriving, healthy person. I’ve decided (as of four days ago) that I’m too young to be afraid of it. So I’m won’t be.

And you know what? It’s okay to be a loser.

A loser passionately and intentionally pursues their goal despite the odds.

A loser doesn’t get comfortable and sets up camp where they’re at, but knows there is always room for growth and improvement.

Most of all, a loser makes themselves vulnerable: like Grandpa Edwin in “Little Miss Sunshine” says, “A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning, they don’t even try.”

Maybe someday I’ll rewatch “Little Miss Sunshine” again and not want to disappear in a small hole of sadness, but until then, I’m going to learn to not be afraid to lose. 


P.S. In all actuality, “Little Miss Sunshine” is a beautiful, humanizing film.

Analyzing Crap: Nicholas Sparks’ The Lucky One

"You may think I'm sensitive and romantic, but it's all for the money, you saccharine saps!" -Nicholas Sparks

I hate Nicholas Sparks books. I hate Nicholas Sparks movies. I’ve given them many more chances than deserved and have come to the final conclusion that literally everything he writes is an insipid and vapid utter waste of time.

This is LITERALLY the plot of everything he’s written: Set in a small town in North Carolina, a man (who is in the military/a rebel/poor) meets a Christian woman (pastor’s daughter/is also a rebel/rich) and they fall in love despite the odds. Something sad/tragic (usually a disease) happens and usually someone dies. Insert artificially emotionally manipulative ending.

The newest Sparks’ film “The Lucky One” is coming out today and despite the presence of Zac Efron’s body (Let’s be real), looks horrible. Maybe I’m just bitter because I just saw one of the promo trailers and it’s utterly confusing. The song behind it is Florence + The Machine’s “Shake It Out”…Can you say misplaced?

Fans of Sparks’ books, please do yourself the biggest favor in the world and go read an actual piece of literature.  Don’t waste any more of your time.


-“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier, a woman marries a mysterious British man and moves to his gigantic estate

-“Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, a dramatic story with actual depth

-“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, people actually die for a purpose!