Lego Movie Life Lessons or How to Create an Awesome Shit Show
TODAY’S BREW: Little o’ this, little o’ that.
For Bennett’s birthday we brought him to see THE LEGO MOVIE. Now, Tim had his reservations about it because the toys make no sense. There’s like a flying ice cream truck, and weird dream land with a cat/unicorn, and the Old West and construction sites, and Batman? My response was that they make all these intricate, gorgeous Lego sets that we bust our asses to buy, and Ben rips them apart in a week to make some shit that doesn’t make sense anyway. Kids don’t make sense, that’s how they roll. Coincidentally, we all bitch that kids can’t make a toy out of 2 rocks and a handful of bottlecaps like we did as kids. Maybe it’s because we fucking hand them toys with intricate instructions that they have to try to insert their imaginations into, right after WE spend 10 hours building it for them.
The other thing is that the characters aren’t even remotely close to being in the same realm of possibility. It’s like that nightmare I have about having Barbie play with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joe battle Go-Bots, and Tonka Trucks can rescue the Weebles from Grayskull. THIS SHIT DOES NOT GO TOGETHER.
As a child, I refused to mix toys as such. Thank God this didn’t make me a racist. I refuse to teach my kids that there’s some people you just don’t play with, some toys that you just aren’t allowed to like, and interests that can’t coincide with other interests. (I am beaming proudly because my kids are pretty awesome about getting all this stuff right.)
Kristen came with us to the movies, of course, and she was a little worried in the beginning that “everything is awesome” when it’s built according to exact instructions and everyone works together all the time and never uses their imaginations. (I was okay with “everything is awesome” because the only other motivational phrase in toy-related media I can think of lately is the “anything is possible” motto that goes along with fucking Dog Poop Barbie. Literally, it’s a Barbie with a dog that actually poops, and Barbie gets to pick it up with a pooper scooper. THE FUCKING MOTTO IS “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.” Go for the gold, Barbie!) ‘ll try not to spoil the movie for you, but suffice it to say that the message is clear to think outside the box and use your imagination. And it sure as hell changed my mind about Legos.
Because I spend so much goddamn time building magnificent Lego contraptions, I get irritated when the kids want to take them apart. Obviously. And I spent all this money on this particular set because he NEEEEEDED it, only to destroy it into unrecognizable pieces a day later. I tried to tell myself that the joy was in building it together with my kid, but that gets to be stressful, too. and sometimes takes on the feeling of Forced Fun that say, cruise ship party nights would do.
You’d think in a creative family, with Tim being an amazing artist and me with the book stuff, we’d encourage making shit up more. What the Lego Movie showed me was that we all still have boxes to break out of. (I know, deep shit, for a kid’s movie, but you know what, grown ups are always learning, too or else you suck at life.) Besides, it’s not all that adulty to realize that there are always more rules to break and re-mold into something better. And better by YOUR standards, not according to what has been decided is better. (For fuck’s sake, this post is not about editing, but in my head it is now.) The point is, even if you think you don’t put yourself in a box, you do without knowing it sometimes. You have to go back to the most basic elements and build from the ground up, rule-free, and with childlike enthusiasm. Everything that was ever built was just an idea someone had, and you have ideas, too.
Now, go wreck some awesome thing and make it even awesomer.