A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to the movie theater with my parents and younger cousin. As nice as it’s been watching movies at home, I can’t deny that I missed going to an actual theater. Since I was already vaccinated and still planned on wearing a mask, I decided that there was no need to stay away from the silver screen any longer.
Since my return to the movie theater, I’ve been able to see “Space Jam: A New Legacy” with my younger brother, “The Suicide Squad” by myself, and now most recently, “Free Guy.” While all of these experiences were pretty enjoyable, I think this latest one was the most memorable simply due to the movie itself.
For those who don’t know, “Free Guy” is about an NPC (non-player character) named Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame. When he’s able to break out of his pattern and starts to realize the world around him is a Grand Theft Auto-esque video game, Guy ends up making more of a difference than he ever expected.
After meeting his love interest, a player character named Millie, Guy then decides that not only is he going to "level up," but he’s going to do it without participating in the standard theft, car-jacking and murder that the other player-characters indulge in. He decides to play as a good guy. The movie continues on from there, getting bolder and more emotional while still keeping that great humor that Reynolds has made himself famous for.
Simply put, the movie is hilarious while having a ton of heart, as well as quite a few interesting themes about life – both what it means to be alive and what can be done with a life. All of the characters were enjoyable, the action and effects were great, and by the time my family and I left the theater, we were all smiling. It truly was a feel-good movie – but any movie can be feel-good. I think what really meant a lot to me was the film’s message.
I think for a lot of us, it can feel like we’re just background characters, and that what we do might matter to our friends or a few people in our community and we don't feel we have the power to make a real difference. What’s the point of trying to make the world better when there are so many other people making the world worse?
Considering all that’s happened in the past few years, I’m sure that mindset is more prevalent than ever. I know I’ve certainly felt it in my lowest moments.
I think it’s good to have movies that can remind people the things you do matter, even when it doesn’t feel like it. That it’s worth trying to do good, even when it’s hard or seemingly impossible. Even when we can’t always make a world-changing difference, the differences that we do make in day-to-day life are real and matter, no matter how small they are.
We need messages like that, just as much as we need mindsets like that in the real world.
Those messages might be cliché and cheesy, but they’re important to keep in mind, especially during the tough times.
I was just happy to see a film with such a positive and hopeful message. It would have been easy to be cynical or nihilistic.
It may not always be easy to be the good guy or to keep a hopeful perspective, but I’m going to try at the very least.