You all like movies, right? I’m assuming the answer is yes and if indeed you did grow up watching movies like I did thinking, “Hey, that would be pretty cool in real life,” then this one’s for you. That’s right. It’s a lot of fun when you’re ten years old (or twenty-five… ) to pretend that you’re your favorite movie character, jetting around the universe or busting ghosts or whatever, but it’s time to grow up, to take a sobering look at just how awful some of those supposedly cool careers and lifestyles would be in real life. Here are seven cool jobs from the movies that would suck in real life.
Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery, Flickr
As Seen In: Goodfellas, Godfather, etc.
Sure, it seems like it would be pretty cool to just be able to take what you want when you want it and to shoot anyone in the face who pisses you off, and hey, everyone kisses your ass and you get into all the best clubs and you never have to pay for anything. But when the best case scenario for you is ending up in witness protection and making drunken phone calls to Howard Stern before you keel over one day then let’s face it, it’s probably not as cool as it seems. Odds are, you’ll probably get shot or stuffed into a meat locker or blown up before you reach forty and even if you make it past that you’ll spend every other day in a court room or feigning insanity just so that you won’t spend your golden years getting cornholed in prison. If movies have taught us one thing it’s that as awesome as those first few years are, the life of a gangster almost never, ever ends well.
Photo credit: olliethebastard, Flickr
As Seen In: Every movie in the Indiana Jones series
Who wouldn’t want to be Indiana Jones? The dude is about as cool as cool gets. He’s a total badass and all the ladies love him. Plus, he gets to travel the world and see all sorts of cool shit. Of course, he also routinely gets the crap beaten out of him, half the time those ladies end up betraying him and let’s not forget the part where he winds up in a snake pit or tied up waiting to get his heart torn out in some arcane human sacrifice by an insane Indian cult leader. Those parts? Uh, not so fun. Sure, you’ll get to make a difference and you’ll win pretty much any metaphorical penis-measuring contest when it comes to comparing jobs with your friends at the bar but is that really worth getting routinely kidnapped by Nazis or left in the desert to wander and die? Besides, those friends you’re trying to impress will all end up getting beaten up and killed anyway. Okay, so maybe the life of a real-life archaeologist isn’t quite as wild but at best you’d still end up spending half your life in villages where the local pastime is dying from cholera, all in the vain hope that you might uncover a Stegosaurus’ fossilized penis. No thanks.
Photo credit: Son of Groucho, Flickr
As Seen In: The Bourne Identity series
Everyone dreams of being able to do the sorts of things that Jason Bourne can pull out of his ass like some sort of psychotic magician. You’d be able to kick pretty much anyone’s ass using only a rolled up old magazine, you’d be able to speak a zillion different languages, and do, well, virtually anything and everything you could think of. It would be like getting one of those computer programs from The Matrix downloaded into your brain in real life. But really, have you ever actually paid attention to how insanely boring these dudes’ lives really are? I mean, they pretty much just sit around all day, expressionless, like switched-off robots waiting for a stupid phone call telling them it’s clobberin’ time. That’s their life: waiting around, doing nothing and then fighting for their lives. It’s not like they ever actually do anything cool with all those skills. I mean, at best you’d just be a killing machine with no memory of who you really are with no goals, no likes or dislikes, no… life. At worst, you’d get killed after a few years once the CIA invented a better model. Screw that.
Photo credit: ~Twon~, Flickr
As Seen In: Back to the Future
Sure, you’d be smart as hell and who doesn’t love a DeLorean? But you’d also have to go through life as an eccentric shunned by everyone except your dog and that high school boy you have an oddly inappropriate friendship with. Inventing time travel is cool and all but last time I checked, nobody was lining up to applaud poor Doc Brown other than a gang of Libyans with machine guns in a shitty old van. Did he live on disability or what? Sure, I’m guessing he could have probably sold a few of his inventions but imagine the amount of money the dude had to invest just to get his stupid schemes off the ground. Yeah, you could brag that you invented time travel, but I don’t think anyone would give a shit at your bankruptcy hearing. And let’s not forget that chances are pretty high that you’d do something dumb that would cause the universe to implode, forcing your teenage best friend to have to fend off the advances of his own mother in an effort to make sure his parents bone just so that he can go on living. Just one goddamn headache after another, man. You can do better with your life.
Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery, Flickr
As Seen In: A billion different movies
Everyone dreams of having a superpower of some sort- teenage boys dream of having x-ray vision, people in their thirties dream of having the power to make their mortgage disappear and old dudes dream of having super bladder control. But being a superhero in real life would suck. There’s really no arguing it. You’re constantly having to deal with people trying to kill you and when you get a rest from that, you spend all your time answering every shitty distress call that comes your way. I mean, look, we’ve all seen COPS, right? In real life, those are the sorts of situations you’d be called in to deal with. Just one white trash circus after another. And what’s worse is that they would just fear and hate you for it. After a week, you’d hate humanity so much you’d be tempted to use your powers to destroy them all. Even if by some miracle you didn’t mind the countless hours of work, your personal life would be almost nonexistent. At best you could hope to pine after some neighbor girl while she’s out cavorting with some asshole, but mostly you’d just spend your time hanging out with your weird butler and the teenage boy runaway who lives in a cave underneath your house. This is not a life you want to live.
Photo credit: borderlys, Flickr
As Seen In: Star Wars, Serenity
No one’s cooler than Han Solo. That doesn’t mean that his life doesn’t completely and totally suck. I mean, let’s face facts: you spend most of your time flying around on a broken down old ship, accompanied by a best friend who is basically an overgrown dog/yeti, running from both the law and gangsters who want a piece of you, and on top of that you’ve got some whiney kid and some old man hassling you about becoming a space terrorist. And then at the end of a day you end up with some bitchy princess on board who thinks you’re a loser and is constantly giving you shit about everything. No thanks. Even if you’re not Han Solo and say, someone like Malcolm Reynolds from Serenity, your life is pretty much the same shit show. A typical day involves being shot at by the lowlifes you do business with and when you’re not being hassled by them, you find yourself caught up helping interstellar fugitives who bring the law down on your head over and over again. Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds exactly like Han Solo’s life. Either way, not much fun, right? Of course, you’re pretty much the coolest dude in the universe but that doesn’t really help you when a giant space slug has you frozen in carbonite and your girlfriend kept on a leash now does it?
Photo credit: pasukaru76, Flickr
As Seen In: Ghostbusters
When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was Peter Venkman. Strangely, I never really wanted to be a Ghostbuster though. That’s because, cool as it seems, what with all the fame that goes with it, even as a kid it was obvious that the life of a Ghostbuster sucked. First of all, there aren’t many of you so you’re always on the clock, never getting a break. Second, you’re constantly fighting freakin’ ghosts. Last time I checked ghosts were scary as hell. At least the kind you’d have to deal with as a Ghostbuster. I’m not talking about those lame ghosts from those SyFy reality shows. The ghosts you’d be dealing with day in and day out would eventually give you a goddamn panic attack. And even if by some miracle you managed to survive with your sanity intact or, hell, survive literally, you’d be met by a skeptical public who would sue you into oblivion for all the destruction and chaos that ensued. I still want to be Peter Venkman when I grow up (any day now… ) but I’ll pass on being a Ghostbuster. I just don’t have time in my life to fight dudes who live in paintings and chuck slime at me. After all, I’m not in college anymore.
Photo credit: AdamL212, Flickr
(Originally published on July 6, 2012.)