It’s hard to believe it’s been a dozen years since Austin Powers last appeared on the big screen.
In his absence, the world’s gotten a lot bleaker and a lot more fucked up. Without our favorite International Man of Mystery, our bro culture seems doomed to follow on that path without much resolution.
However, there is still hope for us here in 2014 that maybe one-day Austin’s time traveling adventures will catch up to us and revive us with the same spirit that charged those in 1997, in 1999 and then again in 2002.
Until that day comes though, we can only discuss and try to learn from our groovy hero’s adventures:
1. When in doubt, work your mojo
Throughout the trilogy, Austin has many moments of peril that would have been impossible to escape without his cross-generational mojo, or sex appeal.
What’s most distinct about Austin’s flare though is that compared to other international men of mystery, he’s the only one capable of fending off both human and robotic attraction. And the precision at which he yields this mojo makes it unarguably his most effective weapon.
Hey, I’m not saying it’s easy, but somebody has to be able to possess these powers in case fembots one day decide to take over the world.
2. You can’t trust carnies
You know, circus folk. Nomads. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.
For whatever reason, Austin’s fears of nuclear war and people who work at carnivals were embedded deeply into my head as a child, and I’ve never been to shake them off.
This has rendered me with only one distinct and abhorrent prejudice that I may just carry with me for the rest of my life: I’m repulsed by any and all types of circus folk, no matter who they are, where they’re from and what they did before falling into the worst job in the world.
Honestly, I could meet a carnie who has the same interests as me and is well spoken enough to carry out a logical discussion about something current and I’d still have distaste for him or her.
I realize it’s something I have to work at but at this point, I’ve made zero progress.
3. If you wake up from being frozen for 30 years, its OK to bail on capitalism
We’ll get to Austin’s seemingly inherent ability to adapt to any situation in a moment, but this lesson particularly demonstrates the speed at which he’s able to think and react.
After being unfrozen after 30 years, he sees a Russian official and is told that Cold War is over. He assumes England has fallen under the iron fist of communism and decides to throw capitalism under the bus so he doesn’t look suspicious.
Although capitalism has provided him with a great lifestyle and a great life, Austin has no problem whatsoever in jumping sidelines, if only for the sake of self-preservation. After all, communism can’t be that bad, right, baby?
Note: I realize I’ve dived way deeper than anybody ever should and analyzing this clip. In case you just wanted the link, here you go. No need to thank me; all applause should be directed towards Mike Myers.
4. Honesty is important
Austin gets himself in a bit of a bind when he confesses to Vanessa (his eventual bride) that he cheated on her with some “Italian bird.”
Granted, in this case, the bird just so happens to be Alotta Fagina — the woman they’re trying to connect to Dr. Evil, which complicates things substantially. Nonetheless, Austin’s cavalier attitude (just look at that smile around the 40 second mark!) towards this indiscretion puts him in the doghouse — no pussy for you, man — for the last third of the movie.
He’s only able to dig himself out of this rut by using the same shovel he dug the hole in the first place: with blunt honesty. He tells Vanessa he wants to be a one-woman man and reiterates sincerely how little Alotta meant to him.
I’m not saying this is going to work for everybody. In fact, it probably won’t work for 95% of guys out there, but there’s a lesson to be learned here: honest does count and is a lot better than covering up something awful.
5. Be prepared to escape any situation
OK, so Austin isn’t always the brave, chest-pounding alpha man that we’ve seen on the big screen over and over again. Not a big deal, how many Sylvester Stallones does the world really need?
Austin makes up for his flaws with that aforementioned mojo and a keen sense for escape even in the most perilous situations. He’s also not bad at taking a hint, although it does take him over an hour to admit he has bad teeth (more on this in a second).
The floss/toothbrush escape is sheer brilliance — it shows us to always be prepared and always be resource; also, never to give up and never doubt in your ability to outwit evil.
6. Make a mockery of life whenever you get the chance
Some of us might forget that Austin tried to settle down in a life away from crime in the second movie, but it didn’t take.
The legacy of this career experiment in photography lends itself to an important life lesson: don’t take the camera too seriously. In fact, let’s amp it up a bit more: don’t take life to seriously. It’s OK to act a bit crazy and pretend like you’re an animal in the moment. Why the hell not? Do what makes you happy.
And taking photos of Rebecca Romijn would make any of us happy.
7. Confidence is the key to adaption
Fast forward to the 1990s, shoot up the moon, jump back to the 1970s — nothing seems to faze Austin Powers. And why would it? A man with that much self-confidence could run around the country naked and not think twice.
Remember: it’s not unawareness — Austin is always mindful of where he is; it’s confidence. He’s able to change himself like a chameleon time and time again because he believes in himself and knows that nobody could pierce that faith.
Although, a fat bastard could certainly crush it — if not swallow it whole.
8. Teeth are only relatively important to scoring women
Ah, back to Austin’s teeth: what an inspiration for men everywhere that we don’t have to be as put together as an Armani model in order to have sex with women.
Does having a six-pack of hair, a full set of locks and pearly whites go a long way? Sure it does, but it’s not the end all and be all when it comes to sleeping with women.
There are plenty of fish in the sea that would happily sleep with hairy-chested dude with thick-rimmed glasses and abysmal dentures. It’s good that Austin’s out there to remind us of this in those moments when we get down about our appearance.
9. Forgiving your enemies is part of any great battle
Ultimately, Dr. Evil and Austin team up to defeat Goldmember in the third chapter of the saga. It’s a bit cliché but in all realty it was inevitable — good and evil are cut from the same cloth, when stitched together it’s hard to see that there ever was a rip in the first place.
Back to my point though: the ease in which Austin forgives his former foe is really to be lauded for generations to come. It’s a prime example that you should treat others with an open mind, not hostility.
The best way to defeat evil is with peace.
10. Don’t punch your boss’ mom in the face…or any woman for that matter
Unless it’s actually a man, baby.
Jokes aside though, it’s not cool to punch a woman and Austin unfortunately learns this the hard way when he cold clocks Basil Exposition’s mother before a routine debriefing. Embarrassing to say the least, this stunt would get you fired in 101% of workplaces in America.
And yes, I’m aware that it’s not possible to have 101% of something.