Everyone wants to be better. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t currently happy or content, but given the option of being better in any way one can be “better,” one would be foolish to decline.
Yet, almost everyone seems to despise the easiest way to get better: honest feedback. You think the world views you one way. You are incorrect. Then someone gifts you this vital information. It might not come in the most beautifully wrapped package, but that need not overshadow the reality that the critic is speaking his/her truth. Yea, the person may be envious or lacking self-esteem, and most people may not agree with this truth, but to the critic, the feedback is true.
Deadpool so wonderfully encapsulated how challenging this can be when he is called “old” and responds, “Fake laugh. Hiding real pain.”
Feedback about physical attributes should be easier to take. After all, nobody has been obsessing about looking old more than you, so this really isn’t new information.
When, however, someone illuminates a flaw you didn’t even think you had (i.e. “I’ve never told you this, but you are really annoying whenever you get drunk.”), even a fake laugh won’t be enough. You’ll almost certainly resort to defense mode – “No way I’m annoying. Give me an example. See, you don’t even have an example.” – and resist accepting the feedback.
But as you lay awake that night, maybe you’ll come to a very useful conclusion. Other people were almost certainly noticing your flaw and you would have never known. Now you do. And if the flaw is indeed a flaw, and it might not be, you have the opportunity to change and be better. What, you really thought everyone, everywhere was going to like everything about you? Even as you possess a running list of all the things you loathe about the people you know best?
This may seem like a remarkable amount of thinking borne from a simple line. It is not. Deadpool perfectly reduced a complex set of emotions to five words. That is a most uncommon occurrence.
A friend strongly pushes you to watch some allegedly funny show. You watch the first two episodes. Zero laughs are registered. This friend doesn’t quit, “Give it a few more. Once you get into the characters it will be so funny.”
This friend is implicitly supporting a totally correct theory – many things do become funnier once you have some appreciation for the characters. This appreciation usually requires some time. Once the requisite time is met, what the characters say is almost irrelevant because you just like the style of delivery.
This appreciation took less than a minute in Deadpool. Maybe it’s because Ryan Reynolds is truly funny. Maybe it’s because Deadpool is truly funny. Or maybe (probably) it’s a combination of both. Whatever the case, from the very first scene Deadpool delivered the laughs. There were so many golden lines, it’s not even worth listing them. Even the editing/storytelling choices were humorous (the pausing with impaled bad guy midair, the 4th wall breakdowns, the dual plot lines).
Deadpool has firmly planted itself in the lead for the much coveted “Think Laugh Cry Laugh of the Year Award.”
It wasn’t good enough for a CRY, but it is worth mentioning. The speech by Colossus at the end was really strong (and another reason for the THINK).