Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy: Life Lessons from Scarface (really.)

The thing about time, I’m learning, is how fast it goes by, completely ignoring your goals or presuppositions for the week. Today may be Monday, the day you mourn the weekend’s quick demise, but yet the way everything has been going lately, I swear you blink twice and it’s Friday.

Over the weekend, I watched Scarface (the 1983 version) for the first time and I was really struck by a scene that’s honestly not like THE major part of the movie, but man, I keep thinking about it. Towards the end of the (three hour) movie, Tony Montana is sitting at a extremely formal, high class restaurant with his wife and best friend. If you’ve never seen Scarface, a little backstory: Tony has BASICALLY lived the American dream. Came from Cuba on a boat,  started washing dishes and is now the ultra rich druglord of Miami. (I mean, that’s everyone’s American dream, I’m assuming.) He has it all: the woman he pined after, the money and lifestyle that comes with the money, the power, lots of cocaine (although “don’t get high on your own supply”), all of it. In this super fancy restaurant filled with old people, Tony comes to a really interesting and surprising realization:


Cue malaise.

“Is this it? Is this all that it’s about? Eating, drinking, snorting…is this all that I worked for? With these hands? Is that what I killed for [Okay, he’s not the BEST role model/one at all] …is this how it ends? And I thought I was a winner?”

While Scarface is probably THE least likely place to get a life lesson other than “Don’t do any of these things ever,” not going to lie, I was totally moved by this scene.

Sometimes I think you have those “restaurant scenes in Scarface” moments in life when you can somehow see a glimpse into what the future of your life path looks like. And maybe that’s a good forecast! But for me, Chronic Overthinker, it’s so easy to get caught up in the negative potentials and then spiral from there into what I consider the WORST future: being stuck in a mediocre life too far gone (or too painful)  for change. Especially with time moving so fast.

But I’ve over-thought my way to a conclusion: Yeah, habits and choices change our lives (like choosing to get into the Miami drug business), but maybe it’s never too late to change. Maybe it’s never too late, once you’ve seen the potential future path you’re on, to turn around. Because maybe that thing that you’re afraid of has already happened to you, as Elizabeth Gilbert writes.  And maybe only the boringly mediocre care about not being mediocre–everyone else is too busy living to care. Life lesson tl;dr: I want to be in that latter group, not in the same boat as Tony Montana.

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