Monday, January 23, 2012


Every once in a while, a film comes along that is, in all seriousness, important. I don't mean that it's just really good or entertaining or groundbreaking in some way. I mean really, honestly important. These are movies that you should watch because they say something necessary or they will make you a better person. Movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Incredibles. Validation, while short (it's under 20 minutes), is one of these films.

Hugh Newman is a man who works at a parking lot, validating people's tickets. one day, an obviously downcast man comes to him to be validated, and so Newman starts complimenting him. The man leaves, happy. More and more people come to him for validation, and he highlights all of their positive qualities. He becomes so popular that people park there just to get validated. Even the men sent to discourage him from what he's doing leave feeling better about themselves. He does such a good job at making people smile that he's practically on his way to single-handedly bringing about world peace. Until one day, he meets a woman that he cannot make smile. Nothing he tries helps. And what's worse, he might even be in love with her.

I really don't want to spoil the entire movie, because you need to go and watch it yourself. Suffice to say, it's worth it.
What I love most about the movie is the message. Again, without giving too much away, the basic message to the story is that of putting other people's happiness before your own. Not in the sense of sacrificing your needs for theirs, but in the sense of caring about other people enough to go just a little bit out of your way to make them happy whenever you can. I really believe that if more people had the attitude of "I want other people to be happy" instead of the attitude "I want what I think will make me happy" or the equally pernicious "other people would be happy if they recognized that I'm right" then the vast majority of problems we have int he world today would work themselves out.

Seriously, it's difficult for me to describe just how amazing and important this short film is. I could probably write a book on it, but I'm too lazy for that. So, just... go and watch it already.

Bottom Line: This short film is one of the most important works in the last century. It should be watched by everyone on a semi-regular basis. I say this without hyperbole, because its message is one that people need to hear and believe if we are to improve our condition as a community and a species. It tells its message so well, so effectively, and so poignantly, and without pretension that I cannot understand why anyone would not want to go out and immediately apply its teachings to their life and do their best to make other people smile. Go and watch this film. I know I'm going to watch it again, and again, and again.

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