Posts tagged: How Hollywood gets unstuck

Silver Linings Playbook: Pat Solatano gets unstuck as an Idle Achiever

His stuck moment: After losing his job and his wife, and spending eight months in a mental health facility, Pat Solatano wants to transform his life and get his wife, Nikki, back. But each time he comes close to stability, new trouble crops up.

He commits: Pat finds a kindred spirit in Tiffany Maxwell, who convinces him to partner her in a dance competition. He agrees, thinking it will impress Nikki, and unexpectedly enjoys the consistency and progress that comes with their practice sessions.

Unstuck result: For each step he takes to reconcile with Nikki, Pat takes two steps back. By shifting his goal for stability from Nikki to Tiffany, he finds the reciprocated love he
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The Sound of Music: Captain von Trapp gets unstuck as a Deflated Doer

His stuck moment: A widowed father of seven, Captain von Trapp keeps happiness at arm’s length since his wife died, treating his children like subordinates in a small naval regiment. He instructs the new governess, Maria (much to her dismay), to use militaristic calls with his children.

He gets (re)stoked: When the captain returns from a trip, he hears his children singing, beautifully, taught by Maria. He joins them in song and soon the distance between father and offspring narrows.

Unstuck result: Reacquainted with the joys of human connection, Captain von Trapp realizes he loves the free-spirited Maria and calls off his engagement to the icy Countess Elsa Schräder, who wanted to ship his kids off to boarding
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Roman Holiday: Princess Ann gets unstuck as an Avoider

Her stuck moment: Sick of life in the royal fish bowl, Princess Ann runs away from duty to paint the town red as carefree commoner “Anya.” Her incognito adventures — including a dance party that ends in a wild melee — throw the city of Rome into an uproar.

She goes for it: Though she falls in love with life on the other side — and with handsome American journalist Joe Bradley — she’s realizes that running away from her obligations can’t buy happiness, and a “holiday” can’t go on forever.

Unstuck result:  Ann returns to her royal responsibilities, but with new maturity and a stronger sense of
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Rocky: Rocky Balboa gets unstuck as an Ad Libber

His stuck moment: Rocky Balboa is a small-time boxer and loan collector, struggling to make ends meet and maintain his dignity, in spite of his dead-end prospects.

He comes up with a game plan: When Rocky is asked to fight heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, he sees a chance to go from “nobody” to “somebody.” He commits to a daily training plan, including 4 a.m. runs, lots of raw eggs, and hundreds of flights of stairs.

Unstuck result: Rocky knocks Creed down in the first round, and the crowd goes wild. He goes all 15 rounds, only losing on a technicality — proving that he’s someone to take
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Clueless: Cher gets unstuck as a Perplexed Planner

Her stuck moment: Pretty and popular Cher has the wiles to fix every problem under the California sun. But when she falls for a guy who knows her too well to succumb to her usual shenanigans, she finds herself drawing a blank on how to nab him.

She clears the clutter: Cher gets vulnerable. She lets go of the stunts and ruses that she typically depends on, and tells Josh how she really feels. 

Unstuck result: Josh admits that he has feelings for her too, and they share a tender kiss on the
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Moulin Rouge: Satine gets unstuck as a Waffler

Her stuck moment: Star courtesan Satine is torn between two men: Christian, the poor writer whom she loves, and the wealthy and dastardly Duke, her patron and an investor at the cabaret Moulin Rouge, where she works.

She takes a stand: When Christian confronts Satine on stage on opening night, she faces a moment of truth. With the jealous Duke watching from the audience, she goes with her gut and declares her love for Christian in defiant song.

Unstuck result: The couple affirms their love, inspiring Christian to immortalize Satine in
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The Full Monty: Gaz gets unstuck as a Lone Leader

His stuck moment: Gaz is an unemployed steel worker who can’t afford his child support payments and risks losing contact with his son, Nathan. After sneaking into a visiting Chippendale’s performance, he brainstorms creating a similar male strip tease act, but lacks the talent to pull it off.

He rallies his resources: Gaz hold auditions in the abandoned steel mill, and then recruits his former boss to teach the crew to dance.

Unstuck result: After he’s exposed by the police, Gaz throws in the towel, but his recruited cohorts convince him to perform to a sold-out audience, where he earns the respect of his ex-wife and much-needed
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Good Will Hunting: Will Hunting gets unstuck as a Reluctant Adapter

His stuck moment: Will makes a living as a janitor at M.I.T. but is discovered to be a self-taught mathematical genius. He reluctantly helps an M.I.T. prof with his research, but, afraid of failure and rejection, he sabotages job offers and his new relationship with Skylar, a recent Harvard grad.

He gut checks it: When his friend Chuckie tells him he will be insulted if Will wastes his potential, Will sees how narrow he has made his life.

Unstuck result: By listening to his friend, Will realizes that he wants the opportunities he has denied himself. He decides to start a new life in California, where Skylar has moved to attend
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It’s a Wonderful Life: George Bailey gets unstuck as a Tunnel Visionary

His stuck moment: Having lived in Bedford Falls all his life, George gives up his travel dreams to run his father’s business and loan. One Christmas Eve, his uncle loses a large deposit, prompting the town’s slumlord, Mr. Potter, to issue a warrant for George’s arrest. Feeling he’s worth more dead than alive, George jumps off a bridge.

He strays from the usual: Clarence, George’s guardian angel, rescues George to show him what Bedford Falls would be like if he had never lived. Called Pottersville, the town is home to squalor and bitterness, with every friend and relative suffering personal unhappiness.

Unstuck result: By seeing his town from a different perspective, George realizes what a difference he has made and begs Clarence to let him live. His wish is
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The Help: Aibileen Clark gets unstuck as a Drifter

Her stuck moment: A black maid for a white family in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, Aibileen lost her purpose in life when her son died in an accident and her husband deserted her. She resents her position in society, but is resigned to it.

She sets a goal: Recent college grad Skeeter asks Aibileen to help her write a book about the indignities that she and other maids in Jackson endure. At first hesitant, Aibileen realizes that she can help change her community for the better.

Unstuck result: Working on the book helps Aibileen gain confidence in her own writing, something she did privately since childhood. When she is fired from her domestic position, she ponders becoming a professional writer like Skeeter. (In the novel, Aibileen lands a job writing household hints for the local
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