American Graffiti
Personal Lessons and Insights

September 15, 2002


Brief Plot Summary

Two 1960's teenagers grow into adults with the decisions they make in one significant night.


Interesting Character

I thought that "Wolfman Jack" (Playing himself) was an interesting character. He advised Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) to "Get his ass in gear" and go take the opportunity presented to him and see the wonders of the world. Having settled down into his life as a disc jockey, I think that "The Wolfman" was refreshed to see a young man ready to go off and experience life, like he had been able to do when he was younger. When Jack explained that he was older now, and that he was comfortable with his position, I think that he was forced to realize that he had given up a life of freedom that he enjoyed in order to obtain the life that he now had. I found the Wolfman's good advice stressed how important it is to get the most out of life when you can, for it is those experiences that will bring you satisfaction in your later years.


Interesting Scene

An interesting scene occurred when Curt completed the task of sabotaging a police car for the "Pharaohs", a local gang that had kidnapped him to do their dirty work. Being accepted into a group that had seemed dangerous and exciting when he was in high school was one of the events that helped him decide that going off to college was the best idea. I think this scene in particular represented a demystification of his old ways of life that had been occurring throughout his last day in town. I believe it made him realize how many of the priorities that had served him through high school actually had little bearing on his future. To me, this represented a major part of becoming an adult, realizing that his old goals were made with a teen's outlook, and deciding to adopt new priorities and take the opportunity to go further than those that had stayed behind in that little town.


Something this film made me think about.

This film made me think about how the choices people make when they are young drastically affect the direction of their future. This is made even more interesting by the fact that when people are young, the decisions they make are often confused with inexperience and lack of foresight. Although some would consider this to be a reflection of the person's nature, that instinctual decisions with minimal consideration of the consequences is a better representation of the true thoughts of a person, I wholeheartedly disagree. In my opinion, the future consequences of an action should always be considered when making a major decision, even when those consequences are years away. In my opinion, the future one decides upon should effect the decisions they make, rather than making decisions based on temporary situations while remaining blind to a desired future. The goal should control the journey, not the other way around.

Original Web Upload March 2002
Last Update: September 15, 2002