How The ‘Iron Giant” Taught Us Everything We Ever Needed To Know
“I said. I’m hip”
‘The Iron Giant’ might not have been as popular as the ‘Aladdins’ and ‘Cinderella’s’ that ruled the childhood of your average 90’s kid, but what it lacked in fairy godmothers and magic carpet rides it more than made up for with heart, humor, and having Vin Diesel voice a giant robot.
As a six-year-old, this movie was the closest I’d ever get to living out my dream of finding a giant robot in the woods behind my house. Sixteen years later though, in the throws of a midnight Netflix binge, I rewatched it, and realized that the character I learned the most from wasn’t the giant or the lucky boy who found it.
Instead, it was Dean. A guy who’s something like Jack Kerouac, James Dean, and The Fonz all rolled into one.
We all remember Dean, right?
Hard to forget a face like that. And that turtle neck. Oof. You wanna talk cartoon characters who sexually awakened you as a child? Even as a 6-year-old I couldn’t even.
He’s far more than just a pretty face, though. Look beyond his 5 o’clock shadowed exterior and you’ll find a guy who’s got swagger and wisdom in spades.
Here are some lessons from we could all stand to learn from Dean, certified Master of Cool.
1. Fuck the haters. Grow a soul patch.
Long before Lady Gaga and inspirational school posters taught you the importance of marching to the beat of your own drummer, Dean was already telling you to brush off what the ‘creeps’ think and not let your lunch money get stolen.
And you can tell he means it too. Only someone who truly does not give a fuck what other people think could sport facial hair like that.
2. Replace all transportation with motorcycles.
The motorcycle has always been the vehicle choice for bad boys, drifters, and loners alike. Also, they’re better for the environment, not that anyone back in the 50’s was concerned about that. Still adds to the cool factor, though.
3. Whatever you do don’t wig out.
Wigging out is very uncool—so maintain your composure even in the tensest of situations like, you know, when there’s a squirrel in your pants.
4. Dope shades will help you see through the bullshit.
Like the motorcycle, sunglasses are a ‘cool’ staple that cannot be overlooked. Pioneered by artists and rock stars for decades, what other invention lets you look nonchalant af while also empowering you to clandestinely nap wherever you want?
Black turtleneck: optional.
5. Master the art of the smolder.
6. If you’ve got a problem with arts and crafts you can GTFO.
Dean is an arts and crafts man. If you don’t like it, you can make like an egg and beat it, because lesson 7 is….
7. One man’s scrap is another man’s art.
If you’re gonna eat one of them, eat the scrap.
8. Coffee should be strong, black and available at all hours.
There’s only one drink for a man who, by day, owns his own junkyard while moonlighting as an artist who creates sculptures out of his own recycled scrap. It’s brown, comes from beans and should be endlessly cascading down your throat.
9. Stand up for the kooks.
Being cool doesn’t mean you have to lack moral fiber. Dean stands up for ‘the crazy ones, the rebels, the troublemakers.’
Wondering why I’m quoting an Apple ad? C’mon, if he weren’t trapped in the fifties, he’d totally have a mac.
10. Nap. Often.
But you didn’t really need Dean to tell you that.