Before we start, I’d like to say something that might surprise you.

I know that I make fun of a lot of actors and actresses (especially Nicolas Cage and Katherine Heigl, who are both just awful awful awful actors). And Matt Damon is a common target among movie critics, critics of actors, or just people-critics in general.

But I actually like him as an actor.

Shocking, I know.

I’d also like to take a moment to warn you about spoilers ahead. But like most movies of its kind, if you saw the preview for We Bought a Zoo, you saw the whole damn movie.

And you know it.

Go ahead. I encourage you to watch the preview. Even if you have seen it before, watch it again:

In just two minutes, you know the entire plot of the movie. You know all of the characters and what they stand for. You know that it is going to have a happy ending and that every single character will work out their problems by the end of the film. Not only that, but you have also just heard all of the critical lines in the movie.

It was all gift-wrapped for you in a two-minute trailer, which inexplicably seems to have been created so that you DON’T have to see the movie.

It amazes me that people spend their time and money to watch a movie that was so elegantly ruined by the trailer.

That being said…

I watched We Bought a Zoo the other day.

It was a decent movie overall, mostly because it had all of the elements that make that kind of movie watchable:

  • we-bought-a-zooA widowed father, so involved in his own problems, responsibilities, and misery that he doesn’t realize that every woman alive is not only a single mother, but a single mother who is swooning over him.
  • An adorable little girl that would make anyone want to have kids.
  • A stupid brat of a boy who is such a shit-head that even if you hate the movie, you just have to keep watching to witness his inevitable conversion to a kid who smiles and appreciates life for once.
  • A girl who has sagacity beyond her years to see this shit-head boy for what he really is, and brings him sandwiches despite his shit-headedness, which he clearly does not appreciate. And even though she would be better off with anyone else, you can’t help but root for the two of them to get together.

And of course,

  • Scarlett Johansen.

But perhaps the most meaningful thing that I took from the movie was the inspiring line that pops up in every one of these kinds of movies. Such a line usually appears in the movie trailer and sometimes even appears on the movie poster itself.

The line itself is presented at the climax of the movie, accompanied by epic music and the actors’ tears, and it is our jobs as loyal moviegoers to push aside the fact that we saw the words coming a mile away and accept it as a natural, organic act.

Matt Damon tells his son about when he saw his wife for the first timefnew home when she was sitting by the window of a coffee shop and he walked into the store to talk to her. He tells his son, “All you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, and I promise you that something good will come of it.”

Wow! What amazing words.

Sure, I know that his logic is flawed and that nothing good came from every twenty seconds of insane courage. Like Karl Wallenda, that tightrope-walker-guy whose twenty seconds of insane courage resulted in him falling to his death.

And yea, nothing good came of my twenty seconds of courage that time that I walked through a haunted insane asylum.

And okay, fine… I may have made myself a cocktail or two while watching We Bought a Zoo.

But dammit, Matt Damon, you are so right. All it takes is twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery for me to find love. I am sure of it.

So I wiped away my girly tears and began wondering how I could find myself the woman of my dreams, who would rear me one cute kid and one shit-head kid before she died and left me to raise them by myself.

I sat there on my couch and wondered what kind of insanely brave and courageous act I could do that would lead me to find her.

I could walk around the streets of my town, looking for beautiful women. And when I find one that is alone and minding her own business in a restaurant, I could be just like Matt Damon and invade her personal space and tell her that she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

Nah. Too direct. And totally creepy for her.

Instead of explicitly telling her how beautiful she is, I could instead show her how beautiful I thought she is through an interpretive dance. Or perhaps through my mad skills in the art of juggling.

Not direct enough. She’ll be confused by the dance, and find me to be cocky with the juggling.

Instead of walking into the restaurant, perhaps I could hire a marching band and lead them in a parade down the street in front of the restaurant.

Too expensive. Too dorky. Too dramatic.


This whole “courageous act” thing seemed pretty tough. And I was beginning to really doubt Matt Damon’s guarantee that something good would come from it.

That’s when I realized that even if I was able to find this perfect woman and convince her to, say, come back to my apartment, things would reach a screeching halt once she actually stepped foot into my place.

I have been living in my new apartment for two months. I had lived in many places before, but I had always had roommates and we had always rented furnished apartments. Living in a new place is super weird without anyone to share payments with! Moving is always an upheaval but services like those of a car shipping company can come in handy to those needing to transport multiple vehicles around the country as part of their move. I was told by my parents to look at getting some insurance for my place, I think it might be a good idea because anything could happen and I do not have the resources to spend money replacing everything I own! My parents have the best homeowners insurance in california from an insurance company they love, I have no idea if they are over here though… I should definitely check that out!
This was the first place that was technically mine. I’ve spent plenty of time buying furniture, which was fun. I’m now spending some time researching companies that offer professional installation of sliding doors. I have to admit, I’ve got a lot do to still! I’m super happy with my apartment though. I’ve got pretty much everything I need now in terms of basic furniture. It’s a good job I enjoy furniture shopping, because I’ve bought a bed, two TV units, sideboards, a sofa and a dining table. I haven’t got any chairs with it yet so I’m currently eating my dinner sitting in a white plastic garden chair, but I’ve seen some antique chairs for sale that I want, so hopefully I can ditch the garden chair soon. However, aside from moving my stuff in and buying that furniture, I hadn’t really declared ownership and made it my own. The walls were bare, the shelves were unorganized, and admittedly not all my boxes were unpacked. I needed to do something to make it look more like a living space and not just space where I lived.
And that is when I realized the courageous thing that I needed to do.

The daring act that would single-handedly solve my boring-apartment problems, jump-start my love life, and give meaning to my existence:


His name is Watson and I bought him at Walmart.

Buying him is probably the most courageous thing I have ever done. Watson is a living thing that actually requires my attention. And while I still have to Google How to take care of a plant, I am pretty sure that the list of responsibilities include watering him, singing to him, and exposing him to sunlight, or some combination of the three. I work at night, and I don’t even expose myself to sunlight, so this is a pretty big deal.

Our first day together was pretty low-key. We sort of just sat together in my living room, and he didn’t do much.

To be honest, he was kind of a bummer. But I figure he was just acclimating to his new surroundings and will liven up in the days to come.

Even though it was a frightening purchase, I feel good about it. Though it took a tremendous amount of courage, it was just a stepping stone in many other courageous acts to come.

Now I won’t be embarrassed to bring women back to my apartment, because Watson totally livens up the room. With the simple addition of one small houseplant in the corner, I have turned my empty-walled apartment into a mystical forest of enchantment.

Not only that, but now I actually have a suggestion to offer the ladies in my attempt to get them to come back to my place.

Want to see my houseplant?

Want to come back to my apartment and water my Dracaena?

Want to head back to my place so we can prune my plant?

With such a specific reason to come back to my apartment, she will know that my intentions are pure and I just want to spend more time with her.

I feel like the possibilities are endless with my new houseplant. And with him by my side, there is no telling what kinds of crazy adventures we will experience together. Even the best Hollywood writer couldn’t possibly come up with the kind of amazing story that Watson and I are going to share together.

And even if they could, they surely wouldn’t be able to spoil it in just a two-minute trailer.

-Youngman Brown

0 thoughts on “My 20 Seconds of Insane Courage

  1. Not sure if it is all the movie references or the name of the plant but all of a sudden I am having Tom Hanks flashes and images of volleyballs and being shipwrecked.
    Except the plant is Watson not Wilson.
    And it is an apartment not an island so you have a much better chance than he did of attracting a real live woman…

  2. That movie was a train wreck! I'm still pissed at my sister for showing it to my kids. However, I completely agree with you about that line being brilliant.

    I hope you find the courage to ask someone to come home and help you prune your plant. Good luck!

  3. According to Alex Fletcher (played by Hugh Grant in “Music and Lyrics”), women trust a man who has houseplants in his apartment. Or something like that. I've seen that movie a hundred times; you'd think I could quote it better by now! Best of luck to you as you test the theory. As for “We Bought A Zoo,” I also had the, er, pleasure of seeing that film recently. Meh. Like you, I felt like I'd seen the whole thing before we pushed “play,” thanks to the trailer. Absolutely no surprises lay in wait. Thank goodness the acting wasn't atrocious, or I would have been really bored.

  4. Brilliant, I absolutely cracked up at the “I bought a plant” picture.

    I agree with you on the whole trailer issue. Too many films give away everything in the trailer. I went to watch Prometheus in 3D, and there was a 10 minute Spiderman extravaganza beforehand that pretty much told me everything I needed to know. It even showed the scene where Peter Parker meets his new flame in full. Thanks for saving me the cost of another ticket, I've now seen everything I want to see from the film.

  5. “I'm growing my own Adam costume. Yes, I see the size of the leaf.”

    I like Matt Damon too. I think critics just see Ben Afflek too much, even when he is not in the movie.

  6. Word to the wise: if a woman shows up with a hedge trimmer, you might not want to open your door. That 20 seconds of insane courage may not turn out well. Good luck with Watson. I hope he does you proud.

  7. Right there with ya. Same thing…new place, worked up the courage to buy a plant. But I refused to talk to it. I just could not bring myself to talk to something that I knew would not talk back. It promptly died. (well, not “promptly.” It died a slow, agonizing death over several months.) The girl I was seeing: left. Geezus. Changes had to be made. I bought a new plant. Screwed up even more courage and talked to it! Now, I even touch it! It's doing great and I got a new girl. There's something to this…next up: buying art from a store that doesn't end in “mart.”

  8. If you do create a movie trailer, please include a clip of your singing to your new friend and a tour of your house by a class of small children so you can say, “They're elementary, my dear Watson!”

    Wonderful post! This might be my favorite too ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. Thank you for this brilliant post. You literally completely shifted my 'blah' mood. One of the funniest post I've ever read!

    Unfortunately, the Wal-Marts around me require about 10 minutes of insane courage due to the lengthy lines and unhelpful cashiers.

  10. I'm waiting for the climax of “WBAP” when Watson is dying, you're crying, and a 5 year old looks as you and says “All he really needed was a little love.”

    *cue dramatic music*

  11. You you should write a movie based on you and your houseplant, just make sure you have Scarlett Johansen in it…wearing the outfits from The Avengers in it….yeah…

  12. Anyone who can keep a house plant alive is a-okay in my book. And I would probably fall any of those lines simply because I secretly yearn to have a house plant.

  13. Ask a woman to help you trim your bush and see how that goes.

    Two things to remember:

    1) Make sure there aren't any objects they can throw at you.

    2) Be ready to duck because they might surprise you and lift something heavier than you thought they could.

  14. That was majestic. Seeing as how the last two guys I've sated couldn't keep a Chia Pet alive, you have no idea how attractive this makes you.

  15. Sure, you might get the girl back to your place, but she won't stick around once she discovers that in order to justify the naming of your plant you now smoke a pipe habitually, rarely eat, have taken up an opium habit, and play the violin at all hours of the night.

    Or, maybe you named the plant Watson to justify your opium habit. Who am I to judge?

  16. That is one bitchin Watson plant my friend. And your facial expression is so ernest & heartfelt. Take Watson for a walk, score yourself some hot bitches. Nothing says 'I'm relatable & totally not weird' like a good looking man taking his beloved houseplant for a walk.

  17. Oh, Youngman, you are a genius of seduction! What woman could resist coming over to play in your mystical garden of enchantment?

    Awesome image, too, by the way…very worthy of being stared at by its creator ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I hope that Waston and you have a long and happy life together! A little fun fact…my father totally hooked my mother (who LOVES flowers and went on to own a flower shop) with his plants in his bachelor pad so this has TOTAL validity! Just saying.

    PS…he went the cactus collection route because they are almost IMPOSSIBLE to kill plus there are a variety of flowering ones which are pretty impressive looking…you know if you and Watson want to bring in a third. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Wait until you start taking him for walks! Girls will be flocking over to pet your Watson!

    (That sounded so filthy it's brilliant. And true.)

  20. I have seen the trailers, and I must admit that it is not a movie that I would buy…or even spend money on going to a cinema. It seems like the kind of movie that should be on T.V. during the day.
    I'd much prefer a good horror or thriller anyday…but I'm a bit weird that way!

    Thanks for following, now following you back!

  21. I didn't see the trailer, and I liked We Bought a Zoo, even though it was predictable. Sometimes predictable is comforting. You can tell me I'm beautiful . . . for someone who's old enough to be your mom.


  22. I thought this post was only going to be a movie review – so happy you branched off into the plant/female topic. It's always so engaging to read about your theories on how to attract women ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Great post! I hope it works out with you and your plant. I do not want the sequel to be “How I Killed My Plant.”

    ps– do not respond to this comment. I just saved you 20 seconds so you could go water your plant.

  24. LMAO…I'm strangely inclined to see this movie now even though all of the juice is in the trailor. LOL I'm not a fan of Matt Damon (And lord knows I HATE HATE HATE Nicholas Cage…), but Scarlett Johannson is one of my girl crushes. She's gorgeous!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Great pickup line would be “I think my plant is ready to bite the bullet. Any suggestions on how I can save its life?”, lol. You are so cute and earnest in that picture too. It made me smile.

  26. I always planned on doing a post based on that one line (loved the movie) and once again you took something I was too lazy to do and made it into a masterpiece.

    I hope your plant survives living with you.

  27. I was mostly just shaking my head at the fact that you were trying to glean life lessons from “We Bought a Zoo,” when I hit that picture of you with Watson. Fucking brilliant.

  28. I can't wait to read about your adventures with Watson! I know you guys will have so much fun together…

    Oh and I also agree with you on the Nicholas Cage thing. I. Hate. Him.

  29. “So I wiped away my girly tears and began wondering how I could find myself the woman of my dreams, who would rear me one cute kid and one shit-head kid before she died and left me to raise them by myself.” <-- this made me laugh so hard that the dog came over to investigate.

  30. How odd is it that over the weekend I saw this trailer ahead of a movie rental, heard that line and teared up, wondered if the entire plot was in that trailer, all at the same time you became my 1000th follower and led me to this blog post?

    What does it all mean? Should I go buy a plant now? ๐Ÿ™‚

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