More Movie Land

In Movie Land…

  • … somehow, somewhere, the tables will turn, no matter how implausible this is.
  • … the hero will either be: a cold and distant “damaged” sort, an introvert with a heart of gold, or an extremely “cool cat.”
  • … the heroine will either be: cold and distant, continually mourning her dead husband, or a sex object.
  • … somebody will own a motorcycle.
  • … everybody is a grade-A marksman.
  • … even the most clichéd one-liners are treated as profound statements.
  • … if there is glass, somebody will be thrown through it, fall through it, shoot through it, or explode it. No exceptions.
  • … a long series of pans across a lovely, bustling city guarantees its destruction.
  • … a happy exterior masks a dark secret.
  • … in a war, one side’s soldiers are human, and the other side’s soldiers are disposable, inhuman drones commanded by someone who doesn’t care about them.
  • … fire leads to explosion. No exceptions.
  • … even supposed “human-level” robots are nowhere near human level, and despite recent advances in artificial intelligence, we’re apparently still supposed to believe that they are totally logical and emotionless.
  • … someone with brain damage is never cognitively impaired. In fact, they often gain a special talent.
  • … despite the laws of physics, you can hear everything in space.
  • … stars and planets are much larger and closer together than they should be.
  • … all stars are roiling balls of activity. Solar flares are constant. This is especially true of stars around which orbit “habitable” planets.
  • … some saccharine life-saving gesture will be repaid heartwarmingly later. No exceptions.
  • … nine times out of ten, somebody, usually female, will say “Do you think you can handle it?”
  • … people have no convictions about having a conversation whilst shooting high-powered weapons. Actually, the danger lurking all around them seems to make them even witter than usual.
  • … vampires are young, attractive, and overwhelmingly female. No exceptions.
  • … wizards are old men. No exceptions.
  • … if a large structure is depicted from the ground, at some point in the movie, that same structure will probably be seen collapsing in slow motion.
  • … when the above structure collapses, no matter what had been stored there, it will all explode or go up in flames.
  • … the climax of the movie is always an explosion. Even if the movie is underwater, in space, or in another such environment not conducive to explosions.
  • … the pyrotechnics guy is a pyromaniac. Thus, fire will be used wherever possible, especially if explosives are not available.
  • … if there is a puddle of gasoline, it will be ignited somehow.
  • … a small town is dangerous in some way.
  • … an abandoned small town is a deathtrap.
  • … a young, happy couple shown early in the movie and who never undergo any character development are about to meet a very grisly demise. You can usually bet that they will be eaten by something.
  • … an asteroid will be stopped at the last minute, no matter how unlikely.
  • … no matter how bad the apocalypse, a post-apocalyptic movie will always feature at least one really well-organized faction.
  • … no matter the circumstances, if a female character demonstrates a proficiency with any sort of weapon, the hero will be amazed.
  • … most heroes are sexist misogynistic “love ’em and leave ’em” types.
  • … as the heroes are leaving after the loving, they will either look mournfully to the right side of the screen or deliver a witty one-liner.
  • … the villain always, through sheer stupidity, or out of a desire to taunt the hero, leaves a trail of clues that can be followed using sufficient logic. No information is ever missing or misleading. Ever.
  • … one plot twist is the legal maximum. Offenders are labeled “indie” films and shelved at the back of the store.
  • … either everybody is who they seem to be, or nobody is.
  • … if you are persistent enough, you can defeat any number of enemies, as long as you are rugged, good-looking, and the enemies have a tendency to stand near explosive barrels, or under flimsy catwalks.
  • … if a character is above a vat of some lethal chemical, he or she will fall in somehow, unless he or she is the hero, in which case he or she will toss a lot of other people in.
  • … truckers tend to fall asleep just as a protagonist’s car is coming around the corner in the opposite lane. They also tend to swerve the moment they nod off.
  • … if a tractor-trailer crashes, it will fall off a cliff. Even if there are no cliffs nearby.
  • … if you can only see the “dead” villain’s hand, it will twitch, signifying that he or she is alive.
  • … the battle between hero and villain goes like this: hero fights villain. They’re equal for a while. Villain deploys clever trick. Hero is nearly defeated but fights back. Villain downs hero. Hero appears dead. Hero gets up triumphantly, calls on the power of The Force (or some other such generic “inner strength”), and defeats the villain in a single blow. Optional: the villain’s hand twitches and he or she stands, possibly killing someone the hero loves. The anger give the hero the strength to kill the villain.
  • … a woman with a British accent is always tall, blonde, and attractive. A man with a British accent is either a “cool cat,” or a grizzled, sarcastic, sardonic supporting character.
  • … the protagonist never has an accent, unless that accent is British.
  • … all the scientists are late-middle-aged white males, unless they are suspiciously young, blonde supermodel types.
  • … the Doomsday Machine is always powerful and impressive, never subtle and hard-to-find.
  • … you can get very close to a nuclear reactor with no ill effects.
  • … if a building collapses on the hero, he or she will emerge just after everybody writes them off. They will be dusty, but otherwise unhurt. They usually emerge from a fortuitously-placed piece of debris.
  • … hiding in a closet only guarantees that the Evil Henchman will have to circle the room a few times before dramatically plunging his or her fists through the wall. It doesn’t provide any actual shelter.
  • … all closets are equipped with slat doors to look through. No exceptions.
  • … the crack under any normal door is always big enough for dramatic shadows to flit across it. The illumination is, of course, always suitable to allow this.
  • … if the heroes are worn down after a long firefight, one of them will eventually glance over the top of a chunk of debris, drop down suddenly, and say some variation of “There’s way too many! We can’t go in there.” The protagonist will then proceed to go in there.
  • … the hero owns a motorcycle. Or, if he/she doesn’t, they will steal one, no matter how many other vehicles are available.
  • … heroes and villains have a tendency to steal cellular phones from men in business suits who are crossing the street. These men then proceed to point ineffectually, shake their fists, and yell “Hey! That’s my phone!” They then proceed to stand there, not doing anything about it.
  • … the Final Confrontation always takes place in an area free of civilians who might get underfoot.
  • … the Doomsday Device can always be stopped and started from one single button/key/etc.
  • … the head of a multi-national corporation is always evil.
  • … the little guy is always better than the big guy.
  • … if you dive screaming into a horde of enemies, the universe graciously goes into slow motion so others can watch in awe.
  • … nobody ever sees the body being put into the body bag. You either see the bag being zipped up, or you see it once it’s already been closed.
  • … though they have a tendency to peek under the bloodstained white sheet at a grisly murder, no detective ever yells “Oh my God! That’s disgusting!” and vomits.
  • … somebody who has an outlandish theory (usually about a coming disaster or something about that nature) and is ridiculed for it by his colleagues will be vindicated in the end. No exceptions.
  • … a hero’s companion who has supposedly been converted to the dark side, will always come back in the end, usually right before sacrificing themselves to free the hero.
  • … the hero is almost invariably a very acrobatic person. They usually also have martial-arts training.
  • … despite the obvious disadvantages, the hero always matches the villain’s weapon: even if a gun is available, the hero will keep fighting with that trusty sword. And win. No matter what.

More later.


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