Movies Haven’t Changed

Mack Sennett, one of the greatest directors ever (over 1,000 films!) believed that movies were just an excuse for a chase scene.  And if you look at the highest grossing films of the 21st century, you can see he wasn’t that far wrong.  Movies may have changed a lot in the last hundred plus years, but … for the most part, film makers still rely on a few blaring clichés.  Here are some serious film tropes that maybe – JUST MAYBE – have become overused. 

Policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers and Boy Scouts all have a sordid past.  This has left them cynical, sleepy, slightly constipated and world-weary.  They live alone (mainly in squalor) and even though they have maximum trouble relating to women (past, present and future) they still attract the hottest females on the planet.

Evil men are good looking, usually corporation rich, have impeccable taste, beautiful wives and/or girlfriends, but despite being highly intelligent, always surround themselves with some of the stupidest henchmen in history.

All Assistant District Attorneys, world-renowned scientists, cryptographers, pathologists and assorted assassins wear push-up bras.

When confronted with evil, men will have body armour, guns, knives, grenades, poison darts, a jousting lance, nunchucks, assorted landmines, two bazookas and a sword. Their female companions, however, will have a thong, high heels, that push-up bra again and a butter knife.

Contemporary push-up bras are so comfortable that women normally wear them during sex, whereas men generally find their shirts far too constraining.

Dumb-ass sidekicks will invariably do some dumb-ass stuff that puts everyone in danger – more than once.

Every older relative (over sixty) of policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers and Boy Scouts has Alzheimer’s.

The deadliest marksmen in the world will always miss the first shot and then go nuts, spraying bullets around as if they’re flinging pennies to the poor.

Speaking of which, bullets love plate glass windows.

High speed car chases always occur in congested urban areas where the average commute times are measured in hours, yet the chaser and the chasee will somehow manage to weave their way through traffic at speeds approaching Mach 1.

When fleeing an explosion, if you run as fast as you can, you will get flung into the air and bounced on the ground like a rag doll.  However, if you just calmly walk away (in slow motion) you will not be harmed.

Hand guns prefer to be just out of reach.

Villains never just kill the policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers or Boy Scouts as soon as they catch them, but always take a few quality moments to reveal and outline their nefarious plans.

When you hear subtle North African music, innocent North Americans are going to die.

When you hear a British accent, that’s the bad guy.

Like grouchy old men, petty thieves, prostitutes and crack addicts generally have a heart of gold.

Most criminal investigations, including parking tickets, will involve a strip club, a seedy bar, a scuzzy hotel or a crowded Techno-Rave nightclub before ending up at an abandoned warehouse, a deserted dock or an empty office building.  

Policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers or Boy Scouts can be hit by a train, dragged behind a speeding motorcycle, trampled by a herd of panicking wildebeests and beaten senseless by sixty blood-crazed Shaolin monks without ill effect, but will wince painfully when a female dabs their wounds with a Kleenex.

So, what have we learned?

As much as Hollywood likes to pat themselves on the back for its oh so-o-o-o sophisticated storylines and complex characterizations, not a whole lot has changed since the Keystone Cops were falling all over themselves on the silent screen.

I’m Offended!

These days, grievance is a growth industry.  For many people, being offended is the default setting on their lifestyle menu: they go there first and ask questions later.  This is a pain in the ass to the rest of us because the Eagerly Offended constantly demand centre stage, they won’t shut up and there’s no reasoning with those nimrods.  They want to be outraged.  So, since it’s practically impossible to beat ‘em, I’ve decided to join ‘em and be offended too – by clichés.

English is a beautiful language, and I’m shocked and appalled that people who wouldn’t recognize a simile if it bit them on the bum think it’s acceptable to toss around hackneyed phrases as if they were confetti at a gender reveal party.  There are millions of people all over the world who love and admire the English language, and the indiscriminate use of stale, worn-out and unimaginative vocabulary is very distressing and hurtful to them.  This is the 21st century — not the Age of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, for God’s sake!  We need to stand together to put an end to this linguistic appropriation and perhaps, moving forward, we can create a world free of lackluster analogies for our children to enjoy.  Here are just a few egregious examples to get the ball rolling.

I slept like a baby.

Talk to any sleep-deprived new parent and they will tell you that babies do not sleep well, at all.  They’re constantly waking up at all hours to either demand food or let you know, in no uncertain terms, they’ve turned it into something icky.

The expression should be – I slept like a single person who learned about birth control in middle school and, over the years, has become really, really good at it.

It was funny as Hell.

By definition, Hell is not the least bit humourous. 

The expression should be – It was as funny as the look on the loud-mouthed atheist’s face when Satan explained the Rules of Eternal Damnation.

Happy as a clam.

I have a strange feeling that happiness is not derived from getting dumped into a pot of boiling water and literally being cooked alive.

The expression should be – Happy as a fat person with a bowl full of empty clam shells.

They treated him like a dog.

Oh — they gave him free food, provided shelter, made sure he had clean water and exercise, paid for his schooling, personal grooming and health care?

The expression should be – They treated him like a human.

You’re only as old as you feel.

This only works on those particular days when you feel younger than you really are.  On all the other days, you’re pretty much screwed.

The expression should be – Everybody knows we’re all getting older; quit trying to do a chronological comb-over.

And finally:

Money isn’t everything.

Of course not.  There are all kinds of other things — like poverty, hunger, homelessness and deprivation.

The expression should be – Money isn’t everything, but it certainly is ahead of whatever’s in second place.

Stuff I Learned From The Movies

film

They say art imitates life, and even though I don’t know who “they” are, I believe them.  Sure, in the 21st century, we’re definitely swimming in the shallow end of the artistic pond, but we still have film makers.  These are the contemporary artists whose vision, diligence and painstaking efforts help us understand the human condition.  Here are just a few things I’ve learned from the movies.

Impossible missions are not only possible; they’re down right probable.

Nazis and drug cartel henchmen can’t shoot straight.

There are more than 100 ways to build a time machine, but if you build one, expect it to end badly.

Englishmen are evil.

When you look up “weird” in the dictionary, they spell M. Night Shyamalan’s name correctly.

Your gay friends are a lot smarter than you are.

Aliens hate Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and The Statue of Liberty.

Despite all evidence to the contrary — and a ton of personal experience — major urban areas have very little traffic, and you can drive as fast as you want on most surface streets.

Small towns are creepy, the wilderness is dangerous, and whatever you do, stay away from the water.

Eastern Europe is full of old, broken-down automobiles and abandoned buildings.

White groups always have one black friend, but black groups seldom return the favour.

It’s okay to stalk your ex-girlfriend, a co-worker, your best friend’s wife or the woman in your apartment complex — as long as you’re convinced you truly love her.

Despite all evidence to the contrary — and a ton of personal experience — all people over 50 have Alzheimer’s.

Secret government agents (spies) are easy to spot: they’re the ones in the expensive clothes.

Adam Sandler isn’t funny.

Sad things have subtitles.

People in New York and Chicago are really good at managing their money.  Even when they have the crappiest job in history, they can still afford a decent apartment.

All Asians know kung fu – even the little kids.

Despite all evidence to the contrary — and a ton of personal experience — super-hot girls are actually attracted to nerdy guys.

Contemporary bras are so comfortable women wear them all the time — even when they’re sleeping or having industrial-strength, marathon sex.

When you hear Middle Eastern music, something’s going to explode.

Amy Adams and Isla Fisher are the same person — and she even proved it in Nocturnal Animals.

But the best thing I ever learned from the movies is —

If a bald guy offers you the red pill, run like hell!