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.

Random Thoughts For January

It’s a month after Santa Claus, a week after the credit card bills told us how much he cost us, and winter has settled into the Northern hemisphere.  This year, Mother Nature seems particularly unhappy with her children, but life goes on.  So, a few random thoughts for January.

After enduring nearly a year of a planetary plague, I can now fully understand why all the women in Renaissance paintings are a little overweight and braless.

I’m a hockey fan, and I’m glad to see the Boys of Winter back on the ice.  My team, the Vancouver Canucks, aren’t doing very well, but this is hockey — and if it were easy, they’d call it baseball.

Speaking of baseball, Hank Aaron passed away last week.  He was the last great pure baseball player – just a regular guy who worked hard and hit the ball better than most pitchers could throw it.  Since Hank’s time, baseball players have become walking pharmaceutical experiments.  There are so many performance-enhancing drugs in professional baseball these days even Lance Armstrong is embarrassed.   

And sticking with sports, this year’s American football Super Bowl is going to be unique.  Tom Brady will be the oldest quarterback ever to probably cheat in a championship game. 

I’ll betcha right about now, Joe Biden’s thinking, “Hey, people!  I’ve got mittens, too!”

In Canada, the Governor General (FYI, this is Canada’s symbolic Head of State) Julie Payette resigned when an independent inquiry found she had created a “toxic workplace.”  She’d been verbally abusing the staff, and (come to find out) has a history of losing her cool – including being charged with second degree assault.  (Rumour has it her ex-husband got a noggin floggin’ one angry night in Maryland.)  You’d think somebody would have checked to see if Ms. Payette was actually the right person to represent the world’s politest nation.  So much for the Canadian “I’m sorry” myth.  Not to worry, though: Ms. Payette is going to get an annual $150,000.00 pension.  Apparently, being a bully has a financial upside – even in Canada.

Kiera Knightley said she will no longer do nude scenes in films with male directors.  Okay, your choice.  But, quite frankly, if you’re willing to take your clothes off for the entertainment of a million or so movie- going strangers, I don’t think it matters which gender tells you how to do it.  Personally, I think nudity in films is never necessary.  Every movie I’ve ever seen would be just as good (or bad) without it – except porn, of course, where nudity is, in fact, “integral to the storyline.”

I’m almost binge-watching a Dutch television series, Adulterer (Overspel) on Prime.  It’s 10 years old, which shows you how far out of the loop I am — but hey, the last time I was relevant, The Clintons roamed the Earth.  Anyway, it has a good storyline, nuanced characters, some twists, a couple of turns, suspense and a few surprises.  Plus, if you look closely and don’t mind hitting the pause button (a lot) you get a look at Dutch design and some very cool art.  That’s the thing about European television — you can get a total cultural experience just looking behind the actors at the sets.

And finally:

I remember Larry King not for his CNN suspenders but for his voice – on the radio.  He and I became friends in the early 80s when, once a week, I drove through the late night/early morning vast American desert.  For a couple of hours, with nothing to do but break the speed limit, Larry introduced me to America.  On his program, I heard people from all over the country — the great America tribes talking to each other – agreeing, disagreeing, unconsciously sharing their common ground.  To a Canadian kid who had only seen America in the movies, this was quite an education, and so, I will always remember him fondly.

Stuff That Surprises Me!

surprised

I’ve been roaming around this planet for a while now, and without putting on the brag, I can say I’ve seen and done a few things.  Nothing spectacular, but I’ve gained enough experience points to view the world with a very wary eye.  In fact, I’ve been called downright cynical on more than one occasion.  However, just because I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, that doesn’t mean I’m jaded, faded and ready for the boneyard.  Actually, unlike most folks of my generation, I find a lot of wonder in the world.  Plus, even as my chronological odometer is creeping towards clicking over, there are things that still surprise me.  Sometimes, that’s a good thing; sometimes, it isn’t.  Here are just a few examples.

It surprises me …

That it’s still called Twitter, with a cute little blue bird icon — even though all the evidence shows it should be called Lynch Mob, with a flaming red Hangman’s Noose logo.

That coffee tastes way better when it’s not in a paper cup.

That the people who scream “science” at the first mention of religion are the same people who refuse to accept the scientific fact that there are only two human gender chromosomes, XX, XY — and one very, very, rare XYY combination that’s only found in men.  (BTW.  Call yourself whatever you like, just don’t call it science.)

That Johnny Depp lost all of his cool, and somehow, Keanu Reeves found it.

That people believe Qatar, population just shy of 3 million, has more Covid-19 cases than China which has like 100 times the population — over 1.5 billion!

That, at night, train whistles make me lonely.

That the people who want to legalize drugs to solve the drug problem think banning guns will solve the gun problem — and the people who want to make drugs illegal to solve the drug problem think banning guns won’t make any difference at all.  Weird!

That even the worst little brat on the planet is cute when he/she/it is sleeping.

That even though it’s been totally discredited, Politically Correct still rules the world.

That the Big Brother anti-mask brigade haven’t figured out that masks fool Facial Recognition software.  (Looks like a win/win to me.)

That I feel infinitely small whenever I look at the stars.

That we bitch about bad customer service when people with crap jobs occasionally seem grouchy from some reason.

That despite the “Imagine” video and Kanye West, there are people who still take celebrities seriously.

That they’re making another Fast and Furious movie.

We think that calling people names will somehow change their political opinion.

And finally:

That we’re still protesting the same stuff we did when I was a child.  Progress, people!  Have we made no progress?