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- Piston-engine airplanes in the movies are unusually subject to engine failure. This failure mode is unique to filmdom – engine coughs, keeps running. Hero doesn’t notice. Then it stutters, catches again. Hero notices, taps gas gauge, turns lever. Then it stutters exactly three times and stops immediately, including propeller. No further efforts are ever made to restart.
- Only men are alcoholics. Any hopeless alcoholic can quit drinking when faced with an important challenge. The instant the alcoholic stops drinking, all his faculties return and he faces no annoying withdrawals.
- If there is more than one or two of an alien race, they are always roughly the same size as humans.
- Aliens usually speak english and have same colloquialisms. planet.
- All members of alien species wear the same outfits, including clothing, hairstyles, and jewelery. This makes them readily identifiable. Aliens who do not dress like aliens are hiding something.
- This may, in fact, be a consequence of the fact that aliens all have single, monolithic cultures: one language, one religion, one outfit, per planet.
- Bad guys will always get killed by a snake, while the hero simply reaches out and picks it up with his bare hands. (In addition, he will either break the reptile’s neck (?) or bite it’s head off)
- Deadly reptiles will always attack a woman first, even if she’s in the presence of thirty men.
- Dogs always know who’s bad, and bark at them.
- If the hero listens to his answering machine and one important message is unexpected then he usually has two very short messages on the tape before, one spoken by a man, one by a women. “Here’a John! I see you tomorrow at eight.”…. beep … “This is Sallieeeeee! I’ll call again later.” … beep …. and then finally “Ahhhh! The killer is …..”. If however the message is expected be sure that it will be the first one on the tape.
(this section courtesy of Keith Lynch)
Here are the fundamental principles of movie asteroid science, as derived from the NBC miniseries “Asteroid”:
- Asteroids travel through space making a noise like a powerful but subdued engine.
- Asteroids are usually locked into orbits, but if a comet comes by, they can be bumped out of their rut and become dangerously unstable.
- It’s only the fact that everything is locked into an orbit which prevents collisions in our solar system. Any asteroid that gets loose is certain to crash into Earth within a matter of hours.
- It’s just barely possible to evacuate Kansas City to a distance of 100 miles in 48 hours. This requires lots of airplanes. It also requires martial law, so that “looters will be arrested on sight”. (Have they no mercy?) With 30+ hours to go, people will panic in the streets and run around at random.
- A mile-wide asteroid can mostly burn up in the atmosphere, causing it to do only a relatively small amount of damage (bursting a dam) when it strikes.
- A river from a burst dam can exactly keep pace with a pickup truck for several minutes. It will then obligingly pause as the pickup truck turns around and goes in another direction.
- When a raging river washes over a pickup truck on a bridge, the bridge won’t be damaged, the truck won’t be swept off the bridge, and people in the open back of the truck won’t be swept away.
- A four-mile-wide nickel asteroid (which would mass about a *trillion* tons) can be destroyed — literally destroyed, so that nothing remains — by three airplane-mounted lasers.
- But with only two airplane-mounted lasers, it instead instantly explodes into thousands of pieces. Astronomers are very surprised that it wasn’t literally destroyed.
- Laser beams are easily visible in space.
- Incoming asteroids spend several minutes in Earth’s atmosphere.
- Asteroids made of softer or more volatile stuff than nickel will harmlessly burn up in the atmosphere regardless of size.
- Asteroids that land in the ocean will do no damage regardless of size.
- Asteroids are discovered by astronomers peering directly through their telescopes in brightly lit observatories. Whatever they see will appear on computer monitors, however.
- Asteroid positions are reported in plainly audible 75 BPS Baudot teletype signals.
- Oddly, there will be no dog to be rescued at the last possible moment. Maybe only tornadoes and volcanoes come equipped with dogs. Would you settle for goldfish?
- Every time some guy walks into a bar, usually the hero, he gets into a fight. Usually right under a BUDWEISER sign (see “product placement”). Likelihood of fight increases if country music is playing in the background.
- Movie heroes in a bar will either order strong alcoholic drinks and swallow them down like iced tea or will ask for milk. The latter will always provoke sarcastic remarks and a fight will ensue.
- When men drink whiskey, it is always in a shot glass, and they always drink it in one gulp. If they are wimps, they will gasp for air, then have a coughing fit. If they are macho, they will wince briefly, flashing clenched teeth.
- A cup of black coffee/splash of cold water in face is enough to render the most inebriated person stone cold sober in a split second (see several thousand westerns, and “Peter’s Friends.”)
BINOCULARS & GLASSES
- Whenever someone looks through the binoculars, you see two joined circles instead of one.
- Glasses never collect moisture when you come in from the cold outside.
- Computer geeks and “intelligent” persons use them, action heros never have glasses.
- A villain will always commit murder right in front of the window when someone with binoculars is watching.
BIOLOGY AND GENETICS
- People are often exact duplicates of remote ancestors, or of their parent at the same age.
- At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.
- Radiation causes mutation not to your future children, but to you, there and then. Mutation is never immediately fatal, but first either makes you into a formless blob, or a functional creature with animal-like features.
- Interbreeding is genetically possible with any person or creature from anywhere in the universe.
- Newborn babies can babble, crawl, and hold their heads steady.
- People never cough, sneeze, blow their noses, or show any other symptoms of being in less than perfect health.
- Only exception to the above is when they’re dying. A cough is a symptom of terminal illness.
- Menstruation is an unknown phenomenon in movies. Female movie characters are all immune from it.
- You can eat as much as you want in a film and you’ll never EVER have to go to the bathroom.
- Vomit is portrayed by distant toilet flush. Nobody ever throws-up on the carpet.
- Evil geniuses who devise bombs to destroy things/people always have them detonate after at least an hour, giving the hero ample time to defuse it.
- Bombs always have big, blinking, beeping timer displays. Evil geniuses who devise bombs to destroy things/people are always thoughtful enough to include a visible display (usually LED) of how much time remains before the bomb detonates, giving the hero accurate feedback on exactly how much time remains.
- When you cut the wire to the detonator, the timer will stop. You will not be able to do this, however, until only one second remains.
- All wires have different colors, so the hero can easily differentiate them when he has to cut the right one.
- Bombs detonated with microwave ovens always explode 2 seconds after the timer reaches 00:00 and the microwave oven beeps (ex. “Under Siege”).
- Explosions always happen in slow motion. When an explosion occurs, make certain you are running away from the point of detonation so the blast can send you flying, in slow motion, toward the camera.
- A building that in real life would require several dozen carefully placed explosive charges for demolition, can in a movie be destroyed by a single bomb in a car trunk (see “Lethal Weapon III”). This bomb will cause no damage to any other building on the block.
- Movie passengers either don’t pay cabs at all, or have the exact change. Same is true in restaurants. Checks are always designed to be 15 percent under the bills the male costumer has in his hands first.
- Movie people can get cabs instantly, unless they are in danger, whereupon no cab can be found
CARS & DRIVING
- Movie characters driving in the city will get to park wherever they like when they get to their destination.
- When you are alone in the back seat of the car, make sure you sit in the middle.
- Sudden accelleration of a car (be it forwards, backwards, stopping, skidding, sliding, or whatever) causes a loud skid, even on dirt or wet roads. Be prepared. Each wheel is also fitted with a smoke device to let you know when this happens. Hollywood cars are also special: when you take off quickly, you always leave a skid mark for each drive wheel, regardless of whether you have a limited slip differential or not.
- Pedestrians in Hollywood have the world’s best reactions, so don’t worry if you have to drive down a sidewalk. Mr Pappodopolus is quite used to having his fruit cart smashed, and despite his gesticulations and curses, he always manages to get out of the way in time.
- There are always people carrying around large sheets of glass on the street during a car chase.
- The person behind the wheel is talking to and looking at their passenger for the entire journey without actually looking at the _road_, changing gear, signalling etc. (ex. “When Harry Met Sally”).
- Cars chasing each other in the middle of a city will not suffer enough damage to stop the chase.
- People being chased by a car will keep running down the middle of the road instead of ducking in somewhere where a car cannot go.
- A car will always explode when shot at, unless the hero is driving it.
- When you drive a car, you can always recognize all the persons you know that pass you in the opposite direction.
- If someone has “fixed” the foot-brakes in the car, the driver never use the hand-brake and the gears to slow down, at least not until the last moment.
- Cars often end up on cliff-edges with 2 wheels in the open air. The good guys are saved just before the car falls over, the bad guys join the car in the free fall, often caused by a bird setting down on the part of the car hanging over the edge.
- When a car falls off a cliff after a car chase, it usually explodes before reaching the ground.
- When speeding cars hit a parked car, they fly up into the air while the parked car doesn’t even wiggle
- After a car crash, no movie character ever sits and shakes for five minutes, or becomes incoherent with shock.
- All cars seem to run on kerosene rather than gasoline (hence the copious black smoke when they burn).
- Watch steering wheels in movie cars, especially in “through the windshield looking at the driver” shots. 9 times out of 10, the spokes of the wheel, which one would think should be horizontal, or close to it, are vertical, i.e., one can see one of the wheel spokes vertical, above the dash, in front of the driver’s face, even when he’s driving straight.
- Whenever you see someone driving, even on straight and smooth roads, they are sawing at the wheel hard enough to be running an obstacle course. The car doesn’t swerve at all, of course. The amount of excess wheel-twisting is independent of speed.
- Not only do movie cars always park right in front, but they are never locked. Even convertibles with their tops down, in NYC, are still there hours later.
- Movie cars have all excellent brakes and can come to a full stop from 80 MPH (with loud screeches, even on dirt roads) in 20 ft.
- There’s never an annoying wind disturbing the coiffures of convertible passengers.
- There are no stop signs in movie land. Wherever you have to drive, no matter how close or far away it is, you never have to stop before you get there.
- Film cars do not have inside rear-view mirrors. Most of them do, however, have an appx 1″ gray spot on the inside of the windshield where the mirror would normally mount.
- Film cars never start the first time when you’re running away from the bad guy.
- If there is a large bump in a downhill road, speeding cars will always fly over them and hit the ground in shower of sparks. An interior view will then show the reaction of the passengers at the moment of impact. They will not be injured, even if they are not wearing safety belts. No tire damage, broken axles, or suspension failures will occur as a result of the impact. The car will then execute a sharp left turn at the bottom of the hill. Losing a hubcap at this point will be optional.
- Any time you see a really nice, snazzy foreign car or a great old car like a 65 mustang, you know it’s going to be smashed into a million pieces.
- All too many times a Hollywood car chase will be interupted by the emergence of a semi from a driveway, alley, or street, resulting in the escape of the hunted, or the death of an expendable character.
- Police cars involved in chase scenes usually tend to suffer more than any other vehicles- they have head on collisions, smash parked cars, fall into water, and of course, experience the ever popular flying-roll, causing the car to land upside down and crush the lights and siren. Usually, we never get to see the unlucky police force member before or after the inevitable accident.
- A car that crashes will always explode in a ball of flames, but not until the hero can pull the important passengers to safety, and yell, “Watch out! She’s gonna blow!”
- Acid applied by the villain to the hero’s brake lines never has any effect unless the car is heading down a steep, winding road. Cars at traffic lights have invujlnerable brake lines.
- No one ever runs out of gas (even in long car chases). Corollary: every stolen car has a full gas tank and gets great gas mileage.
- Vintage cars are always 100% immaculate and freshly polished. They never have any scratches, dents or repairs.
- No one fumbles for car keys right before a car chase. they always jump right in and start the car up because they’ve left the keys in the ignition. Not a great idea in any major city.
- Woman falls to the ground whilst being chased by a bad guy, even when running over level, unobstructed terrain. Note that when a man and woman are being chased, usually the woman falls, then the man pauses and helps her up.
- Corollaries to the above:
- Man will then continue to run with woman, holding her by the hand or preferably upper arm, even though this takes them both below the speed either one could make on their own.
- All movie women must be pulled along by their hands, even if the male puller is short & fat and the woman is a track star.
- All movie women try to run in heels, never stopping to kick them off.
- Women not only have to be pulled along, they do not have enough sense to run and keep running unless a man touches her elbow, holds her hand or puts his arm around her shoulders.
- Chasees will always stop to throw obstacles (trash cans, lumber, chairs) in their pursuers’ way. No matter that they take three times as long to dump the obstacles as it takes the chasers to simply jump over them.
- GOOD Chess players are always portrayed as upper class. (Go to any tournament and see how many rich guys there are there. NONE! They’re too busy chasing women and driving fast cars to play chess.)
- Chess players in movies are always all around brilliant and charming people. (With very few exceptions, REAL chess players are introverted and so involved with chess they have little time to WASTE pursuing anything as trivial as LOVE, A PROFESSION, or SOCIAL GRACES. Exception: Computers! Most Chess players are, or will become, Computer nurds).
- Great Chess players are always honored to play on some rich guy’s fancy Philipino Art Set. (In reality, better players are almost always adament about playing on a plain, unadorned wood or plastic “Staunton” set. No red or blue pieces, no ceramic or metal, no elephants for rooks.)
- The board is usually set up wrong, with the black square at the players lower right, or with one or both of the King/Queen set up backwards. (WHITE SQUARE GOES ON THE PLAYERS RIGHT. QUEENS on thier own color: white QUEEN on white, black QUEEN on black.)
- Supposedly brilliant players usually miss one move checkmates in critical games. This is akin to a professional race car driver backing his station wagon into the garage door.
- On the other hand, good players are often portrayed as seeing 15 or 20 moves ahead in detail from a middle game, when there are still many pieces on the board. (One could more easily predict the next president and all 535 congressmen correctly before the election. In the End Game, when the number of pieces is limited, looking ahead often becomes a question of counting moves, who can get to the critical square first, or of very limited numbers of moves, and is more feasible.)
- Beginners usually beat experienced players, as a mechanism for showing the neophyte’s native brilliance. (This is about as common as a tall, athletic man who’s never seen a basketball beating an NBA player in one-on-one. It could happen, if the pro had a really bad day, but who would you bet on?)
- Players who are really behind (have lost more pieces) come up with brilliant ways to win anyway. (If they’re so good, how did they get behind in the first place?)
- Male characters generally are cold-natured. They need to wear jeans and leather jackets when the female characters are comfortable in cutoffs and a halter top.
- Heroes are the exception to the above. He often is more comfortable in extreme cold after losing his coat or having the shirt ripped from his back. When this is not true (Cliffhanger), swimming in ice water helps.
- Whenever anyone knocks out anyone else and takes their clothes, it’s always a flawless fit.
COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS
- Word processors never display a cursor.
- You never have to use the space-bar when typing long sentences.
- Movie character never make typing mistakes.
- All monitors display inch-high letters.
- High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such governmental institution, will have easy to understand graphical interfaces.
- Those that don’t, have incredibly powerful text-bases command shells that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain english.
- Corollary: you can gain access to any information you want by simply typing “ACCESS ALL OF THE SECRET FILES” on any keyboard
- Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply typing “UPLOAD VIRUS” (see “Fortress”)
- All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villain’s desktop computer, even if it’s turned off.
- Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or whenever the screen changes. Some computers also slow down the output on the screen so that it doesn’t go faster than you can read. The *really* advanced ones also emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer.
- All computer panels have thousands of volts and flash pots just underneath the surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright flash, a puff of smoke, a shower of sparks, and an explosion that forces you backwards.
- People typing away on a computer will turn it off without saving the data.
- A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world before intermission and guess the secret password in two tries.
- Any PERMISSION DENIED has an OVERRIDE function (see “Demolition Man” and countless others).
- Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds. Movie modems usually appear to transmit data at the speed of two gigabytes per second.
- When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the control panels will explode, as will the entire building.
- If you display a file on the screen and someone deletes the file, it also disappears from the screen (e.g Clear and Present Danger).
- If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automagically asked for a password when you try to access it.
- No matter what kind of computer disk it is, it’ll be readable by any system you put it into. All application software is usable by all computer platforms.
- The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it has (Aliens). However, everyone must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren’t labelled.
- Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional, active animation, photo-realistic graphics capability.
- Laptops, for some strange reason, always seem to have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a CRAY Supercomputer.
- Whenever a character looks at a VDU, the image is so bright that it projects itself onto his/her face (see “Alien”, “2001”).
- Two people will often converse while one stares out the window, with their back to the other. When an emotional point is made, the first person will turn around.
- When you go to rob a bank in a film, you will always choose the teller who has just started his or her first day on the job.
- In situations like the Vietnem war, and violent inner city neighborhoods, the person with the most plans, prospects, and hopes will die.
- A dying person’s last words will always be coherent and significant.
- A good person will always die in the presence of friends.
- If a person good person dies with his eyes open, a friend will close them, and they will remain closed. If a villain dies with his eyes open, no one will close them, and the camera will linger on his face.
- When your sidekick, lover, or similar acquaintance is on the verge of dying, don’t call an ambulance; instead hold her warmly and whisper words of comfort, or kiss her passionately. Theoretically she may not be much into it under the circumstances, but hey, it may be your last chance! Then, when she relaxes or slumps over visibly, you can say your tearful good-bye to her, because this means she is dead. Alternately, if she is already slumped over when you get to her, check her pulse, but if the resulting music is soft and slow, don’t bother trying CPR. If she doesn’t like this treatment better than a chance to save her life, don’t worry; it’s not like she will be able to do anything about it!
- (see also VILLAINS)
- The hero and heroine in love always get a great table in a restaurant, even in New York City at lunch on Saturday (When Harry Met Sally).
- Movie elevators are always ready at that floor. But if the hero/heroine is being chased, elevator won’t come.
- If hero OR villian takes an elevator, villain OR hero can beat it by taking stairs, even if the trip is 20 floors.
- Most elevator shafts and wires are clean and dust/grease free, and there’s plenty of light so that the hero neither gets dirty nor needs a flashlight or some other equipment to see (Speed).
- When one character is pursuing another (good guy after bad or vice versa) and they reach the elevator just before it closes, they never stick their hand in the door so it will automatically open back up, nor do they press the call button to get the door to open.
- Thunder and lightning always happen at the same time.
- Storms start instantaneously: there’s a crack of thunder and lightning, then heavy rain starts falling.
- Heavy rain causes no loss of long-distance visibility.
- Everything is blue at night-time.
- Caves always have flat floors, and it’s never fully dark.
- There is always someone in the canal or the storm drain when the flood hits.
- The moon is always out at night (except for those cheaper movies where the sun is still out..).
- Full moon can occur for several nights in a row.
- Eclipses happen frequently, and without any warning.
- Incriminating evidence can be found either as photograph number four in a stack, or in the next to bottom drawer.
- Be sure to leave your important tapes, such as the one labelled “Incriminating evidence against Senator Smith showing him taking $24million in bribes and then fondling the drug lord’s daughter” or your computer floppy disks labelled “All the nuclear launch codes are on here” where they can be easily found.
- All characters keep detailed newsclippings of important events in their lives, particularly those events that must be painful to recall, such as the loss of the character’s immediate family due to their own negligence. NB: If the news report would have come out while the character was in jail or on the run, all the more reason for the character to have kept it intact.
- At some point in a duel, the hero and villain will cross swords at face level, allowing them to grip each other’s weapon while making nasty/sarcastic comments before they break the clinch and continue fighting. (Why doesn’t anyone just ram the sword guard into their opponent’s face, stun him, and then finish him off?)
- If the hero and villain’s swords cross at or below waist level, they will break the clinch, fall back, and pause — despite the fact that a simple upthrust into the opponent’s belly after the break would end the duel right there and then.
- If there is a candelabra, the villain will show how talented he is with a sword by cutting the candles and watching them fall over; the hero will do the same but the candles won’t fall until _after_ the villain has made a comment about the hero’s lack of fencing ability, at which point the hero will topple the cut candles, showing that he is more skilled than the villain because _his_ candles didn’t fall over from the force of the cut.
- During a duel, the hero will jump or climb onto a table/bench/piano/platform that raises him above the villain. At that point, the villain will swipe at the hero’s legs, which the hero avoids by jumping up in the air over the villain’s blade. _Very_ rarely, the positions are reversed.
- Duels usually have one scene where the actors go out of frame and you watch their shadows fighting.
- If the villain wounds the hero in his sword arm, one of three things will happen:
- hero becomes ambidextrous and fights with sword in other hand;
- hero finds something else to defend himself with (tapestry, chain, Mossberg 12-gauge) that can be used with the other hand;
- hero’s girlfriend/sidekick comes up behind villain and impales him, thus saving hero.
- If hero is disarmed by villain, one of three things will happen:
- villain will show a trace of honour and allow hero to get his sword;
- hero will make mad dash/leap over or around villain to regain sword;
- just when it looks like the end, hero’s girlfriend/sidekick throws a sword to him, which he manages to grab easily (for the _best_ send-up of this concept, check out ARMY OF DARKNESS where Ash jumps in the air and his chainsaw magically clamps back onto his wrist — it’s beautifully shot and extremely funny!).
- If there are stairs, the hero will be forced up them backwards by the villain, at which point the hero will either leap to the ground or swing from a rope/chandelier/tapestry to get away.
- If there is a tapestry or chandelier, the hero will cut it loose and drop it on the villain’s henchmen _unless_ the movie is a comedy, in which case the hero will drop it on his own men by accident.
- If a character uses martial arts rather than a weapon, his opponents will always face him one-to-one. Spare bad guys may dance around the fight taunting our hero, but none will engage until his predecessor has been disposed of. And if it’s an oriental martial arts film, they will fight in perfect one-two rhythm and form, hit-block-hit-block.
- Two guys or a bunch of guys go at it, repeatedly bashing each other in the face with massive blows, or hitting each other with chairs, sticks, refrigerators, whatever — and they go one doing this, sometimes for minutes at a time.
- People can be rendered inoperative by bumping them on the head. Beware, though; after you have left the scene, this person will regain consciousness and be more determinted to attack you.
- Clasping your hands together and hitting the bad guy’s back will also guarantee unconsciousness
- All fights taking place on the edge of a canyon, tall building, or other high place require at least one bad guy to get plugged by a bullet, arrow, or other missile weapon, causing to fall, but keeping him alive enough to hear his scream of terror echo as he plunges to his doom.
- Corollary: whenever someone falls off of a cliff or building, no matter how much damage they take beforehand, they scream, even if they were shot through the lungs twenty or thirty times, or were apparently unconscious.
- In the West, the favored hand-to-hand combat technique is to throw yourself prostrate on the other guy and hug him.
- When a villian is trying to murder someone with a knife, they’ll often use just one hand. The victim meanwhile (usually a woman) is using both hands to restrain the villian’s arm and keep the knife from stabbing her. But the murderer will NEVER simply use his other hand to take the knife and easily stab the victim. (see also Knives).
- Pastries are always in plain pink boxes. When we see a plain pink box, we expected to know that the box contains donuts or cake or some related item.
- All movie mothers will prepare a breakfast, usually consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon, etc. Dad and the kids will invariably arrive at the table 30 seconds before Dad has to leave for the office and the kids have to catch the school bus. Each will have time only for a sip of coffee/juice and/or one bite of toast. There must be enough food left over in these homes to feed an emerging nation!
- In movieland, there’s an abundance of corrupt helicopter pilots. Villains have no problem renting a helicopter complete with pilot who doesn’t mind shooting total strangers, or being shot at.
- When a helicopter is hit by a bullet or rocket, it’ll explode immediately if it contains a villain, but if the hero is on board, it will loose power, smoke will come out of the doors, and it’ll just reach the ground in time for the hero to get clear then duck just at the moment it explodes.
- People standing outside a running helicopter can always talk in normal or just slightly louder than normal voices.
- A pursued hero, with the bad guys just yards behind him, can jump into a shutdown helicopter, run through the twenty-five item startup checklist, engage and spin up the rotors, take off and be out of pistol range before the bad guys catch up.
- Bullets shot at a helicopter bounce off the fiberglass and aluminum “fuselage” components but make neat little holes through the plexiglas bubble.
- When a helicopter’s engine dies, the main rotor immediately stops and the helicopter drops straight to the ground. If a bad guy is flying, the helicopter disappears in a ball of flame, but good-guy pilots just get out, dust themselves off, and walk away.
- When a turbine-powered Bell Jet Ranger helicopter is shot at, it’s engine coughs and sputters, chugs along for a little while as the helo staggers through the air uncertainly, and then crashes using the good/bad pilot algorithm noted above.
- Every helicopter shutting down emits the chirp-chirp-chirp sound of the rubber drive belts disengaging, in spite of the fact that only the famous Bell 47G (the Mash chopper) actually makes this sound.
- Piston helicopters always start up with screaming turbine engine sounds.
- Rambo-style pilots can fly with one hand on the cyclic stick while the other fires an automatic weapon out the door. The helicopter automatically knows when to change altititude to fly over obstacles without the pilot worrying about that pesky collective pitch control.
- If the hero has a psychological/phsical problem which has prevented him from effectively dealing with problems, you can rest assured that this problem will disappear at an opportune time.
- The hero always misses the villan leaving the scene by seconds.
- Stripping to the waist makes the hero invulnerable.
- The hero will always be paired off with a female character. The sidekick never will.
- The hero’s best friend/partner will usually be killed by the bad guys three days before retirement.
- The hero’s new wife will be mowed down by 80 machine guns right after the wedding or during the honeymoon.
- Heroes can go without food or sleep, with no measurable drop in physical or mental faculties, for at least 72 hours.
- The hero will always have a small trickle of blood in the right corner of his mouth after a fight. His lip will never be split in the middle, and his upper lip will always be invulnerable. He will wipe the blood from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand, then look at it. If his face displays any other injury, it will usually be a small abrasion on his right cheekbone. He will wear a band-aid on this for one day, after which it will be miraculously healed.
- The hero will always refuse the assistance of friends or medical personnel after a fight.
- If the hero gets into a second fight, his most injured body part will always be punched or kicked.
- A hero will show no pain even during the most terrific beating, yet he will wince if a women attempts to clean a facial wound.
- When a hero is paired with a weak sidekick, that sidekick will invariably save the hero’s life at a crucial moment, or show remarkable proficiency with weapons in a key scene.
- If the hero is a white male and has an assistant/sidekick who is either not white or not male the assistant/sidekick will die, preferably in an act of heroic sacrifice.
- If the movie hero has a sidekick and he mentiones his family in the first two minutes of the film, the sidekick will surely be killed.
- The movie hero is (almost) always divorced, but he still has some contact with his ex-wife who tells him that she could not stay married to him because she loves him too much.
- People never answer the door until the doorbell or knocking has sounded at least three times.
- The hero lives in New York City working at some okay, but not particularly high-paying job, and yet he or she has a roomy apartment filled with nice stuff, generally with a good view, and sometimes a nice, romantic rooftop to go to.
- People never get out of the house when there is obvious danger there (ghosts, murderers).
- People who hear something weird outside will go OUT to look, even if they know there’s a homicidal maniac on the loose.
- When someone’s in bed and hears a sound outside, he’ll get up and turn the lights on before looking out of a window, even if this usually guarantees that he’ll never be able to see anything going on.
- When an intruder is in the house, the occupant will snuck along a wall with his back pressed to it tightly and his arms out a bit from his body, palms flat agaisnt the wall.
- When there’s an intruder somewhere in the house, the thing that jumps at the heroine in the dark turns out to be her cat, even if it comes from places cats wouldn’t be, like inside a cupboard! As soon as she relaxes, the killer will show up and strangle her.
- Any apartment in Paris will have a view of the Eiffel Tower.
- It is reasonable to assume that the quality of the training of United States Marine Corps pilots is such that any Marine fly boy could hop into an alien spacecraft and immediately be able to fly it into deep space
- The White House press secretary has a listed phone number
- When stuck in a tunnel and faced with Armageddon in the form of a fireball that is capable of obliterating all life in Los Angeles, simply duck into a maintenance closet and let the end of the world pass you by
- Despite the fact that we are able to send a fax from a beeper on our hip while walking down a street in San Francisco to a Range Rover in Johannesburg, alien spacecraft need to be hardwired to a satellite to speak to each other
- High class strippers with a heart of gold can operate most heavy equipment
- It is not beyond the realm of imagination that the President of the United States would be a fighter jock and would be willing to return to active duty to do battle with invincible alien bad guys
- Alien spacecraft the size of Australia can be taken out with one well-placed sidewinder missile
- Most laptops are configured with interfaces powerful enough to override the communications systems of the most sophisticated futuristic societies
- Despite the fact that they wear biomechanical body armor that can only be removed with a scalpel and the fact that they possess hyper-developed brains that allow them to destroy their enemies simply by thinking about it, alien fighter pilots have a glass jaw and can be knocked unconscious for hours with one punch
- If you are a woman who: 1)survives a blast from an alien spacecraft that wipes out Los Angeles 2)lives through the ensuing helicopter crash 3)survives while buried by rubble 4)survives despite being transported by open backed diesel truck across the worst terrain ever created…do not check into a military hospital with the best medical help money can buy because YOU WILL DIE
- Despite the fact that no living person, even on a clear day with a map and two state troopers providing an escort, can negotiate the Los Angeles freeway system without getting lost, nearly-blown-up women can drive through the shattered ruins of a decimated Los Angeles straight to El Toro
- When you crash an alien spacecraft into the high desert because you were hurtled back through the earth’s atmosphere by an atomic blast you set off, the fact that you do not have a parachute or any other visible means of slowing your fall does not mean that you should not walk away from the wreckage completely unscathed and straight into your girl’s arms
- The standard trip home from space, when assisted by an atomic blast, lasts approximately two to three pulls on a cigar
- Although aliens possess technological capabilities millions of years beyond our own that enables them to embed secret codes in our satellite network, they can be stymied by Morse Code, which is generally printed on the front panel of a child’s walkie talkie
- The most sophisticated labs in the world have impenetrable vault doors buried 30 stories into mountains but use regular hardware store glass panes for observation rooms in the lab nerve center
- Although aliens possess tentacles dexterous enough to manipulate human vocal cords from outside the throat when the need to speak strikes them, they can not open a door for themselves
- The correct military honor for a hero who saves the world by sacrificing his own life by flying directly into the alien death ray is to clap and cheer wildly in front of the hero’s family immediately after he perishes
- Any vehicle, including clunkers, can make the trip down from Manhattan to Washington D.C. in just a few hours in gridlocked end-of-the-world type traffic
- When the hero is knocked out, he won’t get a concussion or brain damage. People hit on the head will not throw up.
- When a hero gets a bloody nose, he’ll stop bleeding almost immediately.
- When a hero suffers through car chases and crashes, he never has to worry about unfelt spinal injury from impact.
- A slight blow to the head is usually enough to cause total amnesia
- Characters that get shot will never go into shock.
- The hero will always get shot in the shoulder, yet will be able to use his arm.
- A facial scars is likely to make you go insane and seek revenge for the rest of your life.
- If you lose a hand, it causes the stump of your arm to grow by six inches.
- A lost hand either comes crawling back, or a mad surgeon will replace it with one transplanted from an executed strangler.
- If a person gets shot they have plenty of time to tell all kinds of things except the most important information (like the name of the murderer).
- A person shot to death will immediately do just that – die. Their bodies do not flop and jerk around for a few minutes as the muscles contract involuntarily and sporadically as the brain dies a slow electro-chemical death (as with real gun-shot deaths).
- A kid always knows more than an adult.
- A kid can fend for himself even if his parents have gone to Paris, leaving him with no food, electricity, heat, money, etc.
- No child can ever be killed…even if they’re electrocuted on a high-voltage electric fence that could kill a dinosaur (Jurassic Park)
- Eight to ten-year-old kids are the best computer hackers on earth and can break into any system.
- Girls who can’t find a date to the prom in high school films are usually the girls that, in most high schools, would have almost every teenage boy asking them.
- When you throw a knife, the blade will always be the first thing to hit the target
- unless you turn the knife around first.
- A competent knife thrower can work equally well with throwing knives, Swiss Army knives, butcher knives, table knives or swords.
- Even when depicted as foreigners (including aliens from outer space) all actors speak and understand a common language (usually English) unless the film’s plot depends on a language barrier.
- When foreigners appear in movies (hispanics in particular) they seem to be able to speak perfect english without making one single mistake except it seems they NEVER manage to learn how to say “Sir” or “Thank you”… they always say “Senor” and “Gracias”
- A malfunctioning or burnt lightbulb usually means that someone is hiding in the room, ready to jump on our hero/heroine while he/she’s busy hitting the switch or tapping the bulb.
- When someone lights a match in a dark old house (etc) and the single match has as much power as a 1000 watt bulb! Alternatively, they light a match, and then light an old oil lamp which has a vast amount of power.
- When people switch a light off, it will still be possible to see everything in the room, just in a slightly subdued/bluish colour…
- Lightbulbs blow up when:
something psychic happens;
someone opens the power box, rips out the biggest cable, and touches it to the rest of the stuff in there;
If the lightbulbs are in a row, they blow in timed sequence.
- Any lock can be picked with a credit card or a paper clip. Any safe can be opened in a few minutes with a stethoscope or some high-tech equipment with lots of blinking lights.
- More often than not, the best method to revive somebody after their heart has stopped, assuming that there has already been a lengthy attempt to revive them with CPR, those electric zapperthings, ect., is screaming at them something like:
“You never backed away from everything in your life, now fight! Fight! FIIIIGHT!” or
“You can’t do this to me! I love you, goddammit!”
- When men drink whiskey, it is always in a shot glass, and they always drink it in one gulp. If they are wimps, they will gasp for air, then have a coughing fit. If they are macho, they will wince briefly, flashing clenched teeth.
- Men on rafts, jungles, deserts or other extended duty don’t have to carry razors because their beards don’t grow. Counterpoint: Unless they drink, in which case 3-day stubble appears in 3 hrs.
- Medieval peasants always have filthy faces, tangled hair, ragged clothing – and perfect, gleaming white teeth. (cf. Braveheart, any Robin Hood movie).
- If you are a princess, you always have a favorite lady in waiting, and you always send her to warn the hero of the evil king’s intention just in time.
- Corollary: the lady in waiting is never quite as beautiful as the princess; however, she still always catches the eye of the hero’s sidekick.
- In a swordfight, you can always parry behind your back, and you must always find a set of stairs to fight on so that the loser can roll down them and die at the bottom.
- Horses never get winded, throw a shoe, etc., until the pursuing sheriff is right behind the hero.
- Corollary: the wagon that breaks an axle or gets stuck in the creek is always the one carrying the king’s entire treasury, which he totes around with him every time he goes gallivanting through bandit-infested countryside.
- Minorities such as Native Americans or Asians will always have some sort of mystical knowledge or inate fighting skill. For example, the Native American always knows the course of events to come from some sign in nature, and Asians are all born with Martial Arts skills they can use to battle the bad guys.
- Gangster’s Briefcases either contain weapons or banknotes. No one ever got coins at a robbery.
- Briefcases are designed to hold exactly three rows of banknotes. As if it had power by itself money likes to be sorted in nice packs and rows, even if it had been thrown into the briefcase ba a terrified casher at a bank.
- When you use a movie taxi don’t ever give any change. Drivers won’t know what to do with it. Just say “thank you” when you pay a bill, reach into your pocket without looking, take out whatever note is in it – it will just fit. (see also CABS)
- Same is true in restaurants. Checks are always designed to be 15 percent under the sum the male customer has in his hands first.
- After fleeing a monster, you will want to call for help from a public phone within ten feet of where you last saw the monster.
- Motorcycle engines in movies can inexplicably change from 4-stroke Otto cycle to 2-stroke cycle operation.
- Motorcycles usually change from Harley Davidson choppers when engaged in highway operations to Yamaha Dirt bikes when operated off-road (as in “Then Came Bronson”). Police Harleys will morph into Triumph Bonnevilles when operating in tight quarters (on the ship in “Magnum Force”).
- Many musical instruments – especially wind instruments and accordions – can be played without moving the fingers.
- Native musicians are highly skilled, and can make simple instrumental bands sound like a full light orchestra.
- Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright (“boing!”) in bed. Instead of just lying there going “eeewww!” as most of us do.
- All phone numbers begin with 555.
- People speaking on the phone never introduce themselves, and never ever say “good-bye” at the end of a conversation.
- A ringing phone is usually picked up within 3 seconds.
- Don’t give the person on the other end of the phone time to say what they have to.
- You also never have to look up a phone number, for anyone.
- When a phone line is broken or someone hangs up unexpectedly, communication channels can be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying “Hello? Hello?”.
- Always knock over the phone if it wakes you up. If you are expecting a call, make sure that you pull the covers up completely over your head so that knocking it over becomes easier. All houses have phones next to the bed.
- There’s a dial tone to be heard on A’s phone immediately after B has hung up on his/her end.
- The Movie Telephone Time Vortex.
How often have you seen something like this:
Phone rings. Hero/Heroine picks it up. “Hello. Yes. O.k. Right. Thanks, Goodbye.” (Total elapsed time on phone: 5 seconds.)
Hero/Heroine turns to other character: “That was John. He says that the Marilyn left for the lawyer’s office about an hour ago, and she should have been there by now. He’s called the lawyer’s office but Marilyn apparently never got there. He also called Bill’s, thinking she’d stop by there, but Bill hasn’t seen her. John says he’s going to call Anne, as Marilyn said she and Ann were going to go shopping sometime today. If she’s not at Anne’s, he’s going to call the police. He suggests that we drive over to Mario’s and check with him as to whether or not Marilyn told Wally about the statue. However, he thinks this is unlikely as Marilyn doesn’t trust Wally, she only trusts us and Fransisco. John also suggests we try to get in touch with Fransisco . . . .”
- On the subject of phones, how about variations of the Bob Newhart-style conversation where we only get to hear one side of the conversation, as in: Marilyn hasn’t shown up at the lawyer’s office yet? (PAUSE) And you already called Bill’s? (PAUSE) What did he say? (PAUSE) He hasn’t seen her either. (PAUSE) So, John’s getting nervous? (PAUSE) He’s going to call the police…
If I’m not mistaken, the conversation must have gone like this:
“Marilyn hasn’t shown up at the lawyer’s office yet.”
“Marilyn hasn’t shown up at the lawyer’s office yet?”
“No, and I’ve already called Bill’s.”
“And you already called Bill’s?”
“What did he say?”
“He hasn’t seen her either.”
“He hasn’t seen her either.”
“John’s getting pretty nervous about this.”
“So, John’s getting nervous?”
“Yes, he’s going to call the police.”
“He’s going to call the police…”
- When phone-calls are traced you can see a map on the screen with a beam closing in on the caller, and the caller always knows how long he can talk before he has to hang up to not be traced down. He always manages to say everything perfectly timed for 2 minutes.
- Video-phones display pictures of the callers looking straight into the camera. The camera must be in the middle of their screen, in other words.
- If the hero tries to call someone he needs urgently he won’t need more than three rings to know that he/she is not there.
- If someone wants to call the hero, he/she will let the phone ring forever before hanging up, expecially if the caller does not know that the hero has to fight his way to the phone through a bunch of bad guys.
- A person is placing a phone call to a company, such as “Sports Illustrated.” The phone at the other end is picked up, and the person PLACING the call says, “Hello, Sports Illustrated?”, as if they are checking to make sure they called the right place.
What this means is that at a major company, someone is answering the phone with “hello” and that’s it! Not, “hello, Sports Illustrated, can I help you?” or anything like that, just “Hello!”
- Police Captains/lieutenants are always angry at their star detective and yell at him, threatening suspension if he doesn’t drop the case.
- Corollary: it is only _after_ the detective has been suspended that he can properly crack the case.
- Many police chiefs are in constant contact with their city’s mayor who will often “chew their ass” about a single criminal investigation out of the thousands going on in a city. (note: See “I Married an Axe Murderer” for a hilarious send-up of the “mean chief” cliche.)
- The police will never question the hero, even if he kills lots of bad guys
- The cops never show up during massive gun battles in city streets that involve bystanders and exploding cars. After the fact, you might just a siren in the distance.
- More murders always happen during the investigation of the first one. The last living suspect is the murderer.
- Most homicide detectives are brooding, near-crazed loners, most likely divorced or widowed, borderline alcoholics. Of course, there are more respectable-looking detectives, but they are inept and not nearly as tough as their mentally-troubled colleagues.
- Many detectives are recruited directly from the police academy, therefore accounting for youthful “seasoned detectives” (see “Speed,” “Kuffs,” “Stakeout”).
- The fact that a woman is pregnant or the fact that she notes her pregnancy is introduced by a scene where you hear the woman vomit.
- Whenever a woman announces to her husband/boyfriend that she’s pregnant, it comes as a complete surprise to him, whether pleasantly or otherwise.
- No one is in labor for hours and hours… they pop out babies in a matter of minutes.
- No one is ever offered an epidural or medication, everyone uses lamaze (pant method), but they often scream at & demean those around them.
- Most babies are born clean, with perfectly shaped heads and dry hair
- All movie babies are born HUGE, usually the size of the average two month old.
- Women who give birth are perfectly made up afterwards
- In jail, there must be a brutal guard and an evil scheming warden.
- Inside a prison there is always a boss among the convicts. Usually he’s black, blind and crippled surrounded by tough black musclemen, and he is the one the white hero has to see to get something.
- In a prison or a gymm, when someone is about to be threatened, it usally takes place when the subject is on his back pumping iron and the bar is lowered onto his neck thus reshaping the windpipe and driving some point home.
- Time will stand still when when the hero is in the presence of a company logo.
- When a character picks up a bottle of whiskey or a pack of cigarettes, the label will always be clearly visible.
- If the producers find no company to invest into the picture, strange things happen to the world: gas stations have no brand names visible, stars use no-name airlines (they often crash!), all smokers use silver cases for their cigarettes.
- A character turns on the radio just in time to hear a special announcement or some important news item. Then turns the radio off.
“Three escaped lunatics have been spotted in
. blah blah blah.”
- The phone rings. Caller says, “You better check out what’s on the news on Channel 13″. He turns on channel 13 and gets the report from the beginning.
- All televisions show cowboy-and-indian chase scenes a large proportion of the time.
- All VCRs in films are always cued up exactly to the portion of tape you want to show someone.
- You will always be able to backwind the tape *precisely* to the beginning of the segment you want to see again.
- Whenever anyone scans through a videotape or audio tape on home equipment you can hear the audio portion of the tape being fast forwarded or rewound.
- Freeze frame is flawless.
- Whenever someone reviews surveliance video taken from a preceeding scene, the camera angle is never high above the actors, it’s right up close, and looks _a lot_ like the angle the film camera used when shooting the picture. Aditionally, the audio is always crisp and clear, there’s no background noise, because all security cameras come equiped with boom mikes.
- In film, no one uses the restroom, except as a venue for escape. If there are multiple people in the restroom, expect a minor character revealation while they stand at the mirror
- When people are tied up in the movies, which is usually loosely and incompetently, they can’t escape without finding some convenient device to burn or cut through the ropes.
- Corollary 1: There is always a convenient device at hand.
- Corollary 2: If the method involves burning the ropes, the person’s hands will be tied at least a foot apart.
- If you’re a high school student in a film, you will always get one of the preferable eye-level lockers.
- In all high school or college classrooms, the teacher or professor will always be interrupted in mid-sentence by the end-of-class bell.
- In every school, there is at least one nerd or wimp that is shoved into lockers that are big enough to hold them.
- High Schools are always either in the middle of a city or a car ride away from the beach.
- All beds have a special L-shaped top sheet, which reaches up to armpit level on women but only to waist level on men.
- No-one ever needs a kleenex after sex.
- If you’re a woman in a film and have just finished a steamy lovemaking session, make sure to lay back and pull the sheets up to your neck, just like in real life.
- All women moan during sex, but none sweat.
- Women (and men less often) either make love with their underclothes on or have put them back on in the immediate aftermath.
- Two total strangers, upon falling into bed together, will always reach an incredibly intense, mutual, and SIMULTANEOUS orgasm on the first try.
- When bringing home bags of groceries in a film, it’s required that you spill at least one bagful on the kitchen floor.
- Bags of groceries are never heavy.
- Whenever anyone in a movie goes shopping, they always come back with stuff sticking out of the top of the shopping bag, usually carrot tops and French bread.
- Corollary: every shopping bag contains at least one baguette (loaf of french bread).
- If the tapping sound or flashing light represents morse code, there’s always someone around that can interpret the message.
- When Morse Code is used, the interpreter will call out words as they are being sent, rather than letters. Furthermore, a single word is represented by a few “beeps”, and all words are sent at the same rate, no matter how long the word is. Example:
be-beep beep beep…
beep be-beep beep…
- A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.
- You got plenty of time up there, often a couple of minutes.
- You can almost talk casually to all your skydiving friends on the way down.
- If you don’t have a parachute, just cling on to someone who has got one and don’t let go until you’re down.
- Smokers smoke only when there is a romantic or dramatic reason to. At other times the smoker has no need of cigarettes.
- Explosions in space make noise
- Exposure to vacuum makes you horribly swell up and/or explode within seconds (ex. “Total Recall”, “Outland”)
- There’s a deep humming in space, no doubt about it.
- Space is not Newtonian; spacecraft can’t ‘coast’, but just stop dead if they run out of fuel or power.
- Laser beams are visible in vacuum.
- Spaceships make noise!
- Spaceships always fly perpendicular to the same axis. When two spacecraft encounter each other, they’re always aligned on a plane and never approach at odd angles.
- All spaceships, no matter how small, have internal artifical gravity and no matter how badly your ship gets pummeled by the evil aliens in the evil alien ship, no matter how many external panels get blown away, no matter how many sparks or how much smoke pours out of your control panels, the artificial gravity will always keep working.
- There are tiny cameras mounted everywhere, on every panel, in your spaceship. No matter what happens anywhere int eh ship, you will always be able to ask the computer to replay the scene for you later (even if the computer went up in smoke) and unlike those blurry convenience store cameras, your tiny ship cameras always capture everyone’s actions at eye-level with perfect lighting.
- Warp or hyper-drive will always fail at critical moments.
- Inertial dampers will always prevent passengers from being plastered against the walls during acceleration into warp speed, yet any explosion will send passengers reeling across the room.
- In a spaceship battle scene, for a ship to fire a weapon at another, it must be in visual range. Even though the 20th century saw the advent of weapons that can be fired without visual contact, the people of the future have lost this technology.
- In any type of sport movie, a player on the field can look up into a crowd of 1 billion and immediately spot their loved one.
- Whenever anyone is chased to a staircase, s/he will run upstairs rather than down.
- In any movie where “something” has happened and villagers come to look at it, they always decide to “go for help”. The most expendable member of the group is left to “keep an eye on it”, and supplied with a weapon or signaling device “in case something happens”. Said member ALWAYS responds: “What could happen?” This is a certain signal that he will die, gruesomely, within 2 minutes.
- The walls of a teenager’s bedroom or a twentyish adult’s apartment are always highly decorated, beyond anything sane, with every available inch of space covered with something cool.
- A movie teenager will always have a drainpipe situated next to his or her window. This drainpipe will be specially reinforced to hold their weight on escape.
- Movie timing is always exact. If a phone trace will take two minutes, for example, you can be sure that that means 120 seconds, not a fraction more or less. Same for bombs, amount of time to get to a destination, etc.
- Corollary to the above: all characters in a movie have their watches perfectly synchronized.
- When a main character has to cross the street (in one of the slower parts of the movie), he/she can always cross the street immediately. Of course, he/she jogs across in order to miss the one car that drives by after they cross.
- If there is traffic, then that means that the movie is at a more intense part (like a chase scene) in which case there are a lot of cars that crash into each other. None of the important characters get hurt, the accident is never heard on the news, and nobody sues anybody important. Very few people even get out of their cars, and yet, no airbags are to be seen.
- Transportation always arrives and leaves on time.
- Characters arrive at the airport and get *right on the plane*. They must have the best timing of any people on Earth – I always have wait around for a while before boarding. (Not to mention getting a boarding pass and the “arrive 15 minutes before departure or you lose your seat” clause of most airlines. Good thing movie airlines never overbook!)
- Movie characters’ suitcases are always weightless when they have to carry them.
- In emergencies, anyone can pick up flying a helicopter.
- Movie characters never suffer from motion sickness.
- Whichever tree branch the hero has perched on, the villain will invariably pause under.
- The bad guy is the foreigner.
- Corollary: the foreigner is the guy who speaks English with an English accent
- The bad guy also has a side-kick muscleman, who has some sort of trademark gimmick that he/she uses to eliminate opponents. You must kill or decomission this muscleman by forcing a backfiring of this trademarked gimmick. If the muscleman dispatched by a different method, he/she is not dead. (For that matter, don’t assume that anyone is dead unless their death was spectacular. Beware sequels.)
- No matter how dead you think you’ve killed a bad guy, he can still get up at least 3 more times. Therefore, always make sure to leave his gun in or near his hand after you’ve killed him and you turn away to comfort the girl.
- When a villain seems dead, he never is. He will always be allowed one, and sometimes two resurrections. The hero will frequently see him coming, even if his back is turned. If he doesn’t, a friend will finish the villain off.
- The bad guy usually kills his henchman for failing, yet don’t seem to run out of loyal henchmen.
- Bad guys lurk until their presence is revealed by a flash of lightning.
- You can kill the bad guy by taking careful note of any object that the camera has lingered on for an unnecessarly length of time; typically this is something like a meathook or a jagged bit of glass. You will be involved in a mighty struggle, and at the appropriate time you can become inspired (usually by either an insult from the bad guy or a look of faith from your love interest) with strength enough to force the bad guy into/onto/under/in front of the aforementioned object. Actor’s Equity (Hollywood) requires that within 15 seconds either side of the bad guy’s demise, you utter your trademark phrase.
- Whenever a villian has captured the hero, he will pause for 5 minutes to tell the hero _every_ detail of his plan to destroy and/or rule the earth, including times, dates, and addresses.
- The bad guy, having finally gotten the good guy into his clutches, will usually spend a few meglomaniac minutes gloating over his victory and his opponent’s downfall. This increment of time will prove just enough to allow the good guy to figure a way out of his predicament, or just long enough to allow a rescue attempt.
- The bad guy, instead of simply offing the captured good guy on the spot, will devise some sort of drawn-out, fiendishly clever method of execution that will take enough time to allow the good guy to figure out his escape.
- When a villain seems dead, he never is. He will always be allowed one, and sometimes two resurrections. The hero will frequently see him coming, even if his back is turned. If he doesn’t, a friend will finish the villain off.
- You can always tell which nationality the United States and the popular media are currently most unhappy with because that nation sends all their villains to star in Hollywood movies during those times (e.g. Germans in the late 40’s and 50’s, Asians in the 60’s and 70’s, Soviets in the 70’s and 80’s and Middle Easterners in the 90’s).
- You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war, unless you show someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
- Every army platoon has at least one, usually black, member who can play the harmonica.
- All G.I.s know how to make a still out of a jeep radiator.
- If a soldier tries to look up an old buddy who was transfered to different unit, the buddy will be dead, or will die shortly there after.
- If a main character dies, his sweetheart back home will have nightmare at that exact same moment
- New replacements always get killed before you can even learn their names.
- The hero’s weapon is always different from everyone elses.
- Every unit has a “Scrounge” who can get you anything from an atomic bomb to a date with the general’s daughter for a bottle of cheap scotch, or vice-versa.
- The platoon sargeant never has a grenade on him, so he always asks someone else for the grenade, then pulls the pin out with his teeth. (which will usually cause you to lose teeth before extracting the pin!)
- Everyone who joins an Airborne (parachute) outfit doesn’t understand why anyone would jump out of perfectly good airplane.
- Elite units (Special Forces, Rangers, Commandos) are always recruited from convicts and other socially degenerate segments of society.
- Elite units are always considered expendable even though they cost much much more to train and maintain.
- Roger, wilco — over and out. nuff said. Radio transmission are always improper.
- The German Army always uses U. S. Patton Tanks.
- Cannons, howitzers, and main tank guns NEVER recoil, unless its old documentary footage.
- The battle hardened vet will always fall on a grenade for the new guy, rather than picking up the grenade and throwing it away, or jumping out of the fox hole.
- Fox holes never have overhead protection, or grenade pits.
- Only the “Japs” and the “VC” bother to use booby traps.
- German soldier always wear grey uniforms and jack-boots, though these uniforms were pretty much pahsed out by mid 1943.
- SS soldiers always wear there dress black uniform.
- The British Army is only allowed to fight in North Africa, and even then only elite forces other than the LRDG and SAS are allowed to fight.
- Only the Marines fought the war in the Pacific. No Army personnel were involved.
- The military hero always carries a special knife with an 11 inch + blade and a hollow handle with all sorts of gadgets. (most soldiers stick with the standard bayonet [6 in blade], Marine Corps Fighting knife[7 in blade], or airforce[5 1/2 in blade] survival knife. None have hollow handles because hollow handles break too easily)
- Snipers always know exactly where someone will pop there head out of trench and soldiers in trenches never use mirrors or periscopes, like they did in World War One.
- Any kid, or dog for that matter can wonder around through an artillery barrage and not get killed while half the outfit will alway get wiped out.
- No one will shoot the hero and the battle will even come to a stand still while the hero cries in agony and curse that “it should’ve been him” when his best friend steps on the land mine/get blown up/ dies charging the machine gun nest. The battle will resume as soon as the hero gets over his grief and gets angry. The hero will be victorious within 45 seconds of becoming angry.
- Any machine gun nest can be approached from behind without dificulty, but not until half the unit has been wiped out.
- Soldiers will ask for keys for military vehicles eventhough these vehicles dont use keys.
- If soldiers start to eat/drink/change socks/go to the bathroom, they will get orders to move out immediately.
- Soldiers will always make a comment about the food, usually something along the line of “I stepped in it but I’ve never ate it” or “if we feed this to the “krauts” we’d win the war tomorrow”.
- Soldiers and sailors must have at least on bar room brawl usually followed by a scene where they come to each others mutual aid the next day.
- There has to be a scene involving giving chocolate to children or nylons/cigarettes to women in a WW II movie. The soldiers never try to take advantage of the situation by asking for sexual favors in return.
- There is also an obligatory scene where a soldier reads a travel brochure about beautiful Italy/Germany/France/Guam/ while the camera pans across the blown up country side.
- If the travel guide scene is omitted, you’ll be treated with the scene where a soldier comments about how nice everything looks, too bad there’s a war going on, he’s going to come back when this is all over. He’ll be shot by a sniper shortly after this scene.
- Major characters never run out of ammunition, nor do they ever have to reload. (If the movie _does_ make them reload, they never have to actually carry any spare ammo until that scene)
- Guns never run out of ammunition unless escape would be otherwise impossible.
- The first shot or burst of fire from a bad guy _always_ misses, and is there just to announce that a fight will be taking place.
- Bad-guy hand grenades make noise and smoke, but no real damage; good-guy hand grenades are devastating but selective; they will destroy tanks, but won’t hurt the thrower, even if he drops one on his toe. Bad-guy grenades used by good guys become good-guy grenades, and _vice versa_.
- When the villain runs out of bullets, he’ll throw away his gun. When the hero does so, he’ll conveniently come across another.
- Machine guns submerged underwater for a long time won’t jam or misfire when the hero pops up to use them. (see any Rambo movie)
- A cigarette case/lighter in the shirt pocket will always block the bullet.
- When the hero faces a ridiculously large number of shooters with high powered weapons, they will all miss after several shots. Then, the hero will pulls out this gun that looks like a toy and start picking off the bad guys from half a mile away, usually hitting them in the forehead.
- People always pump out a few (probably used) shotgun shells at each corner when chasing someone.
- When people aim a rifle with binocular-sight at someone on a very long distance, they manage to keep them in the bull’s-eye all the time even if they move around.
- When faced with dozens of armed opponents, the good guy will show up and appear to be shot, perhaps dozens of times. He will fall down, and presumably be dead, but will later miraculously turn out to have had the foresight to wear a bulletproof vest, armor plating, or even a silver tray to protect his torso (Batman). No one will ever shoot him in the head, where he is unprotected. Afterwards, instead of learning from his extremely good fortune, he throws his protection away, confident that the same situation cannot recur in his movie.
- When superheroes like Batman or Robocop use high technology to protect themselves, the bad guys never take advantage of obvious weaknesses, such as no face protection.
- Characters shot with guns will fly backward, or upward and backward, through the air – the laws of physics notwithstanding.
- Characters use silencers on revolvers… and it works.
- In 50% of action movies made after 1988, “Teflon Coated Cop Killer Bullets” will be referred to.
- No movie character will ever use or refer to a safety on any firearm.
- No movie character will ever use a .22-caliber weapon.
- The cowboy who exchanges a dozen shots with the bad guys without hitting one will nevertheless be able to hit and detonate a stick of dynamite from 150 feet away with a revolver on the first try.
- Once a character has flipped up the long range site on his rifle, he will always make his next shot.
- Bullets removed from shooting victims and displayed to the camera will not be misshapen in any way from the impact – and will sometimes still have the casing attached.
- Shots fired at the rear of a vehicle will cause the gas tank to explode.
- Shots fired at windshields never deflect; they always penetrate and hit the bad guy in the forehead. If the good guy is driving, he’ll simply have to duck a little to avoid them.
- Shots fired at guys hiding around corners never whiz past; they always strike the edge of the building near the character’s face.
- Shots fired in Westerns that do not hit a character always ricochet loudly.
- If there is a trough of water present in a Western gunfight scene, at least one shot will splash spectacularly in the water.
- Western characters are never shot in the legs while hiding behind wagons.
- No gun will ever jam or misfire after a quick-draw.
- In a duel or in a gunfight between two characters standing in a street, at least one charcter is always hit on the first exchange of gunfire.
- No debris will ever fall from a ceiling after a gun is fired upward into it.
- Shurrikens and thrown knives never miss, unless they pin a character’s clothing to a wall or tree.
- Horses are never wounded in horseback gunfights.
- Assassins will always wait ’till the very last moment to assemble their complex sniper weapon (often a pistol the size of a rifle).
- Even weapons experts will freeze when confronted with a weapon which is not in firing condition-ie an un-cocked single action revolver or a submachine gun with its breech closed (also un-cocked). The person holding the gun must make several moves to fire the gun, and the adversary could just reach out and take the weapon, but the dropee just freezes even though often it is obvious that the cylinder is devoid of any ammo.
- Movie gunmen never lock and load their weapons when anticipating a life-or-death confrontation. Oh they have their weapons drawn, but not charged with a round in the chamber. They usually (always when carrying a pump-action shotgun) wait until they confront their quarry to slam a round into the chamber with a dramatic ca-chunking noise.
- Bullets, even though they are only pieces of lead-sometimes encased in copper, always make little explosions when they strike any kind of inanimate object.
- Photos of loved ones, religous medals, and bibles can stop bullets better than a bullet proof vest.
- All sub machine guns sound alike and have the same rate of fire
- NEW requirement: all automatic pistols must be held sideways in order to be fired.
- If you are a cowboy, aiming your rifle while using your horse as a support will always assure a first round hit.
- All aautomatic weapons must be cocked in order to be fired, but bolt action weapons can fire two or three times without being cocked!
- You can never un-jam a weapon by just pulling back the bolt and rechambering another round, ‘though that will work 99 times out of 100 in real life.
- Women will always have shaved legs and armpits, even in caveman movies.
- Women will be worrying about their nails or dresses while people are trying to kill them. (see also CHASES)
- Women stand wide-eyed, hand to mouth, while hero battles villain. Women never thinks to clonk villain with handy object. Counterpoint: If woman does clonk, she always hits hero instead.
- Women always fight other movie women by pulling hair, falling to ground together, rolling over twice.
- High-powered female executives always wear miniskirts and five-inch heels to work
- Beautiful women will always fawn over an action hero, no matter what sexist remarks he makes to them.
- A female lead with feminist leanings will always despise a macho hero–until the first time he rescues her from certain death. She will then become totally conventional and dependent. Once she does this, the hero will become vulnerable and tell her about some tragic loss that will explain his belligerent attitude.
- Women wear make-up to bed, and wake up with hair and face completely intact.
- Women don’t need to go to the bathroom when they get up but will shower frequently.
- If a woman is pregnant, she will deliver before the movie ends.
- Women also scream or make some other noise at the precise moment the villian is close enough to hear.
- Women always stand and watch the cars that are about to run them over, OR the bad-guys that are about to shoot them (even if there’s cover close by).
- Strong (character/will) women are always macho, or bitchy.
- Women always stuff their fist(s) in their mouths when terrified.
- Women always have to be rescued by the hero, even if they’re champion/ expert this or that.
- Women are always too hysterical to do what the hero instructs. He has to elp/force her/knock her out.
- Heros and villains can successfully use wood, no matter how thin, as a safe shield against bullets of any caliber.
- When crossing a rotting suspended bridge, with well spaced wooden slats, the slat will always brake when a woman steps on it. Also, it is odd that the wood will rot away long before the vine ropes begin to rot!
- Little league teams in movie land still use bats made of wood while every other little league team is forced to use aluminum bats.
FOOD & EATING
“Things I did not know until I saw ID4″
(this section courtesy of Perry O’Grady)
I would like to be perfectly clear that I found “Independence Day” to be a great deal of fun and a thoroughly enjoyable motion picture.
However, I realized that there were a number of things about which I was completely ignorant until I saw “ID4.” The following is a list of things that I did not know until I saw “Independence Day”: