All I really need to know, I learned from movies

As I walked out of the movie theater last week, I thought about all the important life facts movies teach us, and wanted to share a few of them.

1)  Important people frequently fall to their death.

I’m not sure why this happens. At first I thought it was simply a convenient way for villains to die without heros having to kill them (Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted, King Kong) but after watching a particular movie–which I will not name, lest I spoil it for someone–I realized that falling is a popular way for anyone who is important to die. Your take away from this lesson should be: if you are an important person, you should not stand on high surfaces.

2) Sometimes people come back from the dead.

You wouldn’t think this would happen very often, but Hollywood begs to differ. And it’s not just the villains who are resurrected in sequels to wreck havoc again. No, heroes are almost as likely to cheat death. Examples include Baloo from The Jungle Book, Jack Sparrow in At World’s End, Gandolf in Lord of the Rings, Sherlock in the TV BBC series (Hey, I only faked my death–really convincingly, and for no apparent reason didn’t tell Watson.) Spock in Star Trek III, and maybe Kirk in the last Star Trek movie . . . did he quasi die? I can’t actually remember, because the plot device is used so often it’s sometimes hard to keep track of the undead. Anyway, I’m actually hoping that the directors of the sequel to the movie I just watched un-kill someone. I mean, some characters should be immortal. Period.

3) Villains are ugly.

I think the logic behind this plot device is that when villains are ugly, it’s even easier to dislike them. A few examples off the top of my head are: Voldermort, Peter Lorre, Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, Davy Jones, (The one from Pirates of the Caribbean, not to be confused with Davy Jones from the Monkees, who was adorable.) the wicked witch of the west, Gollum, Jafar, and all of Batman’s creepy looking nemeses.

Here’s the thing, you’ve got to feel sorry for ugly people for constantly being cast as evil bad guys. If movies always cast overweight people, or short people, or people of a certain race or gender as villains–there would be a public outcry.

Sorry, ugly people, you have no voice. No one cares if your feelings are hurt.

Do ugly people really even have a choice but to turn villainous? I think not.

4) Heroes and heroines are hot.

Do I even have to make a list for this one? Just pick a movie and look at the leads. I mean, I’m not complaining. I don’t mind watching Chris Hemsworth, or Harrison Ford, or any of the actors who played Superman. (I would mention attractive actresses here, but my mind is stuck on Chris Hemsworth . . .)

5) Heroes’ bodies are almost indestructible.

A hero can plunge over a waterfall with nothing to help him survive the fall except his plucky attitude and an inhaler, and he’ll walk away just fine. If I sleep wrong on my bed, I’ll favor my shoulder all day, but you could shoot a hero several times, and he’d still have the energy to jump through a roof and knock out several bad guys.

6) People can kill without experiencing any emotional trauma.

In fact, the really good heroes can kill people and carry on conversations filled with witty banter. I can barely use the speech to text function on my phone without freezing up, muttering the wrong thing, and in general sounding inebriated, but heroes have the where-with-all to make light of death. This may be because they know that sometimes people come back from the dead.

7) Bad guys will frequently try to kill you in the least logical manner.

This often involves a villain leaving you for dead before you’ve actually died–one can only assume in order to give you a chance to escape. Or just as frequently–even though the villain has a gun and presumably knows how to use it–he will come close enough to you to engage in a hand to hand fight.

8) Villains will tell you all about their evil plots before they try to kill you.

You wouldn’t think bad guys would feel the need for a lot of explanatory chit chat. I can barely get my sons to tell me how their day was, but villains will tell you everything, smugly delaying your final demise. Despite what your English professor told you about hubris, it turns out that gloating is the fatal flaw that does in most characters.

9) Happily ever after only lasts until the next movie.

You thought your favorite characters were fine, happy, living fulfilling lives. Nope. Not if there’s money to be made in a sequel. Then they’ll come on screen and show you their sadly broken lives.

Not that I’m talking about a particular movie or anything.

(But I’m hoping the next movie will return those characters to their previously happy, shining state. And that there was one of those switched at birth things going on and (Spoiler alert!) Poe and Rey are actually Han and Leia’s children instead of Kylo Ren. Hey, these are the writers that bring people back from the dead. It could happen.)


All I really need to know, I learned from movies — 17 Comments

  1. A lot of Hollywood villains are English, I’ve noticed, probably because the accent is clipped and sounds a bit evil. But speaking as a Brit, I quite like that. It’s a compliment, of a sort.

    • I never noticed that. It’s probably because we want the villains to sound smart and sophisticated and giving them a British accent is the easiest way to do that. Or maybe we’re still mad about the Revolutionary War . . .

      • The Jaguar commercial also undeniably proves not all villains are ugly. 🙂 Sometimes, in fact, villains need to be good-looking so the audience feels a bit torn while watching. For instance, I always found Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham far more intriguing than Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood.

        And you’re right — Chris Hemsworth is devastatingly distracting. But, then, so is Tom Hiddleston. . . .

        Still, the villain in the movie of which you speak looked too much like Marilyn Manson & nothing like Harrison Ford. Unfortunately. But his voice was perfection.

  2. I’ve often wondered why villains leave their victims for dead before checking to see that they are in fact, actually dead. It’s like the monologuing in having them explain their bad actions and reasons for being evil. *shakes head* I’m interested to see where they take this storyline in Star Wars – there are a few things I really want to change (like the … falling thing you mentioned).

    • I’m pretty sure really villains don’t do either. Maybe that’s why I thought the first episode of Turn was so intense. In it, the bad guys have ambushed an army unit and their making sure all the soldiers are really dead. One of the guys is just pretending to be dead and looking for a way to escape. I swear I didn’t breathe through the whole scene.

  3. Janette – you need individual share buttons on your big posts, pretty please. I thought this was fun, so I shared it. 🙂 Have a lovely day! – MCD

  4. The moral I took from that movie is bridges are bad and I should never stand on one. Several years ago I was made fun of for not wanting to walk across a traffic bridge. But tell me, has ANYTHING good ever happened to a fictional character while standing on a bridge? Especially rope bridges. I wrote a story once about a guy who spent his entire life running around and sabotaging rope bridges because they can’t ALL be breaking by coincidence. I mean, booby traps made of rope and wood can last ten thousand years.

  5. Relating to #8: villains blather on so much about their plans to kill you in the most painful way imaginable that it usually gives the enterprising hero/heroine enough time to wriggle out of their bonds (always badly tied), find a weapon and slay the villain. Failing that, the hero/heroine tied to the chair uses the chair as a weapon by leaping about and managing to break free of the chair while knocking everyone else in the room out (Black Widow wipes out Russian mob in Avengers). Tables work as well (see Hitman trailer with ‘I almost don’t believe it’s Orlando’ in it))

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *