Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Five Things That Never Happen In Movies

Yes, hello good (insert local time of reading here) and welcome to the latest of my frequent and florid five-o-things.

Today one of the things that has been floating around in what little of my brain that remains has been a list of things that never happen in films that you would expect to happen in real life.  I'm sure that you, my ever patient reader, will think of many others that I have left off - these are literally the first five that jumped into my head.

#1: No one ever pays a taxi driver
You and I have an entirely different experience of public transport to people in films.  They can always park right outside the place they are going, whereas we get to park in a badly lit garage where muggers business cards are on the walls, their car always starts first time and never has frost on the window, they never stand for twenty minutes in the rain at a vandalized bus stop only for the bus to drive straight past them, the lift is always at the right floor for them to hop on immediately without all that painful need for small talk that the rest of us have to dredge up from the bottom of our brains, when they whistle for a cab it always pulls up straight away, or within a few seconds and no one, ever pays the driver at the other end.

Indeed they leap out of the taxi without a care in the world with no evidential pause during which they could have even vaguely conceivably flung their small change at the driver like an Olympic athlete on heat - and what's more the driver, unless the movie is Taxi, cheerfully heads off on his way as if actually earning money is one of the downsides of another wise pleasant day of driving around the city endlessly picking up total strangers

Also - whilst we're on the subject of public transport I've never seen any movie where the star had to stand or sit in the corridor for two hours having paid £100 for the privilege

#2: No one ever goes to the toilet
Unless it is to pursue an assailant or get beaten up.  This never happens on TV either - for seven years the crew of the Starship Enterprise trawled the depths of space, "boldy going" without ever actually revealling where on the Enterprise it was that they went.  My personal theory is that they didn't have a specific bathroom and that it was either extracted from them whenever they "beamed up" (another reason why no one can scream in space) or else they simply called "computer: toilet" and one appeared out of the wall

#3: Time never obeys its own rules
Take any scene where a bomb is counting down: the villain sets the timer to four minutes and the countdown begins - twelve minutes later in the film the hero deftly defuses the bomb with two seconds to spare - or else escapes leaving it to explode long after the timer went off.  Presumably villains try to save money by buying second hand timers, which is just sloppy when you think about it.  Also - at the vital moment when it comes to chose between cutting the green and the red wire - no one ever gets it wrong, despite any previous ineptitude or color blindness suggested in the film.

Whilst we're on the subject of bombs diffusing why is it that the hero never has any computer problems at a vital moment?  Every hero is able to swiftly able to hack into even the most secure of networks and never, ever has a time out, loses connection or has to sit waiting for five minutes yelling at the screen because their clapped out laptop is taking so long to boot up.  If I were to have to help during a big jewel heist and my computer skills were needed then, based on the time I have to log on to work each morning as opposed to the actual time I am supposed to start, we would need a good solid ten minutes of sitting around staring at a computer that had decided that now was a good time to be reconfiguring its hard drive instead of, oh i don't know, actually starting up.

#4: Police, despite receiving special training, are never actually able to drive at speed
The caveat to this is "unless the main character is a rogue cop" in which case he, or she, will be the sole exception to the rule that on any given corner a certain amount of cop cars will slide, explode, turn upside down or otherwise exit the chase in increasingly over the top methods

Meanwhile, of course, your film's hero will continue to drive like someone who has been competing in formula one for several years, making jumps that should leave his back wheels on the pavement some hundred yards behind him.

#5: The hero never gets seriously injured, no matter what
In the closing scenes of Die Hard 4.0 Bruce Willis finally faces his enemy - who manages to pull him close and press the gun right against his shoulder.  Bruce, desperate to defeat his enemy, pulls the trigger - effectively shooting the bullet through his own body in order to kill the baddie.

Now what SHOULD happen next is that Bruce's arm flies sideways across the room seperated from the rest of his body, whilst he collapses and dies on the spot from a combination of shock and blood loss.  At the very best the internal damage from the shot would leave him unable to ever use the arm again.

However, what actually happens is no repercussions whatsoever - and our hero is able to walk with ease to the ambulance as if nothing of any interest has happened.  This, to me, is one of the main dangers of film - in that we don't show the reality of weapons and as such there's a tendency to think that being shot is nothing much to worry about.  As such I do tend to think that if you are going to show violence in a film then there should also be consequences from that violence.

#6: In real life no one, ever, stops to explain exactly why they are trying to do whatever they are doing
Wouldn't it be nice if they did?  Wouldn't it be great if you walked into your local coffee shop of a morning, ordered a latte and the person across the desk from you said "ha ha, you have fallen into my trap"

Or if every time your boss made a decision they told you exactly why they were doing it at great lengths and giving you lots of time to reach for the letter opener before they finally used the word "sacked" or, even worse, "outsourced"

It would be good news for victims of crime as well if criminals would only stop and explain their back story, thus giving you a few vital minutes to call the police as they inevitably launch into a few moments of over-acting

As usual suggestions for more examples of things that never happen are welcome


The Bug said...

1. It's morning here.
2. I love how your lists of five are never really five.
3. One of the things I like best about those Kinsey Milhone PI books is that she talks about what a pain it is to be a woman detective on a stake-out - all men need is a bottle, but women have to actually find facilities to use.
4. I agree that it's frightening how unrealistic movies are about weaponry (not to mention the fact that people can avoid a hailstorm of bullets easily).
5. I don't have a number 5.
6. Or 6.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

bug - yes of course: #7: bad guys can never aim their weapons properly

Where do they get these people from anyway?

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

oh - and the other reason thst people go to the toilets in movies is that so a) a bystander can hear something concerning whilst in a cubicle or b) said bystander can then have the door kicked down, forcing them to shuffle out, trousers still around their ankles (this only ever happens to men mind you)

Stephen Hayes said...

Bullets and knives never leave unsightly scars to ruin sex scenes. No one ever looks up to see our secret agent hanging from a wire attached to the ceiling. Machine guns in the hands of villains kill no one. Surveillance teams can sit in their cars in perfect view of the target, often in broad daylight, without being noticed.

Peter Goulding said...

If only people would have gone to the police in the first place, they would have saved themselves a whole lot of hassle. If detectives need to phone someone from the lab, they can get through to the correct person who has all the information within two rings.The explosion only happens when the hero has run just far enough to be blown into the air but suffer no lasting injuries.

susan said...

This is a great list (5 or not) so I hope you don't mind if I add a few more that drive me crazy:

After a passionate kiss the woman is still seen wearing perfectly applied lipstick whereas none has rubbed off on her partner.

The most dangerous thing to do in a wartime battle scene is to show someone a picture of your girlfriend.

A man who shows no pain while being beaten to a pulp during a fight will flinch when a woman cleans his wounds.

Everyone who lives in a large city lives in a spacious, cleverly decorated apartment.