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April 23, 2009


Generally, when it comes to little details, the movie makers do a good job in getting it right; but there are certain little details that are just wrong, and yet they seem to be in a lot of movies.  These movie cliches never happen in real life, and sometimes I just can't get past them.

The Oblivious Truck Driver:  This one came to me as I was watching The Island.  You've seen it before; there's a chase scene, and somehow our heroes end up on the back of an 18-wheeler, and to evade their pursuers, they start dumping the truck's cargo, often causing horrific car accidents.  In The Island, it was large, barbell shaped things (what were those things?) that Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson let loose on their pursuers.  Absolute carnage was the result.  The unbelievable part of this scene is that the truck driver keeps driving!!  He's losing his entire load causing mass destruction behing him, yet it never occurs to him to apply his brakes and avoid any more damage.

Ok, maybe it is possible that the guy's focused on the road in front of him, and he doesn't notice what's going on behind him.  But a similar thing happens in other movies that no one can explain.  Remember the end of Back To The Future part III, when the train totally obliterated the DeLorean?  The train hit it head on, and the engineer never even applied the brakes!  Now you can use the excuse that it takes a while to stop a train, but don't forget what happened next; Marty went to get Jennifer, and they went back to see the destroyed car.  In real life, they would have arrived to see police cars, police tape, and a crowd gathered to see the carnage (and hopefully a dead body!)  But when they got there, there was nothing!  No police, no train; nothing!  I guess in movieland, if you're a train engineer, and you hit something, screw it!  Just keep going!

Eating Chinese Food With Chopsticks:  This happens in every movie and TV show where the stars are eating Chinese food.  It's always out of the carton with chopsticks.  Never mind that even most Chinese people have accepted the innovation of the fork.  If you eat Chinese food, leave the plates in the cupboard and whip out those chopsticks!

If you met me, you could probably tell that I like my food.  Chinese food is no exception.  In fact, I ate Chinese today not one hour ago!  I have never, ever used chopsticks to eat my Chinese food.  It's never even been offered!  I mean honestly; when was the last time you were asked if you wanted chopsticks when you ordered your meal?  Do any Chinese restaurants even have chopsticks?  And if they did, would you choose chopsticks over a fork?  The last time I was offered chopsticks was when McDonald's was promoting their Oriental dipping sauce for their McNuggets and they gave everyone chopsticks to eat their McNuggets with.  I was only twelve, and yet I felt like an idiot trying to eat McNuggets with chopsticks.

I recently saw Out Of Time starring Denzel Washington, and I had to laugh at one particular scene.  In the scene Denzel is eating Lipton's Cup of Noodles with chopsticks!!  Chinese takeout I can understand, but Lipton's Cup of Noodles?  That means he actually took the time to find a store that sells chopsticks and bought them with the sole purpose of eating Lipton's Cup of Noodles!

The "I've Just Lost My Job And Need To Clean Out My Desk" Specialty Boxes:  I just saw Coach Carter today, and it had a scene that is used in many, many movies.  Someone is fired, or quits his job, and grabs a box to clean out his desk.  One thing I've noticed about this scene; it's always the same box.  It's brown on the outside, white on the inside, it's got handholds, and white labels under the handholds where you can write something.  And you only ever see these boxes when someone has lost their job and needs to pack up their desk.

Where do these boxes come from?  Is there a special shelf in the supply closet where they keep these "desk clearing" boxes?  Is there a special store called the "Just Been Sacked" box store?  I've left a couple of jobs and had to clean my desk, but I have never seen these boxes before. 

Evil Teachers or Principals Who Hate Kids:  The worst offenders of this cliche are 80's movies.  Especially Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  There's the "cool kid" doing his own thing, and the teacher or principal who "will someday get that kid; if it's the last thing I do!!"  And he spends the entire movie laying traps and trying to catch the cool kid doing something wrong so he can expel him.

In real life a teacher or principal who ever acted like that would immediately be fired, and for good reason.  As a former teacher I can tell you, you don't choose this profession if you hate kids (although I eventually left the profession because I learned to hate the kids!)  Those who do don't last long.  There are students I've had whom I've disliked for one reason or another, but they usually fail, so I'm ok with it.

Dibilitating Injuries That Don't Hurt:  The worst offender of this trend is Denise Richards in Starship Troopers.  A giant bug impails her through the shoulder with it's huge spear-shaped leg, and ten minutes later she's walking away, arms around her friends, and laughing without a care in the world.  Um....how about the fact that you'r bleeding profusely through the huge hole in your shoulder?? 

I wouldn't exactly call Denise Richards an Oscar-quality actress, but even a D-Level actress should know that if you get impaled, it hurts!!  However, Denise Richards is hot, and she did do a great job in a couple of scenes of Wild Things, so it's ok.

Extremely Attractive Women Dating Or Marrying Woody Allen:  Why are we still letting this guy make movies?  Each movie has the same basic plot; he's a geriatric and somehow he lands a hottie in her 20's.  I mean, come on!  Forget the fact that he's 100 years old.  Even when he was younger, are there any normal women out there who would find him even remotely attractive?  It really bugs me that even in his real life he gets more women than I do. Him and Larry King.

So there you have it; the movie cliches that really bug me; even though I look for them when I watch a movie!  I'm sure there are more that I can't think of.  If you're reading this and can think of more, let me know.  And now that I've revealed how much of a geek I am, I must leave now.....