If there’s one thing I hate about movies, it’s stupid characters.
Now, I don’t mean the humorously dumb character, the kind who thinks that the word “extrapolate” is the same as “extricate” or who puts Bengay on his testicles; I mean a character who does everything wrong that they could possibly do and then we, the viewer, are supposed to feel sorry for them.
In a movie I recently watched, “Paparazzi,” an actor’s house was broken into by several paparazzi trying to bug the house. When the actor’s wife stumbles on them, one of them hits her, throws her to the ground, and tells her that if she tells the police about them being in the house, they’ll kill her kid, who’s currently in a coma at the hospital. And do you know what she does? She keeps the information to herself. She doesn’t call the cops.
Now, let’s review: she is the wife of a famous actor with ass-loads of money. The son is in the hospital, a rather secure location. The paparazzi has no special legal powers, is not a ninja, and honestly has no real way of carrying out his threat.
So why is she so afraid of him killing her son? Because she is stupid.
This kind of thing happens all the time in movies. “If you talk, I come back and kill you.” Most of the time, this problem could be solved by going to the police, talking, and mentioning the whole threat-on-your-life thing.
Chances are that if they think it at all possible for them to actually hurt you, they’ll put you in protective custody until the bad guy has been apprehended. Of course, there are times when this is not the case. A few examples:
In “Fight Club,” Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) finds a random shopkeeper, takes his ID, and puts a gun against his head. He tells the guy that if he isn’t on the path to fulfilling his dream of becoming a veterinarian the next time Tyler checks on him, he’ll kill him. In this case, the shopkeeper is wise to not have gone to the police.
First of all, this random stranger just held a gun to his head, and he is obviously (as far as the shopkeeper knows) willing to commit murder. Second, the shopkeeper never heard Tyler’s name or saw his face, so what is there to go to the police with? In this case, doing exactly what his assaulter tells him to do is in his best interest, both because it keeps him alive, and because, well, he goes back to college and gets a degree.
Another circumstance in which going to the police would not help is anytime the police are compromised. This is especially true if you are in a mobster movie. The mob has the capability, motivation, and willingness to kill you, and likely has several police on their payroll. At this point, contact the feds.
But “I’ll kill you if you talk” isn’t the only stupid circumstance in movies. As a disaster movie connoisseur, I often find reason to hate the children in disaster movies. They are annoying, stupid, annoying, clichéd, and annoying. One thing they often do that is particularly infuriating is bring up their emo bullshit, “You’re never around, Dad,” “You never keep your promises,” “It’s your fault Mom left,” blah blah blah, in the middle of a volcano/earthquake/destruction of the planet.
Don’t you think there just might be a better time to air your familial grievances? Like after the potentially world-killing asteroid has passed?
Or how about another gem,: going back for their pet. I swear, if ever I am in a situation worthy of a disaster movie, I will kill any and all loveable dogs, cats, ferrets, and parakeets belonging to any child or lonely old lady in my “survival party.”
This will immediately remove any and all chance of one of these morons running back into a burning building to retrieve a pet, thus forcing us to go back in for them. I refuse to let it happen. Though really, I should start off my quest for survival by removing all the stupid people, old people, and children in the group.
For the greater good, you see.