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All I really need to know, I learned from movies

7 January 2016

From author Janette Rallison:

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,) but after watching a particular movie–which I will not name, lest I spoil it for someone–I realized 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.

. . . .

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.

Link to the rest at Janette Rallison

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8 Comments to “All I really need to know, I learned from movies”

  1. Hollywood types really need to study the Evil Overlord handbook. It’s not as if it hasn’t been around since forever…


    My biggest eyeroll moments are for villains that don’t shoot the hero when they have the upper hand but shoot their own staff at the drop of a hat. Way to build undying loyalty!

    • aka “A list to live by”. Been ages since I read that, thanks for the link 🙂

      Although… I’m not sure how well this one has aged:

      99. Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.

      • “Any video showing the good/bad guy’s weakness will be 10KBs larger than the DVD/BlueRay disk has available space on it …”

  2. “Important people frequently fall to their death.”

    But it really is the most convenient way for villains to die without the hero having to do the dirty deed. It’s used that way constantly. I suppose a lot of writers feel it’s easier to do that than justify the protagonist’s committing homicide, which seems to most often happen in thrillers. But in other genres… it’s all about keeping the protagonist’s hands clean, usually. 🙂

    • Plus, there’s always a great shot from the hero’s point of view of the villain dropping down and down while staring back at the camera.

      • @ PG

        LOL. Gollum falling into the fire in Mordor with Precious clutched in his hand. 🙂

      • Example: “Die Hard.”

        (Learned later via IMDB that it was Alan Rickman’s first time doing such a stunt. The look of horror on his face was not acting.)

  3. I’m pretty sure I know which movie Janette is talking about and said important character didn’t fall to his death. He was murdered. And then he fell.

    I don’t know why I was compelled to say that. But there it is.

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