Preface: The following list is VERY long due to lots of commentary! But take a chance and read it... and be patient.
Thank You, Sean A. Rhodes _____________________________________________________________
So here I am with another very creative and very different kind of list. I guess I should explain why I like to do lists like this. I'm just not always a fan of the lists which are all about, "The best this" and "The best that". I like to get a bit more creative... which is why I can't pump out these lists every day. There's nothing wrong with the whole, "Best of..." stuff. Certainly not. It just isn't for me. I like to do lists that challenge me to be creative and think outside the box. This is another one of those lists, and it took quite a while to construct. It took much more time and thought than any other list I've ever created on Lunch thus far.
So let me give you a run down of how this list is done. The lessons are big themes that Hollywood loves to rely on when telling a specific story or tale. The theme is usually what lesson they're trying to give us... and what they're trying to tell us. The themes aren't always annoying, and many movies that incorporate them are quite good. But the reason these themes are on this list is because they're overdone and don't actually teach you anything. Some people know better... but so many people don't. So each film on this list is meant to be an example of the theme. That doesn't mean they're bad movies, and it doesn't mean the other examples I've listed are bad movies either. It also doesn't mean the theme is bad. It simply means that Hollywood is WRONG to believe these things, and WRONG not to let people know that these things won't happen to everyone. Especially you.
So each movie is an example. And under each example I've listed The Theme in question and provide you with Other Examples and then I will explain Why It's Bullshit and talk about Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme. But of course Hollywood won't tweak the theme. So I'll follow that up with telling you Why They'll Continue This Theme. Does that make sense?
As usual, much of this list consists of humor rather than being completely serious. If you don't know that by now... you haven't really checked out many of my other lists to begin with. But I always get that ONE person who takes it just a little too seriously. Let's have some fun! Enjoy!
Oh, and in case you couldn't tell by the title, there's some language in here. If you are offended by language in anyway then I recommend NOT reading this list. The word Bullshit is guaranteed to pop up at least 12 times.
The Theme: Love Conquers All! Other Examples: Titanic, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Any Hugh Grant movie, The Bridges of Madison County, Any Disney Movie Ever Made... this list could go on Forever Why It's Bullshit: There are many reasons why this is a false lesson. The first being that our characters in love almost never undergo any real problems... and the story always ends when the two realize they love each other, or when it comes to the height of their romance after some artificial problem. More than that some problems are over the top. Baby isn't yours? Well, you can still love your wife AND the asshole she cheated on you with! EVERYONE IS HAPPY! Love even conquers death! As seen in films such as Titanic where Jack dies and at the end Old Rose dies and STILL gets to be with him in death. How do we know Cinderella didn't have to face terrible beatings from the Prince? Marriage is always awesome at first but no movie ever goes into what happens afterwards. Maybe twenty years down the line Belle's prince at the end of Beauty and the Beast turns out to be a grouchy asshole who sits on his ass and makes Belle scratch his back with a back scratcher! Who knows. But does love really conquer all? No. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Because people sometimes forget life isn't a Disney film. I had a friend who told me once that she was, "Waiting for her Prince." Although her example was Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World (and if you ever use those two as an example I think you need a therapists... and who the hell names their daughter TOPANGA!?) Why They'll Continue This Theme: Because no one wants to see the guy go through the whole thing only to lose the girl. And no one wants to see the girl go through it all only to be stood up.
The Theme: Technology is Evil and Will One Day Destroy Us All Other Examples: All the Terminator movies, The Matrix, Even Freakin' Back to the Future Plays on This! Why It's Bullshit: Because, as Hollywood likes to remind us, if Man makes it... man can destroy it. Do you really think Scientists would build a killing machine that had more knowledge than they do? Man can't exactly make something smarter than Himself. But beyond that it mostly comes from Hollywood always taking the idea of killer robots or something. It's not technophobia so much as it is that Hollywood isn't telling us to be careful with Technology. They always have a scientist trying to help mankind of some sort (usually)... and the machines always take on a mind of their own... Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Do you REALLY think the internet is evil? Well, of course the internet isn't evil! For heaven's sake technology--all of it--is a tool. It is dependent on how people use it. The internet didn't teach your kid how to build a bomb or pick a lock. Some idiot put it online for your kid to find. And that idiot probably put it there honestly thinking, "If a kid finds it, it's that parents fault!" Why They'll Continue this Theme: Not just because it makes money, but because there is someone out there who needs to know he's right (mostly older folks).
The Theme: Believe in Yourself and You Can Accomplish Anything Other Examples: Any sports movie story, Nearly any Dreamworks or Disney Animated Film Why It's Bullshit: Yes, believing in yourself and having self esteem is important, but Hollywood rarely likes to show how much work believing in yourself takes. No one succeeds just because they believe in themselves. If Timmy wants to be a famous artist but can only draw Stick Figures... he's not going to get anywhere just by believing in himself. Kung Fu Panda actually does show him train, at least, but most movies don't ever show how much work someone has to take. And when they do... it's mostly that they trained or something for a couple of months... when in actuality, it takes years. Michael Jackson had been singing since he was 5 years old. Stephen King began writing at the tender age of 6. The Beatles had already been playing for years before they became famous. These guys didn't just get to the top by "Believing" in themselves. They worked... very hard. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Because people now use it as an excuse to be lazy... not as an excuse to work at whatever it is they want to do. Why They'll Continue This Theme: Someone in Hollywood needs a paycheck, and nothing sells better to some audiences than the lazy ass that gets lucky... and he's usually played by Adam Sandler....
The Theme: You are destined for great things... you just have to wait until it comes knocking Other Examples: Harry Potter, Eragon, Lord of the Rings... almost any Fantasy Epic ever made and once again... Disney Why It's Bullshit: In many films there's always the kid who looks like he's going no where in his life... until oppurtunity comes knocking and he's whisked away. In most cases it's under circumstances beyond his control. Luke never actually asked to be a Jedi, he just had nothing else he could do. Frodo never asked to be given the ring. Oppurtunity just came knocking. Unfortunately Hollywood went crazy with the theme. They always throw in "Destiny" but in other movies (mostly starring Seth Rogen) the whole thing centers on a loser who just happens to rise above everything by mostly being lazy or lucky. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Because like the one mentioned before, people are using it to be lazy. "Someday my writing talents on Lunch.com will lead to Entertainment Weekly offering me a job! Just you wait Mom and Dad, I'll be moving out of your basement soon enough!" Entertainment Weekly or something like that isn't going to come knocking on your door. Fate doesn't work that way. If you think some guy from EW is going to come knocking on your door because he has a flat tire or something and needs to use your phone... it ain't going to happen. Why They'll Continue This Theme: Not because people are actually destined for Great Things, but mostly because the theme of Destiny is VERY popular in Hollywood... and VERY popular with audiences.
The Theme: Adults are Lame and Not Cool... Old People Are Lame and Not Cool Other Examples: Live Free or Die Hard, EVERY FREAKIN' HOME ALONE MOVIE! The Goonies... Every Kids Movie Ever, ANY MOVIE with a Teenager or College Student as a main protagonist or even just a damn side kick! Transformers Why It's Bullshit: The idea is that the younger you are... the smarter you are. This is especially true in almost every damn film ever made in this day and age. You have a stupid kid running around who usually knows a lot. Often he's the side kick to someone who's old and out of touch. So the movie makes sure to let you know that the adult is totally lame and not cool and doesn't "understand" the world because it's no longer the world he grew up in. Hollywood seems to forget that the reason why the young guy seems so smart is because he's more familiar with the technology he's using... that doesn't make him SMARTER all the time. The older you are, the less likely you are to get into new trends... but that doesn't mean people don't learn this stuff. John McClane must only be in his fifties by the time we get to Live Free or Die Hard... he just doesn't know most of this computer stuff because of two things. 1: Computers can't do all the shit they do in Live Free or Die Hard and 2: John McClane never sat down to learn it. Also, the sidekick who is ultra smart has to be a little bitch... you can also look at Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for that. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Let's be clear... if we were on the brink of destruction the LAST person I'd want to save me would be a bunch of stupid teenagers. Second, aren't those aged 12-25 arrogant enough already? Do they really need to be given that kind of an ego boost? Why They'l Continue This Theme: Because Young People go to the movies A LOT and young people don't like to be told they're stupid. Uh, I guess I should point out that I am pretty young myself... but it doesn't make the theme any less annoying. Even as a kid I hated this sort of thing.
The Theme: The Underdog Always Wins Other Examples: Every Sports Movie Ever Made, any movie which ends in a competition between two rivals. Why It's Bullshit: Hollywood loves their Underdog Stories. The guy who gets challenged and then has to prove himself by beating the (usually) asshole rival or something like that. If it isn't a rival it's them having to win money or something. And what ends up happening is that our underdog undergoes a couple of weeks of training while their rival has been training FOREVER, and then wins! That's right, all you need is WEEKS of training to beat the guys who've been training for YEARS. The worst part is that there's never any luck involved, it's passed off as being skill. Rocky isn't the best example, but it's what started the trend in and of itself. Actually The Mighty Ducks is often the best example... those kids were the suckiest sucks to ever suck. They sucked so bad even Prostitutes looked pathethic. But somehow they were able to become champions? Huh? Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: When your kid comes up to you and says they lost and tells you it shouldn't have happened because The Mighty Ducks were so awesome... I hope you smack him and say it's because sometimes that's just what happens. You can't win them all. The Underdog always wins in Hollywood and so for some reason some seem to have this idea that they deserve something for something. Why They'll Continue This Theme: Because people won't stand for a movie where the team gets to the Superbowl and loses 42 to 7.
The Theme: Corporations are Evil Other Examples: Any movie with a corporate office, Wall-E, Any "Green" movie, any movie adapted from a John Grisham novel, Fight Club etc. Why It's Bullshit: Okay, I'm not suggesting that corporations aren't evil. To understand why this is here to make sure you understand that Hollywood just gets it wrong. Corporations in most Hollywood films are often run by people who eat Babies for Lunch and throw puppies out windows to see if they can shoot them with a rifle before hitting the ground. Corporations are portrayed as so evil in most hollywood films that you'd think they weren't human beings. Instead they focus on one guy: The CEO or something like that... and his crones. But Hollywood always ignores that there are many MORE people working for the corporation and not ALL of them are evil. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Because Hollywood is a corporation. Need I remind you that Disney JUST acquired Marvel? And that Disney is basically just a GIANT Corporation with smaller corporations working for them? So Hollywood is telling you corporations are evil... but demanding for your money so that they can support THEIR corporations. Why They'll Continue This Theme: Mostly because there are large portions of America that really hate corporations. For them it's like being told exactly what they want to hear.
The Theme: Authority Sucks Other Examples: Any millitary film, any action movie with a rebel cop Why It's Bullshit: Okay, sometimes authority DOES suck. We all know this, but remember that some authority is there to help you succeed and is hard on you because sometimes lessons are hard to accept. The idea hollywood presents however is that to be rebelious is to be heroic. Die Hard does this all the time. And so do other films like those Rush Hour or the Under Siege movies... and of course Rambo. And most times that authority is such a big asshole that they don't want to be friends with the main character and they almost always get their comupance somehow. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: There's no major reason to tweak it, but some people actually do think it gives them the right to go up to their boss and call them an asshole... not realizing they'll probably lose their job. Why They'll Continue This Theme: The first is because women like rebels, and the second is because guys like assholes.
The Theme: Innocence will ALWAYS Triumph, and The Bad Guys Who Put You in the Rut Will Always Be Punished Other Examples: Every Disney Movie... ever, The Fugitive, Any Movie in which a man is framed for a crime he did not commit Why It's Bullshit: Let's get one thing straight: The Shawshank Redemption rightfully calls itself a fairy tale. And that's what most of these stories are... fairy tales. But the biggest reason is because we can all think of a moment where we were all completely screwed, even with telling the truth. Perhaps you got in trouble in school for something someone else did and you got punished and didn't deserve it. Chances are no one found out the truth later, or in the future it was just too late for the truth to mean anything important. If you have a sibling this has probably happened to you at some point in your childhood. Hollywood also likes to put out there that the bad people will get punished. Well, if you served that detention usually the guy who got you there will probably never serve a detention for anything. In fact, you can easily go to www.fmylife.com and find tons of short stories in which people get screwed over all the time! Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: This is a pretty obvious one, because people who watch these kinds of movies often DO think they're entitled to something, or that they can just sit around while the bad guys get punished. What is often ignored is that there was usually A LOT of luck involved. Take Shawshank, Andy was lucky enough NOT to have a cell mate. He was lucky enough that there was a PIPE for him to crawl through (though both are very well explained in the novella). And the Warden got his punishment because after twenty years no one recognized Andy Dufresne as the wife killing banker. THIS WILL NOT ALWAYS HAPPEN TO YOU IN REAL LIFE! Why They'll Continue This Theme: If there's one thing we all hate... it's seeing innocent people suffer because of someone else's actions. And most of us are so pessimistic by seeing these things that we need to be reminded that sometimes innocence does win out and that the good guys do win.
The Theme: The Geek Will ALWAYS Get the Girl OR the LOSER will always get the girl Other Examples: ANY movie starring Michael Cera, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall... aw hell, ANY freakin' movie from the Judd Apatow Gang Why It's Bullshit: Well, it isn't always. In all fairness Hollywood usually does make sure the loser can do something to make sure he CAN get the girl. But the bullshit part is that deep down inside we always find out the girl was attracted to him from the very beginning. Now don't get me wrong, it's true, some girls do like the geeky, loser types, and we can talk all day about what makes a loser a loser, but what's annoying is that somtimes it seems to be thrown in there to give the pimple studded virgin in high school the impression that he can have Cameron Diaz if he really tries. In short, what Hollywood is actually saying is: We don't REALLY think a loser can get a girlfriend... but there's always hope. No, really, that's what they're saying. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: This is mostly in part because it's formulaic, but the biggest reason is because the "loser" is often just so fucking pathetic we hope the girl will take him out of sympathy than anything else. Why They'll Continue This Theme: Because it is Hollywood's job to make sure that losers and geeks everywhere know people love them. After all, Hollywood is FULL of Losers and Geeks
The Theme: You Are Destined to Become a Star or Become Famous in Some Way Other examples: A Star is Born, Cats Don't Dance, Hairspray, Ratatouille Why It's Bullshit: Hollywood is all about chasing dreams. And it's great that they're willing to give people hope. However, Hollywood is also guilty of false hope. Similar to the Underdog Theme and the Destiny Theme Hollywood likes to put out there that ANYONE can do it... without really putting in much effort. Along those lines this one is a little worse because we're not talking about Destiny or even Underdog. With the Underdog Theme they've already made it. With this... they haven't. And Hollywood always make sure to neglect that for everyone one person who makes the Professional Sports team... millions won't. THAT'S THE MAJORITY. Only ONE person can get the lead role... in Hollywood it's always the main character. Again, it isn't because it's unrealistic, it's mostly because Hollywood neglects to drive home the idea that your chances, in most cases, are literally less than 1%. Did I also mention in most cases they get it the first time? And if not that they, once again, get lucky. Such as something along the lines of, "Where's my star! We can't go on without the star! Hey you! Fill in the role for the main character," and then the guy usually ends up being BETTER. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Because now you have people saying, "I'm going to be a basketball player," but not actually prepared to face rejection. Remember, Michael Jordan was cut from a team before he made a team. Remember, J.K. Rowling had to send her manuscript to numerous publishers before it was successful, and Dean Koontz was writing for 20 YEARS before anyone even had a clue who he was. Everyone likes a feel good story, but people are always leaving out how much work and time went into being a success. Why They'll Continue This Theme: The hardest thing to watch on screen (at least if you're into Mainstream Cinema) is watching the main character fail. No one wants to see the guy get cut or something like that. And if it's based off a true story? They often DON'T tell you about the rejection or the turmoil they go through.
The Theme: Deep down inside, homophobes are actually homosexuals and they're just repressing it Other Examples: American Beauty, But I'm a Cheerleader Why It's Bullshit: This is actually slowly becoming a common theme in Hollywood. That people who are homophobic are secretly gay. American Beauty is the immediate example that comes to mind. The problem is that we actually don't know that for certain. Do you think, for example, that your Grandmother who probably grew up in a time when it wasn't cool to be gay is actually secretly a lesbian? Probably not. In fact, most prejudice comes from people following a specific trend or being raised that way. To say homophobes are secretly gay is like The Ku Klux Klan hates black people because they're secretly black. It just doesn't make any damn sense. We can admit that some people who are homophobic are gay, but what Hollywood is trying to tell you is that a big majority of people who are homophobes are secretly gay. The problem is that the definition of Homophobia is VERY broad, and has no real official definition. Homophobia is defined as anyone who hates or fears gay people AND is often defined as "Anyone who thinks it's wrong." This would mean that at least half the people in the country are secrestly gay. Why Hollywood Should Tweak This Theme: Because people actually really really take this one to heart. The other themes you're apt to find a ton of people who know better. But with this one you actually find a lot of people who truly believe this, and in truth... most people who are homophobic (again, the definition is way too broad... by definition I'm homophobic for the simple fact that I put this comment on this list) are that way because it was how they were raised and what they were taught. Others are really truly just people who think it's disgusting and wrong. And, of course, some people are just assholes. Why They'll Continue This Theme: Because you have to fight homophobia somehow.
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more