The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Posted on | June 18, 2009 | 1 CommentWell, he finally did it. Our president has finally overcome the stigma of being intelligent and proved himself a man of action! Did you see that video! Man, one shot, SMACK! One dead fly! Dwight Frye couldn’t have done it quicker! PETA is upset about the outcome, but we’re not! No more pansy-ass jokes about eating arugula, I’ll tell you that. President Obama, we salute you. Now if only you’d deal with BANK PRESIDENTS that way!
But I don’t mean to mock President Obama. Well, actually, I do, but I’ve got other fish to fry. What I really want to mock are movie clichés, in this instance, the telegraphed tragic demise. There are so many clichés in movies nowadays that you could shoot an entire three hour epic without a single original thought. Movies have become so formulaic–if A happens then B MUST follow. Throw somebody out a 23rd floor window–they MUST land squarely on the roof of a car, preferably a minor character’s car as well. Set an adventure in some unexplored wilderness–someone MUST slip and slide down a mountain to provide an excuse for the water park ride. I’m not sure when the telegraphed tragic demise first showed up, but JM and I always refer to it as the “red shoes” speech from RED RIVER. You know the drill, the huge first cattle drive up the Chisum Trail, the night everyone’s edgy because the coyotes are spooking the herd and someone asks Harry Carey Jr. what he’s going to do after the drive is over. Carey is playing a sweeter-than-sugar character who’s made doubly sympathetic by having a stammer that makes Porky Pig sound like a smooth talker. What he’s going to do is buy a little spread of his own, but first, his wife always wanted a pair of red shoes, so that was what he was gonna do, buy her that pair of red shoes. Awwwwww! Within SECONDS, there’s an accident at the chuckwagon, the cattle take off, STAMPEDE! and Carey gets crushed under their thundering hooves. Another prominent instance from a more recent movie is in the HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. Sam Neill plays Sean Connery’s right hand man and surrogate son as they are defecting to the US and bringing an entire silent-but-deadly Nookle-ee-or submarine with them. Sam talks about what he’s going to do when this is all over. Do they let you travel from state to state without papers? Then I’m going to buy an RV. And I will travel from state to state. And I will get married and I will live in Montana. Maybe I will get two wives, do you think they’ll let me? hahaha. Well, you just KNOW that in less than 100 seconds, he’s going to be shot by the KGB agent disguised as a cook’s assistant, in order to protect Connery. And as he dies, “I would have liked to have seen … Montana (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…)” STAR TREK even dispensed with the speech–just have a red T-shirt day!
So remember friends, if you are EVER in a position where you suspect that you are simply a minor character in someone ELSE’s movie, never, EVER, say what you intend to do when your adventure is over. Say you haven’t given it any thought and then, ask the guy who asked you what HE plans to do. That way, he’s the sorry bastard that’s gonna get his ass cooked before the next commercial! Like our poor fly, who just wanted to say he’d landed on Barack Obama…
Rest in pieces.