Sunday, May 16, 2010


Here are some movie scenes I've seen too often.

I know almost nothing about horror films, since I rarely watch them. But I know this. A woman, being chased by a lunatic with a large knife or other weapon with life-taking potential, will always trip and fall.

She can be running on a perfectly level terrain, smooth as glass with nothing on it for miles, and she's going down. Apparently when casting for this role, the ability to trip easily is essential.

Speaking of running, whenever the lead actor realizes he's in love with a girl but didn't know it until the film was almost over, he runs to reach her and announce his undying devotion.

What is this obsession with running? Is there no other way to get to her and pour out his emotions? How about taking a train, bus, cab, or even a horse and carriage? Any one of these modes of transportation would get him there quicker and with less angst and perspiration.

And why don't women in romantic comedies ever run to tell the man of their dreams they can't live without him? Why is the triteness of running such a guy thing?

How come a man and woman destined to have a meaningful relationship start things off by bumping into one another? Could their meeting story not be more inventive? “Tell them how we banged into one another, sweet cheeks.”

To make it funnier, one or the other or both are carrying stuff that when knocked to the floor either breaks or spreads out all over the place. This usually results in a few minutes of awkward apologies, nervous giggles, and dumb dialogue.

Teenage comedies seem to rely on the humor of some guy getting kicked in the crotch, having a ball or other substantial object hurled at his crotch, or anything else having to do with his crotch being whacked and him lying in pain on the ground unable to speak and breathing with difficulty.

The man owning the crotch, if I may speak on behalf of the victim, is probably trying to figure out why his misery is so amusing to millions.

I suppose it's obligatory that I make some mention of filmdom's classic, the car chase. First of all, it's not really a car chase until at least one car bursts into flames and several police cars are demolished.

Then there's the crashing into a truck with crates of live chickens. Almost hitting a woman pushing a baby carriage. And jumping that half-raised bridge, just barely making it, while the trailing car goes flying off into the water.

Of course, no one ever runs out of gas in a car chase. But just once I think it would be fun if they did. “Rocko, if you're gonna be the driver of a getaway car, you gotta check the gas gauge before every holdup.”

Any exchange of shots between a good guy and a bad guy is as predictable as the smell of popcorn at a movie. Bad guys are notoriously bad shots. Armed with enough guns and ammunition to wipe out a small town, “bad guy” would be lucky to hit one fat guy on crutches wearing an illuminated target on his back.

Whereas a good guy wearing thick glasses and guzzling a beer will be able to pick off a skinny villain a hundred yards away using a rusty derringer.

It also strikes me as unlikely that nobody, at least in the movies I watch, ever needs a Kleenex after sex. And perfect strangers having a one-night stand always have an orgasm at the same time. Hey, hurray for Hollywood. Now let's celebrate this dubious triumph with the hackneyed cigarette scene.

In movies, when a lover is severely wounded or dying, nobody ever calls an ambulance or performs CPR. The movie makers think it's better to have the hero hold his loved one tenderly and whisper sweet nothings in her ear until she slumps over dead.

In a suspense movie, anyone saying, “What could possibly happen?” will die a horrible death in a matter of minutes.

Pretty much the same thing will happen in a war movie. Any soldier lovingly showing a picture of his wife or sweetheart –besides getting the usual lewd remarks from his buddies – will soon be shot or blown up by a grenade or something far more current and devastating.

Dogs will always bark at the bad guys. I don't know how they figure this out. It could be the dagger tattoos dripping with blood. Or maybe it's that awful criminal smell no amount of soap and water can destroy.

Jewel thieves are a special breed among criminals. Nothing common about them. They're always sophisticated, well-traveled, highly intelligent, and nimble enough to climb in and out of tight places. They are also incapable of resisting one last job before retiring and living with a hottie in some tropical paradise.

In western movies, a cowboy who hasn't carried a gun in twenty years will be eager to prove that just because he never practices doesn't mean he's not still a crack shot. Usually he borrows a gun from some brain-damaged local, tosses a coin up in the air and puts a bullet through its center.

Having won admiring glances from the crowd, the gunless wonder will then walk away while some typical western music swells to indicate that a victory for law and decency has just been won.

A hero cowboy will often ride away into the sunset after cleaning up a town filled with murderous varmints with absolutely no help from any of its cowardly inhabitants.

Then there's the suspense thrillers. No matter how convinced you are that you've killed a bad guy, he will still rise from the dead and attempt to rip your throat out.

The killer has been stabbed, shot, hit with an anvil, drowned in the tub, and thrown down an elevator shaft. But soon, and miraculously, he will reappear from behind a closed door enraged by the indignities he has suffered at the hands of the man he attempted to maim and slaughter.

It's late at night. The husband and wife are sleeping. Suddenly a loud noise or shot is heard. “I'll check it out, sweetie,” the husband says, armed with nothing but his inflated ego. When he doesn't return after five minutes, the wife ventures out to look for him in her transparent nightie and says, “Honey, are you okay?”

HONEY is not okay and soon SWEETIE will be in big trouble.

P.S. If you have additional gripes about movie bromides and you'd care to share them, send me your comments. If I like them, I'll use them and give you no credit whatsoever.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


News, even though it's mostly bad, is a good thing. We need to know what's going on. But what we don't need is overly detailed information that could prove deadly or even catastrophic to people visiting or living here in New York City.

Take the case of the recent and very scary car bomb incident in the heart of Times Square. The SUV was parked in the theatre district, across the street from “The Lion King.” Nothing blew up, as it turned out, but the car was loaded with propane canisters, petrol, fireworks, gasoline containers, and a hundred pounds of the wrong kind of fertilizer.

Now we're coming to the part that pisses me off.

“The would-be bomber,” we were told by authorities, “packed the car with more than one hundred pounds of fertilizer, but not the kind that would explode.”

Well, thanks for sharing. Maybe if they had stopped there, things would have been fine. But no, they wanted to tell you just how thorough they could be.

“Had the bomber chosen the right kind of fertilizer, the bomb would have had the force of more than 100 pounds of TNT.”

I'm impressed with your ability to dig up information on such short notice. But please, I'm begging you, just shut the hell up!

“Instead of ammonium nitrite, the kind of fertilizer used by Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh, the bomber used a harmless fertilizer,” the spokesman said.

Good one! Instructive! Now we've all got the message. Why get a harmless fertilizer when with the right fertilizer you can easily create a killer fireball that will wreak havoc upon humanity and devastate heavily populated areas.

The newspaper carrying this article has thousands and thousands of readers – some of whom are nutjobs and would be perfectly willing to blow something up if only they knew how.

It's disturbing enough that U.S. Citizens like Faisal Shahzad-- pulled off a flight to Dubai – is willing to spend months, even years thinking up ways to destroy us.

Why aid and abet the enemy? Putting too much “helpful” information in the media is like doing a recruitment ad for wannabe and real terrorists seeking glory and violent deaths.