There are certain types of bullshit we're less likely to call a movie on, and Hollywood has been using these logical blind spots to trick us, surprise us and generally make their jobs a whole lot easier. We're not sure which is worse: the fact that Hollywood thinks we're stupid, or the fact that these tricks so often work.
Cracked has no bullshit for you, just this trailer for our new Star Wars: Adventures in Jedi School mini-series.
5The Peekaboo Ending
To pull off a truly shocking ending, a filmmaker has to know exactly what his audience is thinking at all times, and stay two steps ahead of them. But there's a far lazier way to shock us, that only requires the filmmaker to assume his audience is as intelligent as a new born child.
Up until the shocking ending, the Cloverfield monster wants everyone within a two mile radius to know how terrifying it is. It rips the head off the statue of Liberty and bowls it up Park Avenue to announce its arrival. It's so big that when it wants to demolish the Brooklyn Bridge, it only needs to flick its tail out of the water. Also, if it sneezes within a block of you, the face-suckers from Alien rain from the sky.
In other words, if all five of your senses are in working order, a sneak attack is just about the only thing you don't have to worry about. So at the end of the film, with the three surviving protagonists standing in the middle of Central Park (the one place in Manhattan that lacks giant monster-hiding buildings) it's certainly shocking when the monster suddenly appears and (spoiler alert) eats the wacky sidekick, but it also raises some questions. Namely: When did the monster stop making a big explodey scene everywhere it went and start tip-toeing up behind people like a 100-foot-tall ninja? And how did Hollywood know you wouldn't ask that question while watching the film?
We're calling it Peekaboo Ending because it relies on the same ass-backwards logic that makes infants squeal with delight when someone hides and unhides their face. When we're born, we believe that things stop existing if we can't see them. To an infant's mushy, half formed brain, peekaboo looks like their mom is blinking in and out of existence with a stupid look on her face. Roughly translated, those squeals mean, "Holy shit, mom's a wizard."
Or occasionally, "Gaaahhhhh! Kill it, kill it, oh my God somebody kill it."
We grow out of that phase pretty quickly, but Hollywood's made a lot of money gambling that audiences will fall for the same trick. For some reason, if it's not physically up there on the screen, we have a difficult time thinking rationally about it. It's why we didn't care that Jason Vorhees walked like a less athletic zombie whenever he was on screen during the first dozen Friday the 13th movies, but somehow became the Indian Shaman from Punch Out whenever we couldn't see him.
Of course now he can run, which somehow seems even more retarded.
Would you believe us if we told you the two most iconic scenes from one of the most successful films of all time make no sense being in the same movie together? Jurassic Park's two most memorable moments are probably 1) The T-Rex causing miniature earthquakes that make various puddles and glasses of water tremble 2) The same T-Rex sneaking up and saving our heroes from the raptors like he's Mr. Miyagi. We don't know the T-Rex is there until it's snapping raptors in half, and by then everything's way too awesome to wonder where all the goddamn earth quaking disappeared to.
4Of All The Ice Caves On All the Habitable Planets in the Entire Galaxy...
Chance encounters happen all the time in the real world. The phenomenon is referred to as Synchronicity in the writings of Carl Jung, and "Oh my God, soooo weird" by the high school friend you just ran into at Starbucks. In Hollywood, they're known as a convenient way to make the ridiculous plot of this movie possible.
Go to Google Maps, pick a random state, then a random city and street name. We'll wait. Back? OK, did you end up on the street that we randomly selected (Oak Street in Starke, Florida)? Of fucking course you didn't. But if you were written by JJ Abrams you would have.
How can that random girl be my sister?
Midway through JJ Abrams's lauded Star Trek reboot, Kirk gets kicked off the Enterprise for being an irritating dick, and is sent down to a barely habitable ice planet. After a giant CGI ice monster chases him into a cave, he finds himself face to face with Spock from the future!
Kirk's "Bullshit" reaction is well founded.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that the two (totally different) people who sent them there (totally independently of one another) both decided this was the best of the many habitable planets for punishing people. Fine, that puts them on the same planet. But what are the chances that the Enterprise crew drops Kirk just a CGI filled foot race away from the cave that Spock's in? Hell, even if the entire planet is the size of Rhode Island, the chances against that happening are vanishingly small.
Instead of, screaming "Oh my God" over and over again while repeatedly shitting himself, Hippy-Spock calmly explains how it is that he's here from the future.
"It must have been the science! You know how that shit's always making stuff happen, right?"
This is a version of the appeal to probability, the logical fallacy that tricks us into thinking that because something can happen it will (as we've explained before, this is the same reason non-retarded people buy lottery tickets). We're so impressed with Spock's science-y explanation of the theoretical possibility of time travel, that we take it for granted that they both ended up in the same cave. This actually isn't all that uncommon in Science Fiction. We're so busy swallowing all the flying cars and teleportation devices that we don't notice the wildly implausible plot holes they've mixed into the feedbag.
In The Fifth Element, when humanity's sexy savior panics and jumps off a building into a busy city, she conveniently crashes into a taxi driven by Bruce Willis's former military officer, who will later be assigned to be her body guard. Of course in the real world, if you get hit by a taxi you'll be lucky if they bother to stop and call an ambulance.
To be fair, we're willing to put up with quite a lot of crap to see Milla Jovovich dress like this.