5 Terrible Life Lessons Hollywood Loves to Teach You

#2. Love Conquers All

As Seen In:

Titanic, The Bridges of Madison County, As Good As It Gets, Lost in Translation, almost every Hugh Grant romantic comedy, every Sandra Bullock romantic comedy ... hell, like half the movies ever made.

Why They Do It:

Love is sort of a big deal. Probably 7 times out of 10 in the movies, it's the reason humanity isn't destroyed by robots/aliens (the other three are usually free choice or some sort of clever use of a rocket launcher).

But we're not talking about, say, the love a mother has for a child or (even worse) the boring love between two people who have been married for decades. No, this love is the sudden, rapturous emotion between two physically attractive people who just met.

Nothing can stand in their way, damn it!

Nope. Not even rain.

So What's the Problem?

When they say love conquers "all," by God, they mean it. Our two, hot, usually young lovebirds can be on board a fucking ocean liner where a thousand other people are endanger of dying, and as the bodies fall around them, all we're to care about is whether these two can survive long enough to have sex just one more time.

"Well, since we're both here ... "

Seriously, it doesn't matter if the characters are married to other people, with children (Lost in Translation, The Bridges of Madison County) or will lose their job (Two Weeks Notice) or will have to abandon the world completely to go live in an alien undersea kingdom forever (Splash).

The moral of all these movies is that all of the adult, rational decision-making that keeps us from doing really retarded things, should go out of the window if we get that one huge crush on the girl or guy of our dreams. Because, you know, love conquers all of that other stuff.

The problem is, they don't really come back and show those relationships as they exist a couple of years down the road, after the rush of emotion has worn off and we're left with two people who actually aren't compatible at all, with at least one of them no longer able to remember why they gave up their job or city or previous marriage. Think how pissed off Tom Hanks' character in Splash would be after breaking it off with Daryl Hannah's mermaid, only to find he was still doomed to live the rest of his life among the mer-people.

We're pretty sure we can credit those movies for most of the really bad marriages in the world (and their divorces).


Will They Ever Stop?

As long as there are men and women who date each other, and as long as those couples go out to see movies on those dates, the "Love Conquers All" genre will have people to sell tickets to. And as long as there are middle-aged women trapped in unhappy marriages, there will be someone willing to buy the DVDs.

#1. The Underdog Will Always Win, and Automatically Deserves To

As Seen In:

Karate Kid, the Rocky films, Major League, every other sports movie ever made

Why They Do It:

People love to root for the underdog. Probably because we think of ourselves as the underdog, scrappy nobodies dealt a bad hand by life, who can overcome every disadvantage with sheer pluck and attitude.

Of course it also makes for more interesting drama, since nobody wants to watch a movie about a high-priced Yankee team taking a frictionless cruise to another title.

So What's the Problem?

The underdogs are usually up against far more qualified and talented individuals, who we're presuming have worked pretty hard to get where they are. It's usually a show down between the bad guys, who spent years honing their skills vs. the main character(s) who are usually underachieving slobs who spent a couple of weeks getting their act together. So why are we rooting for the second one?

It seems to play to our jealousy more than anything. All these people out there grinding away to get better and better at what they do, they must surely also be bad people somehow, right?


And they're probably ... cheating or something! Yeah! Otherwise they wouldn't be succeeding where we fail! And they certainly can't have the wacky, interesting personalities of us and our ragtag band of misfits!

Will They Ever Stop?

America hasn't been the underdog since, oh, the 1940s or so, so it would actually make sense if there were a subtle shift, and the favorites became the good guys.

Maybe a generation from now we'll get that Yankees movie, with the powerful scene halfway through where they make the mid-season trade for yet another superstar to add to their $200 million roster. Then there'll be the finale where they pop the champagne in the locker room after sweeping the series, talking about how absolutely everyone expected them to win, and sure enough, they did!

OK, maybe we should just stick with the underdog thing after all.

Find out even more about how profoundly stupid they think you are in 5 Ways Hollywood Tricks You Into Seeing Bad Movies. Or get a law degree in comic book movies with our article on 8 (Pointless) Laws All Comic Book Movies Follow. Or, see the Hollywood spin machine in all its glory as Gladstone counts down 5 Reasons You're Going to Hate 'Hancock.'

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