As Seen In: Lady and the Tramp, Hotel for Dogs, The Shaggy D.A., Fluke, All Dogs Go to Heaven
What Hollywood Thinks They Do:
In the world of movies, the pound is basically a jail for dogs, only every animal is on death row and being someone's bitch isn't such a bad thing. In the kids movie Hotel for Dogs, not only is the pound built like an actual prison, with an iron fence and guards, but the people who work there seem to hate animals with a passion. Halfway through the movie, dozens of dogs are sent to the pound, at which point the pound workers brag about euthanizing them the next day. No waiting period, no trying to get them adopted, no remorse.
So maybe it's less like a prison and more like a freaking concentration camp.
What They Actually Do:
First of all, the pound actually gives you a place to look for your dog if it gets away, so you don't have to wander the streets like a hobo canine detective. In fact, 30 percent of dogs that are brought into shelters end up getting reclaimed by their owners. Of the leftovers, half get adopted by people who aren't out to kill animals at all.
Obviously there is a limited capacity to care for the animals, and eventually they have to be put down (though most states have no-kill animal shelters now, which are shelters that will never put down the animals they take care of, no matter how long it takes for them to get adopted).
"I've been here since the Nixon administration!"
We realize that in a movie starring, say, talking dogs, it makes sense from the screenwriter's perspective to make the dog catcher and the pound the villain -- a whole lot of dogs do go there to die. But what makes the portrayals in these movies so grossly unfair is that these facilities are run by the people who love animals the hardest. They're not exactly high-profit operations, and who else is going to take a job at a place where they get paid next to nothing to clean up dog poop?
It would be like a homophobe applying for a job as a roadie on the traveling production of La Cage Aux Folles. It just doesn't happen.
As Seen In: Resident Evil, The Constant Gardener, The Fugitive, Leverage, House
What Hollywood Thinks They Do:
If a movie or TV show features a drug company, you can bet your medicinal marijuana that it's doing one of four things: performing illegal experiments on people, charging an arm and a leg for treatments, lying about a drug's effectiveness or straight murdering anyone who stands in its way.
"And so, by murdering all of our customers with poison, Big Pharma can increase market penetration by 17 percent. Or something. I'll be honest: We've been dipping into the medical marijuana stash pretty heavily this week."
For example, in The Constant Gardener, African children are used as guinea pigs for tuberculosis drugs with known harmful side effects. And in The Fugitive, Harrison Ford spends the entire movie trying to figure out who framed him for his wife's murder, only to learn the whole shebang was set up by a pharmaceutical company that was about to release liver-damaging drugs. Because Ford discovered they were bad news, and apparently he was the only doctor who tested them.
A drug company is apparently the main bad guy in the new Wonder Woman. And don't get us started on the Umbrella Corporation, where pharmaceutical research is all a cover for... making zombies?
What They Actually Do:
Let's not get carried away here. Corporations don't care about you. So while pharmaceutical companies cure diseases (like, all the time) they don't care about your well-being any more than, say, the Starbucks corporation.
But they don't care about you any less, either.
They make good bad guys because we need drugs and drugs are expensive, so withholding drugs makes us think of them as heartless bastards. You figure that they know Grandma needs her heart medicine, so they know she'll pay through the nose for it. So it's like extortion! Our pain and sickness is their blank check!
"Jenkins, that slide show of dead grandmothers was fantastic. I think I speak for the entire board when I say my cock is hard enough to slice an apple with."
Yet ... drug companies aren't making all that much money. The world's largest drug company, Pfizer, is taking a beating and shutting down factories to cut costs. In fact, we hope you weren't invested too heavily in Big Pharma, because you're about to lose. Big time. Then you have a company like Hollis-Eden, which pumped over $100 million into medicine to combat the effects of radiation exposure and never made a profit. It eventually fired its CEO and started over with a new name.
OK, but maybe they're still crooks, but incompetent crooks? Or their evil CEOs are stealing all the money?
No, the problem is that making new drugs is ludicrously expensive. It may be true that your $300 bottle of pills has only $12 worth of chemicals in it, but behind that bottle is millions spent on researching, developing and testing the drug, and the bills from countless drugs that never made it to market despite all that money that was poured in (because only at the end did they turn out to be unsafe or ineffective, etc). Then they have to get everything they make through the FDA, market it and get doctors on board prescribing it to patients, and after all that there is still the potential for massive financial failure once their patents are up and anybody can make a dirt-cheap generic.
"Pfizer's new drug sends dolls tumbling off of comedically large waterfalls for half the price."
Again, please don't storm into the comments with "Oh, go cry us a river! Nobody made them get into this business!" Big Pharma is in it for the money, and we're not claiming otherwise.
It's just that they seem to suffer from the same paradox as the police -- we get more mad at them because what they're doing is more crucial to our safety. When's the last time you saw a movie where the villain was, say, a fast-food chain? It's as if because what they're doing is important, they can never do it to our satisfaction.
"Thanks for curing hundreds of diseases that have ravaged mankind since time immemorial ... assfucks."
Actually, we can think of at least one more group in the same boat ...