#3. Underground Sewer Communities
Sewers don't seem to work the same way in the movies as they do in real life. For one thing, if the characters go down there for whatever reason, no matter what kind of movie you're watching, you can just about bet that they're going to run into sewer people. It happened in Demolition Man, Batman Returns and of course dozens of horror movies (what, you forgot about C.H.U.D.?).
Please tell us how.
Whether it's a community of mole people, martial-arts-trained turtles or a penguin-themed supervillain, secret cities often just spring up inside movie sewers as though they're the hottest real estate in town, and nobody from the surface world suspects a thing. Of course, in the real world nobody really wants to live in a poop-filled flood channel. Even a homeless shelter would have to be preferable, or a nice park bench.
But It Has Happened ...
Meet Steven and Kathryn, poster-couple for the Las Vegas Flood Tunnels, a sewer designed to insulate the prostitution capital of the United States from floods, but which is also currently providing shelter for as many as 700 people.
Something tells us these filthy sewers smell better than any dorm room we've ever been in.
And these aren't just cardboard-box shanties. Sewer dwellers like Steven and Kathryn have their own bed, wardrobe and bookshelves, and even a small kitchen. All things considered, their home looks more comfortable than ours, except for the way they have to keep everything up on crates due to the floor being a river of sewage.
In the spring there's a rat rowing race.
Many of the Vegas mole people make their money from "credit hustling," trawling casinos for money that drunk people have left behind. But not everyone is unemployed -- in fact, at least one of them has a full-time job on the surface world. He's probably their president.
And it's not just Las Vegas. East Coast sewer people are represented by "The Tunnel" in New York City, where the most permanent resident has lived for more than 20 years. In the documentary Dark Days, you can see them debate whose house is nicer, set up barbershops and cultivate small gardens. No word on how many of them are skin-eating mutants.
"It all depends on whether or not we can get a Wi-Fi signal."
#2. Villains Talking Themselves into Defeat
This trope seems so lazy that we're embarrassed to see it appear in the movies. And yet it does, time and time again, like a turd that just won't flush. For some reason, bad guys in the movies have a lot of trouble keeping their mouths shut, even when they otherwise have no reason to worry about getting caught.
We've seen it in RoboCop, Mission: Impossible II, Minority Report, Monsters, Inc. and hundreds of other movies featuring brilliant crooks whose only real mistake was letting the hero tape their elaborate confession and then publicly broadcast it. We like to think that we would be smarter than that as long as we're smart enough not to eat glue.
"Of course I'm the bad guy. I'm ugly as fuck!"
But It Has Happened ...
Apparently, criminals are foiled all the time when they commit a crime and then forget to not tell everybody. More often than not, it's Facebook or some other social networking site that provides the temptation to confess. Apparently, people still consider the Internet to be some kind of "international waters" style of lawless wasteland, and anything you say or do there doesn't count.
Ask Heather Tucci, who pleaded "not guilty" to vehicular manslaughter and then admitted the crash was her fault in a MySpace post. Then there's Robert Powell, who posted a picture of murder victim Joseph Duprey on his MySpace with the words "Rest in Peace" -- hours before the death was reported to police.
But perhaps the best example is 18-year-old Eric Dykstra, who was involved in a drive-by shooting that injured a young girl. Brilliantly, his first port of call was to brag on Facebook about being "a free man after shooting up a house." It's unlikely that he has a long career of successful supervillainy ahead of him.
"Someone obviously hacked into my Facebook. My password is dr1veby4life."
#1. Impractical Animal-Themed Weaponry
One thing we've learned from comic book heroes is that once you decide to become a caped crusader, you have to pick an animal and run with it. Batman can't just have a bat on his logo; he also needs a boomerang shaped like a bat.
Of course, here in the real world where people are more practical, we judge our weapons based on what works, rather than whether or not they make us look like some fierce animal.
Otherwise we'd all be dressed like honey badgers.
But It Has Happened ...
A lot of comics geeks and cosplayers will be happy to learn that many of our favorite superheroes have precedents. Ninja precedents.
In a bygone era, the ninjas of old used a weapon called tekko-kagi. Or, as you know them, wolverine claws. Typically made from horseshoes, the tekko-kagi were strapped to the wrists to use as defense against sword attacks and, presumably, enemies with a psychic control over magnetism.
The best defense is looking cool.
But that's not all -- what many don't realize is that there were female ninjas, too, known as kunoichi, and they were for all intents and purposes a bunch of Catwomen who used a weapon known as neko-te, the same kind of steel finger-claws that Batman's nemesis uses.
"Kunoichi" translates to "people who track litter on the carpet."
As of yet, we can't find any evidence of batarangs in Japanese feudal history, but if we do, you will be the first to know.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see which Star Wars droid actually exists (as our butler).
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