#3. Sarah Harding in The Lost World Says "Don't Disturb the Dinosaurs," Then Disturbs Every One She Sees
What She's All About:
In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Sarah Harding is a paleontologist sent to study the dinosaurs still roaming around on one of bugshit crazy John Hammond's teeming prehistoric monster ranches. Jeff Goldblum leads an elite team of rescuers, including a pre-face-bloat Vince Vaughn and a teenage gymnast, to come to her assistance.
The instant they arrive, Sarah launches into a ham-fisted lecture about their shoddy professionalism as naturalists, emphasizing the point that they must act only as passive observers and not disturb a single thing in the dinosaurs' environment, despite the fact that the dinosaurs are replicated science beasts living on an island millions of years removed from anything they ever could have naturally experienced, and that "disturbing their environment" would have about as much effect on them as reorganizing a Hostess display would have on the Twinkies. She says:
"When you're out in the field, nothing we do can leave any room for people to say our findings are contaminated ... We use no scent of any kind. No insect repellent. No hair tonic. No cologne. We seal all our food in plastic bags. Our presence needs to be 100 percent antiseptic! If we so much as bend a blade of grass ..."
"If you were so worried about contamination, you wouldn't have had sex with a Jeff Goldblum character."
Sarah gets cut off, because we can only take so much self-righteousness in a movie about killer time lizards, but the message is clear: The scientific method is paramount, and noninterference is key. So, under no circumstance is anyone to interact with the dinosaurs.
Literally 30 seconds after she delivers that speech, Sarah starts petting a baby Stegosaurus, inadvertently enraging its parents and nearly forcing her teammates to have to kill all the animals before they gore her to death.
A child molestation 65 million years in the making.
That's right -- just after Sarah berates one of her teammates for having the audacity to light a cigarette and pollute the fragile ecosystem, she prances into the middle of a Stegosaurus family to paw at their infant's face, dousing them all in hate-sweating murder fury. And this isn't the only time something like this happens -- Sarah spends the entire movie shattering her golden rule of non-interaction. In fact, every major catastrophe in the movie is a direct result of her messing around with the dinosaurs in some way. Like when she steals the baby Tyrannosaurus to fix its broken leg:
"There's seriously only like one way this could possibly go wrong."
"OK, so two ways."
The Tyrannosaurus parents cut a bleeding rampage through the island that eventually spills out into San Diego, resulting in almost every character death in the film. Even the people not directly slain by Tyranno-wrath probably would have lived had they not been forced to run blindly away from the tyrant lizards' baby-seeking rampage. The movie's title should really be changed to The Weekend When Sarah Couldn't Stop Touching the Dinosaurs and a Bunch of People Got Eaten, because she causes about 90 percent of the calamities that unfold.
Vince Vaughn causes the other 10 percent when he screws with Pete Postlethwaite's weapon, but that's for another article.
#2. William Thatcher in A Knight's Tale Says Being a Nobleman Doesn't Matter, Becomes a Nobleman
What He's All About:
A Knight's Tale is about a squire named William Thatcher who dreams of competing in jousting tournaments but is forbidden to do so because he is not of noble birth, and only noble people are allowed to ride around on horses caving each other's chests in with sticks. So, William decides to masquerade as a knight in order to sign up for some jousts and beats gallant turds into the plated breeches of real knights all over the English countryside.
It turns out any dude can hit people with sticks.
However, his commonfolk ancestry is eventually discovered, and William is banned from entering any more tournaments. But he never gives up, because he knows that a person's true worth has nothing to do with his social standing -- no matter where you come from, you can achieve greatness if you have confidence, determination, and a preternatural ability to stab people off of a horse with a blunted tree limb.
His indomitable spirit impresses Edward, the prince of Wales, who knights William, thereby allowing him to joust whenever the hell he feels like it until the end of forever. William reappears to the deafening support of all the common people of England, who think of him as one of their own, and defeats the film's token douchebag to earn the love of the film's token highborn ice queen.
There was also a deleted subplot where he saved ye olde rec center.
William's knighthood has nothing to do with his plucky determination -- when Prince Edward shows up and declares him Sir William Thatcher, Edward says that his decision was a result of discovering evidence that, way down the Thatcher family line, William actually is of noble birth. Nobody questions Edward on this, because he's the goddamn prince and can legally have your knuckles fed to bog turtles if you disagree with anything he says.
That whole song and dance about believing in yourself, earning respect, and rising above your station went sailing right out the door the moment one of William's rich friends came to his rescue and announced that he had been a nobleman all along. The common people that rallied around William aren't going to see him as an inspiration, because according to Prince Edward, he's just a regular old blue blood, same as every other lord or lady who pays starving peasants slave wages to work their lands until succumbing to some flesh-eating pestilence and a shallow forgotten grave.
Half this crowd dies of malnourishment before the end credits roll.
The real lesson here isn't "believe in yourself" or "your destiny is yours to command" -- it's "be an amazing athlete and make friends with the prince," which is circumstantial advice at best, and at worst is a total contradiction of every principle William claims to adhere to.
#1. The Coach of The Mighty Ducks Says Winning Isn't Everything, Wins at All Costs
Walt Disney Pictures
What He's All About:
Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) in The Mighty Ducks is a high-powered attorney with a "win at all costs" attitude that we assume was handed out in mid-'90s lawyer college alongside vials of cocaine and vanity license plates.
Walt Disney Pictures
In all fairness, this could be Winston Zeddemore's car.
But after he's forced to coach the Ducks, a kid's hockey team, to fulfill a community service obligation, Gordon learns that there are more important things in life than winning, such as friendship, teamwork, and being a part of something bigger than yourself. As he says later in the movie:
"A team is something you belong to. Something you feel. And I'm not gonna let those kids down."
Except when Gordon finds out that Adam Banks, one of the best players in the area who is currently on a different roster, should actually be playing for his team due to a slight technicality. At which point Gordon throws his entire philosophy out the window to make goddamn sure Adam is forced to join his squad of wacky misfits.
Walt Disney Pictures
"How can you care this much about pee-wee hockey? Are you Canadian?"
Even though Adam has spent the entire season playing for another team, forming meaningful bonds and friendships with his fellow players (you know, those things Gordon said were more important than winning), Gordon confronts Adam, Adam's coach, and Adam's father, and demands that Adam be transferred over to the Ducks. He even threatens them all with legal action, since having Adam play for a team that is technically outside of his residential district is against the official rules of pee-wee hockey. Lawyers take sports very seriously, remember -- there have been protracted congressional hearings about baseball conducted in the midst of a handful of foreign wars and crushing domestic poverty.
Poor Adam (who, we reiterate, is just a kid) really wants to play with his friends, and even gets his dad to ask the league officials to allow an exception to the rules just this once, but Gordon pitches a snarling bitch fit and refuses to let it slide.
Walt Disney Pictures
"YOU WILL NOT STEAL THIS CHILD FROM ME!"
If a team is "something you belong to" and "something you feel," then let Adam play with his freaking friends, you asshole. Instead, Adam is transplanted onto a team where nobody likes him, and everyone gives him shit until his superior skill plays a major role in leading the Ducks to victory at the end of the film. Winning is clearly everything to Gordon, and regardless of whatever bullshit speeches fall out of his mouth, he has obviously taught his team the same lesson, since they don't accept Adam until after he helps them win.
For more movie good guys who just sort of said "Screw it," check out 6 Famous Movie Wisemen Who Were Totally Full of Shit and 6 Movies That Didn't Realize They Let The Villain Win.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The Sun-Powered Plane That Set Solar Energy Back 50 Years.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why Luke Skywalker was actually the bad guy.
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