Cracked Columnists

4 Awesome Things Movies Want You to Hate

#2. The Rules ( ... Man)

Paramount Pictures

In Real Life:

I try to be reasonably punk rock in my day-to-day life by putting hot sauce on pretty much whatever I want and not bathing, but in general, I still think rules are OK. I mean, sometimes they suck (fuck you, "Do Not Walk" signal! No machine will be my master!), but the good tends to outweigh the bad. Rules like "Hey, cool it with the murder" and "No drunk driving" and "Please don't release that corrosive flesh-eating toxin into the air" have probably saved your life today if you've gone outside, gotten in a car, or tried to breathe.

Cameron Whitman/iStock/Getty Images
"Whatever. Breathing was just created by The Man after kickbacks from Big Lung."

How It Works in Movies:

In movieland, rules are things that a) prevent justice from being carried out or b) are actual tools of evil. How many movies are about loose-cannon cops on the edge who don't do things by the book but, dammit, they get results? Like, all of them (all of the ones that involve cops, anyway), because movies about paperwork and carefully articulated moving violations would be boring as shit unless Edgar Wright directed all of them, and I don't think that's feasible.

But Dirty Harry, John McClane, Shaft, and Inspector Tequila don't succeed despite breaking the rules -- they're good cops specifically because they didn't do what they were told. Even Hot Fuzz, which parodies this, ends with Nick Angel and Danny Butterman emulating Bad Boys II, and I heard that the original ending would've involved them turning into outright fascists.

Rogue
The clues are there.

And it's not even limited to cops. The new Star Trek's Captain Kirk is defined by his rule breaking -- the first time we see him, he's in his stepdad's stolen car, and the opening of the second movie is him violating the Prime Directive. (Note to self: "Violating the Prime Directive" is my new favorite phrase for "having sex.") Raleigh Becket in Pacific Rim has "a habit of deviating from standard combat procedure." There's a whole TV Tropes page about it.

Maybe the craziest example is in the new Captain America movie. Steve Rogers is the poster boy for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, but he still needs to lie to get into the Army (thanks a lot, "Don't Ask Don't Tell"), and he can't finish his origin story and become the real Captain America until he sneaks away to go on a secret unauthorized mission to rescue POWs.

Marvel Studios
"My bright red, white, and blue shield is an essential ingredient for my stealth tactics."

The narrative reasoning is pretty simple: We want our heroes to have authority, but not be authority. They're important enough to know when to say "To hell with it!" and do what's right -- which is good, in a way. You should be able to criticize authority and know when to do the right thing instead of just what you're told to do. But it's also important to remember that the only reason society functions is because "what we've all agreed we should do" and "the right thing to do" are, very often, the same thing.

#1. Casual Sex (Particularly for Women)

Screen Gems

In Real Life:

All around the world, right now, people are having sex with people they aren't in love with. Wanna hear something fucked up? That's not the least bit fucked up. Both parties have agreed that their sexin' is something that is fun but not necessarily linked to romance. Most of them aren't even soulless husks of human beings, pumping away in a desperate attempt to distract themselves from how meaningless their lives are, secretly dreaming of the day when they can finally settle down with George Clooney and just spend all day stroking his lovely salt-and-pepper everything.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
I mean, some are, but at no greater a percentage than in the normal population, anyway.

They're just normal people who thought, "Know what? I could really go for an orgasm about now. I wonder if that person over there would let me borrow their genitals."

How It Works in Movies:

If you're not in a committed, monogamous relationship, there is something seriously wrong with you. Even Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached, movies built entirely around the idea of casual sex, needed to end with the characters deciding to enter into committed relationships with each other. Even worse is that this ending was immediately obvious to everyone before they even watched the movie. If porn ever figured out this formula of relationship = trophy, we'd never watch anything else.

Screen Gems
"Wait, they enjoy sex together and one other thing? It'd be irresponsible not to get married!"

Aside from the decades-old observation that women in slasher films are punished for having sex, women enjoying sex at all is generally seen as being pretty terrible. Look at Jennifer's Body, Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother in Beowulf, and Basic Instinct. Those are all movies where women are shown to be sexually aggressive, promiscuous, unashamed, and even downright proud of all the wacky shit they get up to with their vaginae -- even though it's obviously making them evil. Think it's a coincidence that Carrie becomes a monster on the same day she gets her period?

United Artists
Symbolism!

Oh, and it's definitely a double standard. While James Bond gets to use his secret agent to pile-drive through each movie's entire female cast without any semblance of punishment, the women get, well, shafted: They either die during the course of the story for no goddamn reason or just "mysteriously disappear" between the end and the next movie. (Yes, I'm suggesting that James Bond murders his love interests. It makes way more sense than anything else -- it's either that or his penis is cursed.)

I understand that movies are an escape from reality, but it feels like they've forgotten what reality is actually like. It's such a weird message to send out -- it's like the scripts are being written by Mega Amish, Lord of Outdated Morals. As the technology for making films evolves, the actual messages have gone in the complete opposite direction. I won't be surprised if, by 2030, all feature films are documentaries on making butter and raising barns.


JF Sargent is a Workshop moderator for Cracked. Follow him on Twitter or do whatever it is you do to people to him on Facebook.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

J. F. Sargent

  • Rss

More by J. F. Sargent:

See More
To turn on reply notifications, click here

1,215 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!