It's impossible to overstate the influence of cinema on American society. We watch 34 hours of television a week -- more than the time spent eating, making love, sleeping, working, or praying. Our favorite movie protagonists have entirely replaced the family unit, subverting the authority of parents while eviscerating the innocence of children and usurping the throne of God. Society has peaked: The truth of existence is obsolete, for now we have the illusory perfection of celluloid.
But that raises the question: Who are these fractured reflections of our psyche, installed as they are as ostensibly benevolent dictators? Can we trust them with our souls, with our children's souls, and with our future? No. We are screwed.
4 Doc Brown From Back to the Future Is Suicidally Insane
When you're a kid and watch Back to the Future, protagonist Marty McFly's life seems great: He has a sweet guitar, rides a skateboard, has a timeless sense of style, and his best friend designed a time machine! But then you grow up, and you realize that when a peppy high school bro befriends a 70-year-old "eccentric," time-travel-induced almost-incest is one of the least freaky outcomes. And no, I'm not saying all old people are terrifying, except for right there when I said literally exactly that; I'm just making reference to that time Doc Brown locked Marty into a suicide pact without even telling him.
Yes, that's what the time machine is. The first time it works in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot, Doc sticks Einstein (the adorable little dog monster) in the car and, using a remote control, slams on the accelerator, shooting the car as fast as he can right at himself and Marty, who's filming it. When Marty tries to move out of the way, Doc pressures him back with a smoldering look.
I'm using "smoldering" correctly, right?
At this point in the movie we've seen quite a few of Doc Brown's inventions, and not a single one has worked properly. Yet when he builds a time machine -- the single most ambitious piece of machinery any human being has ever attempted -- he's willing to gamble Marty's life and his own on the idea that it'll work? That's a distressing amount of confidence for a guy who can't even build a toaster that works properly.
Ya know why? Because it's not confidence. It's desperation. Brown built that time machine out of stolen uranium that he bought from Libyan terrorists. It doesn't matter how great his invention is -- the minute he goes public with it, people are going to ask how it works. Then they're going to ask him where he got the uranium, and then he's going to prison. Brown isn't working for money or recognition, he's working for his own satisfaction, his own identity. Let me paint this picture for you.
Every night since Nov. 5, 1955, when Doc Brown's failed suicide attempt (sure, buddy, you were "hanging a clock"), Brown has dreamed of mattering. Dreamed of creating something important. But every invention, be it a dog-food opener or even a simple amplifier, ends in utter disaster. Night after night he stares blankly at the ceiling until the cracks begin to writhe. Someday, he whispers to himself. Someday.
Then, finally, a three-decade-old vision crystallizes. It's never been clearer: nuclear power. Chrono-displacement. A stainless steel body. Giant heat vents for some reason. The vision burns inside him so hot he can barely breathe, and in his madness, he reaches out to terrorists to attain the supplies required. By the time his passion cools, it's too late. His path is set. The time machine is built, and whether it fails or succeeds, he's doomed, because a man like Doc Brown can't be locked up. No. He'd rather die.
The results of a 40 MPH Crash Test.
Hence the DeLorean.
So he builds the time machine. He puts his dog in it. He invites the weird teenager who's always at his place to come over and film it, and he forces that innocent child into his suicide pact. Worst-case scenario, he'll bring a slave with him to the afterlife.
But luckily it does work and Marty gets to go back to the '50s and almost fuck his stupidly hot mom.
3 The Equalizer Is a Murder Addict
In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington (played by Denzel Washington) plays an ex-CIA assassin who decides to solder off the chains of retirement in order to rescue an underage prostitute from the Russian mob. But while he presents himself as a hero, one who can do no wrong and brings liberty and success to everyone he encounters, the truth is that he's simply a murder addict who falls off the wagon and goes on a veritable bender of revenge for slights both real and imagined.
In the beginning, we see that Washington lives like a monk and/or recovering alcoholic: He keeps to a strict routine in his meticulously organized apartment, ritualistically shaving his head and eating his breakfast smoothie. He's compelled to try to help his co-workers achieve their dreams, but that's as far as his benevolence extends -- until he meets Chloe Grace Moretz (played by Chloe Grace Moretz), a young prostitute who gets the shit kicked out of her by the Russian mob, since that's more or less their thing. Then, he gets his fuck-you on.
In a scene carefully edited to make it completely unclear as to what's happening.
Wow! Awesome, right? It's great to see those filthy fucking pimps and rapists get what they deserve. It's so awesome that we all just barely noticed that time he killed a panicked teenager over one car payment.
About halfway through the movie, a guy shows up at the Home Depot where Washington works and holds up one of the cash registers. Washington is about to murder him (as would be just) but a kid walks by, so he holds his hand until later, when he can quietly kill the guy with a hammer. A hammer that he then returns to the Home Depot's stock, because he's not a goddamn thief.
Let's look at this story from the thief's perspective, OK? Here's what we know about him: He's in his mid-20s, drives a Mustang, and is the kind of person who robs a Home Depot cash register. How much money you think he scored there, $300? Maybe $500? This isn't a career-criminal move, this is a stupid and risky act of desperation by a frightened kid. My bet is that he comes from a poor family in Boston, embedded in the orgy of opulence that is New England, but never given the chance to indulge himself. Finally, as a young man, he snaps and buys that Mustang with some money attained through a shamelessly predatory lending scam. He falls deeper and deeper into debt, hiding his secret shame from his family until finally, in an act of desperation, he buys a gun and tries to knock off a Home Depot. That night, after counting his money, he realizes that when you account for the cost of his gun, he actually lost money on the deal. Overcome by his shame and helplessness, he begins to cry. He's utterly broken. He stares at the rough skin of his strong, calloused hands, the thick cords of muscle around his forearms, and he can't believe how useless they feel. He has no idea what to do.
Then Denzel Washington kicks his door down and kills him with a hammer.