4 Bizarrely Specific Rules That Exist in Movie Universes

There's no reason to make a secret about this: I have been training my entire life for the admittedly unlikely event that I suddenly get sucked into a movie world. Why? I love movies. I appreciate their simplicity. Life can be confusing and terrifying, but movies are exciting and wonderfully predictable. You just need to watch enough of them to spot the rules. Once you know the rules, you can rule.

#4. Coroners Sure Love to Eat

Once upon a time, some director or screenwriter wanted to show the audience how desensitized to death their experienced coroner was, maybe while getting a few laughs at the same time. So they had their coroner eat something right in the middle of an autopsy, a concept that would freak out normal, squeamish people like you and me.

Gone in 60 Seconds

He even puts his sandwich on top of the corpse when he gets a phone call!


It's effective. So effective that a few other folks tried it. Here's the doctor who checked in Jason's corpse in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter:


And here's that same doctor also putting his sandwich on the corpse.


Here's the chief coroner on the TV show Scrubs, never seen without a lollipop:


There was another character on Scrubs called Doug who worked as a standard doctor for several seasons before switching jobs and becoming a coroner. And, surprise, he also started carrying a lollipop just as soon as he made that transfer.


Hey, look, it's the nerds from Big Bang Theory eating a meal while dissecting a brain:


There are plenty more, enough that there's a whole entry about this over on TV Tropes.

I'm sure it was originally done as a quick gag or to emphasize the fortitude of the coroner, but so many films have used this same tactic that I'm convinced that every single movie coroner can't eat unless there's a corpse in the room.

#3. All Dads Go to Heaven

Remember Air Bud, the movie about the sad kid who moves to a new town and teams up with a basketball-playing dog to win the championship game for his local team? Well, it happened. A dog joins a basketball team because, according to the movie, there's no rule that says a dog can't play basketball (although there are in fact several other rules that should have prevented him from playing).

What about Soccer Dog: The Movie? It's a movie. About a dog that befriends a lonely kid and plays children's soccer, which drives the mafia crazy.

Actual dialogue. Did the mafia have money riding on this pee wee soccer game?

Or what about Cop Dog? That's about a boy and a dog who team up to solve crimes. (I know that might sound like a dumb idea, but this was made all the way back in 2008. It was a different time, no one knew how bad cocaine was yet.)

"You're under bark-rest!"

Or, hey, what about MVP: Most Valuable Primate? It's about a chimpanzee that plays hockey. I know that chimpanzees are different from dogs, but the film still falls into the popular "animal capable of things you wouldn't expect befriends lonely child" film genre, so I think it's OK.

What do all of these movies have in common? In every one of them, the father is dead. In Air Bud, the kid is sad because his dad just died in a plane crash. MVP starts off with the death of a kindly scientist who functioned as a father figure for the chimp. The kid that Soccer Dog befriends in the movie Soccer Dog: The Movie is an orphan. The crime that the boy and dog team up to solve in Cop Dog is the murder of the child's father.

I have no idea why this is. Sure, I've written a gritty screenplay about a corgi that stalks the night committing people crimes (because there's no rule that says a dog can't sexually assault), but that doesn't make me an expert on the genre. Maybe it's too believable to imagine a kid with a father being lonely enough to have a dog as a best friend. Maybe the writers think all dads hate dogs. Or maybe Air Bud made the choice first and then every producer in Hollywood said, "Just do that again with a different sport. That exact thing." We'll never know. All we know is that if you see some lonely kid striking up a good relationship with a dog that has a tennis racket in its mouth, you better find that kid's dad and tell him to watch out.

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Daniel O'Brien

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