6 Romantic Movie Gestures That Can Get You Prison Time
If there's one thing that working as undercover assassins and fighting terrorists in tall buildings has taught us, it's that everything worthy in life can be learned from movies. So if you're looking for love, there's nothing like sitting down with a bunch of romantic comedies and letting their sage lessons filter into your brain like music from a stereo held aloft by John Cusack.
Unfortunately, though, it's not quite that simple. When done in real life, many of the tricks used by onscreen singletons to successfully woo potential lovers can get you put away for a long time.
Dashing Through Airport Security to Declare Your Love
As Seen In: Love Actually, Liar Liar, countless others
Will Get You: A year and a half in prison, depending on the charge.
Approximately half of all movie romances culminate in an airport, or on the plane after it's left the airport. You know the drill: The girl is flying away forever, the guy finally realizes he can't live without her and declares his love (see: The Wedding Singer, The Thomas Crown Affair, even freaking Crocodile Dundee had a variation of it). They even parodied the cliche in an episode of 30 Rock.
But then you have sequences like the end of the Jim Carrey romantic comedy Liar Liar, where desperate to catch up with his ex-wife and son who have boarded a plane on their way out of his life, Carrey hijacks an airport stair escalator on the runway and maneuvers it alongside the plane. Due to his trademark reckless but zany efforts, the takeoff is canceled and Jim Carrey gets to convince his son that he's a better dad than Cary Elwes. Everyone lives happily ever after.
Of course, Liar Liar has the excuse of taking place before 9/11, so the cops weren't yet tazing every man, woman and child who reaches for a cell phone in the airport. But then there's Love Actually, which was released in 2003 and actually references 9/11 in its opening sequence, where Liam Neeson encourages his stepson to sneak through airport security at Heathrow without a boarding pass at Christmastime, in order to say goodbye to his school crush. The young scamp runs through the airport, pursued by airport guards, and confesses his love. Afterwards, the guards escort him back to his dad with trademark "kids will be kids" smiles, and then simply let both of them go.
The exact same scenario actually happened late last year, in real life. A young man at Newark Liberty International Airport briefly crossed a security barrier to give his girlfriend a final goodbye kiss. Hell, it even happened at Christmas.
Of course, guards and fellow travelers, overwhelmed with such a display of true love and the Christmas spirit, surrounded the couple and clapped... Oh, wait, no. What really happened was that the breach was discovered, the terminal went into lockdown, and around 200 flights were delayed or canceled worldwide.
Once tracked down, the lovestruck man was given a fine and community service. A fair price to pay for romance, you say? Well, after this breach, everyone in New Jersey was so annoyed at this light punishment that moves to toughen laws are now advancing in the state legislature, which if passed could lead to up to 18 months imprisonment for similar acts in the future.
On top of all this, keep in mind that Love Actually takes place in the UK, where police have proved they are willing to shoot fleeing terrorist suspects in public, so it's not looking good for our plucky hero. And if that doesn't seem scary enough, unless you are blessed with the discerning power of Kanye West, you'd be hard pressed to find another crime that would earn you the immediate hatred of literally tens of thousands of people in your immediate surroundings.
As for wackily hijacking the rolling stairs and blocking the plane from taking off like Jim Carrey? We're pretty sure if you try that now it'll get you a sniper round in the skull.
"Oh, It Was You I Was Having Sex With!"
As seen in: Revenge of the Nerds, Overboard, While You Were Sleeping, Only You
Will Get You: Up to 30 years in prison, depending on the jurisdiction.
So, you want to get intimate with someone of the opposite sex, but they won't give you the time of day? Well, why not pretend to be someone else? As Revenge of the Nerds showed us all back in 1984, the perfect way to win over a young woman is to dress up in a Halloween mask, pretend to be her long-term boyfriend and then perform oral sex on her. If your technique is good enough, she won't be angry. In fact, she'll be so thrilled she'll even leave her boyfriend for you!
However, this technique does have limited practicality, being generally confined to Halloween night, and to the partners of firemen, exterminators, mutant pianists who live underneath theaters and ninjas.
An easier Hollywood route is to simply wait until your beloved is knocked on the head and then tell them you're sexually involved when they wake up with amnesia. In the 1987 film Overboard, the movie's hero, Kurt Russell, picks up spoiled heiress Goldie Hawn from a psychiatric ward where she's suffering from amnesia, and claims to be her husband.
Despite Kurt's abrasive personality, Goldie reluctantly complies, and he takes her home and sets her to task cooking and cleaning for him, as well as looking after his four out-of-control kids. Naturally, Goldie falls madly in love, despite this being similar to the plot of several horror movies, and even after the ruse is revealed she chooses to stay.
Ask Raymond Mitchell how that worked out for him. He had a habit of calling women, whispering to them and claiming to be their boyfriend. He'd tell them to wait for him with blindfolds on, and he'd show up and have his way with them. He wound up with a 15-year prison term.
It's called Rape by Fraud, and you may have heard of a recent case in Israel that made international headlines where a man was recently convicted of rape after lying about his religion (that is, claiming to be a Jew) to convince a woman to sleep with him. He got 18 months.
What is more remarkable is how many states don't have rape by fraud laws at all (there have been calls to change that for years). The objection seems to be that once you can convict a guy or girl of lying to get sex, there may not exist enough bricks to build that many prisons. But for now, let's just say that if you're in a situation where the girl is only consenting because you're wearing a mask or she's wearing a blindfold, stop and rethink your life.
Just Tie The Guy Up
As Seen In: Wedding Crashers, 40 Days and 40 Nights
Will Get You: Six months to freaking life in prison, depending on the circumstances and jurisdiction.
Obviously if you're watching a scene with a woman tied to a bed while a man forces sex on her, the final act of that movie will involve said man getting shot in the face by Bruce Willis. If, on the other hand, it's a man being tied down and forced into sex by a pretty lady, well, you're watching a wacky romantic comedy.
After all, in Wedding Crashers Vince Vaughn is tied to a bed while he's asleep, gagged with duct tape and forced to perform sex acts with a naked Isla Fisher, even complaining the next day that he experienced a rape. But by the end of the movie, he's madly in love with the woman who assaulted him, teaching a valuable lesson to bed intruders everywhere.
It's true that girl rapists don't always win their men in romantic comedies, but they certainly don't suffer too many consequences. In 40 Days and 40 Nights, an ex-girlfriend sneaks into the male protagonist's home while he is asleep and chained to a bed, and has sex with him while he is semi-conscious. She gets away with the deed after nothing but a few angry words. Furthermore, everyone around the couple reacts as if it was an unfortunate accident, except the protagonist's current girlfriend, who blames him for cheating on her, as if the guy deliberately attracted the woman into his home with dick-powered mind-control waves.
Under the law, that is absolutely rape. In fact around two percent of sexual assaults, including rape, are committed by the woman, and it's theorized that this statistic is underreported, because nobody wants to be the only guy at the gentlemen's club who whines about being violated by women. Yet, a woman in Norway got nine months in prison for performing oral sex on an unwilling, sleeping man.
If you're a dude and you're thinking you'd have to be insane to complain about this, stop imagining a perpetrator who looks like Isla Fisher.
Watching Your True Love From the Bushes
As Seen In: Twilight: Eclipse, Untamed Heart, Addicted To Love
Will Get You: Up to five years in prison.
What better way to show someone you love them than pay them a lot of attention? Even when they don't know you're paying attention to them?
If movies are to be believed, there's nothing a beautiful woman finds more adorably romantic than a young man watching her lovingly from behind a row of bushes. In Untamed Heart, Christian Slater wins Marisa Tomei's love after he saves her from two rapists who attack her after following her part of the way home from work. Which doesn't sound too bad, until you find out that he's able to carry her unconscious body the rest of the way home because he's been following her home from work too.
When she goes to his place later to thank him, she finds out he has stolen pictures of her and put them up on the wall of his Unabomber-like hovel. Creeped out, she leaves, only to wake up two days later to find that he has snuck in through a window at night and decorated a Christmas tree in her room while she slept. Of course she reacts the way any woman would: with a shriek of joy and an offer of sex.
Things aren't much different if you break into a woman's room simply to watch her sleep, or disable her car to prevent her from visiting other men, as Edward Cullen does in the Twilight movies in order to "protect" his true love Bella. Which is a good thing, because otherwise she might start hanging around with creepy dudes or something.
Of course, a woman's reaction to your pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior might vary according to whether or not you look like this:
If you don't, well, stalking is illegal everywhere, and can become a felony punishable with up to five years in jail if there is aggravating circumstances like the victim being a minor (we're looking at you, Cullen) or if it's a repeated offense. And since women in romantic comedies usually take at least six months to recognize the true love they do indeed possess for Matthew McConaughey, that one's almost inevitable.
Of course, if you take it to the next step and sneak into a crush's dwelling to leave rose petals on their bed or some such (see Runaway Bride, where Julia Roberts breaks into Richard Gere's hotel, or 2010's When in Rome, when an amorous street magician breaks into Kristen Bell's house to charm her with a trick) you're in for a whole different realm of legal trouble.
Penalties for breaking and entering vary by location and type, with the crime considered more serious if the building you break into is occupied or if the crime is committed at night. You could be looking at prison time even if the cops catch you before you can place that severed finger on her bed.
Defending Her Honor - With Your FISTS
As seen in: Bridget Jones 1 and 2, Valley Girl, Pretty in Pink, Wedding Crashers, Only You
Will Get You: Anything from a fine to several years in prison, depending on injuries and circumstances.
Sometimes it's just a single, well-aimed punch. Other times, the hero must prove his dominance over his romantic rival by beating the living balls out of him. This technique is particularly popular with the British, as shown in Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason, in which Bridget's boyfriend forcibly drags her ex-lover Hugh Grant out of a building, punches him, pushes him into a fountain and attempts to drown him, all while delighted passersby watch and applaud.
Or in Valley Girl, where Nic Cage and a friend gang up on a rival and shower blows on him, eventually dragging the guy off-screen semi-conscious. Or in pretty much any movie in which a male character is douchey enough.
This has got to be the movie trope with the most unrealistic consequences since the first action star dived behind a kitchen counter and used it as a magical bullet-shield. Beating the shit out of someone is totally a crime, guys, even when you had a great reason or won the love of a woman.
Now, in true movie style, everyone always ends up fine and without so much as a broken nose - even in the case of Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones, who is punched out by Mr. Darcy and hits the pavement, unconscious. That's probably why nobody goes to jail for fighting in the movies, since everything functions under the laws of Wile E Coyote physics. In reality, this is a particularly good way of accidentally killing someone by shattering the back of their skull. And yes, they will charge you with manslaughter even if you were defending a lady. Also, keep in mind that if your victim has a medical condition that you don't know about and dies as a result of rough treatment on your part, it's on you.
Now, we're not saying that you should not try to emulate Buzz Aldrin and deliver righteous punches when they're called for. But if it's done in the name of someone you love, just make sure that they're willing to wait for you in prison first.
Pranking a Rival by Doctoring His Drink
As Seen In: Wedding Crashers, Addicted to Love
Will Get You: Two to 10 years in prison, possible attempted murder charge.
OK, so you don't want to go to jail for manslaughter. What about something slightly more subtle to bring down your romantic rival? The characters of Wedding Crashers carry out the presumably harmless prank of spiking a dickish rival's drink with eye drops while the dude has his eyes closed in prayer. Their stunt is successful, allowing Owen Wilson to zero in on his girlfriend while the douche is in the bathroom throwing up.
It's also not uncommon for females in romantic movies to use this trick to overpower their rivals. Addicted to Love, a 1997 Meg Ryan movie that we're now realizing literally fulfils almost every category on this list, also features this trick. Meg hides crushed strawberries under her ex's pillow, causing him to break out in an embarrassing skin rash and sabotaging his modeling career.
Assault by attempted poisoning gets you two to 10 years in prison, depending on the jurisdiction. A woman in Portland got three years for putting rat poison in her husband's tacos, and he didn't die or anything. A 17-year-old girl in Florida was recently sentenced to six months in jail for spiking a teacher's drink with LSD, despite the fact that LSD alone has never caused a human fatality and usually has affects much less serious than even vomiting in a toilet.
Sure, you're saying, but the dudes in Wedding Crashers just put some eye drops in the drink as a wacky prank. Ah, actually a Florida woman did that to a coworker and was charged with poisoning, even though the victim didn't drink it. It turns out spiking a drink with eye drops can lead to dangerously low blood pressure, rectal bleeding and a coma.
But at least the strawberry prank is harmless, right? Well, no. You can be charged with anything up to attempted murder for attacking someone with something you know they're allergic to. If that sounds like an extreme reaction to something as harmless as berries, remember that strawberry allergies can sometimes lead to anaphylactic shock, and Meg's stunt could easily have been fatal.
Damn, guys. It's almost like the law doesn't believe in romance any more.
Read more from C. Coville at bloodslides.livejournal.com
Once you go to jail you'll need a way out, so check out 6 Insane Prison Escapes That Actually Happened. Or learn about the prisoners not content to just sit around, in 5 People Who Changed the World From Inside of Prison.
And stop by Linkstorm to find out what happens in jail once you get there.
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