5 Baffling Ways Hollywood Sucks At Depicting Normal Life
We understand that screenwriters probably aren't experts on the physics of time travel, and directors can't really be sure how to depict a group of magical people facing off against an all-powerful raisin in a way that's completely true to life. But sometimes it seems like people in Hollywood have never experienced even basic reality. Look at how ...
The World's Biggest Nerds Are All Shredded
We're well aware that the average Cracked reader has 10% body fat and a rippling six-pack, but most people of a nerdy persuasion don't have the time or interest required to maintain a physique that could get them into the Olympics. But when Hollywood casts its biggest stars as incredible nerds, they still remain in perfect shape, no matter how little sense it makes in the story. Look at A Beautiful Mind, wherein Russell Crowe plays an obsessive math genius struggling with severe mental health issues, all while looking like he could bench-press Princeton's entire graduating class.
Or take Swordfish, in which Hugh Jackman plays the world's greatest hacker while having the exact same body type as when he plays Wolverine.
Sure, being a nerd doesn't make it impossible to work out, but nothing about these characters suggests that they've ever been to a gym, let alone spent half their waking hours there. The real John Nash looked like he couldn't risk going outside whenever the wind picked up, but Crowe portrayed him as if math was the subject he was only pretending to study until he was selected in the NFL draft.
This is clearly because the actors have to maintain the kind of atypical bodies that Hollywood demands from its stars, but these days, even actors who don't generally do action have to be ripped, no matter how much it clashes with their characters. Chidi from The Good Place is almost entirely built around indecision and fear of commitment, yet look at him. So the one thing he could commit to was an extensive daily workout routine?
Not even horrible sickness can stop these guys from developing abs of steel. In 13 Reasons Why, Clay is clearly suffering from some serious health problems, and everyone keeps talking about how skinny he is, but when his shirt comes off, he looks great. He's awfully lucky that he got one of those severe medical disorders that leaves you with incredible muscles.
No One Closes Their Curtains
We all have curtains and blinds in our homes, and we tend to close them when we change our clothes, have sex, or commit a shocking crime. But in the world of fiction, there is no greater friend to the lazy screenwriter than open curtains. Take the Black Mirror episode "Crocodile." The protagonist leaves the curtains open in the middle of a miserable winter night while committing a murder, because the script needed the shaken character to then witness outside events without first fiddling with the curtain rod.
At least you can kind of explain that one away as a crime of passion, but lazy drama falls back on this all the time. There's an entire CSI: NY episode about an injured character having nothing better to do than stare into other apartments mere feet from his own. Yet despite being able to make direct eye contact with his neighbor, one man has no problem plotting a chemical weapon attack with his blinds wide open. It's Rear Window for morons.
The show You is about a stalker, and while we don't mean to blame the victim, the object of his obsession doesn't use curtains at any point in the entire series. She walks around in a towel after showering, changes clothes, and even has sex without closing any blinds. She can afford to buy a new bed after hers breaks, but never thinks to invest in basic privacy. And all the while, right across the street, a dude casually watches through her gigantic windows.
This lack of basic common sense also has a proud legacy in comedy, thanks to the "classic" gag of horny dudes glimpsing an unsuspecting woman. In Rush Hour 2, a suspect is nice enough to strip for Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in front of a huge window ...
... and That '70s Show also riffs on Rear Window by having a wheelchair-bound Fez watch Donna's mom, Midge, who conveniently pauses in front of a big open window before getting naked.
We enjoy gratuitous nudity as much as anyone, but we're begging screenwriters to remember that Rear Window used a brutal heat wave to explain why everyone was keeping their windows open. So write some excuse, even if it's a subplot about a prolific curtain thief sweeping through town. Anything!
The Streets Are Always Soaking Wet, Even In Famously Dry Cities
Have you ever watched a movie that takes place in Los Angeles or Vegas and noticed that the streets are completely soaked? If there are two things we know about Las Vegas, one is that we're not allowed back, and the other is that it's in a goddamn desert. And yet when the cons in Con Air land their plane on the strip, it looks like a storm swept through.
Or look at the many puddles of Terminator 2, which is set in Los Angeles.
If you've ever been forced to listen to people from Los Angeles talk about how totally unique their city is, one thing that doesn't come up is how often they have to plod through rainstorms to get to dog yoga. You can also notice this in less extreme climates, like Back To The Future's Hill Valley ...
... and A Good Day To Die Hard's wherever the hell this one was set.
So why does every movie look like it's about to become a Waterworld spinoff? Surely it can't just be because it looks cool, right?
It can, and is!
Photography directors like to "wet down" scenes because you get lots of pretty reflections while also cutting down on glare and errant shadows from light sources. A wet road is also darker, so it won't look, uh, washed out on screen. It's a simple, affordable way to make the shot pop while removing any evidence that a bunch of movie-making equipment is hanging around right out of sight. So the next time you see a LA-based movie and the streets are soaking wet, remember that they did that to make the movie look more plausible.
No Sitcom Character Locks Their Doors
We understand why doors go unlocked in sitcoms. Time spent knocking and watching it be opened is time wasted. But man, it looks weird once you start thinking about it. Barney Stinson barged into Ted's apartment every 18 seconds ...
... and Lily could just walk in whenever she felt like it.
We don't care how close you are with your friends; you'd want a warning so that they don't catch you with your figurative or literal pants down. Hell, in one episode, Lily and Robin want to sneak into a stranger's apartment and the door is conveniently unlocked, even though she'd just been having sex. Time that scene any differently, and you'd have an episode about a saucy trespassing court case.
Popularizing this trope was among the many sins of Friends. Everyone kept barging in on each other like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Now modern sitcoms like One Day At A Time (the Netflix show, not the 1975 original that our readers demand incessant coverage of) are taking it further by having characters wander into apartments half-naked.
And of course, the great evil that is The Big Bang Theory made it even dumber by having Sheldon play bongos at three in the morning, to which Penny responds by barging into his unlocked apartment. Because what Californian doesn't leave their apartment unlocked all night? While actively annoying their neighbors?
Again, we get that this is a storytelling convenience. We're just saying that every sitcom that does this also needs to have an episode about a meth-head wandering in and stealing everyone's stuff.
People Just Go About Their Business During Car Chases
If you've driven for long enough, you've probably seen a police car come racing up behind you. And if so, you hopefully performed the normal response of pulling over, waiting for the danger to pass, then assessing the severity of the situation before proceeding. You wouldn't keep driving toward what looked like a flaming wreck or a gunfight, right? But in Hollywood, all that common sense goes out the window, as drivers are drawn to gunfire and explosions like moths to ultra-violent flames.
Take Bad Boys II, wherein the Bad Boys are pursuing a gang of heavily armed mercenaries who've hijacked a car carrier and are using it to plow through traffic on one of Miami's busiest highways. Civilians observe automatic gunfire, car after car being annihilated, and the improvised weaponization of a goddamn boat, and their response is to simply carry on with their commute as though they have to dodge the shattered wreckage of other cars and the corpses within them every humdrum day.
In a lengthy chase in The Dark Knight, the Joker employs both guns and grenades while also taking a freaking police helicopter out of the sky, and everyone ignores the danger. People even witness a tractor-trailer do a flip and decide to carry on like they're all somehow in the middle of even bigger emergencies. Eventually, the Joker starts walking down the middle of the road while blasting his submachine gun into oncoming traffic, and cars keep coming at him like he's nothing but an overly aggressive panhandler. The Joker has some serious competition for Gotham's biggest psychopath.
Not to be outdone, civilians in the Fast & Furious universe are happy to share the road with a rampaging tank. Car after car is flattened by a rogue machine of death barreling down the highway, yet no one thinks to pull over. Instead, every family that drives straight at the tank and gets crushed to death is but one fewer obstacle for the rest of the drivers who aren't about to let a little casual warfare stop them from getting home in time to catch Jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the drivers in Captain America: Civil War see nothing amiss about superheroes dashing past them before a man starts climbing up and over speeding cars. This driver doesn't even flinch, as though a bionic man standing on his rooftop is the MCU's version of a little inclement weather on the daily commute.
Finally, Baby Driver is an entire movie of suicidal drivers ignoring everything about the outrageous chases they're witnessing. In one scene, two huge pickup trucks drive through a guardrail and out onto another highway, right after one had spent time lodged under a tractor trailer, to which the trailer driver responds with one annoyed horn blast and everyone else responds with total indifference. It sure seems easy to rob banks when you're essentially living in the GTA world.
Michael Battaglino is a contributor to Cracked.com. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article. RG Jordan is not big on social media but he is big on working and eating food so you can contact him at RGJordan4@gmail.com if you think his words are funny or insightful.
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