Things We Learn From the Movies

atkins-bookshelf-moviesIn his autobiography, Biographia Literaria (1817), poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge introduced the concept of “willing suspension of disbelief.” Coleridge believed that if a writer “[transferred] a human interest and a semblance of truth” into his or her narrative, he would earn the reader’s faith, suspending judgment over any implausibilities for the sake of the story. Every cinephile knows that suspension of belief is critical to the enjoyment of movies — otherwise you would spend the entire two hours rolling your eyes and scoffing loudly, annoying theatergoers around you. If you watch enough movies you come to realize that movies present a slightly alternate reality that most screenwriters and directors buy into. In general, action films require the most suspension of disbelief, but just about every film requires a certain level. Here are some the things we have learned from the movies; but remember folks, don’t try this at home — these are trained actors!

Pressing a wet cloth gently against the skin heals every type of injury, from a gunshot wound to a black eye or bruise

Siblings from the same parents do not need to resemble one another

Wrapped gifts are easily opened by lifting up the beautifully wrapped lid

In order to bury a body, people can dig deep, neat rectangular holes in extremely hard dirt using a shovel without getting very dirty or sweaty

It is common for people to go in and out of foreign accents

Most people can drink excessively and drive without any difficulty or being pulled over for DUI

Despite not being used since the mid-20th century, most people can transmit and decode Morse code messages without having to write it down

Young people or couples can afford to live in spacious lofts with sweeping views of a major city

Heroes can easily cauterize a deep wound with a bit of gun powder and a match

Most people have sex with their clothes on

Most writers are very successful and rich

Any type of car can be hot-wired easily

Computers are never asleep or have password protection

Most couples meet by love at first sight

Grocery bags always include a perfectly browned baguette that is strategically placed

Scars from cuts or discoloration from bruises disappear in minutes or hours

Characters from ancient times (from cave men, to pirates, to turn-of-the-century thugs) have bright white teeth

All video cameras in a city are linked and a person can access them through one computer terminal to find a car or individual in minutes

People can jump from buildings (1-2 stories high) without breaking any bones

People can jump out of cars or trains traveling at high speeds without sustaining any injuries

Hackers can hack into and control any computer system in a matter of seconds

Villains are terrible shots while heroes have perfect aim

Complex forensic tests are completed in hours

Medicine, like aspirin, should be chewed and swallowed without water

Heroes can work remarkably well despite having a major hangover

Ransom money is always delivered in fine quality leather briefcases

Convenient parking spots in overcrowded cities (like New York and Los Angeles) are easy to find

Cars generally explode when they crash or fly over a cliff

People can easily climb out of an elevator and ascend the elevator shaft of a high-rise

Heroes can suffer a severe blow to the head and recover quickly without a trip to the hospital to treat a concussion or fractured skull

A hero can fight off a horde of enemies, because they attack one at a time

People can jump through windows without sustaining any major injuries

Bad guys never have to count large sums of money; the amount can be assessed with a brief glance

Villains that are killed can fake their death and come back to life within minutes

Heroes are never charged with killing innocent people or creating a wake of disaster all across town in the hot pursuit of villains

Any locked door can easily be opened with a thin, sharp instrument or by wedging a credit card in between the lock and door jamb




What I Love About Movies: An Illustrated Compendium

Movies of the 2000s

The Great Movies

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