More Things I Learned From The Movies


If a tapping sound or flashing light represents morse code, there’s always someone around that can interpret the message. When Morse Code is used, the interpreter will call out words as they are being sent, rather than letters. Furthermore, a single word is represented by a few "beeps", and all words are sent at the same rate, no matter how long the word is. Example:

beep-beep-be-beep… "Help…"
be-be-beep beep… "Us…."
beep-be-be-beep beep… "We’re…"
beep beep-be-beep… "Surrounded…"
be-beep beep beep… "Send…"
be-be-be-beep beep… "Reinforcements…"
beep be-beep beep… "Hurry…" etc.

A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.


You got plenty of time up there, often a couple of minutes. You can almost talk casually to all your skydiving friends on the way down. If you don’t have a parachute, just cling on to someone who has got one and don’t let go until you’re down.


Smokers smoke only when there is a romantic or dramatic reason to. At other times the smoker has no need for cigarettes.

Space &Amp; Vacuum

Explosions in space make noise. Exposure to a vacuum makes you horribly swell up and/or explode within seconds (ex. "Total Recall", "Outland") There’s a deep humming in space, no doubt about it. Space is not Newtonian; spacecraft can’t ‘coast’ but just stops dead if it runs out of fuel or power. Laser beams are visible in a vacuum.


Spaceships make noise! Spaceships always fly perpendicular to the same axis. When two spacecraft encounter each other, they’re always aligned on a plane and never approach at odd angles. All spaceships, no matter how small, have internal artificial gravity and no matter how badly your ship gets pummeled by the evil aliens in the evil alien ship, no matter how many external panels get blown away, no matter how many sparks or how much smoke pours out of your control panels, the artificial gravity will always keep working. There are tiny cameras mounted everywhere, on every panel, in your spaceship. No matter what happens anywhere in the ship, you will always be able to ask the computer to replay the scene for you later (even if the computer went up in smoke) and unlike those blurry convenience store cameras, your tiny ship cameras always capture everyone’s actions at eye-level with perfect lighting.

Warp or hyper-drive will always fail at critical moments. Inertial dampers will always prevent passengers from being plastered against the walls during acceleration into warp speed, yet any explosion will send passengers reeling across the room. In a spaceship battle scene, for a ship to fire a weapon at another, it must be in visual range. Even though the 20th century saw the advent of weapons that can be fired without visual contact, the people of the future have lost this technology.


In any type of sport movie, a player on the field can look up into a crowd of 1 billion and immediately spot their loved one.


Whenever anyone is chased to a staircase, s/he will run upstairs rather than down.


In any movie where "something" has happened and villagers come to look at it, they always decide to "go for help". The most expendable member of the group is left to "keep an eye on it", and supplied with a weapon or signaling device "in case something happens". Said member ALWAYS responds: "What could happen?" This is a certain signal that he will die, gruesomely, within 2 minutes.


The walls of a teenager’s bedroom or a twentyish adult’s apartment are always highly decorated, beyond anything sane, with every available inch of space covered with something cool. A movie teenager will always have a drainpipe situated next to his or her window. This drainpipe will be specially reinforced to hold their weight on escape.


Movie timing is always exact. If a phone trace will take two minutes, for example, you can be sure that that means 120 seconds, not a fraction more or less. Same for bombs, amount of time to get to a destination, etc. Corollary to the above: all characters in a movie have their watches perfectly synchronized.


When a main character has to cross the street (in one of the slower parts of the movie), he/she can always cross the street immediately. Of course, he/she jogs across in order to miss the one car that drives by after they cross. If there is traffic, then that means that the movie is at a more intense part (like a chase scene) in which case there are a lot of cars that crash into each other. None of the important characters get hurt, the accident is never heard on the news, and nobody sues anybody important. Very few people even get out of their cars, and yet, no airbags are to be seen.


Transportation always arrives and leaves on time. Characters arrive at the airport and get *right on the plane*. They must have the best timing of any people on Earth – I always have wait around for a while before boarding. (Not to mention getting a boarding pass and the "arrive 15 minutes before departure or you lose your seat" clause of most airlines. Good thing movie airlines never overbook!) Movie characters’ suitcases are always weightless when they have to carry them. In emergencies, anyone can pick up flying a helicopter. Movie characters never suffer from motion sickness.


Whichever tree branch the hero has perched on, the villain will invariably pause under.


The bad guy is the foreigner. Corollary: the foreigner is the guy who speaks English with an English accent. You can always tell which nationality the United States and the popular media are currently most unhappy with because that nation sends all their villains to star in Hollywood movies during those times (e.g. Germans in the late 40’s and 50’s, Asians in the 60’s and 70’s, Soviets in the 70’s and 80’s and Middle Easterners in the 90’s).

The bad guy also has a side-kick muscleman who has some sort of trademark gimmick that he/she uses to eliminate opponents. You must kill or decommission this muscleman by forcing a backfiring of this trademarked gimmick. If the muscleman is dispatched by a different method, he/she is not dead. (For that matter, don’t assume that anyone is dead unless their death was spectacular. Beware sequels.) The bad guy usually kills his henchman for failing, yet doesn’t seem to run out of loyal henchmen.

Bad guys lurk until their presence is revealed by a flash of lightning. Whenever a villain has captured the hero, he will pause for 5 minutes to tell the hero _every_ detail of his plan to destroy and/or rule the earth, including times, dates, and addresses. Instead of simply offing the captured good guy on the spot, he will devise some sort of drawn-out, fiendishly clever method of execution that will take enough time to allow the good guy to figure out his escape. The bad guy will usually spend a few megalomaniac minutes gloating over his victory and his opponent’s downfall. This increment of time will prove just enough to allow the good guy to figure a way out of his predicament, or just long enough to allow a rescue attempt.

You can kill the bad guy by taking careful note of any object that the camera has lingered on for an unnecessarily length of time; typically this is something like a meathook or a jagged bit of glass. You will be involved in a mighty struggle, and at the appropriate time you can become inspired (usually by either an insult from the bad guy or a look of faith from your love interest) with strength enough to force the bad guy into/onto/under/in front of the aforementioned object. Actor’s Equity (Hollywood) requires that within 15 seconds either side of the bad guy’s demise, you utter your trademark phrase.

No matter how dead you think you’ve killed a bad guy, he can still get up at least 3 more times. Therefore, always make sure to leave his gun in or near his hand after you’ve killed him and you turn away to comfort the girl. When a villain seems dead, he never is. He will always be allowed one, and sometimes two resurrections. The hero will frequently see him coming, even if his back is turned. If he doesn’t, a friend will finish the villain off.

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