#7 – Gender double standards
Perhaps the best way to describe this pet peeve is to give two examples.
Serious Moonlight (2009)
Meg Ryan finds out her husband is cheating on her with a younger woman. Meg doesn’t take this too well, so she duct tapes her husband to a toilet and verbally berates him. The movie shows her as the victim and her husband as the abuser.
Let’s flip that scenario on its head for a second. Let’s say Timothy Hutton (the husband) finds out that Meg Ryan is sleeping with their young vigorous chiseled landscaper. Say Timmy doesn’t take it too well, and duct tapes his wife to the toilet and verbally berates her. That movie would not get made. And even if it did, the husband would not be cast in a sympathetic light. He would be shown as the worst husband ever and would surely would have a bad ending.
Rose is engaged to Cal. Cal is a stuffy first class jerk. Rose meets Jack. Jack is a genuine guy. He rides in the third class. Rose goes below decks with Jack and they dance together and get cozy at a raucous party in the third class. Nothing happens between them, but they are very obviously flirting heavily. When Cal finds out, he is furious. He confronts Rose about it at breakfast, shouting and overturning the table. He is shown as the villain.
Once again, let’s flip that scenario around. Let’s say Cal went below decks with some sweet young thing from third class. He would be the villain. Again. Rose would be portrayed as righteously indignant, and anything she said or did as a reaction (up to and including shouting and turning over a table) would be considered justified.
See what I mean? That’s not cool.
#6 – The general lack of positive portrayals of marriage
I can’t whine too much about this one, because I know that movies need drama. But 98% of movies featuring a married couple show them as
miserable, or they hate each other, or they’re divorced, etc. The best example I’ve ever seen of a married couple was in Cinderella Man, courtesy of Russell Crowe and Renee Zellewegger (or however the hell you spell her last name). They have their fights, they have their disagreements, but ultimately they love each other and are there for each other. If there were more movies that featured marriages like this I’d be less peeved at the ones that don’t, but what are you gonna do?
#5 – Archers fire once at the enemy, then charge
You could write novels that make Lord of the Rings look like a pamphlet about all the stuff that Hollywood gets wrong in medieval battles, but one particular cliché always irked me. In most medieval battles where you have two lines facing each other, archers will be used. But in movies, they’ll usually fire one volley of arrows, drop their bows, and charge.
And I’ll ask why.
And they’ll say “Because shut up, that’s why.”
Of all the things that Hollywood does wrong, this one is the most retarded. Why the hell wouldn’t you have your archers keep firing until they are out of arrows? Is there a tactical disadvantage to killing the enemy from a range at which they can’t touch you? Did you only have the budget for one arrow?
The worst example is actually in Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. When the orcs break through the wall at Helm’s Deep, several dozen elves line up a safe distance from the hole in the wall and fire a volley of arrows. And then charge. WHY? They all have plenty of arrows, the orcs are bottlenecked at the wall, they could hold them back a lot longer by shooting at them than by trying to kill them hand-to-hand.
#4 – Comic relief with no other characterization
This one’s pretty straightforward. I’m down for comic relief, but it irks me slightly when everything a character does is built around making you laugh and nothing else. Like Justin Bartha‘s character in National Treasure. About three quarters of the way through the movie I realized that EVERY SINGLE LINE that he spat out was comic relief. Every single one. I’d say he’s better than that, but he was also in Failure to Launch.
#3 – Female characters cannot be considered strong unless they kill people too
I detailed this a bit in my review of Robin Hood a few weeks back. There are many times when women are very influential characters, but screen writers seem to think that we can’t think of them as strong women unless they chop people’s heads off too. Another great example was Eowyn in Lord of the Rings (again). She is a very interesting and compelling character in the way that she handles the most perilous of circumstances. But we can’t actually think of her as being strong unless she’s stabbing the bad guy in the face. There is more to strength than swinging a sword, but don’t tell Hollywood writers that.
#2 – Silencers on guns
Firstly, it’s not a silencer, it’s a suppressor. I only called it that because otherwise you wouldn’t know what I was referring to. In movies, suppressors turn a loud gunshot into a barely audible whisper. They make more of a laser sound. In real life? Suppressors quiet the gun, but only slightly. It still sounds like a gunshot. The main reason they are used is because altering the sound would throw off somebody trying to locate the shooter by the sound. The worst example? Every single movie with a gun.
So I know what you’re thinking. What pet peeve could possibly bother the J-Man more than those six? What could possibly annoy him more than those?
#1 – Nicholas Cage’s career. All of it.
For Attebiz Movie Reviews, I’m the J-Man.