Feb 14 2012

One Thing Hollywood Has Taught Me…

Published by at 9:31 pm under Realism

…is that nobody will notice that anything is amiss if incredible, mind-blowing superpowers are used at a high school talent show. Basically everything besides blowing up the building can be explained as part of the act. If superheroics do somehow blow up the building, then the superhero needs to move up to “lab accident.”

What has Hollywood taught you?

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “One Thing Hollywood Has Taught Me…”

  1. Danion 15 Feb 2012 at 12:34 am

    There is always an abandoned warehouse district. So blowing up those buildings is fine. Also that destroying one building will in no way harm the others one nearby.

  2. B. McKenzieon 15 Feb 2012 at 4:14 am

    Some other things Hollywood has taught me:
    …narcotics use is a more serious sin than wantonly shooting people, but not as serious as profanity.

    …male virgins are invariably evil and black guys are the first to die. Thanks, Chronicle.

    …the only cure for crime is killing the criminals.

    …EVERY supernatural being, no matter how obviously nonhuman, can blend in perfectly at a Halloween party. “That’s a great Cthulhu costume you’ve got on!” “RAWR.”

    …if heroes are chased more than 5 seconds, they will get away.

    …generally, anybody that talks about religion for more than 3 seconds is probably either a Christian terrorist or a Muslim moderate. Also, religion is more likely to come up while talking with terrorists than while celebrating Christmas.

    …inheriting huge amounts of money is heroic, but making huge amounts of money is nefarious. For example, Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark/any other wealthy superheroes vs. pretty much every wealthy supervillain.

    …approximately 102% of CIA and NSA employees are covert operatives and/or assassins. 80% are either evil or duking it out with evil bosses. 100% of them dress like they have six-figure wardrobes.

    …secret identities make everybody around you stupid. Even the most half-assed disguises will fool everybody.

    …it’s well-known that everybody in the world galaxy speaks impeccable English. However, did you know that everybody in the world speaks every language? If you start speaking language Y in front of someone, that person will invariably be able to understand you even if he/she pretends not to speak the language for most of the movie. For example, Chris Tucker’s character randomly understands Mandarin in Rush Hour.

  3. Shannonon 15 Feb 2012 at 10:28 am

    -the air vents are always large enough for someone to crawl through. No exceptions.
    – black people marry black people, unless it is a plot point.
    – If in doubt as to whether a character is evil, look at his pets. Cats are bad. Rottweilers are bad. German shepherds that aren’t police dogs are bad. Toy dogs and poodle are untrustworthy. Labradors are always good guys.

  4. B. McKenzieon 15 Feb 2012 at 1:32 pm

    On a point of realism, 22% of U.S. black husbands are married to someone that is not black. Overall, about 14% of U.S. marriages are interracial. I would guess that it’s less than 5% in the movies. Also, interracial marriages in movies are almost purely white-black, whereas in real life, the most common interracial marriages are white-Hispanic and white-Asian.



    Like labradors, golden retrievers and beagles are also uniformly heroic.

  5. Shannonon 15 Feb 2012 at 1:39 pm

    An excellent point, but in a lot of movies black people are married to another black person. If a white person is married to a black person in fiction, it tends to come up with racism or prejudice.

  6. ekimmakon 17 Feb 2012 at 3:03 am

    “inheriting huge amounts of money is heroic, but making huge amounts of money is nefarious”

    So what does that say about my character Ace, who abuses his probability manipulation powers to make huge fortunes in casinos worldwide?

  7. B. McKenzieon 17 Feb 2012 at 4:26 am

    It is a bit unexpected, Ekimmak. “36.2. Anybody that uses superpowers to gain wealth is almost certainly a villain. In the extremely rare cases where a superhero expects payment for his work (e.g. Luke Cage), that character is usually treated in-story as unsavory and/or nasty.” Dramatically speaking, will casinos be enough of a challenge to be interesting? (I thought it worked out really well in Roald Dahl’s “The Amazing Story of Henry Sugar,” but the protagonist’s superpowers were sort of weak and unreliable, which made the obstacles seem more daunting).

    Another possibility is that he’s absolutely dynamite at gambling, but didn’t quite think through the non-gambling components of his plan. (Namely, what happens if casinos and/or criminal groups realize that they’ve been cheated? Where does he leave his winnings? How well does he handle his alcohol?*)

    *If you’re doing really well in a casino, hot waitresses will bring you free alcohol. This serves several purposes–1) alcohol leads to reckless decision-making, which plays to the casino’s advantage and 2) it helps the casino sort out people who are mainly there for a good time from the few people that are there with a viable plan to actually make money. If a really successful gambler keeps saying no to free drinks, he’ll probably be escorted out quickly. One way you could introduce a bit of uncertainty (which is, I think, thematically fitting for a character whose powers are based around probability) is that maybe his powers get a bit… odd when he’s had too much to drink. E.g. at the next table over, two people at one hand BOTH draw royal flushes. Weird things like that will make casino security really suspicious about what’s going on, and if this has happened in more than one casino in the same area, they might exchange security footage and try to figure out if there are any people or other common features that the weird events had in common.

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