Monday, June 27, 2011

Dying at the Movies: Three Celluloid Certainties

Certain things in life, and especially in Hollywood's version of it, are very predictable.  Here are three:

1. You know that if you are watching a movie with an opening scene that includes a happy family driving in a car, especially if they're playing innocent travel games like "spot the license plate" or singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" that a horrific accident is about to befall them and they will either all die or their lives will be radically altered by tragedy.

Often this will occur at night while navigating snowy roads or driving through heavy rain.

You wouldn't be so happy if you knew what's coming.
They more well-adjusted they appear, the quicker they will perish.

There is no way around this so brace yourself.

2. You know that the minute someone coughs in a movie, no matter how apparently insignificant, they are going to die.

This is absolutely inevitable and irreversible.

Since the beginning of cinematic history and, perhaps, as far back as theater in ancient Greece, a cough is the go-to indicator of a characters' imminent illness and subsequent demise. Do not get attached to a character who coughs.

It's as certain as the fact that a Kardashian daughter is going to either get knocked up by some playboy with diluted royal ties and a weak chin or marry a professional athlete who will buy her an engagement ring the size of a recliner.
They are terrifying.
Whoever coughs in a movie --or marries a Kardashian -- is doomed.

3. You also know that if a movie, other than but not excluding a Disney film, is about a dog, that dog will die at the end.

You will meet the dog as an irresistible puppy.

You will fall in love with this dog as he rescues small children from pedophiles and romps adorably through at least one mid-movie montage in which he scatters autumn leaves, engages in playful tugs of war and chews up a feather pillow. 

Everyone laughs indulgently as feathers fly but this dog is going down.

You will know the end approacheth when one of the rescued children, now slightly older, notices that Fido can no longer play frisbee.

Soon that movie dog will be dead and you will be sobbing loudly and inconsolably in front of your TV, squeezing the life out of your still very much alive kitty cat who is sick of all these formulaic movie sequences but is too polite to mention it.

At least we can depend on certain things.
Greta Garbo set the standard for a cough =death in the classic movie from the 30's---"Camille."


  1. You speak the truth kiddo. Whenever Doug takes to the couch with a "man cold" I call him Camille.

    In return I get the finger or at the least the hairy eyeball.

  2. Movie death cough always = Camille for me too! Interesting.

    You know your movie opening sequence/plots very well, Grasshoppa. Very well.

  3. Thanks, ladies...coughing, driving, dogs....a mess.

    And Camille was the queen of the movie death!