Monday, February 18, 2008

My latest movie pet peeve.

I'm watching Death Wish 3 right now. It just started, so I am going to have to PVR it to make sure I can get my fix of Charlie Bronson goodness first thing in the morning. And something in the movie bothered me. I have seen it many times before, but for the first time it was this particular thing that irked me. No, it was not the fact that Charlie was on his way to visit his friend at the old folks' home just as that friend was being murdered by punks. It's always punks. It was not the fact that those punks committed a heinous home invasion in broad daylight in an apartment-style old age home and no one seemed to notice. And it was not the fact that once good ol' Charlie decided to exact his brand of vigilante justice, he found said old folks' home stacked with gigantic automatic weapons and rocket launchers. And it was not the fact that the bad guys were so easily identifiable by their face paint. Because nothing says evil bad-ass punks who need to be wiped off the face of the Earth quite like face paint. That is why you see them hanging around the balloon animal tent at the fair right before they go off to commit their latest random murder.

No, it was the fact that Charlie Bronson didn't pay for his cab. He gave the driver an extra 20 bucks to get him around an accident illegally, but did not pay him at the end of the ride. He just got out of the cab, looked up at the run-down old folks' home wistfully (unaware that his old army buddy was lying dead inside) and walked in. The cabbie didn't even seem perturbed. He merely drove away, thinking "well, at least Paul Kersey didn't kill me". And this happens in a lot of films. Apparently, doing normal, courteous things like paying for your cab takes up precious screen time, screen time that could be spent (at least in this "film") firing rocket-propelled grenades at face-painted punks with reverse mohawks. It seems very rare that cab drivers get their money or their due in films. And when they actually get screen time, they are the most obnoxious people ever. Think...Rush Hour 3. Or Taxi. (One exception is Collateral, where the cab driver is actually the star of the movie, he is smart and cool, and he gets his money.) Perhaps this is why Larry O'Brien considers them second-class citizens.

No one in movies ever thanks a coffee shop employee for a coffee either, or acknowledges service of any kind. One exception to this rule is the door man. If the star of the movie is in a hotel with a door man, he will always engage in brief banter with said door man on the way in and out. This lets us know that the hero is a good guy, and will converse with even the lowest of the peons he comes across. Also, his solid standing with that door man will come in handy at the end of the film, when the hero needs to find out who has been in and out of the building. OK, I'm done with my sour grapes. Now I need to go back to Death Wish 3. Charlie Bronson is about to discover the cache of automatic weapons stashed in the old age home, and I don't want to miss that bazooka shot.

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