Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Apocalypse, Like, Whenever

The other night, commercials for post-disaster movies were interrupting our golf watching, and we realized we weren't sure which movie to be mad at. When we thought about it, there were at least two,maybe three, or was it four? They all looked alike. Stuff was blowing up at random, a sweaty-faced scowling hero was barking at a bad guy, and people were getting shot and flying around from the aforementioned explosions. Wouldn't it be cheaper to re-cook the old disaster movies instead of...oh, wait, they're already doing that.
Maybe it's a testosterone thing, but I don't get a lot of the movies. Think back to the last one you came across. Let's go with the standard assumption that 99.9% of the earth's people are dead/have disappeared/are some kind of weird mutant thingie, but all their stuff has been left, if not intact, lying around:
1. Our hero is always a male, indeterminate young-adult age, brilliant at improvising. However...all the Stuff is still lying around. Why does he have to make his own gun and shells? You'd think he could take his pick of whatever's left.
2. This brings me to his clothing. Guy Hero could five-finger discount any wardrobe he wanted, but he's always staggering around in a dirty, usually torn, shirt or a leather vest that never gets damaged even if the shirt under it disintegrates. Here's another thing: bust a belt loop on a real guy's jeans, and they start falling down. When our jeans rip, the seat comes out. Guy Hero's skin-tight jeans never come off, no matter how badly they tear, and the only rips are on the thighs, not on the hiney or anywhere else embarrassing.
Meanwhile, Love Interest always manages to stumble all around Apocalypse World in a short, skin-tight, badly torn dress and heels. Are you telling me common sense never gets her to walk into the busted-up mall and pick up some jeans and a pair of hiking boots for climbing over the piles of metal debris?
3. How about Love Interest, anyhow? Her job is to stand around, scream in the right places, and look impressed by Guy Hero's inventions and combat skills. How come she never DOES anything? A few movies have Love Interest be a brainiac of some kind, but always in some scientific field rendered all but useless in Apocalypse, Like, Whenever, so the brainy blonde with the huge gazongas gets to stand around and...(Oh, wait a minute, it's a guy movie. Never mind.)
4. This is a family column, so we'll leave out the obvious, but how come NO ONE EVER TAKES A BATH? I don't care if he's the last man on earth. Sooner or later, Guy Hero is going to stink and even Love Interest will start gagging. Guy can build a nuclear reactor out of tweezers, a Band-Aid and his own chest hair. Are you telling me he can't figure out how to pick up some soap and climb in the river?
5. It can be gruesomely hot and dry, or gruesomely hot and pouring rain, but it can't be cold or snowy after the earthquake/asteroid/virus/volcano/nuclear war. Apparently, the entire world is, and has always been, a desert. I guess the torn jeans and leather vest over bare chest are too important for cold weather. Anyway, Guy Hero is too busy trying to rig a computer out of the wiring from an Edsel to walk into the ruins of an outdoor store to pick up a parka. (Or, for that matter, to walk over to the computer store and pick up a laptop, then salvage a few dozen car batteries from the parking lot by way of power.)
6. Oh, come he can never find a windmill generator, hydro plant or solar rack to power his gizmos? They wouldn't stop just because people did. Shoot, if he could find an abandoned off-grid house he'd be in great shape. Nah, it's more fun to sleep out in the open beside a deserted highway within sight of eight bazillion hotels with actual beds.
7. Eating rattlesnakes makes a guy look really tough. It would also be (a) boring if you did that very often and (b) hard on the rattlesnake population. The canned stuff in supermarkets would hold out for a long time, even if I might start eating rattlesnakes after a week or so were the alternative endless cans of Spaghetti-Twirlies.
8. The bad guys are supposed to be geniuses, but they never think of clothing, showers or housing, either. They're too busy cruising around in their Mega-Giant Machine O' Death, which never runs out of fuel.
9. Oh, yeah, the motorcycle. Guy Hero HAS to have a really great bike. After a couple of cross-country runs, wouldn't you be tempted to drive a car? I mean, Harleys are great, but not so much in pouring rain or for those thousand-mile runs across the inevitable desert. Come on, the parking lots would be full of sweet Mustangs and '57 Chevies. Air conditioning, cruise control, a stereo...Guy Hero could always rig a gas pump to work somehow. For that matter, why doesn't he use a Hummer? Or, when the bad guys show up in their techno-truck, a tank? It would save a lot of those tedious conversations:
"You see, Guy, we have a giant laser, with which we propose to--"
10. After the bad guys have been conquered and the desert is safe for what's left of humanity, Guy Hero and Love Interest always look off into the distance vaguely and ride off together toward, umm, more desert somewhere else. At no point do they find a nice abandoned mansion, rig the power and water, haul out the stock of sports videos and lie around in the den vegging out. How, in all his brilliance, can Guy Hero not figure out how to make beer?

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