MTV Movie Awards expose film cliche #79,829: Cool guys don’t look at explosions

Thank you, Andy Samberg. And thank you, MTV Movie Awards show. Your “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions” concentrates and exposes yet another numbingly uncreative Hollywood cliche that’s peeved me for years. Of course, Huffington Post missed the entire point, declaring it was a “tribute to action stars.” “Tribute”? Are you kidding? It was a fierce and fitting slam at Hollywood’s cookie-cutter, monkey-see mentality of monotony: If it looks cool and worked once, do it a thousand times.

Heck, as good as Samberg’s montage was, it didn’t even use every example of the slow-mo “cool” guy (in reality, stupid guy) walking away without flinching or protectively covering himself as a major explosion erupts just behind him.

Pierce Brosnan in The Matador also had such a scene, walking slowly away without a flinch or a look back, despite the fact that he’d just SET OFF the explosion and didn’t want to appear to be a suspect. Right — so unlike every other panicky person in sight, he calmly walks away. Nothing suspicious about that, is there? But doesn’t he look “cool”?

That’s not to mention the stupidity of exposing your back to any explosion, which is likely to send shards of pointy, heavy, burning debris at, oh, say 300 mph — right toward your disdainful backside. Cool, right? No, stupid. But in Hollywood movies, it’s all about seeming to look cool for those who are easily impressed, and reworking formulas as long as folks keep buying tickets.

So thanks again, Andy and MTV. Now that you’ve mocked and skewered and exposed this trite travesty (which should have occurred to more people already, but I’ll take it), all the witless directors who delve in such dreck will have to think twice before doing it yet again, or risk being laughed at in theaters by people who finally are in on the idiocy of the lame cliche. Chances are, the next time such a hackneyed scene appears, an explosion of laughter will occur, too.

Of course, that won’t stop such directors from leaning on other cliches, such as filming every scene where in-the-news people emerge from a courthouse or other edifice with swarms of screaming, incoherent reporters all trying to ask questions at once. It’s what I call the “media rabble” scene or the “media feeding frenzy” scene, and it, too, is shot the same way, every time, over and over, in every movie, just like “cool guys don’t look at explosions,” thus lending alleged urgency and importance to the event, but in no way reflecting the reality of news reporting (and I can say this, having been a journalist for many years). But hey, that’s how everyone else shoots it, so that means it’s OK, right?

Riiiight — especially if it hasn’t been spoofed yet on an MTV Movie Awards show or Scary Movie-style sendup flick, or ridiculed by bloggers like me.  Hooray for Hollywood!

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