The real Little Green Man from Mars is alive and well and living in Appalachia.

The Truth Is a Lone Assassin by Jonco Bugos

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Science According To Hollywood

It didn't take me my whole life to discover that Earth had its own set of mathematical formulas and laws and principles governing physics, the science of energy and masses in motion. I learned at a very early age that these laws were written in Hollywood and that they usually converted moviegoers instantly into mindless morons who were so taken with Technicolor and Panavision and Surround Sound and whatnot that they never noticed that the real laws of mathematics and physics were being broken left and right, just to make a lousy buck. Here are a few examples, in no particular order:

1. In Hollywood, 2+2 hardly ever equals 4. Especially in westerns and action/adventure crime movies. Back in the 1950s and 60s, nobody shot six rounds from their six-shooters. They usually shot twenty or thirty, sometimes even fifty rounds before they ran out. When I got older, I heard that Hollywood's excuse for this excessive use of cowboy bullets was to blame the film editors who didn't bother to count the bullets when they spliced and cut and taped the celluloid film back together. That's probably true. But that's also passing the buck.

My theory is that these editors were a lot like the screenwriters. They lived most of their lives East of the Hudson River, where no one knew anything about guns except real cops and real robbers. That's also why submachine guns (machine guns that fire pistol bullets, not rifle bullets) in movies spit bullets like paint sprayers instead of like real submachine guns, hammering out at least a hundred rounds per thirty-shot stick magazine before it's time to change "clips". The muzzle flare from most Hollywood submachine guns is also bigger and brighter than real submachine guns because the "stage rounds" in Hollywood are packed with a lot more powder and no bullet whatsoever.

Screenwriters, directors and actors being brainless about mathematics and clueless about firearms is also why Winchester rifles are cocked and cocked and cocked a dozen times or more in westerns, no doubt for effect, before they're ever fired. Manhattanites who write for Hollywood have no clue that each time a loaded lever action rifle is cocked it ejects a shell. In this case, an unspent casing with the primer, powder and bullet still intact. This lack of knowledge about firearms, mixed with the inability or refusal to count, is also why most Beretta 92F pistols in movies from the 1980s and 90s had their hammers manually cocked for effect, even after firing. Semi-automatic pistols automatically cock the hammer between rounds so, if you had to cock it yourself after you just fired it, you would have to let the hammer down first. And if you chamber the damn thing over and over again, you'll just be pumping your unused cartridges onto the ground. Somebody from Appalachia or Texas or Chicago needs to tell these stupid people to stop playing with their guns and holster them.

Hollywood should have hired an average redneck, hillbilly asshole like me from just about any Appalachian county and we could have told you all that. And you'd only have to give us a couple of bucks — just enough for beer money — and you'd have had a movie that's in keeping with the real principles of mathematics and the laws of physics. And you'd save yourself a lot of embarrassment when the average Joe and Jane from flyover country points and laughs at your stupid, sorry, know-it-all, big-city mistakes. Like having Bruce Willis tell airport police in "Diehard 2" that a certain terrorist's Glock handgun wouldn't show up on a metal detector because it was made out of porcelain. Porcelain? Porcelain would be OK if the object in question was a knickknack or an antique commode, instead of a firearm. The Glock firearm in this movie was a high-quality Austrian handgun with a frame that was made out of polymer, a tough-as-steel plastic used for making firearm frames. Furthermore, even a pistol with polymer frame still has metal parts inside it. Like the barrel, receiver and firing pin, to name a few. And, you bet, these metal parts would definitely show up in a metal detector screening. Ouch. And guess what? The cartridges for a 9mm, 10mm or a 40S&W caliber Glock pistol are like any other cartridges. They have metal casings and metal bullets that would also show up under a metal detector screening. Ouch again.

2. Nobody in Hollywood knows anything about air pressure. A case in point is the scene in the movie "Eraser" where James Cromwell sticks a revolver in his mouth and blows the back of his own head off in front of Vanessa Williams. When the exiting bullet shatters the window behind him, air rushes out of the room like a 747 fuselage that's been blown wide open. What? Was his office at 30,000 feet? Wow, that's really moving up the corporate ladder. Or maybe all corporate executives, according to Hollywood, have pressurized offices.

3. In case no one ever noticed, cars don't automatically flip over when they go fast. You need a hidden ramp designed by a special effects person or a prop person to lift the front wheel up and tip the car over. In Hollywood movies, cars are ramping up and flipping over so much that there are probably moviegoers who think a speeding car becomes airborne at some point.

4. Hand grenades, bombs, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar shells and howitzer shells don't really make huge orange fireballs when they explode. They usually tear up a lot of ground and shred the target area and blast out more gray and black dirt and shrapnel with an explosive gray cloud of burning powder and less red or white or orange fire in the middle of the explosion. That's real military ordnance doing what it does. Not the slow-moving, billowing, orange mushroom that rises dramatically into the air like a blooming chrysanthemum in early September. Only gasoline, propane and specially-formulated flammable liquids and gases produce Hollywood fireballs.

And, by the way, cars don't explode every time they crash, regardless of whether or not they ramped and flipped before they crashed. And, while we're at it, forget the white flames in the Hollywood movies. I doubt very much if you'll ever have to fight your way out of a pit of flaming phosphorous as long as you live. Unless you find yourself in a Hollywood movie.

5. You can't jump out of a plane in a rubber life raft, inflate it on the way down, land on a waterfall without flipping over and then float merrily down a river until hill people in India welcome you and feed you bugs for lunch. That can only happen in an Indiana Jones movie and nowhere else in the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

6. If you stick a big knife into someone's belly and twist it and pry on it and twist it while you're practically embracing him — like the sick, demented villains that moviegoers have the hots for these days— you will get blood on your own clothes. In fact, your poor victim will spray you like a blood fountain until you let him go. People need to know that sticking a large piece of sharpened steel into another human being is not only cruel and inhumane, it's really messy. For both of you.

On the other hand, if you chop a bunch of people's heads off in a single stroke with a big sword, like Uma Thurman did in "Kill Bill", their necks will not become geysers, spraying blood ten feet into the air. One foot, maybe. But not ten. And, no matter how hard you try, you will never get ten gallons of blood out of one bad guy. Not when the average adult body contains a mere six quarts of blood. Once again, 2 + 2 = not 4 in Hollywood.

7. And, while we're at it, most gunshots fired into human heads produce exit wounds, especially when the bullet is a full metal jacket or fired from a modern handgun using high-powered ammunition like a .357 Magnum, 9 mm and especially, a .40 S&W. You don't get "cherry pie" on the mirror behind the guy you just shot in the head unless the bullet came out first and cracked that mirror. A case in point is the scene in the movie "Best Seller" where mob hitman James Woods shoots another mob hitman in the head in front of a bathroom mirror, producing lots of "cherry pie" (what a gross analogy) on the mirror behind the victim but no bullet hole in said mirror. And nobody can shoot somebody in the side of the head while they're sitting by a car window and splatter the window behind them without breaking it in the process. The first "hit" scene in the movie "Magnum Force" illustrates my point. Yeppir, the bullet exits an exit wound first. Then the "cherry pie".

What's even dumber is the movie "No Country for Old Men" where they show that circus freak killer off a motorist by making a hole in his head with a bolt driven by an air pressure tank. This contraption is used for killing livestock and there's no projectile. Therefore, there couldn't be an exit wound. And yet we clearly see a spray of blood and brains exiting the back of the victim's head. OK, they screwed up once. Typical Hollywood non-ballistic science. But they screw up again later in the movie when the Sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones confirms with his deputy that there was "no exit wound." Wow. I guess we're either supposed to forget we saw the first scene or else be dumb enough to think that when somebody makes a hole in your forehead with a two- or three-inch bolt, the back of your head will explode with "cherry pie". Wow. Not only do most Hollywood screenwriters know nothing about firearms and ballistics, Hollywood directors are at least as dumb about these things or else they're sleeping in their director's chairs during the filming.

By the same token, a bullet might knock a gunshot victim down but no full-metal jacket bullet in the world is going to slam a person backward twenty feet into a wall (as if the actor were quickly being pulled backward by a rope that the FX people rigged up). Yep, that's Hollywood rewriting the laws of physics again. A case in point is the movie "Eraser" again. First of all, no aluminum bullet can be launched from a rifle at the speed of light. The speed of sound (1129 feet per second at sea level), sure, but not at 186,000 miles per second. A bullet going that fast would burn up in the atmosphere before it even hit its target and would probably burn up the barrel it was fired from as well. But if an impossible bullet from that ridiculous "Rail Gun" did hit a guy in the chest, it would shoot through him like a laser beam and he'd drop straight down like a dead Nazi who'd just been drilled by a 30.06 full metal jacket Spitzer bullet fried from an M1 Garand. It takes a lot of transferred energy to knock a grown man back twenty feet. And an imaginary bullet tunneling through a torso at 186,000 miles per second would transfer hardly any "muzzle energy" at all to anybody. That's real ballistics, not the Hollywood version.

8. If two guys in a western hammer each others faces for five or six minutes someone has to bleed. If a cowboy or a bank robber in a modern movie gets shot in the chest — now get this — they have to bleed. I guess Hollywood screenwriters who wrote the scripts for movies and television back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s didn't know squat about blood pressure. No wonder they didn't know diddly about air pressure, either.

9. Outer Space is a vacuum. When an approaching "waffle iron" in a cheesy, made-for-the kiddies science fiction movie is seen traveling through space, it couldn't possibly be heard by anyone watching it. In the real universe, there couldn't possibly be any sound outside the "space craft". Fighter space craft launched from these clumsy, preposterous "waffle-iron" battle cruisers could never make screaming noises while they tear through space in real life, either. You need gases, liquids or solids to conduct sound, not a vacuum. Oh, sure, I know why Hollywood violates these laws of acoustics. To make money, what else? Still, it's a crying shame. But, they're right about one thing. In the vacuum of space a speeding "waffle iron" can be as graceful as a flying saucer. Until it encounters some gases or, worse yet, some planet's atmosphere. Then its "waffle iron" design would become just as cumbersome and ridiculous as it looks to anyone with a brain.

10. The outside world — even on a planet as screwed up and polluted as planet Earth — isn't just gray and black and blue and various shades of each. Only in Hollywood. The real world is in living color. So, take off your Ray Bans. And, while you're at it, get your actors and actresses to lose those black leather jackets, trashy black jeans and ill-fitting shirts and try on some colored clothing. It's been around for centuries. And while you're at it, make them bathe and shave. Maybe they can't act but they could at least look clean. Once again, nobody can have a five-o'clock shadow for three or four weeks. Sooner or later it becomes a beard. That's right, in the real world 2 + 2 = 4. And you damn well know it.

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