Sam Strange’s Best Film Lessons of 2012

The movie year is over (more or less). Let's see what lessons we learned.

Well, it's that time of year again where we film critics get together and assess the cinematic year that just concluded (the important part, anyway). And since I like to think of each film as a learning opportunity, I offer you the Best Film Lessons of 2012.

1. When You See a Supposedly Dead Friend Alive and Well in a Random Cafe, Don't get Your Panties in a Bunch about It

In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman throws a bomb into the ocean, killing millions of fish rather than millions of Gothamites, and everyone figures he dies along with all the sharks and the jellyfish since it's common knowledge his plane has no autopilot. What they don't know is that he FIXED the autopilot and survived by jumping into the water just before he blew up all the water. Thinking his closest friend dead, Alfred cries a lot and goes on permanent vacation in Europe where he just happens to come across Batman himself chilling in a cafe like it's no big deal. Instead of freaking out, Alfred acts like the coldest cucumber of the bunch and just nods at his former pseudo-son. Like all real men, they'll have plenty of time to catch up in Hell.

2. Stay Quiet and Don't Move Around Steroid Albino God. His Vision is Based on Movement and He Doesn't Like You

Prometheus is about a lot of things. For instance: ……………………Look! A xenomorph-ish thing! Anyway, according to Prometheus, Muscular Albinos created humans a long time ago. At some point, one of them saw an episode of Honey Boo Boo and decided they'd made a big mistake. But before they could kill us with black goo that fucks you up in a variety of ways depending on…………………………………..Look! Alien abortion! When the robot and the old man find one Steroid Albino still alive they wake it up and……………………………………………….I feel stupid just writing this shit. Don't wake up God when he's sleeping; let's just leave it at that.

3. If You're Afraid of Death, Become an Expendable

It seems the whole idea of being an "Expendable" would indicate a short life span. According to a great scholar I once asked on the subject, being expendable is like when "someone invites you to a party and you don't show up. It doesn't really matter." So you're there one day and dead the next. No big whoop. We can get more. And yet the entire Expendables 2 team not only lives through this whole film, but survived the first one, too. Even when one does die, like the blonde crazy one did, they don't stay dead. The whole plot of this one doesn't get ignited until the youngest, least commercial Expendable dies and everyone acts like such a horrible thing never happened before. This is the easily the safest mercenary outfit on earth. Look at how many of them make it to 70.

4. Even the World's Most Self-Centered Jerk Can Grow a Heart

In Marvel's The Avengers, egotistical rockstar egghead Tony Stark discovers right when it matters most that he cares more about helping others than enlarging his own greatness. So he decides to stop selling weapons. No wait, he decides to keep his Iron Man armor away from those who would use it for evil. No wait, he flies a nuclear bomb into a dimensional rift. No wait, he gives all his money to charity and becomes a monk in China until he is killed by the Iron Monkey. One of those is what happens. We should all figure out which one and follow in his footsteps.

5. Be Wary: Those Flashy Memory Things are Real

I have a stack of ticket stubs, each claiming that I watched Men in Black 3. And yet I have no memory of the film at all. Watch your ass.

6. The Little Guy Will Eat Your Lunch

The Raid was sort of a never-ending badass locomotive that continuously topped itself even when such a thing should have been impossible. And that's largely thanks to the little guy. As even Homer Simpson can tell you, when it comes to fighting Asians, don't take your eye off the little guy. Here we see the little guy destroy pretty much everything in sight. Guns don't scare this guy. They bore him. It takes two serious badasses to finally put him down, and even they can't do it without the aid of some convenient florescent lights.

7. If You're in a Game Where You Either Kill or Die, Choose Neither

When Katnipp Evergreen finds herself a contestant in the Hunger Games, a contest in which a bunch of kids have to kill each other, she decides to just sit in a tree and let everyone else kill each other off so she can remain a likable character. Unfortunately, an even more likable character ruins her plan by peer pressuring her into dropping bees on her fellow contestants, chasing them off. Ultimately, Katnipp manages to win the game by almost killing people just enough that they end up killing themselves or each other. When it comes down to her and the boy she's pretending to love, she chooses to win by threatening to kill herself, which works. And sucks.

8. Don't Pick on the Nerdy Kid

According to Chronicle, a heartbreaking true story miraculously caught on tape, you never know how fucked up a fellow teenager is until he gets superpowers and can shove an Oldsmobile up your ass. It's probably best to just err on the side of kindness. You can be a jerk once you graduate and become successful enough to ruin those nerds economically.

9. There are no More Nerdy Kids

Peter Parker has always been our go-to comic book nerd. In this summer's remake of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, we find not the socially awkward Parker we're used to but rather a pinch-faced proto-jock who uses his teen awesomeness to stand up for less cool students. He's an attractive skateboarder who listens to all the most current trendy tunes, man. He's also a bit of an asshole. This is what nerds look like today. Historians are still trying to ascertain whether they won or lost the war.

10. Drugs Will Make Your Ass Bad

The original Jason Bourne was a badass thanks to extensive training and brainwashing. This new Jason Bourne relies on a bunch of drugs to make him cool. And as we all know, drugs aren't cool. So instead of making an action film about an awesome guy who does a bunch of badass shit, we have to sit through an action film all about some knobby-headed wannabe going through detox. If there's a more effective way to get across an anti-drug message, I'd hate to see it.

11. If You Want People to Like You, Don't Bore Them with Crap They Don't Care About

For whatever reason, the John Carter in John Carter was a soulless vacuum of generic hunky manimal. But that's okay. The film still had Mars. Except we had to wait so long to get there that it no longer mattered once we did. The film then punishes those whose hearts gave it a second chance by ending the story on an extended whimper. Most bad movies at least know we don't give a shit. John Carter made you sit through a bunch of family vacation slides before a decent dinner then forced you to listen to its granddaughter's piano recital afterwards.

12. It's Okay Now for White People to go Around Talking Like Black People

There are many surprises found with in Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection, but the biggest is that racism is basically over and we can all relax now when it comes to semantics and cultural sensitivity. I know because a black man dressed as an old woman told me so. And then Eugene Levy and Denise Richards illustrated his/her point. Talking like black caricatures totally solved all their family issues. We don't need political correctness anymore, you guys. Someone tell Fox News.

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