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maryann johanson | takeaway only

things wot we learned from the 2013 summer movies


Have you been paying attention to what the movies have been saying — what the movies have really been saying — all summer? Here’s a refresher. Bone up: there will be a pop quiz when you least expect it.

• If you can cram some Asian stuff in a flick, like maybe an exotic location or an actor from the Mysterious East, this is good for drawing in newly all-important global markets: ie, Pacific Rim, $397m worldwide and counting; The Wolverine, $351m worldwide and counting. But you’ll do even better with a fake Asian villain who gets to say “Croydon”: ie, Iron Man 3, $1.2b worldwide and counting.

• If you want to avoid trouble crossing back into the U.S. from Mexico after visiting a drug lord, you’re better off with a Friend (Jennifer Aniston, We’re the Millers) than a New Kid on the Block (Mark Wahlberg, 2 Guns).

• Wait. The Navy is engaging with the Mexican cartels (2 Guns)? For real? (Apparently, for real.)

• Stealing from criminal kingpins is actually not so bad, because you get some really good male bonding out of it (The Hangover Part III, 2 Guns).

• If you want to be a hero, arrange to have your beloved brother killed, preferably before your own horrified eyes. (Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger) Beloved older mentors are suitable in a pinch (Star Trek Into Darkness).

• The hellish future-Earth afterscape is going to be so pretty (Oblivion, After Earth)! But not right away (Elysium).

• Speed is awesome, but mostly only dudes are into that sort of thing (Fast & Furious 6, Turbo, Planes).

• Married couples are extra good at deluding themselves into believing the world is entirely unlike what it actually is (The Conjuring, Oblivion, The Purge).

• Dudes can be grouchy, clumsy, vain, brainy, handy, gutsy, hefty, panicky, greedy, jokey, smooth, passive-aggressive, clueless, social, or crazy, but chicks are distinctive only for their gender (The Smurfs 2). This is progressive next to the culture of the Minions, which has yet to embrace such social advancements as nonmale gender (Despicable Me 2).

• Not apocalypse, not rapture, not even death can bring an end to a manly bromance when dudes really, really love each other (The World’s End, This Is the End, Star Trek Into Darkness). When the end of the world comes, however, a dude is only going to leave a woman behind in order to go be heroic (World War Z), scare her away with cowering cowardice (This Is the End), or turn out to have utterly lied about the protections he has put into place to keep her safe (The Purge). Being an agent of destruction, on the other hand, will totally make a girl want to kiss you (Man of Steel).

• Teen boys need to be taught how to ogle women (The Way, Way Back), because women are constantly stripping down to their underwear for no reason (Star Trek Into Darkness), bending over to expose their cleavage (Grown Ups 2), or ripping their clothes off in nightclub restrooms (The Heat).

• Women are well suited for positions of authority, as long as men don’t have to actually pay them much heed (The Internship, Monsters University).

• Slugs are sexually attracted to human females (Epic).

• “Men were deceivers ever” (The World’s End, 2 Guns, Grown Ups 2, The Great Gatsby, Now You See Me, Much Ado About Nothing).

• The world is lousy with the halfblood offspring of supernatural beings and humans, and being a teen is no easier for them, you know (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones).

• Chicks can too carry movies that dudes want to see (Kick-Ass 2, Red 2, The Heat).

So much good life advice for ordinary people and studio execs. Educational for all!

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maryann rants | movie buzz

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