The Most Annoying Scene In The Action Movie
May 16, 2011 13 Comments
We’ve all encountered this scene a million times in movies/TV:
Guy: I’ve got to go do the thing.
Girl: Please don’t go! It’s so dangerous and when you walk out that door I don’t know whether you’re coming back in!
Guy: But it’s got to be done. And it’s my job.
Girl: Okay, fine, just go. But I can’t promise I’ll be here when you get back.
Most recently seen on Justified as Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) makes his way back to Harlan County to…well it doesn’t really matter.
The point is, two questions spring to mind here. 1. Why is this scene so fricking annoying?, and 2. given that it’s so fricking annoying, why do scriptwriters keep on copy/pasting it into their plots?
These facts are usually present. 1. The thing the guy is going to do, that’s basically all he does. It’s not just his job, it’s his existence and the only thing he’s good at. 2. It’s also very important, i.e. the right thing to do (the girl always doesn’t care). 3. Crucially, the fact that the guy is the type of guy who does these things is, presumably, prominent among what attracts the girl to the guy. In other words, for the girl to ask the guy not to go get the bad guys is hypocritical and self-defeating; that’s the only reasons she’s with him, and if he ever stopped being that type of guy, she’d probably dump him.
So the only real effect of the ‘Don’t Go Do Your Job’ scene is to make the chick a damn nuisance that you want offscreen ASAP so you can get back to the interesting stuff.
So why even include it? Theories.
- Scriptwriters (being mostly guys, and disproportionately gay guys) don’t know anything about women. So, they don’t know what motivates them, what their interests are, what they would or might actually say in a given situation. So, they rely on tropes such as Don’t You Walk Out That Door.
- Relatedly: Scriptwriters are all misogynists who hate women and genuinely think a perennial, selfish, and stupid ‘don’t do your job’ stance is all that they are capable of or can add to the plot.
- Once the hero gets the attractive girlfriend/wife, scriptwriters feel they are boxed in (what bad can happen now?) and need to sprinkle drama in there to keep things interesting. So the girl inexplicably trying to prevent the guy from doing his job because it’s ‘dangerous’ – that’s the best they can think of.
You know what my favorite part of the entire Rocky series was?
Adrian: There’s one thing I want you to do for me.
Rocky Balboa: What’s that?
Damn that was good. In light of the above, it was even a bit groundbreaking. Sadly.