Who writes this stuff?

Ed Smith
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"He plays the game the way it should be played. (Pause.) You know, when he plays it the right way."
That's the latest from my friend Rance Mullinicks, who sometimes does colour commentary on the Toronto Blue Jays television broadcasts.
Rance made the first part of that statement about Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington earlier today during the ball game, and then when questioned as to what he meant, came up with the second half. It wasn't all that enlightening.
Mr. Mullinicks is an entertaining fellow and knows his baseball. Unfortunately, what he knows about baseball is in direct inverse proportion to what he doesn't know about the grammatical side of the English language. Rance totally slaughters the Queen's English, the Prince of Wales' English, the president's English ( which is twisted enough as it is) and mine.
Friend Rance never says "often"; it's "oftentimes." Always sounds strange to my ear.
l've been making note lately of some of the really ridiculous things I see and hear on television and in movies. As an example, I just saw this in the news and repeat it verbatim.
"The victim was burned and mutilated and had parts of his lips and tongue cut off. Police are proceeding on the basis that this was an aggravated assault." You think?
My favorite stupid plots, however, come from the wonderful world of movies. I don't know who writes this stuff or directs it, but some of it is really awful.
One of my favorite scenes from the movies is played over and over again, especially in action and horror flicks. A couple of nights ago, there was a movie in which this babysitter was looking after two small children in an upscale home with all kinds of arming devices to keep out intruders and all-around bad guys.
Then she starts getting disturbing phone calls with heavy breathing and strange sounds. She realizes soon enough that it isn't the town Welcome Wagon or your ordinary obscene phone caller. This fellow is scary and dangerous.
She tries telephoning but no one is at home or answering the phone. Finally she hears or thinks she hears suspicious noises from outside the house. Someone is out there! So what does she do?
Remember, now, she's in a veritable fortress. All she has to do is call the police and hang tough until they arrive. But not our heroine. She disarms all the safeguards around the doors and windows, takes a flashlight and opens the door.
Does she take a small peek and then duck inside again? Not on your life! Or hers! She steps outside and looks around the garden. Then she decides to investigate the shrubbery and trees around the house. She has her trusty flashlight just to be sure anyone waiting for her in the shadows would know exactly where she was.
Someone who's supposed to have some sense is directing this stupid plot. Who among us in his right mind would go outdoors in the middle of night in the middle of a rainstorm with the possibility of an ax murderer lurking outside? Surely the people making the film can see this is stupid beyond belief.
As it turns out, she isn't attacked outside. But wouldn't you know? While she's mucking around outside, the ax murderer (actually. he uses a knife) slips in through the open door of the house and attacks her when she gets back inside. My immediate reaction was, "Serves her bloody well right! Too bad the murderer didn't get the director, too, and all the producers, not to mention the writer."
I know it shouldn't bother me, but it does. It spoils the movie I've just invested 90 minutes of my life in watching.
You see it especially in those massacre type movies - of which there are about 5,000 running around the movie channels - where eight or 10 teenagers decide to spend a weekend at a cabin in the woods. Like you, I know they're up to no good. But long before they have a chance to get down and dirty, someone starts killing them off in the most gruesome fashion (and sometimes when he and she are in the middle of a real good time. I think it's called being caught in delicious fragrance or something).
Anyway, they're all dispatched except one comely wench in short shorts and a sheer blouse. I don't know what that has to do with it, either, but that's the way it always is.
It's the middle of the night, a hurricane is raging outside the cabin and she does exactly what any other young woman would do under the circumstances. She takes her trusty flashlight, and goes outside searching the trees and bushes for someone suspicious, perhaps with several feet of intestines hanging around his neck.
I tell you, it's too stupid to talk about.
The other one that always gets me is when some character gets set upon by several villains with baseball bats, knives and hockey sticks and is beaten for about an hour until there's nothing left but a bloody pulp. Inevitably someone will happen along shortly after, lean over this poor fellow and ask, "You OK?" I have yet to see a plot where the executioner, after beheading the victim, turns the body over carefully and asks, "You OK?" But I know it's only a matter of time. Likewise, I can imagine the warden of the prison approaching the electric chair after the smoke has cleared and inquiring solicitously of the person sitting there (more or less) "You OK?"
That introduces the question of why I'm looking at that stuff in the first place. The reason? Sheer selflessness. I will do anything to gather material for the entertainment of my readers. In the wee small hours of the night you'll find me, bleary-eyed and practically brain dead, trying to guess who's going to get their throats cut next or at what particular stage of coitus the dastardly deed will be done.
For this they pay me.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca.

Organizations: Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Queen's

Geographic location: Springdale

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