Tag Archives: falls

Swamp Thing 3.23: A Time of Running

“In this sequence,” director Wes Craven said, “Adrienne Barbeau falls down twice, and my daughter, who at that time was about 14 when she was watching it, turned and looked at me very sternly and said, ‘Dad, girls don’t fall down when they run.’

“And I never forgot that, you know? Especially twice. [I said], you know, yeah, you’re right, and I think after this I did a lot of films with female protagonists that were very competent.”

I like that story, partly because it’s an appealing moment of self-reflection, and partly because it’s a good example of the redemptive power of 14-year-old daughters in American life.

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Superman II 2.49: President falls down crevasse, administration’s agenda in doubt

You know, they say that Dems are in disarray, but I don’t think anyone’s ever been in more disarray than this administration, which is currently on a badwill tour of the opposition’s main campaign strongholds. After a disastrous whistle stop in Metropolis which led to a grassroots groundswell wielding umbrellas and traffic cones, the delegation has moved on to a divisive meeting at the challenger’s North Pole retreat, where insiders report that they have made limited progress.

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Superman II 2.16: The Fall of Man

If the Superman movies have taught me anything so far, it’s that people fall out of stuff way more often than you would imagine. We’ve seen Lois fall out of a helicopter, and get herself strapped to a plunging elevator, and if you watch the Donner Cut, she even throws herself out of a Daily Planet window on purpose.

There’s also a cat burglar falling down a skyscraper, Air Force One about to crash, and Lex Luthor hanging from a high shelf in his library, and at the moment, the Phantom Zoners are gently drifting down through the upper atmosphere. In the end, it’s all about altitude.

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Superman 1.56: The Catch

It’s impossible, of course. Falling object LL descending distance d at velocity v for a given time t, being met by rising object S at acceleration a, with v equal to a times t, and d equal to one-half a times t squared, would result in falling object LL rapidly disassembling into her component parts, some on rising object S and quite a bit on the ground g, making a terrible mess and putting the kibosh on the romance like you wouldn’t believe.

So overall I think it’s best if we stress the fiction more than the science here, and focus on the matter at hand. A handsome man from beyond the stars has suddenly appeared directly under Lois, sweeping aside the laws of physics for her immediate benefit.

“Easy, miss,” he assures her. “I’ve got you.”

Her surprised squeak of a response — “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?” — is one of the great moments in American cinema, partly because her comic timing and the crack in her voice are utterly perfect, but also because she’s expressing the surprise and anxiety of a person who suddenly finds herself starring in a different movie than the one that she thought she was in.

It’s easy to imagine this scene going wrong; all you’d need is for Lois to be grateful rather than horrified. “Oh, thank goodness,” she would say, “I thought I was falling to my death, but here you are and you’ve saved me, hurrah!” And then she’d wave to the crowd like a homecoming queen, instantly comfortable with the idea that gravity is backwards.

What Lois is actually expressing is more along the lines of, “Holy shit, what’s happening? What the fuck are you, and what are you doing to me?” I mean, obviously she’s pleased that she’s moving away from the ground rather than smacking directly into it, but she’s fallen into the clutches of a monster from outer space, and that’s going to take a minute to get used to.

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