Unfortunate Implications/Film

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He played this trope for laughs, and that in itself has unfortunate implications.

Times where movies portray things in an unfortunate way.

Important Note: Just because a work has Unfortunate Implications does not mean the author was thinking of it that way. In fact, that's the point of it being unfortunate. So, please, no Justifying Edits about "what the authors really meant." The way an author handles a trope is an important factor here; handling a trope in a clumsy manner can certainly create unintentional impressions for readers. Likewise, if a work intends the offensive message (for example, a piece of Nazi propaganda about Jews), it wouldn't count. Also, for something that may not be offensive to you personally but may offend others in a different culture or time period, see Values Dissonance.

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  • 300 has several:
    • Beyond the idealization of hardcore eugenics and other fascist ideals, practically all of the Persians with major speaking roles, most infamously the messenger, are played by actors of Sub-Saharan African descent, and Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro's skin color was darkened when he played Xerxes. This introduces a racial element to the otherwise cultural and political struggle. In real life, Persians tend to be much lighter skinned.
    • The real Ephialtes wasn't Spartan or deformed, and only wanted a reward, but Frank Miller strongly changed this aspect of the story. The physically deformed, "defective" Ephialtes now "lives down to his physical unfitness" by betraying the athletic - and correspondingly morally upstanding - heroes to the Persians. This element was added to give Ephialtes a more interesting motive than simple greed, but also seems to suggest that their systematic eugenic cleansing practice (directly inspiring similar practices by the Nazis) was fully justified, and the problem was simply that one of them got away; along with Beauty Equals Goodness. The Unreliable Narrator justification doesn't work for this one.
    • Hell, the whole movie is teeming with such implications. Just for starters, there's the contemptuous description of Athenians as "boy-lovers." That becomes hypocritical (not to mention hilarious) when you remember how prevalent homosexuality was among the Spartans themselves. (Not that Miller cares, though, making them all heterosexual.)
    • There's also a strange undercurrent of jingoistic Americana that wasn't present in the comic, with the outnumbered Spartans speculated to represent a beleaguered America facing off in a valiant battle against the foreign hordes.
  • 40 Days and 40 Nights: This film is either some form of satire about abstinence or is the most sexist, anti-abstinence/celibacy film ever. It implies that it is unnatural for a man to abstain from sex in order to discover himself and that he should be ridiculed, mocked, and punished for even thinking about doing so.
    • Or to put it another way: would this film have been tolerated if all the characters were genderswapped? Not really. One of the unfortunate implications is that rape is ok, funny, and rewarded as long as it's a female raping an unwilling and unconscious male. At least if it were gender-swapped, there would likely have been a bit more public outcry about the Black Comedy Rape aspect. As it was, it was mostly feminists who complained.
    • If the film is trying to say that relationships could be better with less of a focus on sex, why does it end with the protagonist and his love interest having a marathon sex session?
    • The film portrays 40 days without sex or masturbation as a horrible ordeal. There are many people (religious and otherwise) who go years or even their whole lives without either. At that, there are people who go forty days without sex/masturbation and don't even notice!
    • Also, the protagonist talks about giving up sex as if he literally has to stop women from clawing his pants off. Seriously, what universe does this take place in?
      • Considering that the immediate reaction to his abstinence from most of the females in this film (namely, making wagers, actively trying to tempt him and, oh yeah, raping him) I'd say that belief was accurate. Of course, that brings up another bad message: that a woman's power and worth is derived from men wanting sex from her, and that if a man should decide to abstain, it is a threat to said power and should be stopped by any means necessary.

A-E[edit | hide]

  • In the live action adaptation of Aeon Flux, there's a secondary character who accompanies Aeon in a bid to infiltrate the bad guy's home. Said character is a black woman. Said black woman genetically altered her feet so they would be hands. Like a monkey. Which black people are often compared to as a stereotype.
  • Catherine Breillat's Anatomy of Hell appears to espouse that all men hate women, and that gay men hate them even more; and that in fact male homosexuality is just an expression of men's inherent misogyny. Apparently, the only reason why one might consider the act of dipping a used tampon in a glass of water and drinking it unenthralling is because of men's fear of women's bodily functions.
    • Oh, hell, that's tame by Breillat's standards. She just usually gets in trouble with feminists; "Fat Girl" and "Romance" in particular have some nasty things to say about women in general and the "unattractive" in particular.
  • Mel Gibson's film Apocalypto caught a lot of controversy because of its portrayal of the Mayan civilization as a dark, corrupted hell hole, and it got worse with the final scene in which the arrival of the Spaniards acts as a Deus Ex Machina, since, for some people, this had the implication that the Mayans deserved to be subjugated because they needed to be saved by the Europeans.
  • The film Avatar pushes quite a few buttons depending on your point of view. Please do not elaborate.
  • In the Babysitters Club movie, the one black girl is given no subplot or depth to her personality unlike all the other girls, most of whom are white. (In the books, this isn't true - Jessi is a very talented ballerina.)
  • Back to The Future: Chuck Berry would not have invented rock'n'roll electric guitar without a white suburban teen to show him the way.
    • Of course, the BTTF universe doesn't work like that. In the original universe, with wimpy dad, Chuck Berry did singlehandedly write the song, but in the universe changed by Marty through time-travel, he was inspired by the sounds he heard over the phone. We know that, since Marty from the original universe knows the song, Berry would have written it, just a little bit later.
  • Some thought that the "real" message in Beauty and The Beast was "That violent man with the rage problem is really a sweetheart, and your love can cure him." This is something of a Misaimed Fandom point of view, as Belle actually does NOT attempt to use her love to cure the Beast at all; she only starts loving him when he makes the choice to change his angry, violent ways on his own.
    • Depending on the telling, moreso than others. Given that the original story was encouraging arranged marriages, the implications in that probably were intentional.
    • In the original telling the Beast was very polite and courteous as he tried to make up for his hideous appearance.
  • Although hardly the only flaw in Uwe Boll's series of |Blood Rayne movies, this article points out how Boll seemingly has "nothing but contempt" for the aggressive, sexually charged female lead character. The review points out how Rayne herself is trumped at every turn in the fight scenes by original characters, and how she is the more submissive partner in the inevitable sex scene.

It's not that Boll didn't put competent female characters in the movie. He just didn't make Rayne one of them.

  • Braindead (aka Dead Alive) has a few very prominent racial stereotypes in its opening scenes. We have a "gypsy-like" family with outrageous accents reading tarot cards, the female lead immediately stalking the male lead thanks to reading said cards, aboriginal people who could have been in a fifties pulp fiction story, and a black man dancing off with money paid reluctantly to him by a white authority. It's Uncle Tomfoolery and exploitative of Roma stereotypes.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's features Mickey Rooney in yellowface.
  • In the Pee-wee Herman Christmas Special Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse, they went out of their way to be inclusive and include Jewish characters. Nothing wrong with that, until we find out the dinosaurs of the show are also Jewish. Dinosaurs, the most well known example of total extinction to mankind.... They didn't think that one through.
  • In the original A Christmas Carol, Dickens left Scrooge's profession open-ended, and his hatred of Christmas came from a series of past misfortunes; as a child he really rather enjoyed it. However, in The Muppet Christmas Carol they change the character ever so slightly for some Unfortunate Implications. This Scrooge is a miserly money lender ... with a Hebrew name ... who has never celebrated Christmas ... It's obviously unintentional, but considering modern audiences are probably more familiar with negative Jewish stereotypes than they are with 19th century Puritans, it seems like the writers could have done a LOT more to distance themselves. Especially as the most damning elements are the ones that they added in themselves.
    • Say what? Scrooge in the novel is named Ebeneezer (and is clearly called that in almost every non-modern-dress adaptation) and it's pretty clear from page one that he is a commodities trader and moneylender and landlord, which, again, turns up in almost every single film version. If anything the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim goes farther in making Scrooge look like a complete Jerkass, showing how he and Affably Evil Marley stab old Fezziwig metaphorically in the back and then acquire their business by taking advantage of another investor being an embezzler (none of which is in the book.) That version does add the unfortunate implication that it's better to stick to your principles even if it means your outdated business model fails, and your employees all end up out of work. Also, Scrooge is not a Puritan. The Puritans were a seventeenth-century sect that got run out of England. About the only thing that The Muppets added were songs and puppets and singing vegetables.
  • The movie Christmas With The Kranks has the protagonists decide not to celebrate Christmas. The reaction this gets is pretty insane to say the least, with the neighbors harassing the Kranks endlessly to celebrate it and put up decorations like the rest of the neighborhood. They finally give in when their young adult daughter decides to come home to visit. The very fact that not celebrating Christmas is seen to be some kind of unforgivable sin is bad enough, but then the film hammers home the idea that fighting against the established conformity--no matter how much you disagree with it--will get you nowhere and you should do never do otherwise. Roger Ebert noticed.
  • In the 2010 remake of "Clash of the Titans", almost everyone in the hero's party was a character or creature from Greek mythology. However one of the party members was a Djinn, a creature from Islamic mythology which appears in neither the original myth the movie is based on nor the original 1981 version of the film. During the confrontation with Medusa, the Djinn gets close to Medusa and "uses black magic to explode his core" as a means of attacking her, killing himself in the process. In short, he was a Muslim suicide bomber. Not may people I know picked up on this.
    • Keep in mind that the Djinn was a good guy blowing up an evil monster, which raises a whole new set of Unfortunate Implications.
  • In the novel Dracula the titular vampire is a sexual predator and metaphorical rapist. In almost every adaptation he is Promoted to Love Interest for Mina. That's right--the movies take Mina, a strong, Happily Married female character, and turn her into a Damsel in Distress who is in love with her (metaphorical) rapist.

F-J[edit | hide]

Orderly: You feeling okay, Mr. Suby?
Suby: Ha! What do you care? You know how many of your kind I killed in Korea?
Orderly: I'm Chinese, sir.
Suby: Pfft! Same difference!

  • Forrest Gump has a truly huge one: Forrest is, to be blunt, retarded. His IQ is so low that he barely qualifies as "educable." But throughout the movie, he's shown to be the only person (except, perhaps, his friend from Vietnam(?)) who actually enjoys his life. Every other person of normal or above intellectual ability seems to spend most of film being sad, disheartened, or otherwise in some profoundly negative mental or emotional state, leaving the viewer with the distinct impression that the scriptwriter is saying that normal mental capacity is incompatible with happiness.
    • Forrest is never outright stated to be retarded, and he's more intended to be a Good Ol' Boy who doesn't entirely grasp the depth of the situations he's in. Moreover, with his help as a kind person, most of the intelligent people in the film end up being fairly happy in the end.
  • In Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, the filmmakers made the black protagonist absurdly perfect. This was deliberately done, so that the only possible objection to his marrying Joanna would be his race. However, this has an unfortunate implication that only an absolutely saintly black man is good enough to marry an undistinguished white woman.
    • And that's actually not the only objection: they're also getting married after knowing each other for an absurdly short time.
    • Early in the movie, Christina (the girl's mother) fires her white assistant for being rude to the couple and openly contemptuous of the marriage, but merely scolds the family's black housekeeper for being just as rude and contemptuous. The film treats the assistant as being borderline villainous, while the housekeeper is the Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Half Past Dead 2 has many unfortunate racial implications
    • Creighton Prison is divided into cliques. This, in itself, is not unfortunate. However, both cliques consist entirely of Blacks and Hispanics, respectively. Making things even worse, Creighton is described as a prison for the worst kinds of criminals
    • Burke, the only white prisoner, has suffered a Miscarriage of Justice.
    • To underline, the problem is not the existence of prison cliques composed of blacks and Hispanics, because you can find those in every prison in the US. The problem is the part where in this world white people apparently don't go to prison at all unless they're framed. (In a real prison you'd have three major cliques -- the blacks, the Hispanics, and the Aryans.)
    • Twitch is basically a walking stereotype.
  • Happy Feet: All of Mumble's sidekicks are rather over-the-top Hispanic stereotypes, and the girls they talk to are likewise. These penguins are meant to be the positive alternative to the rather over-the-top stereotypically religious and clannish elder penguins.
  • The 1942 movie Holiday Inn: the musical number for February (Lincoln's birthday). Values Dissonance is one thing but this... Holy. Shit. A big blackface minstrel show about Abraham Lincoln. Naturally it gets cut when on TV (even in 1942, controversy forced Irving Berlin to alter the offending word "darky" to "negro").
    • Even some of the characters think it's a dumb idea (in-story, the blackface was a last-minute addition, to disguise one character so she wouldn't be recognized by others).
  • The Hottie and The Nottie isn't even subtle about its VERY dubious moral. Basically, it contends only hot chicks such as Paris Hilton are worthy of love and that any woman who isn't "hot" deserves only to spend the rest of their life alone and miserable. Are you born ugly or plain? Hard luck!
    • There's the thing, though. That's not an unfortunate implication, that's the explicit message of the film.
  • Seen Hustle and Flow? Typical story about a lower-class minority man trying to get ahead in the entertainment business. But he needs a white man to help make his beats, and a white Hooker with a Heart of Gold to get him the radio play he had been looking for. Now, if it was just the white dude helping with the beats, it would be fine, but the black hero ends up in prison, then the white girl takes charge and quickly lands him the radio play he had been seeking. Hey, black men, you need a white person to help you do anything, and even the ones in the worst positions are better suited to business than yourselves!
    • It can also be seen as that he encouraged the white prostitute to turn her life around and take over his music business. So she did, selling a black man's music.
    • Or, you know, you could be annoyed at the movie's postive portrayl of prostitution and pimping.
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which can best be described as the most homophobic pro-gay rights anything ever. Adam Sandler took the original script and twisted it so that every gay character (except Ving's, and even then he sings 'I'm Every Woman' while taking a shower) in the movie was a flat-out Camp Gay stereotype who needed the Adam Sandler's, um, straightness to save the day!
  • In the Disney movie Ice Princess, Gen Harwood (Hayden Panettierre) accuses "evil" figure skater Zoey Bloch of having "eyes in the back of her horns"; this is playing with the judeophobic myth that Jews have horns.
    • Or she's just accusing her of being the devil.
  • Idiocracy is supposed to be a satire of crass popular culture but ends up advocating social Darwinism and/or eugenics. Individuals are portrayed as universally stupid to the point of being unable to properly function not because a lack of education or opportunity but because they are genetically inferior.
    • It could be interpreted that lack of education was more the issue. Uneducated people didn't encourage education in their children, who then encouraged education even less in their own children, and so on.
  • The Indiana Jones franchise:
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark: White guy sneaks into a South American rain forest and steals a religious artifact from an ancient temple despite the obvious displeasure of the natives. This is not only okay but is actually portrayed as cool and heroic, but when another white (French) guy in turn steals it from him, this is deeply unfair. Real archaeologists are not happy that the franchise portrays their field as treasure-hunting and grave-robbing. The Lost Ark itself gets a pass because it's a weapon of mass destruction.
    • Given the time period Archaeologists often were going around simply raiding temples and grave robbing, hunting for gold and sculptures and frequently destroying irreplaceable pieces of history because 'it was just some cat mummy' or the like. They aren't like that now but it's pretty spot on for the day that the standard wasn't as enlightened about the value of everything as it is now.
    • A History Channel program about Archeology credits the Indiana Jones films for inspiring them to become archologists and explains that in its day Archeology WAS grave robbing (As mentioned above), making this more a case of Values Dissonance.
    • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is even worse, especially during the feast scene, with Indians eating live snakes, monkey brains, eyeball soup and giant bugs. A great many Hindus are vegetarians, and monkeys are revered in Hinduism. The film was actually banned in India for its "racist portrayal of Indians and overt imperialistic tendencies". Ultimately the plot of the movie has some justification in the fact that the spread is provided by an evil cult of murderous Thuggee who have a separate culture from the outside world. In the novelization of the film, Indy notices that the food does not fit common Hindu strictures.
    • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull continues the trend, even though it was released in 2008. If nothing at all, the film blatantly over-simplifies Cold War tensions, and is particularly anvilicious regarding nuclear warfare. And let's not forget the South American savages, back with a vengeance!

K-O[edit | hide]

  • Bruce Willis' The Kid has its fair share: if you've managed to alienate the only woman whose ever meant anything to you through your insensitivity and all-round jerkassness, then all you need to do is turn up in a Porsche with a sheepish smile and a puppy, and you get instant forgiveness! And possibly sex!
  • Labyrinth: Did Jareth kidnap Toby so he could blackmail his underage sister into having sex with him? No wonder David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly are uncomfortable talking about the movie today.
  • The Last Airbender, the Live Action Adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • The casting. It started with white actors being cast as the East Asian and Inuit-inspired heroes, then the villains were cast as dark-skinned, minority actors only playing either extras who couldn't do anything until the heroes intervened, a poor villager revealed to be a spy, or just a plain foot masseuse, etc.
    • Most of the prominent Action Girl characters have either been removed (Suki, Smellerbee, June) or lost their badassery (Katara). Even the agency of most female characters is gone, as Yue goes from making the decision to sacrifice herself to resurrect the Moon Spirit (like in the cartoon) to basically being told to do so by Iroh.
    • Changing Chinese calligraphy into "Asian-inspired" pictorial language (a.k.a gibberish) yet try to make pronunciations of character names more "authentic".
    • In Shyamalan's defense, he did note that "Animes are intended to be racially ambiguous." Unfortunately, he managed to choose one of the few "animes" in which ethnic differences were significant because they were intended to mirror specific cultures in history.
  • In Look Who's Talking Now, a movie where we hear the thoughts of dogs and other animals, the main family is at one point besieged by a pack of wolves. The wolves all seem to speak in stereotypically "black" voices.
  • In The Lost Weekend, the main character tries to hock his typewriter for booze money, but finds that every pawnshop in the city is closed for Yom Kippur. Not that every pawnshop is owned by the Jews, mind you. Some are owned by the Irish, who close for Yom Kippur so that the Jews will close for St. Patrick's Day.
    • Truth in Television, to some degree: keep in mind that when the film was made, it wasn't so long ago that Irish and Jewish people were discriminated against for jobs. Still unfortunate, though.
  • The Matrix films has the protagonists perfectly willing to kill innocent civilians in their war against the machines, arguing that anyone who isn't actively supporting them is the enemy, which is, in essence, the philosophy of every terrorist organization.
    • This wasn't an accidental implication. The makers MEANT for the audience to doubt as to who the "good guys" are in the movies. They also clearly modelled the "freedom fighters" after a terrorist group; this point is even mentioned in the movies.
    • It becomes more mixed when you consider that they are fighting an enemy that can manifest nigh-invincible killing machines wherever it wants, by 'jumping' into the body of anyone not a member of the Resistance. "Anyone who isn't with us is against us" becomes a statement of literal fact in that kind of situation.
  • Million Dollar Baby Implies that disability means that life is not worth living, or worthy to live.
  • Two pop up in The Monster Squad:
    • The kids all fear the "Scary German Guy" and suspect that he might be a Nazi, but soon learn that he's actually a kindly, Jewish, Holocaust survivor. So... Germans are still Nazis, just not the Jewish ones whom they persecuted.
    • Another possibility was An Aesop for the kids in the audience as they grow up: the monsters in the movie have nothing on the ones in real life.
  • National Treasure (the first one) has exactly two non-American characters, and they're both villains who have no respect for American history or history in general and only care about money. Also, apparently the US Declaration of Independence is the "most important document in the world." Sure.
    • The two people who make that statement are US citizens who are obsessed with and have made their entire careers about studying US history. As deliberately contrasted with the third US cast member who isn't a history nerd and thinks his two acquaintances are wrapped too tight, and who's only here out of friendship and for the paycheck. It's character bias, not author bias.
  • Apparently, Natural Born Killers teaches people that no matter what you do, as long as you’re doing what you love and are also famous for no reason people will obsess over you. Even if what you love is gleeful slaughter. Because of this, it inspired troubled yet otherwise harmless crazies to kill other people, and Oliver Stone was sued for it.
  • In North, the character North stays with ridiculously stereotyped versions of several cultures (including African people living in grass huts and swinging on vines) over the course of the film; the only foster family he feels comfortable with (and leaves for plot reasons instead for the sake of a joke) is nuclear, upper-middle-class, and white. Of course, this also adds an undercurrent of "you can never be happy with anyone who isn't your blood family", which pretty much spits in the faces of any adopted/foster parent viewers out there.
  • In the Orson Welles film version of Othello, due to a combination of the black-and-white film and the lighting, it is difficult to tell, particularly in the early part of the film, that Welles is in blackface in order to play the title role. It seems like the makeup gets heavier as the movie progresses. Though probably unintentional, it does seem to suggest that Othello is getting "blacker" as the film goes on -- that is, as he gets closer and closer to violently murdering an innocent woman.
    • That issue is also present in the Laurence Olivier version of Othello. It doesn't help that Olivier likes to use lots of make-up, which also led to him wearing a huge fake nose when he played the Jewish Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

P-T[edit | hide]

  • Paranormal Entity, the low budget ripoff of Paranormal Activity, depicts a family besieged by a demon. The son films the entire sequence of events, including his sister being attacked multiple times. The director plays the brother and doubles as the camera man. The director was sure to have several shots of the sister's body as tantalization for the audience. Considering this guy is supposed to be her brother in the movie...
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean films. Jack Sparrow is a rebellious Jerkass who laughs authority in the face and, oh, he's a pirate. And because of all this, the guys want to be him and the girls want to marry him, and the kids look up to him too! Oddly enough, the original hero was Will, until Jack turned out to be a Breakout Character, arguably a one man Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
    • Then there's the cannibalistic Pelegosto savages who worship Jack as a god and want to free him from his mortal body by eating him. The chief of the Carib Indian community had some very nasty things to say to Disney over it. (Ironically, if the Carib people ever did practice cannibalism, it was more or less the ritual kind of the film -- or so says That Other Wiki.)
    • And then there's the overall theme, especially in the sequels, that piracy is synonymous with liberty. Liberty meaning I can rape, kill, pillage and nobody should stop me at all!
      • It's understandable that it comes across that way because these movies are utterly fantastical in pretty much every other respect, but the reason this part is in there is because it is historically accurate. A lot of the people who were once considered "pirates" simply didn't agree with overly restrictive trade companies and government-cronyist monopolies and struck out to do business on their own. Not very many of them were criminals at all.
  • The original Planet of the Apes: The crew of astronauts are three men and one woman and it is clearly stated that she was to be the Eve on the new planet. So, if everything had gone according to plan, the offspring of the astronauts would have to reproduce with their half-siblings. And considering the following generations, inbreeding would cause a lack of genetic diversity. (From a genetic standpoint, it's probably a good thing they ended up back on Earth.)
    • Also, for a film series that is meant partially as an allegory on racism, its portrayal of the various ape species doesn't exactly fit together with its message. Chimpanzees are calm, compassionate and rational and are portrayed as the heroes who are opposed by the dogmatic, backwards-thinking Orangutans and the aggressive, brutish Gorillas. In Escape from Planet of the Apes, Zira, the chimpanzee scientist, calls the gorillas "a bunch of militaristic nincompoops", and we're not supposed to find anything unsound about that.
  • Rising Sun, based on a novel by Michael Crichton and starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes, is filled with racial stereotyping that is so blatant it's quite hard to imagine how they got away with it. The film portrays the Japanese as either sticklers for archaic tradition, ruthless gangsters and murderers or a combination of the two: Japanese characters are shown with American prostitutes, brandishing guns and katanas and trying to steal away American corporations. There is also shown to be a lot of background politics, backstabbing and nepotism in Japanese business dealings. And in the end, the designated Japanese good guys have to be bailed out by two cops played by Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes.
    • And mind you, this is all actually toned down from the novel, which is pretty much an Author Tract about how much the Japanese suck disguised as a murder mystery. The film even changes the identity of the killer in its desperate attempts to be less offensive!
  • Rules of Engagement: Someone guns down a crowd of protesters in Yemen... and later on it's revealed that it was okay, because the crowd was all armed and attacking. Even a four year old girl is shown to be armed. Did we mention that when they show the crowd, they try to make all the Arab people as alien and as evil as possible? This may be an Unreliable Narrator at work, but it's all rather vague. As Mark Freeman said:

"The message of Rules of Engagement is the necessity to kill all those who actively oppose the United States and that the murder of women and children is acceptable in such cases."

    • This example counts as something of a Shocking Swerve. Throughout the movie, the Marines' attack on the protesting crowd was presented as abhorrent as it was believed that only a few people in the crowd were actually armed and that the Colonel (played by Samuel L. Jackson) overreacted by ordering his men to open fire on the entire crowd, armed or not. It was only after finding the security videotape that the audience finds out that 90+% of the crowd was in on the attack and that Jackson was justified (legally if not morally) in opening fire on a crowd of civilians.
      • Errrr, if 90+% of the crowd is armed and firing then that isn't a crowd of 'civilians'. At that point you are under enemy attack, and returning fire is both legally and morally justified.
      • The Geneva Conventions use the words "combatant" and "noncombatant" instead of "military" and "civilian" for precisely this reason. If you're shooting at soldiers they are perfectly justified in shooting back at you, and whether or not you have a uniform on at the time makes no difference.
    • In the DVD commentary the director said the original scene was supposed to be unclear about whether the crowd was actually shooting, or if that's just what Samuel L. Jackson convinced himself into believing. However, the test audience wanted a literal interpretation, so that's what the film ultimately got. Also the Arab doctor is one of the people with the most moral fiber (note how he is able to make a tough choice when none of the American witnesses can).
  • David Lean's Ryan's Daughter has the supposedly Irish heroine is played by the very English Sarah Miles. She is contrasted heavily with the ugly, loud, cruel and stupid locals played by Irish actors and actresses.
  • Saw VI seems a pretty great sequel... until you realize that the script suggests that William saved the right people, who happen to be all female. They even manage to destroy the point they were trying to make (William's policy only granted healthcare to young healthy people) by putting a female character against a male one. No points for guessing who isn't picked...
  • The climax of Scrooged teaches us that it's perfectly okay to threaten innocent people with a shotgun, as long as you're spreading Christmas cheer!
    • Or if they're pompous jerks trying to steal your job.
  • Shallow Hal: It's all about the inner beauty of Gwyneth Paltrow's character, we're told, and her weight is irrelevant... but we should still laugh at an "apparently" thin woman weighing down the front end of a canoe like a seesaw and wearing a nightie that could cover an elephant.
    • Not to mention the real, "ugly" appearance of some of the girls Hal falls for under hypnosis; apparently, those actresses were cast expressly because they don't look attractive.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has an odd case. Irene is killed by the villain because her feelings for Holmes have compromised her effectiveness as his agent. Moriarty not leaving "loose ends", regardless of gender, is a running theme throughout the film, yet viewers complained she was Stuffed Into the Fridge because he used the information to hurt Holmes. Given that men die by the dozen throughout the film, and every main character is put in mortal peril--Holmes himself actually dies twice--one wonders why it's so egregious when a woman dies for the exact same reason men are killed--oh, right.
    • Not even close. Irene is Stuffed Into the Fridge because she was a major character in the previous film who by all appearances played an important role in Holmes' life. After kicking ass and taking names throughout the first movie, she's snuffed out in the first few minutes for no other reason but to motivate Holmes through revenge, which is the very definition of the trope. All the men Moriarty kills? We only barely hear of them before they die. They're not characters, they're Red Shirts.
  • The "hopeless, sexless geek" Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles is reportedly infamous among Asian-Americans.
  • Sling Blade has some major ones about gender roles. The movie seems to be saying that women are passive and not responsible for their actions, so it is up to men to be the master of the household and decide things for them. Even a mentally challenged man is better at this than a woman. If a man is abusive to a woman, the proper course of action is not to persuade her to leave the relationship or call the police; it is to use deadly force on the abuser and have another man take his place as the head of the household. What's more, the movie seems to say that even a gay man is obligated to assume a husband's role for a woman, to live with her and protect her and her children.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: Insurrection, Picard is quite willing to sacrifice his career and his life for the Bak'u, who are predominantly white and look like catalog models, but could care less about the Son'a, who are Ambiguously Brown and look like Michael Jackson after 20 too many facelifts.
    • Not helped by the fact that he did in fact prepare to relocate a group of Native Americans in "Journey's End."
    • Used in-universe with the Star Trek Genesis Arc: The Genesis Device is intended as a quick and easy way to make a planet habitable, but David Marcus and Dr. McCoy realize it could just as easily wipe out an inhabited planet.
      • David Marcus' objections to Genesis' existence look a tad hypocritical when you consider that he invented the bloody thing in the first place.
  • Star Wars: Many examples in both trilogies, though mainstream controversy only really erupted over prequel examples.
    • The faction representing good and light accepted a slave army of clones to fight their battles.
      • This is subverted in the EU "Republic Commando" Books where there are normal humans who despise this policy and help clones to retire and generally escape the war.
      • Actually, this is done deliberately. The entire point of the prequel films was to show how far the Republic had fallen and just how easy it was for Palpatine to grab power. It's a thrilling bit of political commentary if you can get past the good 'ol Star Wars Ham and Cheese
      • In the Republic's defense the person who ultimately made the decision both to create and to use clone army was Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.
    • Watto, the Neimoidians, Jar Jar...
    • "Somehow, I've always known."
    • Within the Expanded Universe, there isn't a single Droid Rights advocacy group that isn't extremist (as in terrorist attack extremist), and even without that they're always portrayed as in the wrong. If Droids were shown as simple machines all the time this would be one thing, but R2-D2 and C-3PO are certainly supposed to be seen as Sapient, and we're not even getting into the countless other droids written similarly.
      • The same goes for the Diversity Alliance, a non-Human supremacist group in Young Jedi Knights.
    • That's just the beginning.
  • A Time to Kill basically advocates taking the law in to your own hands and killing a person accused of a crime before they are even fairly tried and found guilty.
    • And anyone, including officers who are doing their duty, who gets in the way of your vengeance are acceptable targets. They'll even forgive you for it later.
    • That's a bit of an oversimplification of the story as a whole. The true focus of the story is not so much the specific outcome of the case but a general study of how prejudice and various socioeconomic factors impact both the idealized and actualized form of what we consider legal justice. The film leaves itself open to some measure of interpretation - at one point, a character states outright that regardless if Carl is vindicated or not that justice would be served in some form. Considering the novel is based on the author's own experience of being witness to a child rape victim's court testimony, it can be seen as something of a personal rumination on the nature of intrinsic, moral justice (a man kills the rapist of his young daughter), which upholds internalized, human principles, versus civil justice, which upholds social law and, by extension, order. (And possibly whether the latter can exist fairly and equitably in a world where prejudice and racism exist.)
  • The trailer for Tower Heist has a bunch of white guys planning a crime. When it's pointed out that they don't know anything about how to pull off a theft, Ben Stiller says he knows a guy who does -- and it immediately cuts to Eddie Murphy.
    • Justified when you consider that it turns out Ben Stiller's character knew Eddie Murphy's for most of his life--therefore it wouldn't have mattered who was acting that role.
    • Additionally, there are two African Americans and one Latino on the initial heist team, it's just bad editing that kept them out of the trailer.
  • The premise of The Toy falls into this. The concept is Bates, a wealthy white man purchasing Jack Brown, a black man, as a "toy" for his bratty son. Given that Jack is played by Richard Pryor, though, the premise gets the hell Lampshaded out of it.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen caught a lot of flak for the twin Autobots Skids and Mudflap. The pair talk about busting caps in people's asses, swear constantly, have buck teeth and googly eyes, and have very "ghetto" "urban" accents. One even has a gold tooth. Oh, and they're illiterate. Tom Kenny, who voiced one of them, said that he thought they were supposed to be wiggers (which, strictly speaking, they totally would be since they're crassly imitating the black people they see on TV)
  • Aside from the more obvious controversy regarding Tropic Thunder (see the page image if you've been living in a cave), there was also a lesser one centered around the "Simple Jack" subplot. Said plot involved Ben Stiller's character playing an extremely mentally retarded character in one of his past films, which ended up being a complete flop. The intent was to mock the use of Inspirationally Disadvantaged characters as Oscar Bait by presenting one who was not at all inspirational, and more clearly impaired.
    • In the film's defense, these are less Unfortunate Implications and more their stated intention. It's suggested (though admittedly subtly) that, in Universe, Simple Jack was a serious film that was shunned just because its protagonist was too disabled, rather than because it featured offensively crude stereotypes. Adjusting for the same amount of comedic inflation seen in the fake trailer for Satan's Alley, Simple Jack would probably be seen as akin to John Malkovich in Of Mice And Men.
    • Similarly, Kirk Lazarus kind of needed the bluntness of Blackface in order to make their point explicit. Considering the character not only satirises Hollywood Whitewashing, but also Black stereotypes in movies (Magical Negro and Scary Black Man to name but two), it would have had far more Unfortunate Implications had the character been played by a Black actor (in Whiteface for the framing, a la Watermelon Man).
  • Twilight may give young girls a bad view of relationships. Ignoring the sparkling, Edward fits into all the stereotypes of an abuser/stalker; the worst example is stealing Bella's car engine anytime she wants to do something. Considering how many Twilight fans absolutely FAWN over Edward, this might lead to some problems. As seen here. And there's PLENTY MORE where that came from.
    • Plus their age difference--Edward is a hundred-year-old vampire, while Bella is a teenage girl.
      • A hundred-year-old vampire with the physical and emotional maturity of a seventeen-year-old.
    • In Eclipse, Jacob starts to act almost exactly like a rapist. This includes excusing a forced kiss on Bella by saying "She's confused, she doesn't know what she wants!" He's supposed to be Bella's other love interest. In other words, Bella is choosing between a guy who is a stereotypical stalker and a guy who shows signs of being a rapist. There's also Bella and Jacob's kiss, which is all well and sweet, until you consider that he only got her to kiss him after he threatened suicide for not dating him.
    • See the fairly substantial section on Twilight in the literature section for more details on the series.
    • To elaborate further, Bella putting herself in harm's way to get Edward's attention turns this into textbook example of sadomasochistic collusion, i.e. a kind of relationship you really, really want to avoid.
    • Roger Ebert criticized the film "New Moon" for its portrayal of Native Americans as werewolves because it seemed to imply that they were savage animals who don't like to wear clothes.
    • In the first part of Breaking Down, the movie discuss abortion. And I'm going to leave like that.
    • Though not quite as harmful as the undertones of abuse, the series portrays the parents as complete idiots. Bella's mother is often compared to a child and it is implied that Bella took care of her rather than the other way around. Bella's father is depicted as completely unreasonable for being concerned about his daughter's safety, mental health, and future. That's right, kids, ignore your parents' advice and marry that dangerous, possessive guy who used to stalk you. Your parents just don't understand what's he's really like!
  • In Tyler Perry's movies, interracial marriages are usually adulterous relationships between a couple of douchebags. Another common theme is the dark-skinned character being an evil white-collar worker who probably beats his wife, and the "right" man is a light-skinned blue-collar worker who is a good Christian.

U-Z[edit | hide]

  • At the end of Universal Soldier, Van Damme and Lundgren are having their big showdown, but Lundgren is just too tough. When Lundgren starts beating up Van Damme's girlfriend, he rallies and fights even harder, but he's still not strong enough. Then Van Damme grabs some more super-soldier serum and shoots up, giving him the strength to defeat Lundgren. So we learn is that if you want to get stronger, your personal willpower and the drive to succeed aren't enough. You need drugs...then again his opponent was an undead super soldier killing machine, outmassed him by at least 30 kilos, was taller by at least 40 cm and most had been injecting himself with the exact same drugs for half the movie. So...
    • 'If your opponent has superpowers, your odds of beating him go a lot better if you have superpowers too' might not be a perfect message, but it is a truthful one.
  • The Irish short film "What Would You Do" has all the good characters with definite pronounced Irish names (Saoirse, Sean, Aoife, Roisin) while the evil Alpha Bitch has an English name (Jessica).
  • In X-Men: First Class the two non-American good guys (Irish Banshee and Scottish Moira McTaggart) are turned into Americans while the non-American bad guy (Magneto) gets to stay non-American.
    • There's also the fact that the only prominent non-white characters in the movie are killed off or join Magneto within the first twenty minutes of the movie.
    • And both prominent female mutants end up with Magneto at the end. Apparently you have to be born white, male and American to be a proper X-Man.
    • Not to mention what happens to poor Moira at the end. Distrusted by Charles to the point that he wipes her memory against her wishes, then treated as a weakling by the other CIA men for having feelings when SHE was the one to discover the mutants in the first place...
      • This may have been Deliberate Values Dissonance, based on cultural norms of the American 1960s. Moira was shown to be very competent throughout the film, so her superior's regarding her sudden memory loss as female incompetence just makes them look even more Jerkass.
    • And then there's the villain trying to convince the new mutants to join his team. He rattles off several reasons, the first mentioning the word "slavery". As he says it, the camera zooms in on Darwin, the only African-American member of the squad.
      • That might be the entire point of the shot - Shaw's trying to appeal to their individual ideas of prejudice.
    • There have been plenty of Asian villains, but the only "good" Asian character is Jubilee, whose scenes were deleted. It's extremely egregious because some villains were either race lifted to become Asian or, in the case of Psylocke, changed from a good guy to a villain.
    • Also, while Soviets (for once) are portrayed as decent human beings who are being fooled by Shaw just like the Americans, it should be noticed that there's only one Communist mutant, which is Azazel. Not only he's among the villains, he looks like a devil.