A movie norm that needs to die


Die, and then be buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the woods.

It’s the insta-looting.

We’ve all seen it in movies. It happens every time. Whenever there’s a big bad something coming along to mess up a city (Alien invasion, giant monster, shark raining super storm, whatever) for some reason the first thing on everyone’s mind in these movies is looting.


In the recent movie “Arrival” the alien space ships don’t even do anything, they aren’t shooting any death lasers, there’s no clouds of poisonous gas, nothing! The ships just kind of park out in the middle of nowhere and chill for the whole movie. Maybe the aliens just wanted a quiet place to make-out? But regardless of the complete lack of threateningness from the aliens, five minutes later the whole country breaks out in insta-looting!

Yet, what we’ve seen in the aftermaths of real life storms and other natural disasters is nothing like this. In fact, most of the time the community that was destroyed tends to pull together, help one another, and lift each others spirits. The first thing that I’ve seen over and over again that happens with a real life crisis is that bottled water is handed out. Because when fire and brimstone are raining down from the heavens the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated.


So why does movie land keep using this completely unrealistic cliché? Can movie writers seriously not think of anything else to use as a reaction to a community disaster? Please, movie land, please, just let this terrible, depressing cliché die! And don’t let it rise again as a hoard of ravenous zombies, because then (evidently) we’d have to start insta-looting.


One thought on “A movie norm that needs to die

  1. Just so you know, your term “insta-looting” cracks me up. 😀

    And this post is so true. Yes, in some disasters there might be some looting, but it’s not like everyone in the whole town does it. Hmm. It would be interesting if Hollywood showed a balance between the insta-looters and the “Let’s clean up this mess and help” group in disaster movies.


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