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The Things We Learned at the Movies in 2010

All you need to know about the various obvious (and hidden) lessons extolled by cinema circa the last 12 months.

The movies often teach us a lot about ourselves. They often boil down the human condition into simple celluloid slices of recognizable, universal truths. Sometimes, the lessons learned are dispirit and hard to swallow. Sometimes, they are as obvious as an ad campaign for the latest insipid studio comedy. Hollywood hates to think it does anything "educational" with its product. Instead, it meters out the mediocrity like so much kindergarten apple juice, believing (often rightly) that the masses want something mindless, not meaningful. The proof? The pathetic returns for films with actual legitimate meaning and artistic merit.

Still, we can learn a lot from the movies, with the tutorial often coming directly out of an unseen left field. In fact, the real import of the lecture can be lost in a swirl of CG gimmickry and tacky ticket over-pricing propaganda (ie - 3D). So before 2011 delivers its own collection of cold hard truisms, Short Ends and Leader has decided to outline some of the 24 frames a second messages we received via the cinema during the last 12 months. More importantly, feel free to share some of yours below. That way, we can walk through this funny little muddle called movie life together, without being sideswiped by some unseen filmic truism.


Harvard is plagued by a pissy little indoctrinated clique system. (The Social Network)

Royalty don't drop F-bombs so much as politely extol the vocal healing properties of the caustic curse. (The King's Speech)

Cher can still sing, even if her facial muscles can't move. (Burlesque)

Like the Hulk, you may not like Leonardo DiCaprio when he gets...mad! (Shutter Island/Inception)

Method acting can lead to a mediocre movie. (Stone)

Clones do have souls - sad, heartbreakingly fragile ones. (Never Let Me Go)

Film fans prefer their gun-toting hired assassins on the AARP side of espionage. (Red)

The ethical dilemma over 'playing God' is easily resolved by having sex with your teenage creation. (Splice)

Only George Clooney could make an action-less action thriller work. (The American)

Never promise the fanbase a balls-out craven crime spree starring a famous former ex-wrestler when you intend on actually delivering a meditative deconstruction on revenge. (Faster)

Little girls spouting the "C" word make mainstream audiences uncomfortable. (Kick-Ass)

Greed is not quite as good the second time around. (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps)

A $100 million RomCom is just as underwhelming as the $10 million version. (How Do You Know/ You Again...Just Wright...Leap Year...)

Skunk spray is denser than a London fog. (Furry Vengeance)

Don't piss off your new girlfriend's fat, wannabe New Age artist son...or else... (Cyrus)

Predators are prejudiced. (Predators)

Most moviegoers don't like vague, enigmatic endings. (Inception/Black Swan)

Aging, beefed up '80s action stars still kick butt! (The Expendables)

Apparently, Satan has nothing better to do than impregnate white trash teens, haunt irritating suburbanites, and torment people trapped in an elevator. (The Last Exorcism/Paranormal Activity 2/Devil)

In the Grid universe, Yoda/Morpheus looks like the Dude, and Darth Vader/Agent Smith looks a lot like Duane Jackson. (Tron: Legacy)

Being "smarter than the average bear" still makes you dumber than the typical family film. (Yogi Bear)

Even in the old West, the threat of a getting a lawyer involved resolved most issues. (True Grit)

Being gay is expensive! (I Love You, Phillip Morris)

No matter the passage of time, copying Will Smith's Wild, Wild, West is still not a good idea. (Jonah Hex)

Apparently, entertainment starved viewers still find joke names and Viagra jokes funny. (Little Fockers)

Apparently entertainment starved viewers don't find racial intolerance and Viagra jokes funny. (Our Family Wedding)

The Bible will be BIG when the World ends. (The Book of Eli)

Greek mythology still makes for a lousy cinematic foundation. (Percy Jackson/Clash of the Titans)

George Romero's zombies can run out of salient scary movie allegories. (Survival of the Dead)

Johnny Depp is actually prettier than Angelina Jolie. (The Tourist)

Money might change everything, but it doesn't make an urban comedy funny. (Lottery Ticket)

Sometimes truth is far more interesting and engaging than the cinematic recreation of same. (Conviction/ Fair Game/ Green Zone)

No matter the dimension, seeing Bam Margera smacked silly by a giant hand is unquestionably hilarious. (Jackass 3D)

You don't f*ck with Micky Ward's sisters! They could unseat an evil South American dictator. (The Fighter)

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