Pet Peeve #14: Running from Danger in Movies

The other day I saw a trailer for a new Clint Eastwood movie that begins with a tidal wave wiping out a coastal town. After the wave hits, the shoreline, a woman in the town starts to run away from it. And like every other person in the history of movies, she keeps looking back over her shoulder as she stumbles forward.

This, my friends, really annoys me.

This wasn't what I had in mind when I searched for "running from danger," but how could I not use this photo?

Frankly, it’s just bad acting. And it happens in every movie when someone runs from danger. Have you ever run from something when you were afraid? You run like the wind, and you don’t look back until you are out of danger. Especially if it’s a tidal wave! What are you looking back for?!

I remember when I was a young boy (okay, I was 10) in Virginia. My house is in the suburbs, and we have a long driveway that snakes through the woods in front of our house. About 50 feet from the house is our compost pile where we put all our veggie parts to decompose.

A few times a week, one of us kids had to take a bucket of veggie parts down to the compost pile after dinner. This meant walking down into the dark abyss of the woods and blindly burying the veggies. Not fun for an imaginative little kid (fine, I was 13).

There was one particular evening when I was digging the hole for the compost when I heard something rustling nearby. It was probably a possum or a raccoon, but for some reason I thought in that split second that it was a bear or a snake or the hybrid offspring of a snake and a bear.

And off I went. I hightailed it back to the house, running faster than I’ve ever run. I can assure you that I didn’t look back over my shoulder or even acknowledge my surroundings until I safely arrived back at the house. Not even close. So when I see someone running in movies, looking back to see if the serial killer is catching up or if Godzilla is winking at them, I roll my eyes in disbelief.

Okay, fine, I was 16. Who cares?

Daily Quickie: Speaking of hearkening back to the good old days, this is my new favorite blog. People put photos of themselves as kids side by side with photos that they took in the exact same place or position as adults. There’s something poignant about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’ll submit one when I find the right photo.

7 thoughts on “Pet Peeve #14: Running from Danger in Movies”

  1. Oh my god oh my god oh my god. Who remembers that camping trip, Fall 2004?

    Jamey running back from the “forest” with a giant stick in his hand because there was a giant bear chasing him (as opposed to the shadow of a branch that was probably the real source of Jamey’s fear)?

    • Okay, here are the facts about that fateful night in 2004, as confirmed by a number of witnesses*.

      1. I was foraging for kindling to keep the fire going and henceforth keep the party going.
      2. I was wearing one of those awesome flashlights that straps to your forehead. I kind of wish I were wearing one of those at all times.
      3. I found an amazing felled tree that would have kept our fire going for hours, if not days. Just as I started to lug it, I heard a loud sound about ten feet in front of me.
      4. I looked up with my forehead flashlight and saw the glinting eyes of an animal looking at me. I couldn’t make out the body in the dark, but its eye level was just below mine.
      5. What kind of an animal is as tall as a human and climbs trees? Bears.
      6. I took off sprinting back to camp.
      7. I did not look back as I ran.
      8. I survived to tell this tale.
      9. I kind of wish I had saved this story for a blog entry.

      *Most of the witnesses were squirrels.

  2. From your track star perspective, I could see where you would consider it bad form to turn around while running. But as a young boy, you were running away and you weren’t even curious what a Bear-Snake Hybrid looks like?

    How do you know that the house was safe? What if this lady didn’t know how far she needed to run? She’d be running til she saw the other side of the island, and the wave may only have come out 100 yds. Unnecessary running I’d say. It’s what you may call a moving target.

    • A lot of questions. But here’s my answer: What animal do you fear the most? If that animal dropped down right next to you at this moment and you took off running, would you look back?

  3. I didn’t know you were such a sissy, sounds like you run away from almost everything. Rustles in the night when you were 16, eyes that belonged to some random forest creature who was probably more scared of you than you it when you were 22-23 years old. Have a backbone, show these things who’s boss! Do you scare that easily?


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