Sometimes it seems like movies increase our expectations of life to unrealistic levels: When my son was born, why weren't the doctors cracking wise at every opportunity? When I painted my house, couldn't it have been cut down to a short montage with peppy music? Why didn't I ever go on a spring break trip filled with crazy antics and self discovery?
It can be rough, especially when you hope your worst day will turn out to be a nightmare you wake from by immediately sitting up in bed. But it can also be pretty amazing when you witness something that even Hollywood couldn't dream up. The Olympics spectacle of Michael Phelps have contained two of these moments: Jason Lezak's miraculous comeback in the final leg of the 4x100 relay, and Phelps' 1 one-hundredth of a second victory margin in the 100m butterfly. If these races were in a movie (one of those blockbuster swim movies, ya know?), I would be shaking my head muttering "no freaking way." Both finishes were so impossible, their drama would have been over the top in a movie.
Phelps and Lezak did the impossible, but can they match the "no effing way" impossibility of these Hollywood gems? Here are my top five impossible moments (with many spoilers, sorry), now give me yours.
1. Remember the Titans: A lot of people like this movie, but asshole football fans (like me) hate it for putting the most unrealistic, most laughably impossible football play ever on screen. After re-integrating a racially divided high school team, Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) leads his team to the state title game, where they find themselves needing to go the length of the field in one play for the winning score. Instead of throwing a Hail Mary or any pass play, the Titans run a reverse and easily score a touchdown via the greatest blocking efforts the game has ever seen (watch it here). Okay, we see the opposing coach tell his team to "cover deep" (against a pass), but that's precisely why the play wouldn't work -- having a bunch of players back to defend a long pass means no defenders getting sucked in by the trick play. Reverses work best when the defense is expecting a run, so the odds of it working in this end-of-game scenario are next to none -- especially when going against their best opponent of the year.
2. Jaws III: This may be a little unfair, since the movie itself is one giant impossible spit in the face of Chief Brody, Quint and Hooper, but hear me out. We're supposed to believe that a great white shark is swimming around with a man in its mouth, preserved enough that the man is still clutching a grenade, thus allowing Dennis Quaid to reach inside the shark's mouth to pull the pin on said grenade and finally end this awful movie. Umm, aren't sharks like, pretty good at chewing? Don't they pretty much never pass up a good meal? Isn't this the equivalent of someone ordering a Whopper at Burger King while a roasted turkey leg is sticking out of their mouth?
3. Friday the 13th: Part II: Impossible only in the sense that anyone could be as ballsy as our Final Girl Ginny. You're going for the gambit of masquerading as Jason's departed mother, hoping that he mistakes you for his maternal spirit, thus letting you go? Wow, Ginny ... good luck with that!
4. Knocked Up: Sorry, I refuse to believe that Seth Rogen's character could ever hook up with someone like Katherine Heigl's character after meeting in a swanky L.A. club. Maybe if he saved her from a burning building or from a swarm of vampire bats, I could see the possibility of it there -- but not from some chance meeting at a club. Am I wrong here?
5. Zulu: I know this is a historical account of the Battle at Rorke's Drift, but come on -- 139 vs. 5,000? Is it possible someone accidentally added a zero to the latter number at some point in history? Actually, I better stop now before some Red Coats hunt me down.