I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 24

Day 24: Indiana Jones and the Extremely Personal Injury

So Shia LaBoeuf is standing on the back of a jeep, swordfighting with Cate Blanchett, who’s standing on the back of another jeep that’s driving unusually close by. During this swordfight, something unusual happens. Shia’s balance slips and he winds up with a foot on either jeep.

And then things get profoundly stupid. This is partly because, since the Jeeps aren’t on tracks, like, for example, mine carts, and they can freely swerve back and forth across the surprisingly well-cleared jungle. This raises the immediate question of why he ends up stuck between the jeeps at all. The second he wound up even a little stuck, wouldn’t the good jeep swerve towards the bad one, to let him get back on it? Or the bad jeep swerve away, to cause him to fall to the jungle floor? But they do neither. No, they just drive in straight lines, both because it’s easier to work the greenscreened background if the prop jeeps don’t move much, and because they wanted to get to the profoundly stupid thing that happened next.

So LaBoeuf is stuck between two jeeps, his legs suddenly stretched wide. So what, in this predicament, is the most obvious and stupid thing that could happen? That’s right, he gets hit in the crotch by tall plants.

Over and over and over again.

I know the crotch injury is a slapstick classic, passed on from comedian to comedian from the earliest cave paintings, and codified by America’s Funniest Home Videos as the “Funniest” thing that can possibly happen in a video. Yes, as the twentieth century ground to a halt, it was official: there was nothing funnier than a man wincing in pain.

Then something peculiar happened. The Simpsons, back when it was still partially a satirical enterprise, had Homer announce that his favorite thing in the world was groins being struck. To quote him: “The ball, his groin… It works on so many levels!” It was all over for the groin strike. Suddenly it wasn’t just snobs finding it obnoxious and pedestrian, it was everyone. The ‘hit in the groin’ was officially short form for anyone producing hacky, obvious, tacky comedy. If they showed up at all in film and television, it tended to be in an almost embarrassed way, as if the filmmakers and televisionistas couldn’t resist making the joke, even while consciously knowing it was below them.

Yet somehow, this overwhelming shadow of shame and disgust that hangs over groin injury comedy seems to have been missed by the filmmakers responsible for Crystal Skull, who were seemingly content to go on obliviously making their terrible attempts at humor as if we lived in a pre- 3/5 world and George C. Scott had never won that Oscar.

It can be hard to keep track of all the rules popular culture lays down, so here’s the groin injury one, written as clearly as possible, so that no one need ever make Crystal Skull’s mistakes again:

If you use a groin injury to create comedy non-ironically, non-satirically, or not as a commentary on the kind of pathetically uninspired film would actually employ comedic groin injury, then you have failed.

I know that this has kind of been a theme of the entires so far, but I’d just to make it absolutely clear: The filmmakers responsible for Indiana Jones and the Valley of the Crystal Skull are failures. This is just one of the reasons for that.

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