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Things the Movies Taught Us in the Second Half of 2008

“Hancock”: The drunk hobo who sleeps on the bench at the bus stop might have superpowers, so think twice before beating him up and stealing his bourbon.

“Journey to the Center of the Earth”: The technology behind 3-D movies has become so advanced that viewers are now getting headaches faster than their grandparents could have ever imagined.

“Mamma Mia!”: It is possible to tell a coherent, entertaining story using only the songs of ABBA. Theoretically, I mean. No one’s done it yet, but they could.

“The Dark Knight”: All those nifty gadgets on his utility belt, and Batman still can’t find a place to keep a throat lozenge.

“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”: You don’t have to worry about the third installment of a film franchise being a disappointment if the first two weren’t any good, either.

“Pineapple Express”: Marijuana is funny. I don’t know why no movie ever thought to point this out before. It seems so obvious now!

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”: George Lucas could film a dead dog lying on a sidewalk, stick the name “Star Wars” on it, and people would pay to see it without even having to be talked into it.

“An American Carol”: The reason so much comedy has a liberal slant is that, as it turns out, conservatives aren’t funny.

“Religulous”: The only thing more annoying than a self-righteous Christian is a self-righteous atheist.

“Saw V”: This was not, as I originally suspected, a biopic about the 15th-century English king who unified the crowns of England and France and was married to Catherine of Valois. That was Henry V.

“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”: It is important for kids to learn to be themselves and do what makes them happy — especially if what makes them happy is something that all the popular kids are already doing anyway.

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno”: You can put the word “porno” right there in the title and people STILL won’t pay to see a Kevin Smith movie.

“Quantum of Solace”: When James Bond grows up, he wants to be Jason Bourne.

“Twilight”: The best way for a vampire to subtly blend into regular society is to be the town’s only doctor and wear kabuki makeup.

“The Day the Earth Stood Still”: Space aliens who come to New York City are treated the same as any other tourist, i.e., they get shot.

“Valkyrie,” “The Reader,” “Defiance,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “Miracle at St. Anna,” “Australia”: If it weren’t for World War II, everyone in Hollywood would be unemployed. Thanks, Hitler!

[The first half of 2008 was covered here.]

My goal in the new year is to end more columns with the words "Thanks, Hitler!"

Imagine my chagrin when I realized, well after the fact, that I'd already made the Batman/lozenge joke in a previous column. I thought I'd only made it in my head. Shouldn't I have a staff to keep track of these things?

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