CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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The Term “Nuke The Fridge” Is A Dud!

Written by Christopher Beaubien • June 06, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


There has been a very vocal outcry against an action set piece early in the film. I thought it was one of the film’s most inspired scenes. Indiana Jones has been deserted inside a small American town populated by eerie wide-eyed dummies made up as All-American suburbanites. The houses are outfitted with furnishings and plastic goods. The purpose of this crafted life-size Pleasantville is to test an enormous atom bomb that will detonate within a minute. Indy, taking a cue from the caped crusader from the episode Riddler’s Reform uses a housed refrigerator as a safe to protect himself from the blast.

Tension rises as he rips the metallic grills out of the icebox so he can fit inside. He shuts himself inside just as the manmade inferno blows everything to kingdom come. The refrigerator blasts off into the sky and lands ferociously to the ground miles away from the blast. Indiana Jones, never cooler, escapes his mini fall-out shelter with a few bruises. He is indestructible. The camera rises up to reveal a mushroom cloud swallowing the faraway landscape. Indiana Jones, silhouetted by the explosion, has entered the cold war. It is an awesome moment that unfortunately overshadows the rest of the film. I wouldn’t do without it.

Many people didn’t voice this favourable view, whereas a collective of disheartened curmudgeons found the magnificently preposterous sequence just preposterous. Back in Raiders, Indy’s body was dragged across a rocky terrain by the back of a Nazi jeep. He climbed up the car and fought the villains like he was in rare form. Now Indy’s fans are calling out the impossibility of Indiana’s Fridge stunt.

They wanted blood for this, even going so far as to burn an imprint of the scene as the movie equivalent to the television term “Jump the Shark”, which refers to a joyfully ludicrous stunt by the Fonz in Happy Days. The phrase had entered the lexicon, otherwise known as the Urban Dictionary, as “Nuke the Fridge”. For example, “Killing off all the surviving characters from Aliens (1985) sans Ripley at the beginning of Alien3 (1992) really nuked the fridge”. Nuked the Fridge. I just want to rake my tongue with a fork every time I say that. It is a clumsy catchphrase that ridicules a film sequence that doesn’t qualify for this degree of prejudice venom.

How about this instead: “Souring the romance between Peter Parker and Mary Jane in Spiderman 3 just killed off Newt”.

“Killed off Newt” — sharp and to the point!

Besides, “Jump the Shark” has always worked as classics often do.

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