Be it for money, bargaining purposes, or strictly out of necessity, movie characters have been getting kidnapped since silent-era evildoers began the mini industry of tying women to train tracks.
Not all kidnappers are mustache-twirling villains, though. In fact, many of them have a darn good reason and are pretty nice folks once you're forced at gunpoint to get to know them. Amanda Seyfried could sure use some do's and dont's in the new kidnap thriller "Gone," but if you ever do get kidnapped in a film, we have a few rules to live by so you don't wind up on a milk carton … or in a wood chipper.
Follow the Kidnapper's Instructions
Evidence: "Fargo," "Ransom," "Misery," "Alpha Dog," "Silence of the Lambs"
As a result of William H. Macy's greed in scheming an inside-kidnapping job with a skeevy Steve Buscemi in "Fargo," about a dozen people lost their lives. That's not so Minnesota nice, don't ya know. Mel Gibson rolled the dice on turning the tables on his son's kidnappers ("Ransom"), but he only got away with it because he's bats**t crazy. James Caan might not have gotten his ankles hammered by Kathy Bates in "Misery" if he'd just played along with her deranged demands, but Justin Timberlake actually told Anton Yelchin to go home at one point before he was later forced to gun the stupid kid down ("Alpha Dog"). If we've learned anything, it would be that whatever you do, for God's sake put the lotion in the basket ("Silence of the Lambs").
Be an Adorable Hostage
Evidence: "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Labyrinth," "Raising Arizona," "A Perfect World," "Rain Man"
"Kidnap the Sandy Claws …" It's a cute tune revolving around a capital crime, made all the cuter by the rosy-cheeked plasticine puppet Tim Burton concocted for Father Christmas in "Nightmare Before Christmas." David Bowie amused his baby kidnapee by creepily fondling little crystal balls ("Labyrinth"), while Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage did their best to domesticate Nathan Jr. to their humble trailer park abode ("Raising Arizona"). Kevin Costner seemed to be forming a pretty decent father-son bond with his captive kid before getting shot in a field ("A Perfect World"), but Dustin Hoffman's idiot savant in "Rain Man" got some refreshing brotherly love from Tom Cruise … after he was used as a human calculator to win big in Las Vegas.
Don't Fall in Love With Your Abductor
Evidence: "12 Monkeys," "3 Days of the Condor," "V For Vendetta," "Out of Sight"
Stockholm Syndrome can be a tricky thing, especially if you're a time traveler falling for your shrink while you keep foreseeing your own death like poor Bruce Willis ("12 Monkeys"). A bookish Robert Redford became a Casanova to Faye Dunaway in "3 Days of the Condor") once she knew he was a spy playing for keeps. Natalie Portman had to have her head shaved in an elaborate brainwash before she fell for V, her mutilated masked abductor; but all it took for George Clooney and J.Lo to start knocking boots in "Out of Sight" was a cozy ride in a car trunk.
Also Check Out: Amanda Seyfried Is Going, Going in 3 "Gone" Clips
Realize Escape May Be Impossible
Evidence: "Air Force One," "Panic Room," "9 to 5"
Whether you're President Harrison Ford in a fuselage miles in the sky ("Air Force One"), Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart trapped in an impenetrable room ("Panic Room"), or a rascally Dabney Coleman chained up like some S&M gimp ("9 to 5"), trying to get yourself free can be one futile enterprise. Usually the fight or flight instinct kicks in, or both in the case of "Air Force One."
Make Sure a Loved One Has Combat Training
Evidence: "Taken," "Commando," "Man on Fire," "Rambo"
Liam Neeson cornered the market on middle-aged badassery when he used his special set of skills to hunt down and take out the dudes who took his daughter in "Taken." Ditto for Special Forces-trained Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Commando," who pretty much enacted the same scenario in the finale of "True Lies." Denzel Washington in "Man on Fire" was a disgraced former CIA agent who gave it all up for our generation's Shirley Temple, i.e. Dakota Fanning. And John Rambo didn't even know the missionaries he rescued by slaughtering what-seemed-like-hundreds of Burmese military dudes, but whatevs.
Don't Waste Your Whole Life
Evidence: "The Searchers," "Oldboy"
This one applies to both kidnappers and the poor saps trying to rescue those taken. In "The Searchers," John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter made tracking down little Debbie a full-time job that took longer than Boston's Big Dig, so much so that when they finally found her she had blossomed into Natalie Wood in Native American garb. Then in "Oldboy" you have the sick, twisted **** that is Lee Woo-jin, who kept Oh Dae-su captive for 15 frickin' years before letting him go in one of the most wildy circuitous (and perverted) revenge schemes in history. Next time just take a chill pill and get on with your lives already, people.
Don't Be Mary Jane Watson
Evidence: All-three "Spider-Man" movies
This is a pretty self-explanatory rule that shouldn't concern most of you, but in that rare instance that you happen to be the object of Peter Parker's affection, we recommend keeping to a safe house or far-off island. All this parading out in public as a fashion model or Broadway singer or whatever it is you do -- this has gotta stop. We hate to blame the victim, but when you get nabbed by Green Goblin, Doc Ock AND Sandman, it's time to re-evaluate your web-slinger fetish.