What movie was this plot element in?
April 2, 2009 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Plot identification: "X should have never been made a Y, but I pulled some strings to get him through and he got { killed | maimed | lost } while Ying! Oh noes!"

It's in BSG with Y = Pilot, but I could swear I've seen this elsewhere (most likely in a movie). Any ideas?
posted by 0xFCAF to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well we just had a Godfather thread, right? Mike was Vito's unqualified son/successor, and it certainly destroyed him.

Not what you're looking for probably... I'll keep thinking. :)
posted by rokusan at 8:05 PM on April 2, 2009

In Troy, Patroclus should never have been a soldier, but Achilles trains him and puts him in the army, leading to Patroclus' death.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:21 PM on April 2, 2009

I think it's implicit that this happens right after the end of Gattaca, with X = "genetically problematic Ethan Hawke" and Y = "astronaut."
posted by escabeche at 8:28 PM on April 2, 2009

Kipling pulled strings to get his son into the Royal Navy during WWI even though the boy couldn't pass the vision test, and then again to get him into officers candidate school at the age of 17.

'Jack' was then promptly killed in action, after which Kipling wrote:

If any question why we died
Tell them, because our fathers lied.
posted by jamjam at 8:29 PM on April 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

You might try asking on TVTropes? If anyone would know, the people there would...
posted by roystgnr at 8:43 PM on April 2, 2009

This trope is old, old, old.

In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Don Pedro wants to arrange a marriage between one of his soldiers, Claudio, and Hero, thinking Hero to be a fine wife for his good friend. Don Pedro even dons a mask and woos the girl on Claudio's behalf.

When Hero is (falsely) accused of being a loose woman, Don Pedro and Claudio publicly humiliate the poor girl. Hero's supporters fake her death as a result of the very public humiliation. Don Pedro and Claudio both do Shakespearean "oh noes, we so sorry" at her "funeral," and all's well that ends well when Hero is revealed as very much not dead.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:04 PM on April 2, 2009

Response by poster: I should have been more specific - Y was definitely something dangerous (soldier? pilot? cop?), and the character who got them the position anyway was aware that they were incompetent. It was also explicit that the character pulling the strings took responsibility for the other character's fate.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:20 PM on April 2, 2009

I think it's implicit that this happens right after the end of Gattaca, with X = "genetically problematic Ethan Hawke" and Y = "astronaut."

Sorry for the derail but -- WAIT what? You think so? ELABORATE please.
posted by suedehead at 9:28 PM on April 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: WAIT what? You think so? ELABORATE please.

I second the motion.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:32 PM on April 2, 2009

Spy Game with Redford and Pitt follows this outline better than anything else I can think of offhand.
posted by notquitemaryann at 10:47 PM on April 2, 2009

WAIT what? You think so? ELABORATE please.

Since the OP seconded the request -- presumably the EH character with the faulty heart can't actually survive the rigors of space travel, which is why he was disqualified in the first place, right? I took this to be one reason the movie ends where it does, and not with a "then he proves himself and has a long happy life as an astronaut" coda.

It's somehow not a very interesting movie unless there's a reason for their society to be weird and oppressive in the way that it is.
posted by escabeche at 11:31 PM on April 2, 2009

EH didn't necessarily have a faulty heart, he just had a high probability of having a heart condition. No one ever even bothered to put a stethoscope to his chest; the society's blind faith in genotype testing leads them to declare EH "invalid" rather than allowing him to succeed or fail (at anything) on his own merits.

...I nominate Fight Club as an example, where X=Bob Paulson and Y=Member of Project Mayhem.
posted by teremala at 1:47 AM on April 3, 2009

Anakin should never have been trained as a Jedi, but Qui-Gon graduated Obi-Wan took immediately and took him on as his own Padawan. Now look what happened.
posted by originalname37 at 2:03 AM on April 3, 2009

In The Great Escape, Donald Pleasence is near blind and the commander doesn't want him to take part in the escape, but James Garner offers to guide him. Pleasence ends up getting shot by German soldiers, in a way which implies that had he been able to see what was going on, he might have been saved. Garner has to inform the commander at the end that Pleasence didn't make it, and his tone/posture definitely says that the commander was right.
posted by cali59 at 5:58 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

This theme is in the Greek myth of Phaeton, whose father Apollo swore on the Styx to grant him anything he asked for. Phaeton asked to drive the sun for a day--Apollo tried to talk him out of this incredibly bad idea, but it didn't work, and he couldn't break his oath, so he had to let him drive the sun. After alternately freezing and burning everything with his terrible driving, Phaeton was lightning-struck by Zeus before he could kill any more people.
posted by phoenixy at 8:28 AM on April 3, 2009

This happens in the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica. "As a Flight Instructor at the Colonial Flight School, [Kara Thrace] met and became romantically involved with one of her students, Zak Adama. Although Zak told her that he did not want any special treatment from her, Kara passed him even though he failed Basic Flight, as she could not bring herself to crush his dreams. Her leniency cost Zak his life when he was killed on his first Viper mission".
posted by MrMisterio at 8:42 AM on April 3, 2009

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