Thursday, January 28, 2010

Archaeology and jobs never seen in movies

Here's a humorous breakdown of the most common occupations held by the protagonists of most Hollywood movies. Having enlightened us about what jobs are usually seen in movies, the writers also provide a 'top ten' of jobs never seen in movies. And what clocks in at #10? You guessed it, archaeologist!

Archaeologist of really tedious, perpetually unfruitful digs: Movies tend to distort the profession of archaeologist and make it seem more glamorous than it really is. Instead of a swashbuckler rescuing ancient treasures from snake-pits, we’d like to see an archaeologist who digs tediously for months on end to unearth, say, one shoe horn from the Bronze Age every 11 years. Again, in keeping with this cinema verite approach, the archaeologists should not be played by actors fulfilling the screen portion of their good looking pop idol contract, but rather the type of personal-care avoiding sloppy intellectual whose own ears are a few missed cleanings away from being dig-worthy.

Actually, that's not completely true... The Royal Tenembaums had Anjelica Huston playing Etheline Tenenbaum, an archaeologist shown doing reasonably realistic archaeological things at a couple of points in the movie. Of course, Wes Anderson's mother was an archaeologist, so he may have had a slightly less "Indiana Jones-ized" view of what we do than most directors. Can you, kind reader, think of other realistic depictions of archaeologists in movies/TV shows?

1 comment:

mike said...

What, there was something wrong with Harrison Ford's portrayal of an archaeologist? But he's a Role Model...

Ah well. Several Agatha Christie books with archaeology at least in the background (Murder in Mesopotamia, Murder on the Nile) were made into films. Since her husband was an archaeologist, I suspect the depictions were reasonably realistic.