50/50: A great 2011 movie and also the odds George Lucas gives that a person would survive if they were in a lead refrigerator during a nuclear blast.

We refer, of course, to the now infamous scene early in Steven Spielberg‘s 2008 film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where Jones shields himself from a nuclear blast inside a refrigerator. The scene is so outrageous (or enraging, depending on who you talk to) the phrase “nuke the fridge” replaced Happy Days’ “jump the shark” as the way to describe a moment where a story finally goes from being good to bad.

In a New York Times article, one you’re going to be reading a lot about in the coming days, Lucas takes responsiblity for the scene and says, nay, insists there’s a 50/50 chance, if nuking the fridge was real, Indiana Jones could have survived. But is that what’s really important, George? Read more below.

This is just one of many, many insights in a fascinating New York Times profile on the Star Wars creator tied to the Friday release of Red Tails. Here’s the excerpt.

When I [The New York Times writer] told Lucas that Spielberg had accepted the blame for nuking the fridge, he looked stunned. “It’s not true,” he said. “He’s trying to protect me.”

In fact, it was Spielberg who “didn’t believe” the scene. In response to Spielberg’s fears, Lucas put together a whole nuking-the-fridge dossier. It was about six inches thick, he indicated with his hands. Lucas said that if the refrigerator were lead-lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck when the fridge crashed to earth, and if he were able to get the door open, he could, in fact, survive. “The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said.

That may very well be true but the issue isn’t whether it’s possible or not. It’s that the director didn’t buy it, the producer insisted and spent time and money proving to the director, who should have final say, that it was possible. Not if it was a good, entertaining idea that forwarded the story. He needed to prove that it was scientifically possible. George, you know what’s not scientifically possible? Spirits coming out of arks. Eternal life. Ripping someone’s heart out. Yet those things snuck in your movies. Maybe you should have spent more time thinking about a good story rather than proving fridge nuking was a feasible mode of transportation.

I hope you can read my blood boiling there. I get so upset over these small things when it comes to Lucas because his films mean the world to me. I’m looking forward to Red Tails and after you read that New York Times profile, you can’t help but be a little sympathetic to an obviously confused and tired filmmaker. But, still, it shows a total lack of awareness of what makes a good movie.

Note: The image above is of a sold out Sideshow Collectibles toy. It’s real.

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