Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Lessons from Hollywood

What we learned this summer from popular culture, such as the California penal code for murder (”187”)

Posted on

Who — aside from ABC — says that mass-media entertainment is mindless fluff? A close look at this summer’s numerous offerings demonstrates that for those paying attention, showbiz can actually teach us a few things. Here are some of Hollywood’s hottest lessons.

Vega is a star in the constellation of Lyra, only 26 light-years from Earth (Contact).

California’s penal code for murder is 187 (187).

You can’t smoke on certain floors of Chicago’s Drake Hotel (My Best Friend’s Wedding).

Compsognathus, a small birdlike dinosaur species, apparently was a pack hunter (The Lost World: Jurassic Park).

In Jewish mythology, Lilith was Adam’s vengeful first wife (Lilith Fair).

Self-defense tip: To ward off an attacker, plunge a knife into his thigh, then twist the blade so the wound won’t close (Face/Off).

You can’t serve as a cop in New York City if you are deaf in one ear (Cop Land).

Gulden’s is America’s No. 2 mustard (Picture Perfect).

Serial killers usually have two names, while one-time assassins usually have three (Conspiracy Theory).