Over the years, Mark and Simon - and the Wittertainment listeners and correspondents - have developed several theories, patterns and rules about and around films. Some of the principal principles are:
High School Musical rule - first is great, second is a dip, third brings it back
Evil Dead rule - first great, second even better, third rubbish
Nativity rule - first great, second dismal, third even worse
Toxic Avenger rule - each film is progressively better than the previous one
Extended film series
Bourne rule - first good, second better, third superb, fourth doesn't exist, fifth (which is the fourth, because the fourth doesn't exist) good but not as good as the third.
Transformers rule - all the films in the sequence are universally terrible, despite what your son might think.
Gents toilets at The Hawthorns rule - all films advertised in the gents toilets at West Bromwich Albion's ground are terrible
There were originally rules that said there were no such things as bad Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Bettany or Richard E Grant movies. In the light of, respectively, Red Dragon, Priest and Spiceworld, this was changed to "there is no such thing as a bad Philip Seymour Hoffman / Paul Bettany / Richard E Grant performance", although they are, in fact, just as capable of being in dreck as anyone else.
Russell Crowe rule - when he is in shape, he is making fluff; when he is fat, he is taking the part seriously.
Harry Connick Junior rule - the minute he walks on screen, he is either playing a nice guy or a serial killer.
The Steven Spielberg rule - the less important Spielberg thinks his movie is, the better it is. So Jurassic Park is better than Schindler's List; ET is better than Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and War Of The Worlds is better than Munich.
The Sir Guy Ritchie rule - the less involvement Sir Guy has in the script, the better his films.
The Poltergeist rule - everyone knows who the producer is but no-one knows who the director is.
Mark and Simon's rules
Anthropomorphism rules - Mark Kermode's rule you can build a world in which animals / cars / toys talk to each other, but don't have them suddenly get fully involved in the human world as if that is normal
Comedy spending rule - The more money is spent on making a comedy, the less funny it is
TV shows adapted into films rule - Around 45 minutes in, any movie made from a TV show will go abroad
Lab closure rule - All scientists in movies will begin the film by having either their research or their entire lab being threatened with closure
Beautifully shot rule - Any time a film is described as "beautifully shot" by critics, what they mean is, "it's really boring - but it's made by an arthouse director so we can't be that blunt, so we're going to damn it with this faintest of praise instead."