Things you dislike in movies

Tools    





"How tall is King Kong ?"
1) Long climactic fights

I declare myself old : fights bore me. Especially very long fights at the end of the movie, when there is no other possible outcome than the good guy's victory. Especially when it's between superhumans that can just punch each others ad infinitam, at least get back up until the arbitrary point where the script tells them to stay down. Just yawn.

I do appreciate inventive fights where there's something else to follow than exchanges of smacks, though : Jackie Chan's would be an example if I had the slightest interest for matial arts, but some old Bond movies also qualify, when they weaponize every object in the room.



2) Tired lines from the little book of sounding epic.

I now leave the room and slam the door if anyone says "let's do this". It's even worse when they're tired sequences of dialogues. Matrix movies are full of these. A random "excuse me", a character answers "what for", and in your head you wearily go "for that *pif paf beng*" before the movie goes "for that *pif paf beng*". I saw a couple of minutes of Avatar on a videoclub's wall tv, it went "move very slowly" in front of a heavy-sounding beast, I didn't have to raise my eyes from the DVDs I was browsing to mumble "now run" before the movie went "now run". Maybe I had watched too many Doctor Who episodes beforehand, but this sort of thing just tells me all I want to know about the film.

3) Shoehorned romance.

Oh look the old kidnapped professor happens to have a young daughter she will fall in love with the hero. Oh look the biologist jungle pilot they hire is a single young woman she will fall in love with the hero. Oh look these two characters are arguing at first contact they will marry at the end. Oh look that pretty girl is already married, her husband will die or turn out a villain. What were the chances (in addition to the microfilm of the secret temple being on the same island as the reluctant hero) ? Well, exactly 100%. If some high stake adventure happens to a man, it will also, coincidentally, lead to a romantic encounter in parallel - usually the only other survivor. Better than matrimonial agencies : get chased by a gang of ninja zombie monster spies.

3b) The suddenly romantic baddie.

Oh no the fleeing big bad has kidnapped the hero's girlfriend-to-be. Why exactly, apart to give the hero more incentive to chase him and heighten the stakes ? Well, because he has also fallen in love with the same girl, coincidentally, and he thinks that keeping her prisoner instead of murdering her like all her friends is a sure-fire way to make her enthusiastically marry him. Will she will she not. Or looks like she will after all. Oh no it was a trick, who would have seen that coming.

4) Homing baddies.

- Oh no they found us again, how did they ?
- They seem to have eyes everywhere !
- Okay yes that's not exactly an answer. I mean, we didn't even...
- Shut up and run, we have to lose them till the next action scene.

Seriously, it's a great tension when they show us the way the baddies keep trailing the fugitives, especially when there's deduction involved. But most of times, it just distracts of of the question with a few explosions and gunfights.



4b) Village-sized planets.

It's a related point, but : in a cop movie, if you want to find someone, you just need to locate their town. Go there and you'll stumble on them. In a spy movie, all you need to know is the country. Go there, you'll find him easily. In sci-fi, all you need to know is the planet's name. Fly there, enter THE bar of the planet, and you'll find your fugitive. These stories pretent to scale up their universes, they only switch labels. Relative distances and magnitudes stay the same, defeating the point.

5) The gorgeous woman's introduction.

Zoom on the feet (after arrival in the room, or exiting the car), travel upwards, remember or not that there's supposed to be a face on the top of all that, who cares, you made your point. It's the male gaze if males were imbeciles. It's fitting for parodies or cartoons, but when you play it straight, you look like a Luc Besson production.

6) "Dynamic" editing.

No, cutting to a different angle every half a second doesn't make your film more fun or dynamic or cool. It makes it look epileptic. And artificial. And insecure. Like a 50 years old director trying to appeal to the 90s MTV youth with a 1998 sequel to your 1993 blockbuster comedy. No, not thinking of anyone in particular, in case Jean-Marie Poiré asks.

7) Also : toddler-like designs.

We humans are programmed to feel all softened and protective in front of our specie's offsprings, which we recognize by the proportionally bigger, rounder heads and big eyes. So, want to move people with your creature's design ? Simply engineer them accordingly to these stimuli, and, presto, you have your popular Wall-E or Mogwai tamagochis. Insta-heartmelt. No need for artists, just technicians and a sheet of psychosocial recipe. Except it makes me feel my arm is twisted to feel for these products, and it sends me in full butlerian jihad mode.

7b) Loosely related : thinking machines. Robots with souls. Oddly, it's one trope when I can't easily life my suspension of disbelief. Again, butlerian jihad waargh. I'm a blade runner at heart. A robot that spouts a line of code about not feeling a robot is still a robot. I break it for trying to blur the line and hijack human empathy.

7c) Loosely related : Clumsy sci-fi/fantasy social metaphors. About "race". Oh I get it, you want to make a point about how we are all humans and racism is bad and we should accept each others as being part of one great human unity beyond the cultures and genders and orientations and colors and other phenotypes that arbitrarily split our perception of indivisible belonging ? Right. Then don't do it through different species, idiots ! The point is precisely that we aren't different elf-like goblin-like martian-like types of creatures with predetermined traits and "racially" encoded cognitive abilities. Accepting that we are the same as some (or some other) human minority is not the same as accepting that toasters are like us. Gaah.

8) Also I already mentioned my irritation at romanticized serial killers. No, killing at random, without personal motives, is not a prowess (of course it does make the investigation more complicated than murders with rational stakes), and it's not a form of superior intelligence (failing to feel for others is : being dumb, cognitively limited). Also, just look, for real, at some genuine forensic books and profiling studies on serial killers. They are just nauseating, lame, stupid creeps. It takes a studio executive to try to depict them as sexy evil geniuses. I mean, FFS. Also gaah.

*deep breaths*

*other deep breaths*

Aaaaanyway. I'm not the only one with cinema pet peeves am I ?

...



...

Yes I am.



pretty much just corny heroism, romanticism, and moral lessons. However, all those things can be spun in novel ways.



Exposition.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Same kind of confrontations between "tough" guys
It in half of guy ritchie and scorsese movies.
Example scene


we know that this kind of scenes always ends up with physical violence but still for some reason directors that make crime movies keep putting these kind of scenes again and again.
Sopranos has lots of these scenes and its cringe worthy.



I think Rules may agree with this one: gratuitous chase scenes (especially car chases).
I do...In fact that's one instance where I might choose to fast forward the movie...unless it's the original Bullit! That was a good car chase scene.

Same with long, corny fist fight scenes in some of John Wayne's movies. I like the Duke's films but sometimes those bar room brawls get old real fast.



Oh, also, my biggest one right now is the use of green-screens when a location or set would have worked just fine and certainly looked better.
Really sick of watching actors just standing in front of green-screens. Hopefully Chloe Zhao will show Hollywood that it needs to stop that ****.



Registered User
My biggest pet peeve is getting stuff obviously wrong. For example, The last samurai has Cruise living in a small village, and he walks into the house with muddy boots. He looks back, and sees the wife silently scrubbing the mud from her once pristine floor. Now I happen to have a Japanese wife, and can tell you that this would have been immediately met with Tom getting the most thorough tongue lashing of his life, while at the same time being bumrushed out of the house, and told he can only come back in once she got finished busting her husband's balls for not teaching that foreign pig how civilized people enter a house.

In all seriousness, what they got wrong is that the wife is the lord of the house in Japan. Her husband can be the lord of all creation, but that's outside!

I know the director was going for that country mouse/ city mouse vibe, but get it frickin' right!



Same kind of confrontations between "tough" guys
It in half of guy ritchie and scorsese movies.
Example scene


we know that this kind of scenes always ends up with physical violence but still for some reason directors that make crime movies keep putting these kind of scenes again and again.
Sopranos has lots of these scenes and its cringe worthy.

Sopranos is a comedy though, every supranos fan knows this...



Same kind of confrontations between "tough" guys
It in half of guy ritchie and scorsese movies.
Example scene


we know that this kind of scenes always ends up with physical violence but still for some reason directors that make crime movies keep putting these kind of scenes again and again.
Sopranos has lots of these scenes and its cringe worthy.
Ooh, yes, I’m definitely drinking to that. Exhausting and cringeworthy indeed.

@Flicker, I’m with you on most of them, especially 1). Regarding 2), it certainly comes off as idiotic onscreen, but boy, how many times have I heard action film-worthy “Let’s do this”es and “Smash’em”s before a client pitch I could not count. So that one is at least not unrealistic.

When it comes to 8), I understand the rationale but think it is a bit of a conundrum. There’s definitely something unhealthy about making psychopathic cannibals and Nazi generals “sexy”, heh.

However, I remember very well that even when I watched The Silence of the Lambs for the first time, it was obvious to me that Lecter is meant to be “sexy” independently, or rather, in spite of being a serial killer, not because of it. It did actually horrify certain family members at the time that someone could find his personality appealing, but it’s very deliberate, aiming exactly to induce that type of discomfort in a viewer unaccustomed (at the time) to the whole Lecter lore.

It creates a certain disconnect; deliberate, I think: Oh, how can this learned and cultured gentleman possibly eat people in his spare time?

Which, as John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker show in Mindhunter the non-fiction book, is not uncommon. The whole “let’s psychoanalyse a bunch of murderers to prevent future crimes” obvious got discredited, and rightly so, but if anything, the collection of interview data amassed suggests that many serial killers appear distinctly normal, cultured and “affable” in conversation. Granted, Harris exaggerated the disconnect, but I do think it’s been documented that the disconnect is there.

In narrative terms, I would argue it almost functions as a “twist” in itself, albeit one the viewer is becoming aware of almost immediately and internalises. It’s obvious that this can only go so far; Mason Verger’s personality is so over-the-top and ridiculous precisely because that would allow for distinguishing Lecter as the “less sick” of the two.

That said, neither would I necessarily agree that real-life maniacs can’t appear sexy to some people. “Sexy” is as subjective a term as it gets. It’s a complex issue, and that type of people certainly tends to attract a particular type of woman, usually seeking validation. Just look at Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and Richard Ramirez marrying “fan girls” in prison. Most of these cases are publicity stunts, but it does show that some people do find serial killers sexy largely for their quality of being serial killers.

There’s a term for that, actually: hybristophilia.

….and then there’s the Myra Hindley type, who’ll go one step further. I say no more.

I would agree that it’s flippant and simplistic to perpetuate that idea.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
but boy, how many times have I heard action film-worthy “Let’s do this”es and “Smash’em”s before a client pitch I could not count. So that one is at least not unrealistic.
Well, cinema shapes language. In France, the specific expression "est-ce que ça va ?" has become very popular because it lip-syncs perfectly with "are you all right", therefore it's being hammered in french dubbed american movies. And beyond language, we know how gangster movies shape both the real life attitudes of cops and of mafiosi, who simply mirror the contemporary cinema trends. So, no surprise if an expression that is found in every movie is used everywhere.

But my issue isn't realism. It's just,,, those kind of scenes or lines that try to look super cool and super badass, but that have been so overdone over and over that they just look naively formulaic and derivative.


It creates a certain disconnect; deliberate, I think: Oh, how can this learned and cultured gentleman possibly eat people in his spare time? Which, as John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker show in Mindhunter the non-fiction book, is not uncommon.
On the spectrum of psychopathy, narcissists (and what we specify in french as perverse narcissist, who are harmful and manipulative in addition to self-absorbed) can notoriously be very charismatic. That's not the issue. My problem comes from serial killers being presented as genius superheroes, worthy of admiration. As if feeling nothing for others was a sign of intelligence (see also the closely related trope of "I am super clever therefore I can act like an *******"), and as if it took a formidable intelligence to perform elusive murders when you pick your victims at random. In these cases, it's not "despite", it's "because". It borrows and fuels their own self-aggrandizing fantasies.

I know that evil is considered sexy (or else our repugnant species would be extinct already, I'd say), but it's still something that makes me shudder, especially when it mythologizes those specific losers. Thinking of it, there's a great scene about this in Ellroy's Killer on the Road / Silent Terror, where the main character (a serial killer himself) meets his idol Charles Manson in prison. And disappointingly sees right through his persona.


Anyway. I was back to this thread for :

9) Recursive footage.

Can I call it like that ? It's when, in a movie, a screen displays, well, scenes of the movie itself. As if, in the story, there had been a camera crew around the scene. It may be supposed to be a surveillance camera, but it has this in-universe impossible angle or editing because it's just the movie's scene being recycled. Like that car monitor, in You Only Live Twice, that shows the pursuing car being lifted by a helicopter, but as if filmed by other invisible helicopters. Or when the protagonists watch archives of previous actions (sometimes in previous movies), that could not have been filmed, or at least not with the cuts, close ups, or the full shots-reverse-shots of a dialogue...

It's just... dunno... lazy ? Or they truly didn't think more about it ?



It's not just cheesy movies (Fantômas, Loki, etc). It happens in serious, high quality ones, Always pulls me out of the story.
__________________
Get working on your custom lists, people !





Anyway. I was back to this thread for :

9) Recursive footage.

Can I call it like that ? It's when, in a movie, a screen displays, well, scenes of the movie itself. As if, in the story, there had been a camera crew around the scene. It may be supposed to be a surveillance camera, but it has this in-universe impossible angle or editing because it's just the movie's scene being recycled. Like that car monitor, in You Only Live Twice, that shows the pursuing car being lifted by a helicopter, but as if filmed by other invisible helicopters. Or when the protagonists watch archives of previous actions (sometimes in previous movies), that could not have been filmed, or at least not with the cuts, close ups, or the full shots-reverse-shots of a dialogue...

It's just... dunno... lazy ? Or they truly didn't think more about it ?



It's not just cheesy movies (Fantômas, Loki, etc). It happens in serious, high quality ones, Always pulls me out of the story.
YES. Man, even when I was a kid this would bug the hell out of me. I used to watch You Only Live Twice all the damn time when I was a kid because it was my favorite Bond movie and it would bug me every single time.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
10) Recent flashbacks.

There was that in the recent Black Widow film. I've stumbled upon it a couple of time recently. The most obnoxious one was in a french comedy, Fallait Pas (Should Not, 1996), which I spoil here without remorse nor warning (oh, damn) :

The big bad, an evil cult leader, has tied up all the good guys next to a small bomb he intends to detonate from a distance. One of the good guys, a weak-willed ex-follower of the cult, suddenly grovels back to the leader, holding on his clothes, begging for forgiveness, in front of his shocked allies who feel betrayed. The leader isn't moved, and leaves him behind to explode with the heroes. We follow the baddie, who goes to his car, and all the good guys awaiting death while reproaching the ex-follower his cowardice and last minute betrayal attempt. Until the baddie triggers the remote detonator and explodes in his car, to the surprise of all the good guys who wonder what happened. The ex-follower chooses this moment to respond with an excited "but, yes, remember !", followed with a flashback from 2 minutes earlier, showing (you didn't see that coming) he had slipped the bomb in the cult leader's pocket while pretending to beg him. And, duh. And, gah. And bleh.

For me, it's just bad storytelling. Skipping a scene and displaying it right after the following one, because you cannot both maintain the fake suspense and simultaneously convey the information needed to understand the resolution. The result is disjointed, artificial, cheap, and, when repeated (the terrible Man from UNCLE adaptation from 2015 is entirely made of these), the formula just shatter the viewer's trust in what he's seeing (is there no suspense when you know that plot elements will keep being added retroactively). It's just... weak. Like a joke messed up, with half the premise given after the punchline.

So there you are. One more plot device I dislike in films. Starting to make a lot.





It's not just cheesy movies (Fantômas, Loki, etc). It happens in serious, high quality ones, Always pulls me out of the story.
Bond's car monitor was obviously linked up (via an early version of wifi) to an early version of Google Earth using a satellite link up that transmitted the video of the helicopter as filmed from space by the satellite to his car's monitor! This might have been a feature of an early British or Japanese version of OnStar!