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Movie plot elements that are hard for you to watch?

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Unearned happy endings.



Unearned redemption (where everyone sort of forgets the crazy wicked stuff that person did).


Time travel. It's paradox city.



Artificial problems that are set up to give the protag a half-assed character arc and the film a "moral."



I know it's weird but cooking. I worked in a restaurant for 6 years as a chef and whenever I see it come up I'm like **** this and I'm tempted to turn it off. This is only if it's a major element in the story, I'm not gonna turn off Goodfellas because the tracking shot goes through the kitchen. I never ever watch any food network-like shows.

It's stupid, I know.



Dementia freaks me out, and old grouchy people as the main characters
Something about the inevitability of getting old and mental health deteriorating, i have no problem with younger people depicted w mental illness.


Also dont like any scene with Electroshock therapy I fast forward but still watch the movie.



Dementia freaks me out, and old grouchy people as the main characters
Something about the inevitability of getting old and mental health deteriorating, i have no problem with younger people depicted w mental illness.
Hell, do I understand that. Feel you there. But I try to watch all such films to build a certain resilience. Even liked Marjorie Prime. My father, who isn’t the protagonist’s age, but is in the “senior” category, found it very unpleasant, though he loves soft and hard sci-if alike.

I do also have a problem with most typical portrayals of age. That would be more precise. I know Takoma and I touched on it when discussing Dante’s Peak, but to me the way in which old characters are shown as “disposable” is nowhere near the same as any male protagonist’s significant other’s death.

Even if women are often killed to give the protagonist motivation/move the plot (having just watched No Time to Die, Vesper is the obvious example), to me there’s no inevitability in that. There’s no guarantee that a female love interest will die, common though that is - we don’t in advance expect it -whereas I find that old people primarily feature in films as a way of illustrating how the protagonist comes to terms with death or they do themselves. Even Amour is partly about that.

I recently watched Straight Story and, as with all things Lynch, it was a notable exception - same with Mule.



The worst part about Umbridge-like characters, so Umbridge, Carmody in The Mist, Joffrey in Game of Thrones and every single Stephen King bully, is that they feel like they were written for the audience to hate. Characters so carricaturally evil, so irredeemable, so devoid of any quality, that the only thing you can expect of them is a satisfying death. Not a plot relevant death, but just a death that removes them from the story for the sole satisfaction of the audience. Takes me out of the plot every time.
I have addressed this before in relation to Hereditary and perhaps I’m wrong or, as usual, swimming against the tide, but I don’t see why if such people exist (whether or not we really want to call them one-dimensional is a separate issue) they shouldn’t feature in fiction/film in proportion. It’s not even about “evil” people as such but about the assumption that there’s a “depth”/“complexity” to every human, if only it can be uncovered.

I suppose there may be on some level, but reading stories about mothers torturing their own children with their boyfriends, breaking their bones with hammers and leaving them to die, then calling 999 twenty minutes later for good measure (and no, this ain’t Myra Hindley, just your average London yummy mummy) to make sure the kid was dead, I honestly don’t see why such characters shouldn’t feature in film as they are.

Yes, perhaps that woman had dimension outside this context, perhaps she collected porcelain teapots (a real life example/suggested element of “character depth” from a creative writing seminar a friend was teaching), but does that really matter in the context of that story? Who cares if she collected teapots and what does that add to the story if she murdered her child? I would quite honestly focus on that in the narrative, not because anyone lacks imagination but because the teapot collecting doesn’t really overshadow the murder here. So to me dimension is often simply unnecessary.

Obviously, this goes back to “story/plot isn’t real life” and so on, but I guess I don’t quite agree with that.



Innocent, helpless people being terrorized by real bad thugs or evil bastards until the end of the film. That's just not a fun watch for me.
What if it climaxes with the victims fighting back or taking revenge on the evil bastards before the end of the film?



What if it climaxes with the victims fighting back or taking revenge on the evil bastards before the end of the film?
I know that's what most films like that are about and so at the end of the film we get relief from the tension when the bad guys get what they deserve...but for me, experiencing intense tension for an entire film is uncomfortable.



I have addressed this before in relation to Hereditary and perhaps I’m wrong or, as usual, swimming against the tide, but I don’t see why if such people exist (whether or not we really want to call them one dimensional is a separate issue) they shouldn’t feature in fiction/film in proportion. It’s not even about “evil” people as such but about the assumption that there’s a “depth”/“complexity” to every human, if only it can be uncovered.

I suppose there may be on some level, but reading stories about mothers torturing their own children with their boyfriends, breaking their bones with hammers and leaving them to die, then falling 999 twenty minutes later for good measure (and no, this ain’t Myra Hindley, just your average London yummy mummy) to make sure the kid was dead, I honestly don’t see why such characters shouldn’t feature in film as they are.

Yes, perhaps that woman had dimension outside this context, perhaps she collected porcelain teapots (a real life example/suggested element of “character depth” from a creative writing seminar a friend was teaching), but does that really matter in the context of that story? Who cares if she collected teapots and what does that add to the story if she murdered her child? I would quite honestly focus on that in the narrative, not because anyone lacks imagination but because the teapot collecting doesn’t really overshadow the murder here. So to me dimension is often simply unnecessary.

Obviously, this goes back to “story/plot isn’t real life” and so on, but I guess I don’t quite agree with that.
Ignoring the specific example of Hermehditary (for now...), I'd say that using examples of pure evil in real life doesn't automatically excuse cartoonishly evil characterizations in movies, because it's a fundamentally apples-to-oranges comparison; real life is, well, real life, while movies are artificial narratives intentionally created by artists for outside audiences, and they're made up of an inumerable amount of creative decisions, both big and small, intentional or unintentional, that sends various "cues" to the people watching them.


So, there's always a certain amount of artistic "manipulation" inherent to even the greatest movies, to get us to respond the ways the filmmakers want us to, a manipulation that we're always aware of on some level as an audience, even if just subconsciously; the trick to making that work is for it to not be too blatant in its manipulativeness, which is why characters that obviously just exist to create conflict and get the audience to hate them (and get on the side of the heroes) is one of my biggest pet peeves as a movie fan, because it's lazy. Again, while really, really evil people obviously exist for real, that's no excuse to just write characters that same way, because it's like the screenwriters are trying to say "Hey, it's okay if I wrote this over-the-top, one-dimensional characterization in my movie, because there are people like that in real life!". Movies aren't real life, so that's not gonna fly with me.



Ignoring the specific example of Hermehditary (for now...), I'd say that using examples of pure evil in real life doesn't automatically excuse cartoonishly evil characterizations in movies, because it's a fundamentally apples-to-oranges comparison; real life is, well, real life, while movies are artificial narratives intentionally created by artists for outside audiences, and they're made up of an inumerable amount of creative decisions, both big and small, intentional or unintentional, that sends various "cues" to the people watching them.


So, there's always a certain amount of artistic "manipulation" inherent to even the greatest movies, to get us to respond the ways the filmmakers want us to, a manipulation that we're always aware of on some level as an audience, even if just subconsciously; the trick to making that work is for it to not be too blatant in its manipulativeness, which is why characters that obviously just exist to create conflict and get the audience to hate them (and get on the side of the heroes) is one of my biggest pet peeves as a movie fan, because it's lazy. Again, while really, really evil people obviously exist for real, that's no excuse to just write characters that same way, because it's like the screenwriters are trying to say "Hey, it's okay if I wrote this over-the-top, one-dimensional characterization in my movie, because there are people like that in real life!". Movies aren't real life, so that's not gonna fly with me.
Yes, that’s fair enough and a common response, but it, in turn, doesn’t quite fly with me. Not sure I can articulate why. I think depth is relative, actually. I very often sympathise with said one-dimensional evil characters because I think that their main pursuit, as with Silva, is more or less all there is left intact about their personality. It drives them. And so on. People say their job is their life and that’s a persistent problem, so for many villains, equally, the pursuit is “their job” - Blofeld runs Spectre full time, even if he does yoga on Sundays - of course we’ll focus on that.

But even if film isn’t life, my natural response is that it’s no excuse to do the opposite - create totally unwarranted resolutions. Like if a woman tells an ex in plain language in the opening sequence that the baby is not his, does it really have to turn out to be his? How about a Hipsters (2008) kind of ending, where, oops, it actually isn’t? (Highly doubt anyone here will watch that, so).

As an aside, an approach that focuses on the unlikeable characters’ negative traits doesn’t have to be an “excuse” or labelled as such. Maybe the creator wants that artificial narrative to address exactly that, how some people can just kill a child (the banality of evil and whatnot). Anyway, I always feel there’s a cog missing in this conversation. Villains don’t have to necessarily advance plot; they can serve as a foil to the protagonist, as in the original X-Men: First Class or whatever; they are just someone who at some point made a different choice than the protagonist.

Maybe I wouldn’t call that mother a villain if the story was about her. I’ve seen something similar, which I can’t place right now, but will do. You could very well have a story about a woman who came to do that to her kid, gradually - showing her over a couple of days, how she gets to that stage. Christine (2016) meets Let’s Talk About Kevin. I am the living and breathing example that you won’t necessarily hate these characters, even if they exist to be hated, because I know for a fact I’ve hardly ever hated a villain in a good narrative, no matter how one-dimensional. Even if their motivation is just being “angry”.

Edit: wasn’t sure how to phrase this earlier, but there’s also a lot of cherry-picking when it comes to such conversations. So it’s fine to have “diverse” casting in Arthurian films because we want to reflect the real-life (and real time!) demographic make-up of modern multicultural societies, but when it comes to the worst human traits and whatnot, oh, cinema isn’t really meant to emulate life, it’s all for impact. Again, I see a deliberate imbalance and disingenuousness.

Also your impassioned hatred for Hereditary appears rather off topic. I referenced it because that’s where the topic last came up as far as I’m aware.



Yes, that’s fair enough and a common response, but it, in turn, doesn’t quite fly with me. Not sure I can articulate why. I think depth is relative, actually. I very often sympathise with said one-dimensional evil characters because I think that their main pursuit, as with Silva, is more or less all there is left intact about their personality. It drives them. And so on. People say their job is their life and that’s a persistent problem, so for many villains, equally, the pursuit is “their job” - Blofeld runs Spectre full time, even if he does yoga on Sundays - of course we’ll focus on that.

But even if film isn’t life, my natural response is that it’s no excuse to do the opposite - create totally unwarranted resolutions. Like if a woman tells an ex in plain language in the opening sequence that the baby is not his, does it really have to turn out to be his? How about a Hipsters (2008) kind of ending, where, oops, it actually isn’t? (Highly doubt anyone here will watch that, so).

As an aside, an approach that focuses on the unlikeable characters’ negative traits doesn’t have to be an “excuse” or labelled as such. Maybe the creator wants that artificial narrative to address exactly that, how some people can just kill a child (the banality of evil and whatnot). Anyway, I always feel there’s a cog missing in this conversation. Villains don’t have to necessarily advance plot; they can serve as a foil to the protagonist, as in the original X-Men: First Class or whatever; they are just someone who at some point made a different choice than the protagonist.

Maybe I wouldn’t call that mother a villain if the story was about her. I’ve seen something similar, which I can’t place right now, but will do. You could very well have a story about a woman who came to do that to her kid, gradually - showing her over a couple of days, how she gets to that stage. Christine (2016) meets Let’s Talk About Kevin. I am the living and breathing example that you won’t necessarily hate these characters, even if they exist to be hated, because I know for a fact I’ve hardly ever hated a villain in a good narrative, no matter how one-dimensional. Even if their motivation is just being “angry”.

Edit: wasn’t sure how to phrase this earlier, but there’s also a lot of cherry-picking when it comes to such conversations. So it’s fine to have “diverse” casting in Arthurian films because we want to reflect the real-life (and real time!) demographic make-up of modern multicultural societies, but when it comes to the worst human traits and whatnot, oh, cinema isn’t really meant to emulate life, it’s all for impact. Again, I see a deliberate imbalance and disingenuousness.

Also your impassioned hatred for Hereditary appears rather off topic. I referenced it because that’s where the topic last came up as far as I’m aware.
It isn't though, since you were the one who brought Hereditary back up in the first place, after all. At any rate, whether relatively one-dimensional characters work or not depends on the specific context they appear in; for example, I've don't generally have a problem with a Bond villains lacking "depth", because that series often feels like it's taking place in a more heightened reality anyway, and you just know that there's got to be a big bad somewhere in order to kickstart the plot and give Bond someone to fight, so it's not a big deal if the Bond baddies tend to function more as plot devices than actual people.

...although that being said, while in-depth character development isn't always necessary (or even possible) for each and every movie character ever written, I still usually find that it adds to my appreciation of a movie; like, Hans Gruber didn't necessarily need any more development in Die Hard, but that doesn't automatically mean that giving him more wouldn't have made him an even better character than he already was, especially not in a movie where a lot of the characterizations were fairly broad anyway (it's one of the reasons why, even though he was just a supporting character, I still appreciate that the movie made the effort to show that the main reporter wasn't an asshole "just cuz", but partly because he had to function in a fairly difficult, unsupportive workplace). Of course, it's always possible to go too far in the opposite direction and overdevelop characters, like with the formuliac tendency of certain James Gunn superhero movies to give half their casts a traumatic, motivating backstory in their childhood, but that's relatively rare; in my experience, the problem tends to be more often with underdeveloping characters in movies and shows, which is why I'd like to see the needle swing in the other direction more often.



Cringey woke stuff.



Please don't make me remember. I'm sure you get it.



Not entirely, but whatever.



It isn't though, since you were the one who brought Hereditary back up in the first place, after all. At any rate, whether relatively one-dimensional characters work or not depends on the specific context they appear in; for example, I've don't generally have a problem with a Bond villains lacking "depth", because that series often feels like it's taking place in a more heightened reality anyway, and you just know that there's got to be a big bad somewhere in order to kickstart the plot and give Bond someone to fight, so it's not a big deal if the Bond baddies tend to function more as plot devices than actual people.

...although that being said, while in-depth character development isn't always necessary (or even possible) for each and every movie character ever written, I still usually find that it adds to my appreciation of a movie; like, Hans Gruber didn't necessarily need any more development in Die Hard, but that doesn't automatically mean that giving him more wouldn't have made him an even better character than he already was, especially not in a movie where a lot of the characterizations were fairly broad anyway (it's one of the reasons why, even though he was just a supporting character, I still appreciate that the movie made the effort to show that the main reporter wasn't an asshole "just cuz", but partly because he had to function in a fairly difficult, unsupportive workplace). Of course, it's always possible to go too far in the opposite direction and overdevelop characters, like with the formuliac tendency of certain James Gunn superhero movies to give half their casts a traumatic, motivating backstory in their childhood, but that's relatively rare; in my experience, the problem tends to be more often with underdeveloping characters in movies and shows, which is why I'd like to see the needle swing in the other direction more often.
Sure, I wouldn’t disagree with any of the above. And so true re: Gunn. Part of why I can’t stomach the films.



I have addressed this before in relation to Hereditary and perhaps I’m wrong or, as usual, swimming against the tide, but I don’t see why if such people exist (whether or not we really want to call them one-dimensional is a separate issue) they shouldn’t feature in fiction/film in proportion. It’s not even about “evil” people as such but about the assumption that there’s a “depth”/“complexity” to every human, if only it can be uncovered.

I suppose there may be on some level, but reading stories about mothers torturing their own children with their boyfriends, breaking their bones with hammers and leaving them to die, then calling 999 twenty minutes later for good measure (and no, this ain’t Myra Hindley, just your average London yummy mummy) to make sure the kid was dead, I honestly don’t see why such characters shouldn’t feature in film as they are.

Yes, perhaps that woman had dimension outside this context, perhaps she collected porcelain teapots (a real life example/suggested element of “character depth” from a creative writing seminar a friend was teaching), but does that really matter in the context of that story? Who cares if she collected teapots and what does that add to the story if she murdered her child? I would quite honestly focus on that in the narrative, not because anyone lacks imagination but because the teapot collecting doesn’t really overshadow the murder here. So to me dimension is often simply unnecessary.

Obviously, this goes back to “story/plot isn’t real life” and so on, but I guess I don’t quite agree with that.
The way I see it is as a missed opportunity. Cruelty and violence without explanation and clear motivation is (for me) acceptable if it served the theme or the plot, or if it hints towards something deeper. Just anything that isn't meant for the audience. Movies like Possessor or Cure (the Japanese one) both have characters that cause incredible violence with seemingly no regards for anyone, but you still get the distinct feeling that they exist within the world of the movie. Like they are part of the aesthetic or theme that the movie is going for, and that they're not just there to die a satisfying death.