ĎItís just a movie?í

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Anyone else ever get annoyed by laymen (or even some aficionados, at times) dismissing some minor unrealistic (Ďless groundedí) aspects of a film as ĎWell, itís [just] a movie.í I find that bizarre, especially coming from film lovers.

Naturally, some bloopers are ridiculous and they impact suspension of disbelief. Iím often guilty of calling out bloopers. But Iím talking about high-quality cinema, and what I find odd about the ĎItís just a movieí argument is the assumption that a film is expected to be unrealistic/not fully grounded. IMO, when things are grounded perfectly, itís so insidious you donít think about it and it does happen.

When I wonder about something watching a film, itís more often than not not so as to find a plot hole but to explore how something was grounded.






Maybe Wes Craven was onto something...


Anyway, I'm a pretty lenient viewer as far as these things go. They generally only bother me if they're really blatant or if the rest of the movie isn't working for me. If it is, I'm happy to let such minor infractions slide.






Maybe Wes Craven was onto something...


Anyway, I'm a pretty lenient viewer as far as these things go. They generally only bother me if they're really blatant or if the rest of the movie isn't working for me. If it is, I'm happy to let such minor infractions slide.
Ha, he sure was. I guess itís hard to phrase appropriately, but itís not about the bloopers per se, but the viewers who donít seem to care either way and kind of think that if Ďitís a movieí, youíre fine to watch some utter bollocks. It downshifts the expectations by default somehow.



Ha, he sure was. I guess itís hard to phrase appropriately, but itís not about the bloopers per se, but the viewers who donít seem to care either way and kind of think that if Ďitís a movieí, youíre fine to watch some utter bollocks. It downshifts the expectations by default somehow.
I think that there are different levels on which a viewer can expect a film to make sense.

Narrative sense.
Emotional sense.
Visual sense.

I think that everyone has different boundaries for their suspension of disbelief in each category, and those boundaries can even change depending on the film.

If I am watching a romantic comedy, will it bother me that two people bump into each other in a big city multiple times? Nah. If I'm watching a thriller and a detective just happens to come across the same killer multiple times? Hold on, now.

I do agree that when something crosses my personal line of making sense, it can be a bit annoying when someone else is like "Didn't bother me! La la la!!!". I don't think it's about having lower expectations, I think it's just the unpleasant jolt of something bothering you that doesn't phase someone else.



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I think that everyone has different boundaries for their suspension of disbelief in each category, and those boundaries can even change depending on the film.
True, but you are shooting for the middle. You can't fool all the people all of the time, but a good story teller can fool enough of the people enough of the time.

A story teller is a sort of amateur statistician in this sense.


They're not making the movie for you (personally) or me (personally), but rather the average of a group (their target audience).



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I would say it depends on the movie. Some movie plot holes I let slide easily, others just bother me too much.

I really like the show Breaking Bad and pretty much bought everything that happened with the acception of maybe being able to search a bank safe deposit box, with not a lot of evidence to go on, but that's minor and I bought the whole show.

However, my Dad didn't buy it all and she said there it was way too ridiculouse and there is no way it could ever happen. But I guess ridiculous and far fetched are different than plot holes?



Ha, he sure was. I guess itís hard to phrase appropriately, but itís not about the bloopers per se, but the viewers who donít seem to care either way and kind of think that if Ďitís a movieí, youíre fine to watch some utter bollocks. It downshifts the expectations by default somehow.
I think it depends on how said bollocks undermines the movie's goals and whether it's the result of an overarching laziness. I can appreciate if the movie half-asses it in less important departments if it still puts in the work where it matters, but less so if it's dropping the ball all around through lack of effort. I think certain genres allow more leniency (i.e. I'm more willing to tolerate a daffy plot development in certain kinds of horror films) but even within genres it's worth making distinctions. If I can use a few examples:


1) The Magic Crystal is a fairly typical Hong Kong action movie in some respects. The plot feels like it's being made up from scene to scene, but that doesn't bother me because the movie does the basic job of defining its heroes and villains, moves quickly enough from action scene to action scene and executes those well enough. I'm getting enough of what I "paid for" in terms of Cynthia Rothrock / Richard Norton fight scenes that my enjoyment isn't hampered by the fact that the magic crystal's rules don't make a whole lot of sense.


When I watched The Fate of the Furious, my expectation was that there would be some dumb comedy but that the movie would still deliver on the action. The reason I don't give it a pass is because the movie keeps pushing the camaraderie (or sense of "family") between the characters yet defines most of them as annoying and useless (i.e. Tyrese never coming up with a good idea in the entire movie), undermining its main theme (which it brings up constantly in dialogue), and because it will have its characters engage in rampant incompetence and stupidity during its set pieces (i.e. Tyrese needing his ass saved during every single action scene), so that it fails to deliver in the basic aim of its genre.


2) If I compare two of Lucio Fulci's best known films, City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery, I can describe them roughly as stylish splatter films that don't make a lot of sense. Both deliver in their aims of executing well staged horror / gore set pieces (and I do like both), but the reason I prefer the former is that whatever plot holes and nonsensical narrative qualities it has add to an overall nightmarish quality. The latter film is much more literal-minded in execution, so when something doesn't make sense (i.e. a character being killed by a force she had been previously working in concert with, with no explanation provided), it's more jarring. In the former case, the bollocks enhance the sense of horror while in the latter they undermine it.



Anyone else ever gets annoyed by laymen (or even some aficionados, at times) dismissing some minor unrealistic (Ďless groundedí) aspects of a film as ĎWell, itís [just] a movie.í I find that bizarre, especially coming from film lovers.

Naturally, some bloopers are ridiculous and they impact suspension of disbelief. Iím often guilty of calling out bloopers. But Iím talking about high-quality cinema, and what I find odd about the ĎItís just a movieí argument is the assumption m that a film is expected to be unrealistic/not fully grounded. IMO, when things are grounded perfectly, itís so insidious you donít think about it and it does happen.

When I wonder about something watching a film, itís more often than not not so as to find a plot hole but to explore how something was grounded.
Depends.

I find taking cinema, (or anything, call me a cynic or a nihilist depending on the mood I'm in), to extremes or even "taking a stand" about such things is a waste of valuable time. I don't mind talking about it. Having discussion or debate. But eventually I grow weary of (any) discussion and find myself eventually throwing up my hands and saying, "I don't care anymore. I had my fun. I said my point. People can take it or leave it as far be it from me, (or anyone), that I, (or anyone), am going to make a 'difference' and change someone's mind." It's why on these forums, (for the most part), I'll have a debate for awhile, maybe even to the point I'm frosted... but then I revert to that age old saying, "It's just a movie, (or forum)."

As for a film itself. Pretty strong on that.

When I'm watching a film, if it's flawed in a way of like Plan 9, and I get enjoyment out of it. I'll pass it. But if it's flawed in a way like Star Wars... the "Lucasized" Editions and EVERYTHING that came after... then I purposefully put on my bootleg blu-ray edition of The Star Wars Holiday Special, and feel someone at peace that in some form or fashion I'm drinking the bitter tears of George himself.

Bottom line,

If a film is "flawed," not in a good way but in a way that just grates on me. I can take it pretty personal and get borderline ruthless about it and my opinions toward it.
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Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'?

-Stan Brakhage




2) If I compare two of Lucio Fulci's best known films, City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery, I can describe them roughly as stylish splatter films that don't make a lot of sense. Both deliver in their aims of executing well staged horror / gore set pieces (and I do like both), but the reason I prefer the former is that whatever plot holes and nonsensical narrative qualities it has add to an overall nightmarish quality. The latter film is much more literal-minded in execution, so when something doesn't make sense (i.e. a character being killed by a force she had been previously working in concert with, with no explanation provided), it's more jarring. In the former case, the bollocks enhance the sense of horror while in the latter they undermine it.
You ain't wrong.



A thing that bothers me is when a film is supposed to be grounded in realism and then gets real **** straight-up wrong.
If your movie is supposed to be realistic and it involves science and scientists, then your science has to be right. If it involves law and lawyers then your law has to be right. If it involves music and musicians you gotta get that right. Doctors and medicine? Get it right.
It's not that hard to do a little research or just get a consultant who can help you get things right.
I can really be taken out of a movie when some Doctor belts out, "Get me 10cc of bull****izine stat!"
(Scrubs, by the way, is the only on-screen representation of medicine I've ever seen that was not only right in how it all goes down but right on the actual medicine too. On the money every time. And that was a fledgling TV show so why can't movies get this right?)

But I think the real complaint there is about internal consistency. You're making a Godzilla movie and you want David Strathairn to tell me he has some weapon called an Oxygen Destroyer? Fine. You got a three-headed monster running around, sure, give me an Oxygen Destroyer too. But you wanna make a realistic police-procedural you can't have the police pulling out an Oxygen Destroyer. Or just doing things that police can't or don't do because it makes your story easier to tell or more exciting.
You have to have internal consistency.

But then this also takes me to one of my two greatest pet-peeves in movies, the Deus Ex Machina. I freakin' lose my mind on a movie when someone drops some files and as they're gathering them up ends up looking at a document or photograph in a new way that suddenly solves everything. I let it go in My Cousin Vinnie and that's it.

Those are mostly the things that I can't just say "It's just a movie" to.



Anyone else ever gets annoyed by laymen (or even some aficionados, at times) dismissing some minor unrealistic (Ďless groundedí) aspects of a film as ĎWell, itís [just] a movie.í I find that bizarre, especially coming from film lovers.

Naturally, some bloopers are ridiculous and they impact suspension of disbelief. Iím often guilty of calling out bloopers. But Iím talking about high-quality cinema, and what I find odd about the ĎItís just a movieí argument is the assumption m that a film is expected to be unrealistic/not fully grounded. IMO, when things are grounded perfectly, itís so insidious you donít think about it and it does happen.

When I wonder about something watching a film, itís more often than not not so as to find a plot hole but to explore how something was grounded.
Sometimes the director has to ignore logic for the purpose of the story she is trying to tell.



Sometimes the director has to ignore logic for the purpose of the story she is trying to tell.
I agree. I am fully on that side of the debate.

Besides, my OP was meant to be about something a but different, will try to clarify.



A thing that bothers me is when a film is supposed to be grounded in realism and then gets real **** straight-up wrong.
If your movie is supposed to be realistic and it involves science and scientists, then your science has to be right. If it involves law and lawyers then your law has to be right. If it involves music and musicians you gotta get that right. Doctors and medicine? Get it right.
It's not that hard to do a little research or just get a consultant who can help you get things right.
I can really be taken out of a movie when some Doctor belts out, "Get me 10cc of bull****izine stat!"
(Scrubs, by the way, is the only on-screen representation of medicine I've ever seen that was not only right in how it all goes down but right on the actual medicine too. On the money every time. And that was a fledgling TV show so why can't movies get this right?)
I can mostly agree with this; I mean, one of the most annoying moments for me with The Lost World was when the film established Julianne Moore's dino-expert bonafides by her ordering Vince Vaughn to put out his cigarette since the dinos would be able to sniff it out from "a mile away", but then she gets her jacket covered in T-Rex blood, walks around all day wearing it, and later hangs it up to dry in her tent overnight, with somehow neither her or anyone else ever noticing the blood at any point, which leads one of the Rexes directly into her ****ing tent! I mean, there's any number of ways they could've made that scenario work; you could've had a scene where the caravan of people she's in is being stalked by a Rex, they have to hide, and then another character whispers a question to her about whether she's been hurt because of the sight of the jacket, then she looks down at it, has a big "oh ****" moment when she realizes that she has Rex blood all over it, and then has to quickly throw it away so the Rex will follow it, so we could have a really tense moment where they're in hiding right next to Rex, without it realizing it. Or they could've just had it been one little drop of blood on her jacket that she easily overlooked, so she doesn't realize it until the Rex pokes its nose into her tent; there are any number of ways they could've made that element work, but as it is, they establish the character as supposedly being smart, then make her look incredibly dumb about something she was supposed to know better about, so it just ends up being one of the bigger moments of "character assasination" I've seen in a film.



Okay, Iím back. What I was getting at originally is a situation like this: a middle-aged character whom we have never seen dress provocatively and who we know does not have much money suddenly enters a scene looking black tie-level gorgeous.

Now, it could easily be solved as in Double Jeopardy with Ashley Judd, where the protagonist tricks the assistant at a high-end boutique and Ďleasesí the dress. But instead, some people assume itís a blooper and say, ĎWell, itís a movie, of course sheís got that dress lying around.í

I know itís a very specific thing and donít mean to imply itís particularly common, though I have encountered it a few times.

Same re: Breaking Bad, people genuinely believe
WARNING: spoilers below
WW couldnít have built a bomb.
My friendís husband is a nuclear engineer, which isnít even the most Ďhands-oní of such jobs, and the **** he could build with his bare hands, let me tell you...

I think itís like bloopers backwards, people assume stuff canít happen and that the writer is stretching credulity.



I can mostly agree with this; I mean, one of the most annoying moments for me with The Lost World was when the film established Julianne Moore's dino-expert bonafides by her ordering Vince Vaughn to put out his cigarette since the dinos would be able to sniff it out from "a mile away", but then she gets her jacket covered in T-Rex blood, walks around all day wearing it, and later hangs it up to dry in her tent overnight, with somehow neither her or anyone else ever noticing the blood at any point, which leads one of the Rexes directly into her ****ing tent! I mean, there's any number of ways they could've made that scenario work; you could've had a scene where the caravan of people she's in is being stalked by a Rex, they have to hide, and then another character whispers a question to her about whether she's been hurt because of the sight of the jacket, then she looks down at it, has a big "oh ****" moment when she realizes that she has Rex blood all over it, and then has to quickly throw it away so the Rex will follow it, so we could have a really tense moment where they're in hiding right next to Rex, without it realizing it. Or they could've just had it been one little drop of blood on her jacket that she easily overlooked, so she doesn't realize it until the Rex pokes its nose into her tent; there are any number of ways they could've made that element work, but as it is, they establish the character as supposedly being smart, then make her look incredibly dumb about something she was supposed to know better about, so it just ends up being one of the bigger moments of "character assasination" I've seen in a film.
That is particularly egregious and you're right, "character assassination" is a very good way of putting the phenomenon of when a movie ruins its own characters to move the plot.



Anyone else ever gets annoyed by laymen (or even some aficionados, at times) dismissing some minor unrealistic (Ďless groundedí) aspects of a film as ĎWell, itís [just] a movie.í I find that bizarre, especially coming from film lovers.

Naturally, some bloopers are ridiculous and they impact suspension of disbelief. Iím often guilty of calling out bloopers. But Iím talking about high-quality cinema, and what I find odd about the ĎItís just a movieí argument is the assumption m that a film is expected to be unrealistic/not fully grounded. IMO, when things are grounded perfectly, itís so insidious you donít think about it and it does happen.

When I wonder about something watching a film, itís more often than not not so as to find a plot hole but to explore how something was grounded.
I've often heard that remark in the context of someone who was really upset by something in a movie, for a variety of possible reasons and it was a way of emotionally distancing themselves and being able to walk away without acknowledging what got under their skin.



How bout all them firefights where the magazine never needs changing? They are the magically replenishing type.
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I would say it depends on the movie. Some movie plot holes I let slide easily, others just bother me too much.

I really like the show Breaking Bad and pretty much bought everything that happened with the acception of maybe being able to search a bank safe deposit box, with not a lot of evidence to go on, but that's minor and I bought the whole show.

However, my Dad didn't buy it all and she said there it was way too ridiculous and there is no way it could ever happen. But I guess ridiculous and far fetched are different than plot holes?
I am with your Dad here. I could not deal with the notion that a cancer patient became a drug king pin. He is on chemo and yet he has the energy to cook meth and deal with encroachement on his territory. Sure...right...NOT!



Every movie has bloopers, logical errors and plot elements that lack plausibility. Often that is the starting point of the plot, like in the Breaking Bad example, in which a cancer patient on temporary remission, decides to go out with a bang. Like a lot of plots, it's the "given" that the rest of the story depends on. If you can't take the leap of faith or suspension of disbelief, the rest of it really does not make sense, but (a big but), that's why they call it fiction.

The use of such devices goes all the say back to the ancients, as in the latin term, "in media res", in the middle of things, like Odysseus. If you get stuck on whether there even was a Trojan War and whether Odysseus was in it, you might as well quit the story and save yourself the time and effort.