vertical graphic

small red square Saw "The Truman Show" yesterday. Four previews, all possibly good:

  • "Snake Eyes", a thriller starring Nicholas Cage, with Gary Sinise
  • "Dead Man On Campus" - If your room-mate commits suicide, you automatically get straight A's
  • "Mafia" - cartoon-style violence - extreme "Naked Gun" yucks - I'll pass
  • "Rush Hour" - Jackie Chan in a cop-buddy flick - his partner, that annoying black actor from "The Fifth Element"
"Being There" began where "The Truman Show" ended; I suppose that's the built-in sequel coming: "Truman II: Beyond SeaHavendome".

small purple square Slate has had a few installments of a column called "Plot Holes" ("assessing the narrative logic of movies") by Stephen Harrigan. These are a few excerpts. First, from last September:

Summer is the season of action movies, and in Hollywood velocity has always been a greater virtue than coherence. One of the most damning things that can be said about a script is that it is "episodic," meaning that it dawdles when it should accelerate, that the writer is less interested in the ruthless propulsion of the story than in leisurely details of tone and character. As long as a movie is kept at a high enough idle, the thinking goes, the viewer won't mind an engine knock or two when it comes to credibility.
Well this viewer does, and Hollywood has alienated him with its sloppiness.

Specific example (from that column)
It is certainly worth a passing mention that Nicolas Cage gets shot in the same arm in both "Face/Off" and "Con Air", though neither wound interferes with his ability to hang from firetruck ladders or leap from speeding boats.

Another example (from his most recent column, in January)
The fundamental implausibility of "As Good As It Gets", in which Jack Nicholson's character magically evolves from a toxic slime ball to an adorably vulnerable neurotic, can be forgiven as a Hollywood fantasy, but there are details scattered throughout the movie that just do not compute. Why, to cite only one example, is Nicholson's character entrusted with the care of his neighbor's beloved dog after he has amply demonstrated his hatred of the animal by tossing it down a laundry chute? Are there no kennels in New York?

Why does this happen? (from an earlier column, last June)

Perhaps a big star comes aboard, declares the script a disaster for reasons of his own, and convinces the studio to hire another writer--or five or six--so that the final shooting script is nothing but a pastiche of scenes from a dozen different drafts. Perhaps a director has a "vision" of a big boat slamming into something (a feature, by the way, of at least four recent films) and uses up so much of the budget to bring it to reality that key scenes explaining who was on the boat and why it was out of control are never shot. Or perhaps the scenes are shot and never used because the first cut of the movie is an hour too long.

small yellow square My own personal observation of this phenomena, in an episode from "Jerry Seinfeld":
When George has to read "Breakfast at Tiffanys" and decides to learn what happens by watching the video instead. Alas, the tape is checked out; George determines which family has it and hijinks ensue when he invites himself into that family's house. "Are there no other video stores in New York?"

small cyan square I can't suspend my disbelief when presented with such weirdness. Someone on Usenet once requested that people just "sit back and enjoy it" because "it's just a movie" <1>, instead of ruining the film for those who liked it with all this mean, demanding criticism. Sorry, but I'm too experienced. I know Hollywood can make wonderful entertainments. My time here is finite and I don't care to waste it watching rubbish which I know could've been better, maybe even good.

<<Previous | Next>>
Email to Home         

<1>As I recall the specific movie under attack was "Outbreak" Back