movie theory I
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aeberbach

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Too true. And whenever I criticize a popular film I have an uneasy feeling that I'm sounding a lot like the comic book store guy from The Simpsons...

"...only a FOOL could have overlooked the fact that Radioactive Man ALWAYS leads with his left! Now excuse me, my breakfast burrito is rapidly congealing."
 
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post-177680
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markl

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"Worst thread *ever*..."


markl
 
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post-177692
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markl

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Kelly and Comic Book Guy-- Separated at birth????

 
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post-177696
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HD-5000

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What a coincedence, when I clicked on this thread, I was on 3 different movie sights at once (imdb, reelviews.net, mrcranky).

It doesn't matter when they were made.

What I sincerely believe...is that the more violence, sex, nudity, and the "ooh ahh" special effects make the movie all the better.


Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is the best!!!!!!!!! and so is Robocop!!!!!!!!! and A Walk to Remember was pure genius!
 
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post-177714
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DanG

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I would contend that talent still matters now as it always had -- to the director, the only person truly responsible for film's quality. And a great director can sometimes mold a poor actor into a working part of a good to great film.

For example, look at Godard's first work Le Mepris. Brigitte Bardot who stars primarily in absolutely horrible films (and her acting, in my opinion, doesn't help them) is in this movie a crucial element to a masterpiece, in fact Godard's first movie (if I'm not mistaken). Coincidentally, it's a moive about a screenwriter as well (though not really about screenwriting at all).

Or how about Eyes Wide Shut? Tom Cruise, an actor who is mediocre at best and a complete idiot no matter what your opinion of his acting ability, plays adequately in a film that depends so much on atmosphere. A bad actor is the first thing to detract from the atmosphere of a movie and Kubrick didn't let Cruise do that.

Regarding how many plots there are and if you can count them on one hand (or two if you lost some fingers) -- I think a count of plots depends on how widely you define each of your five plots. But I suspect that you may be right that if not five plots, there are no more than ten used. But great movies nowadays are so rarely about plot, and a movie can't be about execution as that's a matter of technique and ability -- great movies have themes, and there is an infinite number of themes available as far as I am concerned, just as there is an infinite number of personalities available to a baby being born.

Regarding why films produced nowadays are so bad -- I think Markl is pretty much right, but also consider that you're talking about American movies. The only example of how communism can work, in my opinion, is the example of film-making in France. Film-makers in France are not required to produce great profits as movies are already paid for... by the tax-payer. Directors who love making films are quite free to make what they want. On the one hand this leads to some really great movies, and on the other hand it leads to some absolutely disgusting rubbish like that violent **** flick that squirmed its way into Cannes.
 
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post-177717
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markl

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Yes, yes, but you're all missing the main point here which is kelly's resemblance to Comic Book Guy. C'mon now!!!


markl
 
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post-177734
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Joe Bloggs

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post-178207
Post #23 of 34

Dusty Chalk

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I remember when hearing an interview with the guys from South Park, they were sent to "movie school" by the studio. I think this is the problem. The formula for all movies these days is, in their admittedly paraphrased words:

All movies are divided up into three parts, the beginning, the middle, and the end; most movies are around 90 minutes, so each is about 30 minutes. The formula is that in the first part something happens; in the second part, something else happens; finally, a third thing happens. Now, the thing that happened in the beginning is something that needs to be resolved; the thing that happened in the middle part is something that complicates the "issue" of the first part; the thing that happens at the end is the resolution.

I think the problem is that writers aren't given the freedom to screw this up. I remember watching an old Elvis movie (it was the jail one), and the movie was almost over, and nothing was resolved, and I was actually getting anxious, thinking that they weren't going to resolve it, or a "To Be Continued..." was going to appear on the screen. That's how conditioned I was to this formula.

Point two: actually, it's true that there are only 5 stories, or something like that, but it's an oversimplification, there are plenty of variations to continue to make things interesting. I used to even know them, let's see how many I can remember:

- good vs. bad (Star Wars)
- coming of age (Stand By Me)
- boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl (Serendipity) (see? three things)
- murder mystery (anything by Agatha Christie)
- Spinal Tap (j/k, I really don't remember the last one, but it's got to be a comedy, maybe it's got something to do with underlings? Rocky, Revenge of the Nerds?)

I mean, how would you categorize "Pulp Fiction"? Something happens, then something that happened earlier happens (or was it later?), then something else happens (that really happened in the middle)
 
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post-178233
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kelly

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"The five basic plots"
1) Action/Adventure
the journey (a progression through stages)
ex: Star Wars, The Odyssee

2) Endurance/Tribulations
enduring suffering
ex: Roots, Shawshank Redemption

3) Conflict
engaging in a contest (a struggle with antagonists)
ex: James Bond, Rocky

4) Initiation/Rite of Passage
pusuing consumation (achieving a goal of fulfillment)
ex: Stand By Me

5) Epiphany
establishing a home (community/identity)
ex: Phenomenon

Pulp Fiction plot outline (courtesy, Internet Movie Database):
The stories of two mob hit men, a boxer and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
The film initiates with two small-time thieves, Honey Bunny and Pumpkin, who spontaneously decide to hold up a restaurant. The film then shifts to the story of Jules and Vincent, who hit men for the well known and feared Marsellus Wallace, who is caught up in a deal gone wrong with struggling boxer Butch Coolidge.

Technically, Pulp Fiction has an overriding plot and four basic subplots. You'd easily place the sublots into the general "types" I listed above. In my view, Pulp Fiction has no real plot to speak of. Rather, I believe Tarrantino is more of a "bottom up" storyteller who creates interesting dialog and then assembles these dialogs together into plot'lings. I don't mind since I tend to enjoy dialog more than plot (which was the initial reason I mentioned being unconcerned with "originality").
 
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post-178409
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grinch

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly

Technically, Pulp Fiction has an overriding plot and four basic subplots. You'd easily place the sublots into the general "types" I listed above. In my view, Pulp Fiction has no real plot to speak of. Rather, I believe Tarrantino is more of a "bottom up" storyteller who creates interesting dialog and then assembles these dialogs together into plot'lings. I don't mind since I tend to enjoy dialog more than plot (which was the initial reason I mentioned being unconcerned with "originality").


although it seems a bit unfair to squash a plot down to a word or two, your assessment seems very correct. but like the music industry, hollywood is gone to the marketting twerps. along with the idea that movies today are over-budgeted, i'd say that their funding is managed poorly as well. they spend 90% of the budget on actors and the rest on cheesey effects along with a crappy script (remind anyone of tv shows like friends?). i think if they found better writers and paid more for better scripts, this alone would start a movie-quality revolution. actors do not make a movie.. yes, they are a big part of it but they are not it.

i really am starting to enjoy hbo's shows (Sopranos, Six Feet Under, even sometimes Sex and the City). they take a newer, fresh idea and add incredibly colorful and enjoyable characters. then the shows are shot like films, not like ****ty tv shows with studio audiences and canned laughter.

i also agree with your assessment of pulp fiction and tarantino's style of writing. he seems to really stick to things that he enjoys, as there are many continuities between the screenplays he has written (characters, terminology, etc.). that and his dialog is the best part of his films (in my opinion), but in high school when i had to write analytical papers on books, i wrote in a similar fashion so i'm probably biased.

i also liked dang's example of tom cruise and eyes wide shut. another recent tom cruise example i can think of is vanilla sky (which i liked a lot). the atmosphere of that movie was incredible, due mostly to the radiohead/sigur ros/jeff buckley in the soundtrack i think.


and markl, please grow up. i think it's very rude to post a picture of somebody on a public forum without their permission, especially if it's just an immature attempt to make fun of them. let's see a picture of you. :p
 
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post-178422
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TaffyGuy

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i used to expend a lot of energy complaining about trendy ******** (music, movies...) but then i grew up and realized its easier to ignore ******** than dwell in it. and kelly you're older than i am, come on.

there are good movies coming out all the time. in fact there have probably been 3 or 4 in the last few years. and how can you complain about movies within the 3 years that THE LORD OF THE RINGS is being released!? for shame.


you all watch too much tv i guess. **** i never thought i'd tell a group of people they watched too much tv.

this way i don't have to hate 'nsync and christina agusluta beacuse i don't ever see them or hear their music. and i don't care about spy kids II coming out, becuase i'm not going to see it, or hear anything about it.

and who doesn't like going to the movies to see **** blow up? (see: james bond, even the pastel infested new star wars, etc)

not "XXX" though. i still reserve my right to hate the limp bizkit fad. god damn thats irritating. *shiver*
 
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post-178456
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by TaffyGuy
i used to expend a lot of energy complaining about trendy ******** (music, movies...) but then i grew up and realized its easier to ignore ******** than dwell in it. and kelly you're older than i am, come on.


Let me get your position straight... you're against people complaining but you're ok with complaining about people complaining?

I like to talk about film. If you don't, this maybe isn't the thread for you. Judging from the rest of your reply, I'm thinking you do like to talk about movies so this opening paragraph seems a little silly.

Quote:

there are good movies coming out all the time. in fact there have probably been 3 or 4 in the last few years. and how can you complain about movies within the 3 years that THE LORD OF THE RINGS is being released!? for shame.


Even me with all of my "complaining" would say there have been far more than 3 or 4 films I've liked in the last few years.

I think too often any desire to discuss anything is seen as "complaint" at least by internet people.

Quote:

you all watch too much tv i guess. **** i never thought i'd tell a group of people they watched too much tv.


I have neither cable nor DSS at the moment. I only watch TV at other people's homes and then not often. My TV is used for video games, DVDs and laserdiscs.

Quote:

this way i don't have to hate 'nsync and christina agusluta beacuse i don't ever see them or hear their music. and i don't care about spy kids II coming out, becuase i'm not going to see it, or hear anything about it.


I haven't given N Synch or Christina a fair chance but doubt I'll set aside the time to. My philosophy is not to insult that which I am unwilling to try. I liked Spy Kids. I'll probably see Spy Kids II at some point.

Have you ever heard about why we shouldn't "ASSUME"?

Quote:

and who doesn't like going to the movies to see **** blow up? (see: james bond, even the pastel infested new star wars, etc)

not "XXX" though. i still reserve my right to hate the limp bizkit fad. god damn thats irritating. *shiver*


I saw XXX in the theater. For films like that, I prefer them in the theater to on home video if I'm ever to see them at all.

From this response, I'm not sure you read my posts. I can't blame you for that, they're rather long and often times uninteresting. You share my trait of being a little too quick on the reply button, though. I never said or implied that special effects or explosions were the cause of movies to be uninteresting. My hypothesis was that older films are more interesting to me, in general, because they had no special effects to fall back on. The plot, dialog and acting had to be good because there was no other element to appreciate. (The implication is that I *do* appreciate special effects.)

I don't mind if you disagree with my opinions. I posted them to see what people thought. This response was only tendered because it seemed that my post had been misread or misinterpreted. You've attempted to counter statements I didn't actually make.
 
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post-178490
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markl

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"and markl, please grow up. i think it's very rude to post a picture of somebody on a public forum without their permission, especially if it's just an immature attempt to make fun of them. let's see a picture of you. :p"

That picture can be viewed any time here on Head-Fi, that's where I got it. I only kid kelly because he loves to give me a hard time at every opportunity. It's all in good fun, and if he objects, I'll gladly edit my posts and delete the pic from this thread. As for a picture of me, here's the only one on this site:




That doesn't help you much, but it's the only digital pic of me I have easy access to (I'm still a 35mm dinosaur). Feel free to mock the back of my head all you want!

markl
 
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post-178630
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Dusty Chalk

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kelly -- WRT Tarantino -- but that's exactly my point. By the standard of Hollywood, QT avoided most of the "formula" I described, and, in a textbook sense, would have flunked that so-called class. But anyone with any sense would see that the man has not only an impeccable sense of dialog, but also an impeccable sense of timing. The movie was not a failure, except on paper (and not even my paper!).

Anyway, not really disagreeing with you, just underlining my point, which I didn't think I got across in my previous post.
 
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kelly

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Dusty
On the contrary, I think we're in complete agreement.

I do think there was a "formula" to Pulp Fiction but it was the formula of pulp novels and comic books rather than the formula of Hollywood film.
 
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