Friday, June 10, 2011

Film Yap: Cinematic Pet Peeves

After you watch a number of films, you start to see certain patterns. Not clichés exactly, but little things that bug you to no end. The annoying line, the overused plot point, the ridiculous shots. These are the cinematic pet peeves. I surveyed around to figure out what has been bugging people lately and this is what we came up with.

Joe Donohue – The Film Yap

I would have to say that my biggest cinematic pet peeve is the shaky cam genre that is becoming more and more common. I’m not against it if it adds to the story and is used in a new situation. For example, I thought “Cloverfield” was great and the shaky camera was pertinent to the story. The same goes for “Paranormal Activity.” I especially liked how the next time around they changed up their formula a bit and went with more still shots. What drives me crazy is that once some of these movies were becoming big at the box office and the “shaky cam phase” began all the DPs thought it was “cool” to hitch ye old camera up on their shoulders and make all of their viewers sea sick.

Keith Jackson – And the Nominees Are

I'm sure I have a better pet peeve, but right now I can just think of this: plots that are based around a character who can't seem to be noticed, even though he/she's being played by an attractive actor/actress. The lazy writer just thinks, "let's put glasses on Katherine Heigl and now she's just so nerdy and undesirable!" I know there's a certain amount of suspension of disbelief here, and there are cases where this can be pulled off. But oftentimes it can just confirm that, yep, this romantic comedy is really that bad.

Austin Lugar – The Film Yap

I have two that have been bugging me. The first is the use of prophecies in movies. Kung Fu Panda 2 is the latest example. In films if there is ever a prophecy or a vision of the future, it will always come true. All of the dramatic tension dissipates immediately. They could have had the typical heroic story, but instead they decided to tell us the ending in the beginning. Not that it’s much of a surprise anyway. It always seems to be the hero defeating evil. Even when that’s not the point of the movie, that’s still the same boring prophecy! (I’m still glaring at you “Alice in Wonderland.”)

The other one is in media res. This is when the story starts off with something really exciting or crazy and then after the scene is over they say “Two weeks earlier” or some time increment. It’s like the idea of cutting all of the unnecessary exposition. Instead of continuing the story when it’s exciting, it goes back to when it’s boring. The worst is when they show near the end of the movie because they want us to forget what happened so we’ll be surprised later. Plenty of movies use non-linear structure well to tease further mysteries, but often times when you do it once at the beginning of the film you’re not confident that your beginning is actually interesting. (That probably means you shouldn’t start your movie there at all…)

Richard Propes – The Independent Critic

#1: Why is it that directors continue to use non-disabled actors to portray disabled characters? Okay, I get it when a character becomes disabled...You can't exactly "switch" actors. However, when your entire film is based upon building an inspiring and feel good story around disability wouldn't it help to actually have someone disabled play the part? I'm not inspired knowing that some hunky or handsome actor is playing disability just to shoot for the Oscar. I will forever admire the Farrelly brothers for actually casting an actor with spina bifida in "Shallow Hal," lending the film an authenticity most films simply don't have. Can most people tell when a non-disabled actor plays a disability? Maybe the general population can't, but who do you really think is seeing these films?

#2: The "Happy Ending That Makes No Sense" - Have you ever watched a film where the characters suffered the ENTIRE film only to end up happy at the very end? Of course you have...Hollywood creates gobs and gobs of them. They are ridiculous and I hate them. Don't get me wrong, I'm as thrilled as the next person when someone ends up happy at the end of the story. Heck, sometimes you really want it to happen. However, there are those happy endings that you just know came as a result of those test screenings and they make absolutely no sense at all...nothing has actually changed for the character and nothing within the story indicated a detoured fate. Suddenly, they just get their happy ending. Sometimes, sad endings happen in life and I absolutely love it when a director has the balls to stick to how the story really should end.

Beau Thompson – The Drop-Ins

Typically, I would assume that when you hear the sound of an explosion you swing your head around as fast as possible to the direction of the noise. Hell, I jump at the sound of a firecracker, myself. So why in the hell does everyone in the movies become hard asses when something explodes? Not only do they act like the explosion doesn’t happen but they simply walk-not run-away from it. Do people really find the image of someone looking stoic in front of a fire to be an appealing image? Are movies being made by a bunch of pyromaniacs?

When did people consider this cool? I know going against the norm is “cool” but we all still do the same practical things such as breathing when you need air, sweat when you are hot and turn your head to look to the direction of the sound of something blowing up to make sure we don’t get impaled by a piece of debris! You know what I want to say to Iron Man when I watch him walking away from an exploding tank? “GET DOWN, THERE’S AN EXPLODING TANK BEHIND YOU! DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!” And if you were blowing up a tank or building, wouldn’t you want to see your hard work pay off? If I blew a building up, I’d want to make damn sure that I was going to see the pay off. I’d also be as gitty as a school girl who just got tickets to the Royal Concertgebouw Symphony Orchestra. (That’s what kids are into these days, right?)

Maybe it’s just me, but when I keep seeing these people in movies walk away from explosions like they’re Don Draper…I start to think that movies aren’t real, and that my dream of meeting Iron Man so I can tell him to be more mindful of vehicle explosions will not come true.

So what are the ones that are bugging you right now?

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