I don't want to turn this blog into a gripe session, but I have to get this out of my system. I am amazed at how much money is involved in making a Hollywood movie, yet despite the millions of dollars in a movie budget I am always shocked at some of the cheap shortcuts they take that can distract the viewer and kill a movie's credibility.
1) Fake Birth Scenes-I can't tell you how many 3 month old squeaky clean babies born without umbilical cords I've seen in movies over the years. Not that I want to see an actual bloody birth, but please don't hold up a clean 3 month old toddler with pierced ears that is supposed to be just minutes old.
2) Lame air instrument playing-The first time I noticed this was with Michael Landon's enthusiastic yet bogus fiddling in Little House on the Prairie. The worst case I have ever seen is the Villain in Moonraker playing Chopin on the piano. They do a close up of his hands and HE IS NOT EVEN MOVING THEM, yet the music beautifully flows forth.
3) Fake Sports action-Cutting away to show the ball swish through a hoop or horrible cut away editing that kills the feel of a play instead of showing an actual sports play. If your movie is about sports then hire athletes to be in it. It makes you really appreciate movies where they actually perform the feat instead of just simulate it. This problem has gotten much better over the years.
4) The fake knockout punch-This is usually accompanied by the fake obligatory punch sound effect. Kung Fu movies are the worst sound effect offenders. You got to love a guy that can punch 3 or 4 guys and knock each one out with one loud hit and keep them out cold for the 15 minutes while he does what he needs to and leaves without anyone ever reviving or challenging him again.
5) The Terminator Syndrome-The only thing worse than the fake knockout punch is it's opposite brother known as the guy who will not die. I can understand a robot movie getting away with this, but there are way to many movies since then where they kill the bad guy and he keeps coming back even though he has been shot, stabbed, run over, etc. Because of this when a villain dies I no longer assume he's dead until I see end credits.
6) Impossibly bad marksmanship-People shooting automatic weapons at each other at close range and never hitting the intended target despite shredding everything surrounding their target. In Goldeneye, 007 has about 30 Russian soldiers shooting machine guns at him from about 20 yards away during several different scenes but they can't seem to hit him.
7) Wounds that heal during the movie- Unless you are Wolverine I don't want to see this! Obviously most action movies are guilty of this. The character gets cut or almost blown up and they are bleeding and in the next scene it shows a little scratch, or a guy gets in a fight and gets a fat lip and black eye. The next morning he looks normal. Just think how much more realistic a movie would be if Bruce Willis actually had a swolen face after getting punched out. You could see the bruises change color over the course of the week as the movie progressed. I don't care how bad a movie is if they had credible cuts, bruises, and healing I would still give it two thumbs up.
8) Showing credits on the screen for more than the first five minutes-Every once in a while a movie will continue with credits well past the acceptable five minute mark. I have seen two or three that I swore took fifteen minutes to stop but I can't remember which movies they were. I recently rented the original Flight of the Phoenix and the credits don't even start until 9:48 into the movie.
So my point is if you are going to make a movie and especially if you have millions of dollars in your budget, don't screw up by letting any of the above small yet distracting occurrences hurt the credibility of your movie. My other point is if you are reading this and you do have millions of dollars for making a movie I would love to be a consultant. I can't act, direct, film, etc., but I am great at watching movies and saying "whatever, come on, and so fake" I could really help you out.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This blog will be a regular source of movie reviews and trivia. I thought I would give a little background to my review system. There are many systems used to rate movies today. Some I've seen over the years including giving up to 4 stars, an actual grade like B+, or the very simple thumbs up or down. The one I like the most is the 1-10 scale. Since I am constantly ranking movies and have compared several hundred against each other I actually use decimal points. So I might give the Matrix a 9.2, Nacho Libre a 6.6, and Manos Hands of Fate a 1. I just thought I'd give you a little background so you will understand when you see me give a 7.3 ranking to a movie down the road.