Wednesday, January 19, 2011

7 Deadly Scenes

This is a list comprised of mostly nit-picky film nerd gripes. And is really only for film nerds. Now, this list doesnt deem every movie bad for being guilty of including some of these nit-picks. Hell, a lot of the movies on this list are some of my absolute favorites, but they are still cliches in film that piss me off.

1. Cops Always Arriving After the Finale

My first gripe is the fucking cops always arriving after the finale or showdown, or what have you. I understand it either makes the third act and conclusion that more personal or intense, without the whole Police force there, but come on, it's just too convenient. But there are some exceptions. Some very good exceptions. For instance, Silence of the Lambs. The absence of the Police is almost a plot device in the third act of that movie. The Police think they have Buffalo Bill's house, but they dont. Leaving Clarice alone in Buffalo Bill's house. Thus making it a pretty damn intense scene. And some people would say Die Hard is guilty of it too, but it's not. At all. The cops definitely get there on time... They just cant do a thing about the situation.

Films guilty of this:

- Lethal Weapon (in which I love)
- The Terminator (not that the cops could do a fucking thing anyway... It's The Terminator)
- Big Trouble In Little China (in which I love)
- Predator 2
- And plenty more...

2. Ground Bullets

This is a kinda' tricky one. Being as I dont have any specific examples to present. But it's something I've seen time and time again. Okay... If you're in a helicopter and you're shooting at your target, and you miss, what are you going to see? You're going to see either a spark (on concrete), a dust cloud (if you're in a desert), or water splashes (if youre target is in water). And I have no problem with that, because it's 100% accurate. What I DO have a problem with is a bullet traveling parallel to the ground, missing it's intended target, and seeing the result of it penetrating the ground, water or what have you. Okay, I get it. The bullet missed the target. But it's not going to fall that quickly from however far away the person is (50 feet, 100 feet, 200 feet). Yes, it depends on the gun. But very few guns used in film are close-range guns (with the exception of shot guns). Like I said, there really arent specific examples. But Im pretty certain you can find movies like Rambo: First Blood Part II (in which I love), Rambo III (in which I also love), and a lot of TV guilty of this.

3. Computer Noises

Now here's one I have PLENTY of examples of. And in fact, this is the one that bothers me the most! I absolutely fucking hate it. So let me elaborate... So you're watching (let me think of a terrible fucking movie guilty of this throughout the whole movie)... Oh that's right! Live Free or Die Hard. Okay, so you're watching Live Free or Die Hard and Justin Long is typing away on the computer (like everyone does in the whole fucking movie), and as he's typing you hear these "processing" noises. Everytime a window opens, moves, minimizes, a message pops up, a message is sent, THERE'S A FUCKING NOISE. I dont care what computer you have, no computer makes those noises. In fact, all the computers being used in "high tech" movies like these should be quieter, shouldnt they? You know, cause they're like... High tech and shit. Bottom line, it's really irritating hearing those noises. It's almost they think were too retarded to know they're using a computer, so they have to give us noises to signal that they are, in fact, using a computer. Suck my ass.

And the movies guilty of this? Virtually every movie made from the mid-90's on.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

4. Dark Blue Filters

Ugh. Fucking dark blue filters. Really, whoever first decided to film a whole movie with this filter. Well... He must be a color blind prick. There are A LOT of movies guilty of this. And some can get away with it. One that comes to mind is Traffic. Why? Because it's used properly and used to suit the story. For those of you who have not seen Traffic, it's one of those quadruple intertwining-story movies. You know, 4 separate stories, inter cut with each other, that all are related towards the end of the movie? I really enjoy that kind of storytelling. Pulp Fiction did that, Sin City did that. It's just a neat concept. But yeah, Traffic uses about 4 filter throughout the whole film. One for every character story. And the dark blue filter used is for Michael Douglas' character. And Im pretty certain they used it for 2 reasons. The first: They needed to differentiate his story from everyone else's (as they did with each other character). And second: I think they wanted to portray Douglas' cold and lifeless world. Especially being that his daughter turns into a meth head.

But back to the cuntplaining, it just doesnt look good at all throughout a full-length movie. Here's an example: Payback. But fortunately, Mel Gibson can save almost any film.

Exhibit A:

5. The Misuse of the Words "Product Placement"

This isn't particularly a gripe I have with movies, as much as it is with the people who watch them. If you're watching a movie, and the movie is reality-based, in the real world, and your character is walking down the street and you see stores with "Coca-cola" signs, and "McDonalds" signs, and logos that you would typically see everyday? That is NOT product placement. But if you're watching a movie about vehicles turning into robots, and all of the sudden you see an XBox turn into a robot while making the signature XBox noise? THAT is product placement. Let me elaborate...

If you're going to make a film with realistic characters in a realistic setting, you NEED logos. You cant walk outside of your house WITHOUT seeing a car brand logo, food logos, etc., etc. It's part of our everyday lives. Believe me, if you took out all the logos of a movie that was, for instance, set in a city... You wouldnt believe how odd it would look. So in reality, you need logos. Now of course, if you have a movie set in todays day and age and the whole damn thing takes place in a pine box (Buried), logos are not completely necessary. THOUGH, there would be a logo on the phone, or the lighter, or his jeans, or his shirt. BUT, it would only be product placement, in my eyes, if they focused on the logo.

Now to the example of ACTUAL product placement. Back to the Transformers example. So, the XBox console gets affected by "The Cube" and it turns into a robot. Already, you have a blatant case of product placement. But what really sells it, is the fact that the sound designers specifically went out of their way to insert the trademark noise you hear in the XBox commercials. THAT is a product placement.

Exhibit A:

6. Slowed-down Scenes Shot at 24 Frames

There are A LOT of movies guilty of this. It's just too sketchy looking. If you want a scene in slow-motion, you shoot it to be in slow-motion. For instance, if you want to have a nice smooth and fluent scene in slow-motion, shoot it in 120 fps (frames per second). Basically, every movie is shot in 24 fps, the higher the frame-rate, the slow the movements. The way I see it, if a director slows down a scene shot in 24 fps, it looks like they didnt know what they were doing while doing the principal photography, and just said "fuck it!" in the editing room, and decided to put it in slow-mo.

Exhibit A:

And the proper way to shoot slow-motion:

... I still love Lethal Weapon considering it's guilty of 2 of my gripes on this list.

7. TV Lines on HD TV's

And the last? Well, Im getting tired of typing so Ill make it quick. First if all, high definition means there is NO grain and NO lines. So why do film makers and editors still insist on putting them on HD TV's? This typically happens when a character is watching a news report, or the news report is on the full screen. It makes absolutely no sense. The latest film I saw that suffers from this is Unstoppable. There's scenes where they cut back and forth to news reports, and the characters are clearly watching HD TV's and there's lines. I understand that 95% of television images, and computer screen images, and anything involving a screen is usually superimposed over a green screen. But do you have to take that extra step to make us aware that its a television?

Exhibit A:

Now at second glance, I see that there are lines on the screen, but there doesnt appear to be any on the titles and logos, which seems to indicate that it would be the camera producing the lines, and not the TV. But to be honest, I dont think that's the case. All news networks have converted to HD and use HD cameras. So at the end of the day... I think I still have something to bitch about. Phew!
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