The Random Thoughts Thread

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Popcorn Reviews
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:46 pm

Stu wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:05 am
Here's the post where I went into the most detail about why it wouldn't have been practical for them to live next to the waterfall, if you're interested. Anyway, I'm not saying that it's a 100% certainty that I'll never watch Midsommar, it's just not particularly likely in the near future, considering that I don't have much time these days to watch even movies I'm actually interested in, plus the fact that its critical average on RT is at least 7 points lower than his other movie, which I obviously didn't like in the first place (although I am like you in the sense that, while The Seventh Seal was my first Bergman, and I didn't think much of it either, I still watched Persona for the first time last year anyway, and ended up liking it a lot).

At any rate, I feel that your complaint still backs up my theory about plot holes on their own not fundamentally ruining movies on the whole, the key words being "on their own", because it sounds like the thing that hurt that film the most for you was how unrelatable the characters were, which is something that can be caused by implausible character decisions, but also by having underdeveloped characters, so that's the real fundamental flaw with the film, regardless of which individual factor caused it.

And my complaints about Hereditary weren't to make the point that it was ruined by any plot holes (because I obviously don't take that stance on any movie), I made them because, besides it being fun to complain about that movie, they help make my overall point about part of the movie's real crippling flaw, which was how sloppy Aster's fundamental approach to it was, as it felt like a random smorgasbord of genre cliches, images, and setpieces in search of a coherent experience (which he basically already admitted was the case), without any sense of coherency or control to it, and those ignored implications are just a smaller symptom of the film's overall sickness. I didn't even detail all of them, either; what about
the way both parents are shown to be hyper-aware of Charlie's allergy, but then both of them forget her Epipen not just once, but twice, but the second time they forget, the movie just glosses over that detail when it clearly should've been a much bigger deal?
You made some good counter points in that post, but I still feel like they could've spent much more time there than they did in the film. Maybe not live there, but spend more time than they usually did (such as spending most of the days there and going back to the house at night). I can't imagine this being a worse scenario than their current one. Apparently, the scene of the father showing the waterfall to his son was the first time he saw the waterfall. I can understand anyone being confused by this.

For what it's worth though, I think you're probably right that plot holes aren't substantial enough to ruin a film on their own and that I'm probably overestimating their impact on a film. I still feel like you can criticize a film for them, but I wouldn't say that they're substantial enough to ruin a film. I haven't seen High Tension, so I can't comment there, but I don't have any other to name examples offhand where I was enjoying a movie and then a plot hole or several plot holes ruined the experience for me.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:59 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:46 pm
You made some good counter points in that post, but I still feel like they could've spent much more time there than they did in the film. Maybe not live there, but spend more time than they usually did (such as spending most of the days there and going back to the house at night). I can't imagine this being a worse scenario than their current one. Apparently, the scene of the father showing the waterfall to his son was the first time he saw the waterfall. I can understand anyone being confused by this.
Yes--exactly! Think of all the things you could do in a place where you can apparently SCREAM and still be safe. You could use a hammer and nails, you could have detailed conversations, you could use a saw, play card games, etc. The waterfall/river is a source of water, food, and safety and I can't understand why the kid is seeing it for the first time and apparently doesn't even know about it. At the very least it would be an "emergency backup" where the kids could run if they somehow couldn't safely go back to the house.
For what it's worth though, I think you're probably right that plot holes aren't substantial enough to ruin a film on their own and that I'm probably overestimating their impact on a film. I still feel like you can criticize a film for them, but I wouldn't say that they're substantial enough to ruin a film. I haven't seen High Tension, so I can't comment there, but I don't have any other to name examples offhand where I was enjoying a movie and then a plot hole or several plot holes ruined the experience for me.
I think that the word "ruin" is what feels a bit overstated to me. The plot things I took issue with in A Quiet Place didn't ruin the film for me. But they took it down a few notches. They bothered me after the momentum of the film itself was over and I had time to think back on it.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:42 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:32 pm
I can't speak to others who have criticized A Quiet Place, and I'll take your word for it that there are people who are saying it's a bad movie or that it's entirely "ruined" by the plot elements we've discussed.

But I would say that my point of view on the film is far from "glass all empty". I have/had many nice things to say about the film. I wrote positively about it when I first viewed it. I think I gave it a B or B+ type rating.

It is true for me that having a certain number of issues with a film (not restricted to plot holes) does eventually push me out of the reality of the film. And once that happens, yes, any emotions or intellectual engagement I would have from the film falls flat for the most part. And I am hard pressed to think of (or recommend) a movie as being "good" if I was disengaged for a significant portion of it. To that extent, plot holes (or other issues) can be make-or-break.

I'm sure that there are people who went in to watching A Quiet Place ready to hate it just because it had gotten praise. No doubt. And I'm equally sure that there are people who take more delight in criticizing and tearing down art than appreciating it and seeing it for the good that it has. But I'm in neither of those groups, and painting everyone who took issue with the film with the same brush is a bit reductive.

I told you in the other thread that my friend just cannot take seriously films/TV that incorrectly portray CPR (and further the purpose and effect of delivering a shock to someone's heart). I am familiar with both CPR and AED usage and I constantly see that it's being done wrong and I just don't care that much. So is she right and I'm wrong? Am I right and she's wrong? Every individual viewer has an independent experience of being immersed in a film and we can't police whether or not someone fails to connect with a film for the "wrong" reasons.

I'll give you some examples of "experience ruining" plot holes/issues (though that phrase is really dramatic--more like "pulled me out of the film, probably won't recommend it or rewatch it"):

1) Won't name the title. Mystery/thriller film. A masked killer is offing people. There are several sequences where we see the masked killer. He has very distinct eyes. They are so distinct that I realize which actor (because of course the killer is someone the detective knows, right?) it is. Only later in the film we find out the killer is a different character. A character who doesn't even have the same color eyes. I'm waiting for them to realize their mistake. Nope. We are supposed to get that this is the killer. This bothers me TREMENDOUSLY. Years later I read on the IMDb trivia page that in order to confuse the audience, Distinct-Eyes-Actor sometimes played the killer even though his character wasn't the killer at all. I totally call shenanigans on this and it does make me think negatively about the film.
I'm sorry if I seemed to lump you into the glass-all-empty crowd with that post, because that wasn't my intention at all, and I don't view you as just another Negative Nancy just looking to do nothing but complain about movies, because I know for a fact that that isn't true at all (and while I know we just discussed A Quiet Place at length, me bringing it up again here wasn't meant as some shade-throwing sub-Tweet type thing; I genuinely just brought it up because it's become the foremost target in recent years of online nit-pick culture). I'm just tired of all the obnoxiously relentless negativity I see in general online, so I was aiming that post at the Jeremy Scotts of the world, and I'm sorry if I made you feel lumped in with those losers.

Anyway, as for the issue of whether or not it's legit to say that plot holes on their own fundamentally ruin movies, I still can't help but find it odd that, in general, I see people all the time saying that a hole ruined a film for them, but I've literally never seen anyone say the opposite, that a movie was good because everything made sense; even in something as intricate, logical, and plot-driven as Chinatown, I've never seen anyone say that about that particular film. Don't get me wrong, plot holes aren't a good thing, and the fewer of them a film has, the better, but they just seem like a minor issue that shouldn't be dwelled on, in order to get down to the true make-or-break elements of a film, because even Chinatown has at least a couple of significant plot holes in it, showing how universal they really are in cinema. And anyway, as for your point about your friend who can't take movies seriously if they portray CPR incorrectly, no offense to her, but, assuming you meant that she can't like movies if they portray that technique improperly, then I would actually say that she is "wrong" to have that reaction, because that's a pretty insignificant reason to not like a movie for.

For instance, if the CPR scene in Hard Boiled has medical inaccuracies in it, does that do significant damage to the overall excitement level of that Action movie? Does it diminish John Woo's incredible directorial style, the beautifully violent usage of slow-motion, or the fact that it has some of the most amazing action scenes of all time? Does that one moment do anything to lessen the inherent excitement of another scene where Chow Yun-fat shoots a goon off of a motorcycle with a shotgun, then leaps over the sliding vehicle and shoots the gas tank of another motorcycle in mid-air as it pops a wheelie, causing it to blow the hell up? Of course not! It reminds me of the way that, whenever Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about movies, it exclusively only seems to be in order to criticize technical inaccuracies in Sci-Fi, to the point that he's actually invented non-existent mistakes in movies, like when he said that, in The Force Awakens, a ball-shaped droid supposedly wouldn't have the traction to roll around on sand, ignoring the fact that "BB-88" was an actual prop that was actually rolling around on the sand on location there. It's like, I respect that you know so much more about science than I ever will, but if your main thought while the torrent of emotion was being unloaded during the montage at the end of Arrival was that "Maybe the aliens didn't realize that they were writing their language backwards to the humans", then I can't say that I'm too interested in reading your film thoughts.

Anyway, as for the complaint about the eye-switcharoo with the masked killer, I've had similar issues with movies doing little "cheats" like that, like in Dressed To Kill when
it's revealed that Michael Caine was the murderer, even though, when we heard a voicemail from the killer earlier, it was extremely clear that it was the voice of a different actor on the machine,
although I still can't say that that detail ruined that film for me, especially not when the fatal flaws run so much deeper than that one detail, like how obnoxiously sleazy, transphobic, and yes, even racist the film's sensibilities are in general, and no amount of detail-corrections could fix all of that, of course.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:34 am

Ergill wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:12 am
I agree, Stu. I also don't like Hereditary because Aster is very, very Jewish!

*wink*
*wink*
*wink*

Fuck, my eye is fucked.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:02 pm

Stu wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:42 am
I'm just tired of all the obnoxiously relentless negativity I see in general online, so I was aiming that post at the Jeremy Scotts of the world, and I'm sorry if I made you feel lumped in with those losers.
But I don't think that those people are generally that interested in loving films and really discussing them. It's really, really rare for me to give an all-negative review of anything. And keep in mind that people are more likely to vocalize things they don't like than the things that they do.
Anyway, as for the issue of whether or not it's legit to say that plot holes on their own fundamentally ruin movies, I still can't help but find it odd that, in general, I see people all the time saying that a hole ruined a film for them, but I've literally never seen anyone say the opposite, that a movie was good because everything made sense
Right, but that's because a film with internal logic is an expectation, not something to be specifically praised. You don't see people saying "And I never saw the camera reflected in a window or mirror or a stray crew member or a boom mic dipping into the frame!" or "And the main actors said their lines correctly!". Those are expectations. I have seen people (like someone I watched a film with last night) praise a movie with a plot that had lots of moving parts in terms of complimenting that the film managed to keep the different levels/layers of plot clear to the viewer.

A waiter spilling a drink on your new shirt might ruin a meal, but few people write a review of a restaurant saying "I loved it! No one spilled food on me!". Because it's an expectation.
And anyway, as for your point about your friend who can't take movies seriously if they portray CPR incorrectly, no offense to her, but, assuming you meant that she can't like movies if they portray that technique improperly, then I would actually say that she is "wrong" to have that reaction, because that's a pretty insignificant reason to not like a movie for.
It's not that she couldn't like the movie, but you could just see that it pulled her out of the reality of the film. It's insignificant to you, but not to her. You can think that her response was "wrong," but it wasn't voluntary on her part. I'm not comfortable telling someone that they aren't good at watching movies because they react to different elements from me.
For instance, if the CPR scene in Hard Boiled has medical inaccuracies in it, does that do significant damage to the overall excitement level of that Action movie? Does it diminish John Woo's incredible directorial style, the beautifully violent usage of slow-motion, or the fact that it has some of the most amazing action scenes of all time? Does that one moment do anything to lessen the inherent excitement of another scene where Chow Yun-fat shoots a goon off of a motorcycle with a shotgun, then leaps over the sliding vehicle and shoots the gas tank of another motorcycle in mid-air as it pops a wheelie, causing it to blow the hell up? Of course not!
You say "Of course not," but that is your personal experience of watching that scene. Now, Hard Boiled already exists on an elevated plane of reality, so inaccurate CPR probably isn't a deal breaker there. But in dramas or films that are aiming to seem very true-to-life, it might distract someone.
Anyway, as for the complaint about the eye-switcharoo with the masked killer, I've had similar issues with movies doing little "cheats" like that, like in Dressed To Kill when
it's revealed that Michael Caine was the murderer, even though, when we heard a voicemail from the killer earlier, it was extremely clear that it was the voice of a different actor on the machine,
although I still can't say that that detail ruined that film for me, especially not when the fatal flaws run so much deeper than that one detail, like how obnoxiously sleazy, transphobic, and yes, even racist the film's sensibilities are in general, and no amount of detail-corrections could fix all of that, of course.
My issue with little "cheats" is that I think that as a viewer and a piece of art you come to terms about what is happening. And maybe what's happening doesn't make sense, or it's surreal, and that's fine. But I take issue with setting up a "reality" and then breaking the logic of that reality. That is, UNLESS the breaking of the internal logic is actually the point of the film. In a film like, for example, Braid, messing with the logic of the audience's experience is part of what the film is actually seemingly trying to achieve.

Who can say why certain logical inconsistencies don't bother me while others seem to get more irritating the more I reflect on them? Again, it's not a voluntary process of "what can I hate about that film?".

Going back to A Quiet Place, I was much more annoyed by the very obvious
eventual demise of the dad and the cutesy timing of the hearing aid than I was about why they didn't live by a waterfall.
I think that when you are emotionally disengaged from a film, your brain then turns to any logical loose threads to pick at. And on that note, I do think that some people go into movie with a kind of arms-crossed unwillingness to open themselves up to the reality of the movie.

To sum up this novella of a post: if someone only ever has plot-nitpicky things to say about films and nothing to say about what they did well or how they might have been an "interesting failure", maybe just ignore them? Because that's probably not someone who would be interesting to talk to anyway.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by BL Sometimes » Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:18 pm

Stu wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:42 am
I've literally never seen anyone say the opposite, that a movie was good because everything made sense
Here you go.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:52 am

BL Sometimes wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:18 pm
Here you go.
I would add to this the 6th Sense which plays its twist perfectly and Memento which uses structure to perform its content.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:50 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:02 pm
But I don't think that those people are generally that interested in loving films and really discussing them. It's really, really rare for me to give an all-negative review of anything. And keep in mind that people are more likely to vocalize things they don't like than the things that they do.

Right, but that's because a film with internal logic is an expectation, not something to be specifically praised. You don't see people saying "And I never saw the camera reflected in a window or mirror or a stray crew member or a boom mic dipping into the frame!" or "And the main actors said their lines correctly!". Those are expectations. I have seen people (like someone I watched a film with last night) praise a movie with a plot that had lots of moving parts in terms of complimenting that the film managed to keep the different levels/layers of plot clear to the viewer.

A waiter spilling a drink on your new shirt might ruin a meal, but few people write a review of a restaurant saying "I loved it! No one spilled food on me!". Because it's an expectation.

It's not that she couldn't like the movie, but you could just see that it pulled her out of the reality of the film. It's insignificant to you, but not to her. You can think that her response was "wrong," but it wasn't voluntary on her part. I'm not comfortable telling someone that they aren't good at watching movies because they react to different elements from me.

You say "Of course not," but that is your personal experience of watching that scene. Now, Hard Boiled already exists on an elevated plane of reality, so inaccurate CPR probably isn't a deal breaker there. But in dramas or films that are aiming to seem very true-to-life, it might distract someone.

My issue with little "cheats" is that I think that as a viewer and a piece of art you come to terms about what is happening. And maybe what's happening doesn't make sense, or it's surreal, and that's fine. But I take issue with setting up a "reality" and then breaking the logic of that reality. That is, UNLESS the breaking of the internal logic is actually the point of the film. In a film like, for example, Braid, messing with the logic of the audience's experience is part of what the film is actually seemingly trying to achieve.

Who can say why certain logical inconsistencies don't bother me while others seem to get more irritating the more I reflect on them? Again, it's not a voluntary process of "what can I hate about that film?".

Going back to A Quiet Place, I was much more annoyed by the very obvious
eventual demise of the dad and the cutesy timing of the hearing aid than I was about why they didn't live by a waterfall.
I think that when you are emotionally disengaged from a film, your brain then turns to any logical loose threads to pick at. And on that note, I do think that some people go into movie with a kind of arms-crossed unwillingness to open themselves up to the reality of the movie.

To sum up this novella of a post: if someone only ever has plot-nitpicky things to say about films and nothing to say about what they did well or how they might have been an "interesting failure", maybe just ignore them? Because that's probably not someone who would be interesting to talk to anyway.
Of course the obsessive nit-pickers aren't interested in substantive discussion, but they still help to poison the overall discourse on film online with their petty complaints, and I know that people tend to be attracted more to negativity than to being positive, but there is such a thing as going too far with that, especially online, and I know because I used to be one of those glass-all-full types (or at least, much more of one that I am now). However, at a certain point, I just got tired and grew out of that phase, and have tried to be more reasonably positive with my self-expression since (which doesn't mean that I never criticize something if I have legit grievances, of course, but I still try to look on the bright side of things as much as I'm possible), which is what I'm trying to encourage here, because the Internet genuinely needs a lot more of that.

Anyway, when it comes to cinematic expectations, the most sensible "expectation" to have is that plot holes are almost always inevitable, because almost every movie has at least one significant hole in it (usually more), and such holes, while generally an undesirable element on their own, are ultimately irrelevant because a film's internal logic is not the sort of thing that determines whether it effectively achieves the cinematic effect of its intentions (i.e. the general sensibility of the characters' decisions in something like Fury Road, while a good thing, still has nothing to do with whether or not it's ultimately an exhilarating Action movie on the whole, because that's achieved by other elements such as the cumulative effect of Junkie XL's intense score, the furious pacing, the incredible stuntwork, etc.). In fact, holes are sometimes even necessary in order to achieve a greater cinematic effect; for example, to bring this discussion back to Chinatown, a film that's rather intricate/plot-driven, with such a universally-beloved screenplay, even it has a significant hole in its inciting incident, where
they get the imposter "Mrs. Mulwray" to hire Jake under the pretense that she suspects Hollis is cheating on her, they took a huge risk that, in the process of following Hollis around, Jake doesn't accidentally notice him somewhere with the real Mrs. Mulwray, assume that she's the "mistress", and then in the process of investigating her, discover that she's the real wife, realize that he's been duped, and then begin to unravel the underlying conspiracy right then and there. They could've easily come up with any number of cover stories that wouldn't be so likely to be uncovered, like have the woman say that she's just a friend of Mrs. Mulwray, and that she suspects Hollis is cheating on his wife without her having any suspicion of it, and then that makes much more sense, doesn't it?

But, does this hole ruin the film? Of course not. But, does the implausibility of it even just ruin that one, individual twist? Again, I have to say no, because if you altered it in order to be more logical like the hypothetical change I described, then you lose the greater shock of the moment when Jake meets the real Mrs. Mulwray, and we're not intrigued by the twist because it makes strict sense on a logical level (because it doesn't), we're intrigued because it's a big, unexpected reversal of what we thought we knew to be true, and it does a great job of establishing the general atmosphere of conspiracy and deceit that characterizes the film, as well as Jake's arc of gradual disillusionment throughout (which are the things that actually make the film so great) and like film in general, whether or not it holds up to strict scrutiny is irrelevant, because sometimes it's necessary to sacrifice logic if it ends up inspiring a greater visceral/emotional response within us, which is the thing that ultimately decides whether the movie is good or not.
As for your friend and her issue with not being able to take it seriously when films inaccurately portray CPR, my whole response there was predicated on you meaning that by, "cannot take seriously", you meant that she couldn't overall enjoy those films at all. But, if it's just that she can't take those individual moments of inaccurately-portrayed CPR seriously, then of course I don't think she's wrong, because that would a reasonably proportional response to a single moment, and I'm not interested in micro-managing how other people react to films based off of their personal experiences.

And if you were more bothered by the predictability of certain events in A Quiet Place then you were by the potential problems with the film's internal logic, and that lead you to a certain level of disengagement with the film, which made you more inclined to pick at the holes you perceived in it, I can absolutely sympathize with that reaction, because, obviously, my disappointment with the overall tone and direction of a certain other 2018 Horror movie made me much more inclined to spend a lot of time dissecting the many (often completely ignored) plot holes within that film, even though the holes obviously aren't the fundamental reason why I didn't like it (or any other movie I've ever seen, for that matter).

Anyway, again, I'm sorry if it seemed as though I was targeting you along with the obnoxious nit-pickers because of our recent discussions on this forum, because that wasn't my intention at all, but, ignoring the nit-pickers doesn't do any good, because it doesn't do anything to discourage them from nit-picking, or from encouraging other people in joining in with that awful mentality; I don't want to ignore them, I want the challenge them, to fight back against their mindset, and expose it for the BS it really is.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:53 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:59 pm
Yes--exactly! Think of all the things you could do in a place where you can apparently SCREAM and still be safe. You could use a hammer and nails, you could have detailed conversations, you could use a saw, play card games, etc. The waterfall/river is a source of water, food, and safety and I can't understand why the kid is seeing it for the first time and apparently doesn't even know about it. At the very least it would be an "emergency backup" where the kids could run if they somehow couldn't safely go back to the house.
They screamed while they were sitting right under the waterfall, though; again, unless we're expecting them to figure out a way to build and maintain a house directly beneath a constantly pouring waterfall/stream, there's no way they could've safely built the long-term shelter than they need (and that they already have) in that area.
Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:34 am
That's actually . . . very accurate.

Picture this:
you are on a field trip, responsible for 24 children, most of whom have parent chaperones. For a large part of the trip, parents and children are allowed to leave on their own to wander around, including going to get lunch. 15 minutes after everyone disperses, you realize you still have your medical bag, with ALL THE EPI-PENS/INHALERS, including one for a child who has a very serious food allergy. In a panic, you call the parent. "I have [child]'s Epi-pen!" you say. "Do you want me to run it over to you?!". And the parent replies, "No, we're alright. He knows what to eat and what not to eat."

A shocking number of people with serious allergies do not carry their epi-pens with them. They are also expensive and they have a limited shelf life, so many families only own one or two: one lives at school and the other lives at home and often does not travel out of the house.

It doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't bring it to a funeral. It also doesn't surprise me that in the tense exchange getting Peter to take Charlie along to the party she doesn't tell him to remember to get the epi-pen (if he would even normally take it along).
But
the average person isn't necessarily aware that many allergic people don't carry their Epi-Pens with them, so including the detail of them not having it with them at the funeral (which is a needless detail anyway) is, to a lot of viewers, just going to make them look like bad (but still somehow hyper-vigilant) parents who forgot something that could save their daughter's life in case of an attack. Besides, when Annie sees Charlie eating the bar, she tells Steve that they didn't bring the Epi-Pen with them to the funeral, which is something that she wouldn't have to remind him of at all if they just never brought it with them anywhere, so that detail all-but-confirms that they are one of those families that takes their Epi-Pen with them (except when they constantly forget it, of course).

So, considering that, it makes even less sense for her not to have Peter take it with him to a party where she knows they'll be no parental/adult supervision, since both kids are more likely to be distracted there, leaving the door wide open for something awful to happen (which, of course, it did). Of course, none of that matters much considering it's just another detail that Aster glossed over when it should've been one of the linchpins of their big argument (i.e. after Annie blows up at him, Peter responds with a "But who forgot her Epi-Pen?" remark, which would've wounded her deeply, as it's something that she actually, justifiably feels guilty about, and remembering that would've added so much more drama to the scene). Instead... nothing.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:06 am

Also, good to see you finally back again, Melvin; are you bored in quarantine, or something?
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sat Mar 21, 2020 5:55 pm

Stu wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:06 am
Also, good to see you finally back again, Melvin; are you bored in quarantine, or something?
Thanks. And yes, quarantined and bored.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:43 pm

Stu wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:50 am
Of course the obsessive nit-pickers aren't interested in substantive discussion, but they still help to poison the overall discourse on film online with their petty complaints, and I know that people tend to be attracted more to negativity than to being positive, but there is such a thing as going too far with that, especially online, and I know because I used to be one of those glass-all-full types (or at least, much more of one that I am now).
I think that you may be overestimating the impact of such negative critiques.

Take a look at the breakdown of A Quiet Place's ratings on IMDb.

Notice that people who gave the film a perfect score make up 11% of the ratings. If you add up all the people who gave it a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, you only get 9%. The people who are saying this movie is PERFECT outweigh those who are saying it's bad.

I really do think that this is a case of a vocal minority. Clearly most people aren't being influenced by this "nitpick culture". Looking at the gender/age demographics, there aren't any huge discrepancies. Interestingly, people who rate the most movies give it a lower average rating--though it's still a 7.1/10.

If the only thing someone wants to talk about it plot nitpicks, stay away. But when someone tells me that I shouldn't care about a plot issue, I'm going to push back on that. I gave the film a 7. I thought it was a promising debut and had some good things going for it. I didn't take points off of it because of the waterfall thing. But the predictability and the slight let-down of the final act cost it some points for me.
Anyway, when it comes to cinematic expectations, the most sensible "expectation" to have is that plot holes are almost always inevitable, because almost every movie has at least one significant hole in it (usually more), and such holes, while generally an undesirable element on their own, are ultimately irrelevant because a film's internal logic is not the sort of thing that determines whether it effectively achieves the cinematic effect of its intentions
I just disagree with this. If a film is aiming for "internal realism" then it does need to make sense. And if there is a plot hole/issue that distracts from the suspension of disbelief, I'd argue that it makes it harder for the film to accomplish its cinematic effect. Maybe internal logic and effectiveness are not correlated for you. But they are for me.
Anyway, again, I'm sorry if it seemed as though I was targeting you along with the obnoxious nit-pickers because of our recent discussions on this forum, because that wasn't my intention at all, but, ignoring the nit-pickers doesn't do any good, because it doesn't do anything to discourage them from nit-picking, or from encouraging other people in joining in with that awful mentality; I don't want to ignore them, I want the challenge them, to fight back against their mindset, and expose it for the BS it really is.
Again, I think that the ratings breakdown for A Quiet Place shows that there aren't a ton of people jumping on the hate bandwagon.

And there are two kinds of people who point out nitpicks:

1) People who are trolling. Fighting against them won't do anything, because their goal is to make someone upset.

2) People who genuinely were bothered by an issue. Instead of fighting the criticism, go with the positive. I'm not budging on the waterfall, and you're clearly not budging on the epi-pen. My main attitude about the epi-pen is that it makes sense to me, *shrug*, and I'm more than willing to talk about the other things I thought were good about the film. You probably feel the same way about the waterfall. I think that fighting the negativity with over-the-top positivity can come off as just as insincere. I roll my eyes at anyone who gave A Quiet Place a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. But I also kind of roll my eyes at anyone who gave it a 10. A 10?! No sir.

Now, as a tangent, there are some interesting articles about who tends to target what kind of films. For example, there is a trend of male users severely voting down (as in giving 1s) films and TV shows that are more popular among women (LINK). There are also incidents of films being targeted (something that can be identified by a huge deluge of 1 ratings before a film is even released) and having their ratings tanked by people who haven't even seen the film (LINK.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:37 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:46 pm
You made some good counter points in that post, but I still feel like they could've spent much more time there than they did in the film. Maybe not live there, but spend more time than they usually did (such as spending most of the days there and going back to the house at night). I can't imagine this being a worse scenario than their current one. Apparently, the scene of the father showing the waterfall to his son was the first time he saw the waterfall. I can understand anyone being confused by this.
The eventuality of a tree (or even just a big branch) falling on top of your tent would be reason enough not to spend half of every day in a heavily wooded area, I think. And anyway, that scene being the first time the son has visited the stream/waterfall post-invasion does makes logical sense; remember, we don't learn many specifics on the timeline of events in the film, so, giving the film the reasonable benefit of the doubt that it deserves (along with any other film), it's quite likely that either the father had just started to catch fish at the stream on his own because he just discovered that the monsters ignore the sound of the stream because he (along with everyone else) was reluctant to leave their property for a long time because they lost their other son the last time we saw them doing so, or he was just reluctant to take the son with him because walking there together takes the additional risk of making noise outside of the confines of their home (where it will be harder to cover up), and again, he lost a kid the last time he did that, but with another kid on the way, he needs to start teaching the son additional ways of providing for the family now because they're probably going to need the extra help soon, and he's also setting up the son for taking over the overall care of the family, because it's not like the parents are going to live for forever in this post-apocalyptic world anyway.

Besides, the way that scene plays out was good for greater storytelling effect, because if it was the umpteenth time that the son's visited the stream for a routine chore of catching fish, then you don't get that great feeling of liberation in the moment where he discovers that he can yell for the first time in forever underneath the waterfall, and his naivety also helps him serve as an audience surrogate (because, since this is our first time "visiting" the stream as viewers, it's his as well), which provides the opportunity for a moment of exposition (a reasonable one, that is) when the father explains to him that the monsters ignore the noise of the stream; if it was their 100th time visiting the stream, then they would just ignore the background noise entirely while fishing because it would already be a given to them, even though it wouldn't be to us, so then we'd miss out an answer that was actually neccessary help to fill in a blank in the film's world-building (and then the same people who wouldn't put 2 & 2 together when it came to the screeching + the shotgun would complain even more... not that that complaint would be completely without merit, that is).
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:49 pm

Stu wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:37 pm
The eventuality of a tree (or even just a big branch) falling on top of your tent would be reason enough not to spend half of every day in a heavily wooded area, I think. And anyway, that scene being the first time the son has visited the stream/waterfall post-invasion does makes logical sense; remember, we don't learn many specifics on the timeline of events in the film, so, giving the film the reasonable benefit of the doubt that it deserves (along with any other film), it's quite likely that either the father had just started to catch fish at the stream on his own because he just discovered that the monsters ignore the sound of the stream because he (along with everyone else) was reluctant to leave their property for a long time because they lost their other son the last time we saw them doing so, or he was just reluctant to take the son with him because walking there together takes the additional risk of making noise outside of the confines of their home (where it will be harder to cover up), and again, he lost a kid the last time he did that, but with another kid on the way, he needs to start teaching the son additional ways of providing for the family now because they're probably going to need the extra help soon, and he's also setting up the son for taking over the overall care of the family, because it's not like the parents are going to live for forever in this post-apocalyptic world anyway.

Besides, the way that scene plays out was good for greater storytelling effect, because if it was the umpteenth time that the son's visited the stream for a routine chore of catching fish, then you don't get that great feeling of liberation in the moment where he discovers that he can yell for the first time in forever underneath the waterfall, and his naivety also helps him serve as an audience surrogate (because, since this is our first time "visiting" the stream as viewers, it's his as well), which provides the opportunity for a moment of exposition (a reasonable one, that is) when the father explains to him that the monsters ignore the noise of the stream; if it was their 100th time visiting the stream, then they would just ignore the background noise entirely while fishing because it would already be a given to them, even though it wouldn't be to us, so then we'd miss out an answer that was actually neccessary help to fill in a blank in the film's world-building (and then the same people who wouldn't put 2 & 2 together when it came to the screeching + the shotgun would complain even more... not that that complaint would be completely without merit, that is).
I decided to look up how common deaths by fallen trees or tree branches are, but from what I found, it isn't that common. One site I found showed that there were a bit over 400 deaths in the U.S. from 1995 to 2007 due to fallen branches or trees and about 2/3 of them were as a result of car accidents such as crashing into a tree (which obviously won't be a problem). Some of the other major causes included thunderstorms, high winds (which I guess could pose a threat, but they can easily head back inside the house if they want to be that careful), cyclones, and tornadoes. Another site in the UK showed that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by a tree (I can link these sources if you'd like). So yeah, you could potentially die from a falling tree if you spend enough time there, just like a flight attendant or a pilot could die in a plane crash if they ride in enough airplanes. I disagree that it's an eventuality though. It seems like a highly unlikely threat.

According to the film, they didn't lose their youngest son until three months into the apocalypse. So, if they were reluctant to leave their house after the opening scene, they still had the first three months to venture outside (which they did, as the opening showed the entire family heading into town to stock up on supplies). The father would've had to have known about the waterfall long enough to know the various rules of it (you can make small noises by the waterfall and make loud noises behind the waterfall) and be so certain of them. Besides, since the film doesn't mention that what you described was the case, you'd have to assume that to be true without any evidence to be sure of it and what you're describing is a lot of assumptions, which isn't an answer which will satisfy everyone and understandably so.

You wouldn't get to feel the son's liberation as he yelled behind the waterfall, but I don't think that scene is that substantial to the film, nor would it severely impact the film if it was removed. You do have a point though that the characters probably wouldn't mention the rules of the waterfall if they were already aware of them and some people might not pick up on it (like how many didn't notice how high-pitched noises cause the aliens to become vulnerable to gunfire). However, I still think there's a lot of ways you could show this in a non-clunky way. It's an ingenuity test on the director. Maybe show a clip of them talking to each other from right next to the waterfall and either zoom out or cut to farther away to show how their voices blend in with the waterfall). Or, as they approach it, have one of the two characters start to speak, then have the other one silence them, and have that character say something like "Don't worry, we're close enough. I think we're good to talk now". Or, you could incorporate both of these into the script (I'm sure I could think of a couple more ways if you were to ask me this tomorrow). I think this would be a good way to handle that and I'd take this over what we got in the film.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:14 am

BL Sometimes wrote:
Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:18 pm
Here you go.
I've read that one, though it's been a while; good review of a pretty great movie, but, as much as I may enjoy Ebert & Blood Simple, I can't say that it's very good example of a movie where everything makes sense, or that Ebert made a very good case that it was in his review. For example...
...if Visser is really worried about Marty potentially becoming a witness against him, and is willing to murder him to get "the same amount of money for one killing" instead of two, then why would he bother at all with his unnecessarily convoluted scheme that involves him: parking his highly unique, easily identifiable yellow Volkswagon in plain sight of the bed room window of a couple while they're awake (with his car being the only one on the street, and one that the couple have earlier noticed stalking them earlier (which is something he's already aware of), to boot), making plenty of noise as he breaks into the occupied house of said couple (who are still jumpy because someone else already broke in a few days ago), stealing a gun in order to frame the woman for a murder (hoping that she doesn't happen to have a solid alibi), casually strolling up to the bedroom window, hoping that the couple are asleep despite the light coming from underneath their door he saw earlier, taking a flash photography picture of them (hoping that they don't wake up and witness him there in the process), manipulating the photograph (creating a new trail of evidence that can, and of course, does, threaten to incriminate him later), hope that the client who's been consistently vocal with his dislike/distrust of him takes the forgery at face value, and also that, in the gap of time between when he takes the picture and when he shows it to Marty, that Marty isn't either accidentally tipped off some other way that the couple are both still alive (i.e. such as Ray turning up again for his backpay like he does a little while later), or that he insists on finding out for himself, which could've been done by something as simple as just calling them from his desk, or that he insists on the bodies being burned in the incinerator he brought up earlier, seeing with his own eyes that both corpses have been completely destroyed. If everything in the film had actually made strict logical sense, then it would've been a lot easier for Visser to have just said that he killed them, and then when they meet in private for Marty to pay him, Visser could've just pulled his gun on him, ordered him to give him the money, and then shot him anyway (insuring no witnesses), and have just walked out of there without any of the complications that trip him up later, and lead to his death.

But, I don't want to see a version of Blood Simple that operates by strict real-world logic, because then Visser has no reason to stick around menacing anyone, and after Ray buries Marty, then there's no external threat, and then what? An alternate version with no more Visser (so no more M. Emmet doing his wonderfully sleazy act), where Abby and Ray turn on each other more? Maybe the bartender gets more involved in things? Or, some In A Lonely Place-style genre turn at the halfway point towards being a straight-up Drama, as Abby and Ray have to live with the guilt, mutual suspicion, and emotional aftermath of Marty's death? All of that could work, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, because the film works very well as it is, any changes of that magnitude would likely feel like a betrayal of the tone the film had been building up to that point, and Visser's scheme is intriguing not because it's strictly logical, but because it's unique and unexpected, and it's entertaining to watch the way that its unneccessary convolutions come back to bite him in the ass in the end; it's yet another case where filmmakers sacrificed logic in favor of cinematic effect, and, given the final result of the film, I'd say that they made a right choice, as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:17 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:52 am
I would add to this the 6th Sense which plays its twist perfectly and Memento which uses structure to perform its content.
The Sixth Sense is a good example of a film with a strong internal logic, due to the way that
Hayley Joel covers up the plot hole of how Willis didn't realize he was dead by explaining that ghosts aren't "fully aware" of their surroundings, and how they're sometimes stuck "acting out elements of their lives", but I wouldn't say it was a great twist primarily because it was "logical", but because it was surprising (of course), but more importantly, because of the tremondous emotional rush that Willis (and we by extension) recieve upon the realization. And, as we saw in the case of the inciting incident in Chinatown, a twist can still be great even if it's technically illogical. As for Memento, I agree that the ways it toys with its story structure are brilliant, but structure wasn't what we were talking about here, we were talking about how much plot holes matter, and in the case of Memento, of course it has the hole where, even though it happened after the amnesia-incident, Leonard still somehow remembers overdosing his wife with insulin (albeit in altered form), which seems to be the film setting up a precedent of Lenny able to remember, in some way or another, incidents that make an emotional impact on him, but then "later" (going by the normal chronological structure) Natalie maliciously says that she can manipulate him however she wants, and that maybe his memory loss is due to a venereal disease because (and I quote) "maybe your cunt of a fucking wife sucked one too many diseased cocks and turned you into a fucking retard"... but then seconds later, he's still forgotten everything, like usual.

But, again, if you're the kind of person who would want to dwell on all that minutiae instead of the rest of the reasons why that film is great, then I'm not particularly interested in listening to your film thoughts anyway.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:43 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:43 pm
I think that you may be overestimating the impact of such negative critiques.

Take a look at the breakdown of A Quiet Place's ratings on IMDb.

Notice that people who gave the film a perfect score make up 11% of the ratings. If you add up all the people who gave it a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, you only get 9%. The people who are saying this movie is PERFECT outweigh those who are saying it's bad.

I really do think that this is a case of a vocal minority. Clearly most people aren't being influenced by this "nitpick culture". Looking at the gender/age demographics, there aren't any huge discrepancies. Interestingly, people who rate the most movies give it a lower average rating--though it's still a 7.1/10.

If the only thing someone wants to talk about it plot nitpicks, stay away. But when someone tells me that I shouldn't care about a plot issue, I'm going to push back on that. I gave the film a 7. I thought it was a promising debut and had some good things going for it. I didn't take points off of it because of the waterfall thing. But the predictability and the slight let-down of the final act cost it some points for me.

I just disagree with this. If a film is aiming for "internal realism" then it does need to make sense. And if there is a plot hole/issue that distracts from the suspension of disbelief, I'd argue that it makes it harder for the film to accomplish its cinematic effect. Maybe internal logic and effectiveness are not correlated for you. But they are for me.

Again, I think that the ratings breakdown for A Quiet Place shows that there aren't a ton of people jumping on the hate bandwagon.

And there are two kinds of people who point out nitpicks:

1) People who are trolling. Fighting against them won't do anything, because their goal is to make someone upset.

2) People who genuinely were bothered by an issue. Instead of fighting the criticism, go with the positive. I'm not budging on the waterfall, and you're clearly not budging on the epi-pen. My main attitude about the epi-pen is that it makes sense to me, *shrug*, and I'm more than willing to talk about the other things I thought were good about the film. You probably feel the same way about the waterfall. I think that fighting the negativity with over-the-top positivity can come off as just as insincere. I roll my eyes at anyone who gave A Quiet Place a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. But I also kind of roll my eyes at anyone who gave it a 10. A 10?! No sir.
But just focusing on IMDB ratings is cherry-picking the discourse; if you look at the reviews of the film with the most votes there, you'll see that the top four are mostly negative ones that primarily dwell on irrelevant plot holes, with all of them getting majority approval ratings, and with the top one getting over half of the users who voted on it (which is nearly 2,000 people) finding it "useful" that it made such amazing, relevant points like "how'd they get all that corn planted by hand??". The truth is, there's no real way you can 100% accurately measure the impact that nit-pick culture is making, but I've seen firsthand how it is having an impact on online discourse, and now that impact is purely negative, which is not something I want to just ignore.

And, I'm not saying that plot holes don't hurt movies at all, as I've already been very vocal about my annoyance with all the unnoticed holes with that other Horror movie from the same year, but that was because I already didn't like that film on a deeper, fundamental level, so I am saying that holes don't have a significant effect on movies that were otherwise good, which is something I think you can agree with here, because, like you've said, the plot holes in A Quiet Place didn't have a huge effect on it for you, as you just said that your score of it (which wasn't super-high in the first place) didn't go down because of the holes anyway. And I know that some people just nit-pick in order to troll, which is just something that's always going to happen regardless (although it can still be fun to push back on in the right circumstance), but I've also seen extremely intelligent people whose opinions I respect still get hung on meaningless holes (some of which aren't even holes, because they were properly explained in the film, even), which, for obvious reason, is a very aggravating thing to see, and why I'm trying to push back on it here.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:30 am

Stu wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:17 am
The Sixth Sense is a good example of a film with a strong internal logic, due to the way that
Hayley Joel covers up the plot hole of how Willis didn't realize he was dead by explaining that ghosts aren't "fully aware" of their surroundings, and how they're sometimes stuck "acting out elements of their lives", but I wouldn't say it was a great twist primarily because it was "logical", but because it was surprising (of course), but more importantly, because of the tremondous emotional rush that Willis (and we by extension) recieve upon the realization. And, as we saw in the case of the inciting incident in Chinatown, a twist can still be great even if it's technically illogical. As for Memento, I agree that the ways it toys with its story structure are brilliant, but structure wasn't what we were talking about here, we were talking about how much plot holes matter, and in the case of Memento, of course it has the hole where, even though it happened after the amnesia-incident, Leonard still somehow remembers overdosing his wife with insulin (albeit in altered form), which seems to be the film setting up a precedent of Lenny able to remember, in some way or another, incidents that make an emotional impact on him, but later Natalie maliciously says that she can manipulate him however she wants due to his condition, and that maybe his memory loss is due to a venereal disease because (and I quote) "maybe your cunt of a fucking wife sucked one too many diseased cocks and turned you into a fucking retard"... but then seconds later, he's still forgotten everything, like usual.

But, again, if you're the kind of person who would want to dwell on all that minutiae instead of the rest of the reasons why that film is great, then I'm not particularly interested in listening to your film thoughts anyway.


The trick to a great twist is that it must both be surprising but also earned, right? It must show us for the first time what we already saw. In this sense, it must be "logical." 6th Sense does this brilliantly.

This does not mean that it must pass every conceivable "real-world" test, but rather that it must pass the prima facie "smell" test of "having been there all along."A plot hole isn't necessarily something illogical in terms of deep internal coherence or fidelity with the real-world, but something so glaring that it doesn't pass the smell test. When the contract of the smell test is violated the overall quality of the artwork is diminished, although it may not ruin the film.

As for Memento, I think that we're not really supposed to be able to resolve the status of how his wife actually died and how much Leonard is intentionally bullshitting himself about his condition and her death and how much he really remembers. The film puts us in the position of Leonard. We don't know. We're living in the moment with him, desperately trying to piece things together. We see Leonard use himself to kill Gammell, so we do know that he is not a pure innocent and Gammell raises serious questions about redactions in his detective file indicating that Leonard did this to preserve the only thing that gives his life meaning. An if he only remembers what happened before the accident how does he know about his condition and how to explain it and how does he have details about how his wife died as a permanent memory? Things are fishy. We don't really know what to think. We don't have a reliable narrator and everyone who gives him information is also using him (including the motel clerk who books him into two rooms). In short, I think that that is a "feature" and not a "bug." Leonard does not get closure and neither do we. If Memento had a perfect logic whereby all secrets were revealed and shown to be perfectly consistent (via a "dimwit's montage" that shows that earlier scenes had "played fair") it would be a lesser work, because our shared subjectivity with Leonard would convert into an objectivity in which we had a God's eye view but he didn't. We would pity him, but we would no longer be "with" him.

Also, the logic of how the film progresses (structure is part of the logic of a film) is really well done. I think a lesser writer/filmmaker would have easily run afoul of a lot of massive holes in terms of how it all fits together in a way that would violate the "smell test."
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:30 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:43 am
But just focusing on IMDB ratings is cherry-picking the discourse; if you look at the reviews of the film with the most votes there, you'll see that the top four are mostly negative ones that primarily dwell on irrelevant plot holes, with all of them getting majority approval ratings, and with the top one getting over half of the users who voted on it (which is nearly 2,000 people) finding it "useful" that it made such amazing, relevant points like "how'd they get all that corn planted by hand??". The truth is, there's no real way you can 100% accurately measure the impact that nit-pick culture is making, but I've seen firsthand how it is having an impact on online discourse, and now that impact is purely negative, which is not something I want to just ignore.
There are plenty of ways to look at data. Look at the reviews ordered by "helpfulness" and three of the top four are positive. You're right that 2,000 people agreed with a negative review, but I'd argue that that's a number that pales in comparison to the 200,000 people who gave it an 8, 9, or 10 rating.

I'm not saying that I don't believe you that people online are turning discussion of this film into plot nitpicking. I'm saying that I don't see the value in engaging those people in debate on those plot points. If someone says something is a plot hole, but it's because they are fundamentally misunderstanding something then by all means, correct them.

You and I have probably written thousands of words back and forth about the waterfall, but do you think it's done anything to change my perception of the film? If anything, it's now made that plot element the thing I now reflexively think of when I think about the movie.

I'm all for sticking up for films that are unfairly maligned, but I'm not sure how productive it is to get into the trenches and specifically refute plot hole complaints. I know that I don't see as much online discourse about film (because I post here and I discuss movies online with a specific group of friends/acquaintances), but my memory of the discussion of A Quiet Place when it came out was that it was (1) mostly positive and (2) not very focused on plot holes as an issue.
I'm not saying that plot holes don't hurt movies at all, as I've already been very vocal about my annoyance with all the unnoticed holes with that other Horror movie from the same year, but that was because I already didn't like that film on a deeper, fundamental level,. . . but I've also seen extremely intelligent people whose opinions I respect still get hung on meaningless holes (some of which aren't even holes, because they were properly explained in the film, even), which, for obvious reason, is a very aggravating thing to see, and why I'm trying to push back on it here.
I think you've just answered your own question here. If someone seems hung up on plot holes, it's probably because they didn't like it on some other level. Again, I'm a prime example. I thought that the last act was super predictable and kind of a miss. I had some fundamental issues with the film. People who like a movie on a deep level will tend to overlook plot holes or other flaws. If someone's hung up on the waterfall, it probably means that the story and the characters didn't have a great grip on them in the first place. (And I do think that a plot hole/inconsistency can be part of what creates that distance from the story/characters, so there is some relationship there.)
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by BL Sometimes » Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:31 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:14 am
For example...
...if Visser is really worried about Marty potentially becoming a witness against him, and he's willing to murder him to get "the same amount of money for one killing" instead of two, then why would he bother at all with his unnecessarily convoluted scheme that involves him breaking into an occupied house, stealing a gun in order to frame someone else for a murder (hoping that she doesn't happen to have a solid alibi), casually strolling up to a bedroom window as two people sleep (hoping that he's not detected in the process), manipulating a photograph (creating a new trail of evidence that can, and of course, does, threaten to incriminate him later), hope that the client who's been consistently vocal with his dislike/distrust of him trusts the forgery, and also that, in the gap of time between when he takes the picture and when he shows it to Marty, that Marty isn't either accidentally tipped off some other way that the couple are both still alive (i.e. through a lack of local news reports on the murders), or that he insists on finding out for himself, which could've been done by something as simple as just calling them from his desk, or that he insists on the bodies being burned in the incinerator he brought up earlier, seeing with his own eyes that both corpses have been completely destroyed. If everything in the film had actually made strict logical sense, then it would've been a lot easier for Visser to have just said that he killed them, and then when they meet in private for Marty to pay him, Visser could've just pulled his gun on him, ordered him to give him the money, and then shot him anyway (insuring no witnesses), and have just walked out of there without any of the complications that trip him up later, and lead to his death.
And if...
Marty refuses, then what? Visser would be in the exact same position of committing the single murder with no access to the safe, only with Marty fully aware of his intent. If Visser wants the money, he either has to commit two murders and trust that Marty--who will be the first person police turn to as he has the most obvious motive for wanting Ray and Abby dead--won't rat him out; commit three murders to make sure he leaves no witness; or bluff against Marty to commit the one murder. The bluff you're suggesting as the more logical one (just point a gun at Marty and tell him to open the safe) really isn't because it's too transparent. Marty could instantly see what's at stake and that he has nothing to gain by opening the safe. He's dead either way, so why give Visser the satisfaction? Instead, Visser chooses the long con, which involves a series of lower-stakes bluffs to gain Marty's confidence. Why? Because at no point until the moment he pulls the trigger has he raised the stakes beyond some petty crimes. The B&E at Ray's house is probably the riskiest part, but Visser's already seen that it only cost Marty a broken finger when he tried it and probably figures he can bluff his way out of that if caught (and I'm sure he trusts that he's a more skilled and experienced burglar than Marty). And maybe Marty could catch Visser out, but there's not much consequence in that. It's not like Marty can go to the police and say the hit man he hired attempted to defraud him. So Visser chooses to string Marty along, betting that Marty, who already bungled his own attempt at revenge, is in over his head and won't catch on. Visser is betting that Marty won't be looking for any information that contradicts the story Visser is telling him so long as that story involves Marty getting everything he wants. That's how a con always operates on a mark. And all of this goes to illustrating Visser's character.

A character making a mistake is only a plot hole if it's unmotivated or nonsensical. This is neither. Visser''s scheme is entirely in character and no more nonsensical than many real-world con jobs (hell, actual hit men used to advertise in Soldier of Fortune magazine; this whole "real-world" standard of hit man logic you're looking for isn't a particularly high bar). Visser is motivated not just by the money but by the contemptuous way Marty treats him. He doesn't just want to take his money, he wants to outsmart Marty for treating him like trash. Of course, that ends up being his downfall, because he didn't anticipate the photo swap that Marty pulls. The question isn't whether there are holes in Visser's plan but whether they're a hole that his character could and would make. I say yes, a guy who thinks he's figured out the perfect crime as a means of proving he's smarter than this asshole who insults him every time they meet might overlook that said asshole could pull a fast one and swap the photos. Same goes for Marty: Would a guy who's so blinded by rage for being cheated on fall into the trap of believing this career criminal could deliver everything he wants and overlook the details pointing in the opposite direction? I don't see why not.
I think you're conflating strict logic with story logic, and those are two different things. If human beings operated by strict logic, no criminal scheme would ever get busted. What we're asking when we examine whether a story is logical is whether a) anything that happened is impossible in the world of the story (for example, a character being in two places at once in a story that doesn't involve cloning, multiple dimensions, teleportation or anything else fantastical that might explain it), b) anything is out of character (a character suddenly starts betraying principals or patterns of behavior established earlier in the story purely for the convenience of the plot) or c) a character starts acting on knowledge of the story that they shouldn't have. I don't think anything like that happens in Blood Simple. Characters make mistakes out of arrogance, rage and a lack of information, but the movie establishes those motives so you understand why those mistakes are made. That's not a plot hole.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:13 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:49 pm
I decided to look up how common deaths by fallen trees or tree branches are, but from what I found, it isn't that common. One site I found showed that there were a bit over 400 deaths in the U.S. from 1995 to 2007 due to fallen branches or trees and about 2/3 of them were as a result of car accidents such as crashing into a tree (which obviously won't be a problem). Some of the other major causes included thunderstorms, high winds (which I guess could pose a threat, but they can easily head back inside the house if they want to be that careful), cyclones, and tornadoes. Another site in the UK showed that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by a tree (I can link these sources if you'd like). So yeah, you could potentially die from a falling tree if you spend enough time there, just like a flight attendant or a pilot could die in a plane crash if they ride in enough airplanes. I disagree that it's an eventuality though. It seems like a highly unlikely threat.

According to the film, they didn't lose their youngest son until three months into the apocalypse. So, if they were reluctant to leave their house after the opening scene, they still had the first three months to venture outside (which they did, as the opening showed the entire family heading into town to stock up on supplies). The father would've had to have known about the waterfall long enough to know the various rules of it (you can make small noises by the waterfall and make loud noises behind the waterfall) and be so certain of them. Besides, since the film doesn't mention that what you described was the case, you'd have to assume that to be true without any evidence to be sure of it and what you're describing is a lot of assumptions, which isn't an answer which will satisfy everyone and understandably so.

You wouldn't get to feel the son's liberation as he yelled behind the waterfall, but I don't think that scene is that substantial to the film, nor would it severely impact the film if it was removed. You do have a point though that the characters probably wouldn't mention the rules of the waterfall if they were already aware of them and some people might not pick up on it (like how many didn't notice how high-pitched noises cause the aliens to become vulnerable to gunfire). However, I still think there's a lot of ways you could show this in a non-clunky way. It's an ingenuity test on the director. Maybe show a clip of them talking to each other from right next to the waterfall and either zoom out or cut to farther away to show how their voices blend in with the waterfall). Or, as they approach it, have one of the two characters start to speak, then have the other one silence them, and have that character say something like "Don't worry, we're close enough. I think we're good to talk now". Or, you could incorporate both of these into the script (I'm sure I could think of a couple more ways if you were to ask me this tomorrow). I think this would be a good way to handle that and I'd take this over what we got in the film.
All of those statistics/projections are based off current general populations, the vast, vast majority of whom are not spending all day huddled in a tent underneath a maze of looming trees/branches; if they were, then those stats would look far different, of course. Anyway, just because it's possible that the members of the family could've been regularly roaming around up until that point, doesn't mean that they were; for all we know, the opening scene was the first time any of them had set foot outside their property post-invasion (which actually wouldn't surprise me, seeing as how they brought all the kids along, which makes perfect sense if they were afraid to lose even just one parent keeping an eye on them and keeping them from making noise at home, because both parents had been around all the time to help supervise them up to that point), and as for the stream/waterfall, the father would've only needed a moment after first discovering it to realize that the monsters are ignoring it, since every one of them in the area aren't constantly gathered around it in order to mindlessly attack it 24/7 as a source of noise, and then the other rule, that you can make as much noise as you want as long as it's lower than the background noise already naturally in the vicinity, would instantly fall into place as well (and he could instantly test that out by talking, and then yelling, underneath the cover of the waterfall).

You say I'm assuming too much in the film's defense, but I don't have to when it comes to the question of when the father started using the stream that way, because, again, there's next-to-no indication in the film of when he started doing so (as it's not like the "Day 89" opening scene shows him carrying fresh fish around), so assuming he's been fishing there for a long time before showing it to the son is just inventing reasons to complain about the film; if people don't want to assume things that the film doesn't indicate, either in a positive or negative sense, then they should just default to being neutral on such questions, which renders them a non-issue anyway. As for the other point, unless the father is somehow a complete sociopath who's really good at hiding it, the assumption that he would at least be heistant to take his one remaining son out again after the death of his other son the last time he did so is one of the most obvious, natural conclusions any viewer should come to, to the point that the idea that it's something the film needs to have the father explicitly say before we accept it is just silly, and I would genuinely feel like my intelligence was being insulted if the film felt like it needed to have him tell us that (besides, the son himself indicated that he was scared to leave the property again, so that's another reason, this one explicitly confirmed, why he wouldn't have left the home since the incident; what else do we need?).

It's not a real plot hole because it only exists if you're taking a sort of bad-faith stance on those points, instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt that any film deserves; that's why I've complained so much about a certain nonsensical character decision in Hereditary recently, since, even if you give the film all the benefit of the doubt in the world, view it in the most positive of lights and don't assume that
Steve's decision to not tell Annie about the desecration was just him being an apathetic asshole, contradicting his earlier characterization of him being a supportive husband, and even considering his general passiveness throughout the film, as well as assuming that he was trying to spare her some distress, the decision is still impossible to reasonably justify, because, again, how much more distressed would she be at him if she found out some other way, and then found out he had kept it a secret from her? It'd be so easy to solve with just a simple timeline shift too, where the desecration would occur much later in the film (since there's no reason why it couldn't), which would be after Annie's already appeared to be undergoing a mental breakdown, so then Steve would have an actual, legit reason to not pile on with that revelation. I mean, I'm not saying something like "Oh, so I'm just supposed to believe that the cursed mark the cult left on the pole supernaturally caused the chain of events where Charlie has an allergic reaction from eating nuts, sticks her head out of a car to breath while being rushed to the hospital, and then a raccoon just so happens to dart across the road and make Peter swerve at that exact moment?" (which is actually something CinemaShins nit-picked in their video for the film). Because, I actually don't have a problem buying that series of events at all, because it's well within the range of possibilities for a Supernatural Horror film. But, when it comes to the realm of realistic human behavior that the film's trying to portray, that decision makes absolute negative sense.
Anyway, like you said, there are ways Krasinski could've conveyed to audiences that the stream was a safe place to talk, but none of those would make the scene anywhere near as memorable as the moment when the son gets to re-discover the joy of being able to make noise again for the first time in forever underneath the waterfall, and nothing would be worth sacrificing that moment for. It's like the dance scene; no, the movie doesn't technically need a scene where the husband & wife dance together to "Harvest Moon" as they share a pair of earbuds, but it's still so great that the movie took the time to pause from all the tense/suspenseful scenes, and highlighted the few joys left in that silent Hell of a world, and it's moments like those, which, bit-by-bit, end up adding so much to the overall experience, and I wouldn't have the film any other way.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Mar 24, 2020 3:49 pm

Stu wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:13 am
All of those statistics/projections are based off current general populations, the vast, vast majority of whom are not spending all day huddled in a tent underneath a maze of looming trees/branches; if they were, then those stats would look far different, of course. Anyway, just because it's possible that the members of the family could've been regularly roaming around up until that point, doesn't mean that they were; for all we know, the opening scene was the first time any of them had set foot outside their property post-invasion (which actually wouldn't surprise me, seeing as how they brought all the kids along, which makes perfect sense if they were afraid to lose even just one parent keeping an eye on them and keeping them from making noise at home, because both parents had been around all the time to help supervise them up to that point), and as for the stream/waterfall, the father would've only needed a moment after first discovering it to realize that the monsters are ignoring it, since every one of them in the area aren't constantly gathered around it in order to mindlessly attack it 24/7 as a source of noise, and then the other rule, that you can make as much noise as you want as long as it's lower than the background noise already naturally in the vicinity, would instantly fall into place as well (and he could instantly test that out by talking, and then yelling, underneath the cover of the waterfall).

You say I'm assuming too much in the film's defense, but I don't have to when it comes to the question of when the father started using the stream that way, because, again, there's next-to-no indication in the film of when he started doing so (as it's not like the "Day 89" opening scene shows him carrying fresh fish around), so assuming he's been fishing there for a long time before showing it to the son is just inventing reasons to complain about the film; if people don't want to assume things that the film doesn't indicate, either in a positive or negative sense, then they should just default to being neutral on such questions, which renders them a non-issue anyway. As for the other point, unless the father is somehow a complete sociopath who's really good at hiding it, the assumption that he would at least be heistant to take his one remaining son out again after the death of his other son the last time he did so is one of the most obvious, natural conclusions any viewer should come to, to the point that the idea that it's something the film needs to have the father explicitly say before we accept it is just silly, and I would genuinely feel like my intelligence was being insulted if the film felt like it needed to have him tell us that (besides, the son himself indicated that he was scared to leave the property again, so that's another reason, this one explicitly confirmed, why he wouldn't have left the home since the incident; what else do we need?).

It's not a real plot hole because it only exists if you're taking a sort of bad-faith stance on those points, instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt that any film deserves; that's why I've complained so much about a certain nonsensical character decision in Hereditary recently, since, even if you give the film all the benefit of the doubt in the world, view it in the most positive of lights and don't assume that
Steve's decision to not tell Annie about the desecration was just him being an apathetic asshole, contradicting his earlier characterization of him being a supportive husband, and even considering his general passiveness throughout the film, as well as assuming that he was trying to spare her some distress, the decision is still impossible to reasonably justify, because, again, how much more distressed would she be at him if she found out some other way, and then found out he had kept it a secret from her? It'd be so easy to solve with just a simple timeline shift too, where the desecration would occur much later in the film (since there's no reason why it couldn't), which would be after Annie's already appeared to be undergoing a mental breakdown, so then Steve would have an actual, legit reason to not pile on with that revelation. I mean, I'm not saying something like "Oh, so I'm just supposed to believe that the cursed mark the cult left on the pole supernaturally caused the chain of events where Charlie has an allergic reaction from eating nuts, sticks her head out of a car to breath while being rushed to the hospital, and then a raccoon just so happens to dart across the road and make Peter swerve at that exact moment?" (which is actually something CinemaShins nit-picked in their video for the film). Because, I actually don't have a problem buying that series of events at all, because it's well within the range of possibilities for a Supernatural Horror film. But, when it comes to the realm of realistic human behavior that the film's trying to portray, that decision makes absolute negative sense.
Anyway, like you said, there are ways Krasinski could've conveyed to audiences that the stream was a safe place to talk, but none of those would make the scene anywhere near as memorable as the moment when the son gets to re-discover the joy of being able to make noise again for the first time in forever underneath the waterfall, and nothing would be worth sacrificing that moment for. It's like the dance scene; no, the movie doesn't technically need a scene where the husband & wife dance together to "Harvest Moon" as they share a pair of earbuds, but it's still so great that the movie took the time to pause from all the tense/suspenseful scenes, and highlighted the few joys left in that silent Hell of a world, and it's moments like those, which, bit-by-bit, end up adding so much to the overall experience, and I wouldn't have the film any other way.
Okay, that's fair. I'll concede that the way the waterfall is handled isn't a flaw. You're right that the film didn't give an indication as to when the father stumbled across it, so technically it could've been at any time (a month, a week, or a couple days before he showed it to his son). It makes more sense to give the film the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming he withheld it from his family for a while. Still though, great discussion! I enjoyed it.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:58 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:30 am
The trick to a great twist is that it must both be surprising but also earned, right? It must show us for the first time what we already saw. In this sense, it must be "logical." 6th Sense does this brilliantly.

This does not mean that it must pass every conceivable "real-world" test, but rather that it must pass the prima facie "smell" test of "having been there all along."A plot hole isn't necessarily something illogical in terms of deep internal coherence or fidelity with the real-world, but something so glaring that it doesn't pass the smell test. When the contract of the smell test is violated the overall quality of the artwork is diminished, although it may not ruin the film.

As for Memento, I think that we're not really supposed to be able to resolve the status of how his wife actually died and how much Leonard is intentionally bullshitting himself about his condition and her death and how much he really remembers. The film puts us in the position of Leonard. We don't know. We're living in the moment with him, desperately trying to piece things together. We see Leonard use himself to kill Gammell, so we do know that he is not a pure innocent and Gammell raises serious questions about redactions in his detective file indicating that Leonard did this to preserve the only thing that gives his life meaning. An if he only remembers what happened before the accident how does he know about his condition and how to explain it and how does he have details about how his wife died as a permanent memory? Things are fishy. We don't really know what to think. We don't have a reliable narrator and everyone who gives him information is also using him (including the motel clerk who books him into two rooms). In short, I think that that is a "feature" and not a "bug." Leonard does not get closure and neither do we. If Memento had a perfect logic whereby all secrets were revealed and shown to be perfectly consistent (via a "dimwit's montage" that shows that earlier scenes had "played fair") it would be a lesser work, because our shared subjectivity with Leonard would convert into an objectivity in which we had a God's eye view but he didn't. We would pity him, but we would no longer be "with" him.

Also, the logic of how the film progresses (structure is part of the logic of a film) is really well done. I think a lesser writer/filmmaker would have easily run afoul of a lot of massive holes in terms of how it all fits together in a way that would violate the "smell test."
Not necessarily; I mean, it is good when a twist finds the right balance between being genuinely surprising, as well as with playing "fair" (in the sense that the clues were being laid before us without us realizing they were there) but twists don't really need any amount of logical foreshadowing in order to be great. I mean, the most infamous/beloved plot twist of all time came about because George Lucas suddenly decided to retcon that Darth Vader was all-of-a-sudden Luke's father, absent of any real indicators, even in Empire itself (unless you're being extremely generous with your retrospective interpretations), while also explicitly contradicting the backstory we had already been given in A New Hope. Still, I would say that it's a great twist because there aren't any clues beforehand, not despite, because that's what rendered it such a great shock to the system, both during the film and after, to the point where I've never seen any criticism anywhere that it just came out of nowhere (of course, it creates problems later when Obi-Wan has to weasel that explanation about how his original story about Luke's fazha was true "from a certain point of view" (puh-lease), but Jedi was the one that got flack for that, not Empire, and Lucas never actually had a "master plan" for the saga anyway, so eh.)

Anyway, as for Memento, personally, I feel that
everything that Teddy said in the "final" scene of the film was the truth, so I believe him when he said Lenny's wife didn't die during the assault, and that it wasn't Sammy's "wife", but Leonard's that was diabetic (because what reason would Teddy have to lie about those details?), although it is significant that we never see an altered memory showing Lenny being the one to accidentally overdose her with the insulin, so the exact details of her death (or at least, her absence from the film) are never explicitly confirmed in the end (although if Lenny did accidentally kill her that way, it adds a lot of tragic poignancy to the film, so even without such confirmation, I personally prefer to believe that).

As for the point about how much Lenny is lying to himself about his memory abilities, I don't feel that Lenny somehow being able to remember that the incident gave him retrograde amnesia is a specific clue that he's an unreliable narrator, because of the obvious narrative inconvenience that would happen if, if every time he forgot the most recent events, in addition to whatever immediate circumstances he was already mired in, he also had to stop and puzzle out "Hey, why can't I remember anything since the night of the incident??". He could get a prominent tattoo on one of his hands, but even just having to watch him stop and absorb that every 5-ish minutes or so would still grow tiresome & repetitive pretty quickly, so I have to imagine that Nolan had him remember that detail for its practical storytelling utility, rather than imply anything untoward about his reliability as a protagonist (also, he did catch a glimpse of her assaulter crouched over her prone, wrapped-in-curtain form before his head got smashed, making it look to him she was already dead, so, since he doesn't see her anywhere around him in the present, him saying that he remembers her dying could be just him assuming that he saw her dead that night). So, considering all of that, I think the only concrete, intentional example in the film of Lenny remembering something he shouldn't be able to is the way he transposed the details (and guilt) of his story onto "Sammy", so I do feel that, excluding the purely practical considerations necessary to him remembering his condition, the Sammy Jankis story does stands out as being a sole violation of the film's established "rules", but I don't care because, like I wrote, it adds so much more emotion to the experience, so, if the film sort of technically "cheats" its own rules a couple of times (either for pure convenience or for the haunting effect it adds), it's all for a good cause, because it wouldn't be as great a film if it didn't do that all that; ends justify the means, etc.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:20 pm

The funny thing, however, is that revisiting A New Hope where Luke is speaking with Obi Wan in his little hut in the wilderness, it is obvious that Obi Wan is gently manipulating him ("I need your help. She needs your help. I'm getting too old for this sort of thing"). Also, when Obi Wan looks over to Luke when he is cut down by Vader, knowing that Luke sees him, he give a look and grin indicating that he know that this act will cement Luke's commitment to his cause (seeing him get martyred). In short, there is retroactive support in the text for the reveal of Empire. We have legit implications that Obi Wan is coaxing and BS-ing in A New Hope, which makes his revealed lie in Empire actually fit.

That stated, I do concede that the reveal itself was not specifically foreshadowed. I stand corrected. It must be true, at least on occasion, that one can pull off a blind twist without foreshadowing. Even so, even without that foreshadowing, it must be a "fitting" twist that is fitting with the established facts if not specifically promised/foreshadowed. Even if we are not necessarily shown for the first time what we already say, the surprise must at least be adequately consistent with what came before.

And you generally only get one "ass pull" like this. The reveal that Leia was his sister was a let down. And things only get worse when we learn that Vader made C-3PO and that R2 was Vader's droid and that Yoda was buds with Chewie, etc.

"Anyway, as for Memento, personally, I feel that"

Well, you may feel that, but we don't know that.

As for the necessity of Lenny remembering just enough to not make the film an absolute grind (Ground Hog Day with total amnesia), I agree, but formal necessity does not release for downstream consequences to content. It may be necessary, for example, that our hero needs to be vindicated in defying an incompetent boss (excusing his/her insubordination), but once established, this is a feature of the text. We don't get to say it is "not real" or "relevant" because of the conditions of it's genesis (even if the cause is formal).
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:14 am

BL Sometimes wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:31 pm
And if...
Marty refuses, then what? Visser would be in the exact same position of committing the single murder with no access to the safe, only with Marty fully aware of his intent. If Visser wants the money, he either has to commit two murders and trust that Marty--who will be the first person police turn to as he has the most obvious motive for wanting Ray and Abby dead--won't rat him out; commit three murders to make sure he leaves no witness; or bluff against Marty to commit the one murder. The bluff you're suggesting as the more logical one (just point a gun at Marty and tell him to open the safe) really isn't because it's too transparent. Marty could instantly see what's at stake and that he has nothing to gain by opening the safe. He's dead either way, so why give Visser the satisfaction? Instead, Visser chooses the long con, which involves a series of lower-stakes bluffs to gain Marty's confidence. Why? Because at no point until the moment he pulls the trigger has he raised the stakes beyond some petty crimes. The B&E at Ray's house is probably the riskiest part, but Visser's already seen that it only cost Marty a broken finger when he tried it and probably figures he can bluff his way out of that if caught (and I'm sure he trusts that he's a more skilled and experienced burglar than Marty). And maybe Marty could catch Visser out, but there's not much consequence in that. It's not like Marty can go to the police and say the hit man he hired attempted to defraud him. So Visser chooses to string Marty along, betting that Marty, who already bungled his own attempt at revenge, is in over his head and won't catch on. Visser is betting that Marty won't be looking for any information that contradicts the story Visser is telling him so long as that story involves Marty getting everything he wants. That's how a con always operates on a mark. And all of this goes to illustrating Visser's character.

A character making a mistake is only a plot hole if it's unmotivated or nonsensical. This is neither. Visser''s scheme is entirely in character and no more nonsensical than many real-world con jobs (hell, actual hit men used to advertise in Soldier of Fortune magazine; this whole "real-world" standard of hit man logic you're looking for isn't a particularly high bar). Visser is motivated not just by the money but by the contemptuous way Marty treats him. He doesn't just want to take his money, he wants to outsmart Marty for treating him like trash. Of course, that ends up being his downfall, because he didn't anticipate the photo swap that Marty pulls. The question isn't whether there are holes in Visser's plan but whether they're a hole that his character could and would make. I say yes, a guy who thinks he's figured out the perfect crime as a means of proving he's smarter than this asshole who insults him every time they meet might overlook that said asshole could pull a fast one and swap the photos. Same goes for Marty: Would a guy who's so blinded by rage for being cheated on fall into the trap of believing this career criminal could deliver everything he wants and overlook the details pointing in the opposite direction? I don't see why not.
I think you're conflating strict logic with story logic, and those are two different things. If human beings operated by strict logic, no criminal scheme would ever get busted. What we're asking when we examine whether a story is logical is whether a) anything that happened is impossible in the world of the story (for example, a character being in two places at once in a story that doesn't involve cloning, multiple dimensions, teleportation or anything else fantastical that might explain it), b) anything is out of character (a character suddenly starts betraying principals or patterns of behavior established earlier in the story purely for the convenience of the plot) or c) a character starts acting on knowledge of the story that they shouldn't have. I don't think anything like that happens in Blood Simple. Characters make mistakes out of arrogance, rage and a lack of information, but the movie establishes those motives so you understand why those mistakes are made. That's not a plot hole.
Assuming that Marty would refuse is assuming a lot, as he would likely comply with Visser's demand for the same reason that anyone hands over their money when a gun's pointed at them; because they don't want to die. And assuming that Marty would immediately figure out that Visser's going to kill him anyway because he doesn't want to leave him around as a witness (to a mere armed robbery in this scenario, instead of murder, and with Marty, without any real evidence or corresponding witnesses, unable to even make anyone suspect that Visser was the one who robbed him, assuming that he, an attempted murderer himself, would even bother reporting to the authorities at all), is, again, assuming a lot, as it's looking at the problem from the detached God's Eye View we have of the situation as a viewer, instead of the first person perspective of the character who's actually in the moment, as none of that would be likely to go through his head as he is, again, staring straight down the barrel of a gun. That being said, even assuming that Marty would refuse for either of those reasons wouldn't cause any significant problems for Visser's scheme, because, since he obviously has Marty all alone with no witnesses, he could just start torturing by shooting him in the foot or wherever else he wants, saying that he'll stop if Marty just gives up the money. I mean, it's not like the guy's a Marine or something, he's just a schlubby, middle-aged barowner who couldn't abduct his wife even after having gotten the drop on her, got a finger broken in the process, and started puking after one kick to the privates; does anyone really think he'd hold up under the process of actual, intentional torture?

None of Visser's potential plans for getting the money have a 100% guarantee of success, of course, including the hypothetical one I'm proposing, and like Visser himself said, "somethin' can always go wrong", but pulling a gun on Marty is much simpler, and thus, likelier to work than the relatively convoluted scheme he cooked up which involves at least 10 separate steps (some of which I didn't even mention in my original post, such as parking his yellow Volkswagen in plain sight of the bed room window of the couple while they're awake), during any of which, if just one thing had gone wrong, then the entire plan is instantly, irrevocably fucked (I honestly think it would've been easier for him to just go ahead and kill them like he was hired to do while he was in their house). Speaking of Visser's break-in, if Marty did tell him off-screen about his earlier, failed attempt (as he never mentions it during their conversation in Visser's car), then Visser knows the only reason why Marty only got a broken finger during his break-in is because Abby was unable to grab her gun during the incident, otherwise, that encounter would've ended much differently for Marty (and now that their house has already been broken into once, the two are going to be much more on edge, meaning there's the strong possibility that Abby won't just be leaving her gun out in the living room anymore, but much closer by, especially while she's asleep). And Marty is in over his head, but, as Visser is already well aware of, he's also been extremely forthright with his dislike/mistrust of Visser (even during the phone call they have just before meeting for the last time), so hoping that he would accept the sight of the forged picture is absolutely taking an unnecessary, additional risk (to say nothing of the risk of Marty accidentally finding out they're still alive by, say, Ray showing up again for his backpay just a little bit earlier than he ended up doing).

We're not talking about Soldier Of Fortune-advertising hitmen here, and while of course there are plenty of actual stupid criminals in the real world who commit things that are even more nonsensical than Visser's scheme, we're talking an artificial narrative created by writers who are full control of every single character decision and its potential outcome, and who know there are going to be viewers looking to nit-pick the plot mechanics of the film. And regarding Visser's motivations, the only one that got him involved in the first place was, of course, the money (which he himself admitted in the car), and there's multiple indications that Visser isn't bothered that much by the way Marty treats him, such as the way he laughs off the latter throwing the envelope of cash into his chest, or the fact that he agreed to meet with Marty again at all (before he knows what Marty wants him to do, or more importantly, how much he's willing to pay him). Of course, the holes in his plan are something he could make, I just don't feel that they're ones he would'd likely to make, as there certainly isn't much indication in Visser's characterization that he'd be bothered by Marty's mistreatment so much that he would go to the additional trouble of the needlessly complicated, risky scheme he undertakes, the one that ensures a much greater chance of him not getting the money, just so he can have the additional satisfaction of having fooled Marty, instead of settling for the much surer chance of getting the 10 grand that caught his interest in the first place (I don't have a problem with Marty being blinded to contradictory details by his rage because he's not the one who plans out a pointlessly elaborate, fallible con job, of course).
Also, sorry Takoma, but I was halfway through writing this response when I realized that you had made your post before BL, but I couldn't quit working on this, so I had to respond to him first here instead; I'll get to your post as soon as I get the chance, promise!
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:06 pm

Stu wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:14 am
Also, sorry Takoma, but I was halfway through writing this response when I realized that you had made your post before BL, but I couldn't quit working on this, so I had to respond to him first here instead; I'll get to your post as soon as I get the chance, promise!
No worries. It may not shock you to learn that I've got plenty of free time right now.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by BL Sometimes » Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:12 pm

Stu wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:14 am
Assuming that Marty would refuse is assuming a lot, as he would likely comply with Visser's demand for the same reason that anyone hands over their money when a gun's pointed at them; because they don't want to die.
Except
these aren't two strangers in an alley. Marty is highly despondent and desperate at this point in the movie, and Visser knows this. Pull a gun on someone like that and yes, they very much might want to die. And Marty's spiteful toward Visser, which Visser also knows. It's not a reach to assume such a person would have the suicidal impulse to refuse to comply out of spite.
And assuming that Marty would immediately figure out that Visser's going to kill him anyway because he doesn't want to leave him around as a witness (to a mere armed robbery in this scenario, instead of murder, and with Marty, without any real evidence or corresponding witnesses, unable to even make anyone suspect that Visser was the one who robbed him, assuming that he, an attempted murderer himself, would even bother reporting to the authorities at all), is, again, assuming a lot, as it's looking at the problem from the detached God's Eye View we have of the situation as a viewer, instead of the first person perspective of the character who's actually in the moment, as none of that would be likely to go through his head as he is, again, staring straight down the barrel of a gun.
Which again is not that great a threat to a character as visibly broken down as Marty by that point in the story. It doesn't require a God's Eye View for a character to see that. It's right there in Marty's behavior in reaching out to a guy he loathes in order to commission such a heinous crime. And if Visser is able to read Marty well enough to string him along as far as he does, he can certainly read that desperation on him.
That being said, even assuming that Marty would refuse for either of those reasons wouldn't cause any significant problems for Visser's scheme, because, since he obviously has Marty all alone with no witnesses, he could just start torturing by shooting him in the foot or wherever else he wants, saying that he'll stop if Marty just gives up the money. I mean, it's not like the guy's a Marine or something, he's just a schlubby, middle-aged barowner who couldn't abduct his wife even after having gotten the drop on her, got a finger broken in the process, and started puking after one kick to the privates; does anyone really think he'd hold up under the process of actual, intentional torture?
This would cause the very significant problem of having to be stuck for an indefinite period of time while loudly torturing a person at a location where any number of people have access. Later on, you mention the potential of Ray coming back too early; this extends that risk from seconds to potentially hours. And kidnapping is a crime of much greater consequences than the breaking and entering in Visser's actual scheme. Again, this is a question of how Visser is going to escalate the crime before pulling the trigger, and you're again suggesting a much greater escalation of risk before the reward.
None of Visser's potential plans for getting the money have a 100% guarantee of success, of course, including the hypothetical one I'm proposing, and like Visser himself said, "somethin' can always go wrong", but pulling a gun on Marty is much simpler, and thus, likelier to work than the relatively convoluted scheme he cooked up which involves at least 10 separate steps (some of which I didn't even mention in my original post, such as parking his yellow Volkswagen in plain sight of the bed room window of the couple while they're awake), during any of which, if just one thing had gone wrong, then the entire plan is instantly, irrevocably fucked (I honestly think it would've been easier for him to just go ahead and kill them like he was hired to do while he was in their house).
Yes, the plan can fall apart at any stage, but at what consequence? So far, the greatest risk is of Ray or Abby getting the drop on him during the break-in, but that's a risk that's inherent in Marty's plan, too.
Speaking of Visser's break-in, if Marty did tell him off-screen about his earlier, failed attempt (as he never mentions it during their conversation in Visser's car), then Visser knows the only reason why Marty only got a broken finger during his break-in is because Abby was unable to grab her gun during the incident, otherwise, that encounter would've ended much differently for Marty (and now that their house has already been broken into once, the two are going to be much more on edge, meaning there's the strong possibility that Abby won't just be leaving her gun out in the living room anymore, but much closer by, especially while she's asleep).
In that case,
Visser is in the position of having to commit the crimes Marty hired him to do. So the "perfect" plan breaks down into Marty's plan. Visser's in it either way, so why not pursue the "perfect" plan if the opportunity presents itself? The only potential plot hole here is that Abby doesn't keep the gun closer by, but that's at least addressed by Abby's dislike of the gun as a memento from Marty.
And Marty is in over his head, but, as Visser is already well aware of, he's also been extremely forthright with his dislike/mistrust of Visser (even during the phone call they have just before meeting for the last time), so hoping that he would accept the sight of the forged picture is absolutely taking an unnecessary, additional risk (to say nothing of the risk of Marty accidentally finding out they're still alive by, say, Ray showing up again for his backpay just a little bit earlier than he ended up doing).
On the latter point, this is again a few seconds of risk we're talking about. And on the former, how likely are you to spot a photographic forgery? And this is pre-Photoshop we're talking about, where the means and expertise to produce such a forgery weren't as common. And Marty is a character who already wants to believe his wife and her lover are dead. It's highly improbable that in that moment Marty, a man who's likely never viewed a murder scene before, would have the motive to scrutinize the photo too deeply or the know-how to spot a forgery. So yeah, why not take that minimal risk if it means ensuring Marty's cooperation?
We're not talking about Soldier Of Fortune-advertising hitmen here, and while of course there are plenty of actual stupid criminals in the real world who commit things that are even more nonsensical than Visser's scheme, we're talking an artificial narrative created by writers who are full control of every single character decision and its potential outcome, and who know there are going to be viewers looking to nit-pick the plot mechanics of the film.
Correct, and so far said nitpicks don't amount to much and the alternative plot options being offered only create more improbabilities than what the movie actually presents.
And regarding Visser's motivations, the only one that got him involved in the first place was, of course, the money (which he himself admitted in the car), and there's multiple indications that Visser isn't bothered that much by the way Marty treats him, such as the way he laughs off the latter throwing the envelope of cash into his chest, or the fact that he agreed to meet with Marty again at all (before he knows what Marty wants him to do, or more importantly, how much he's willing to pay him).
Visser plays the part of gregarious good ol' boy while stringing Marty along, but that facade drops the moment Marty's seemingly dead and Visser takes on a much more cold-blooded demeanor. "Who looks stupid now?" is the tell that all of Marty's jabs did bother him, and that he was just holding back.
Of course, the holes in his plan are something he could make, I just don't feel that they're ones he would'd likely to make, as there certainly isn't much indication in Visser's characterization that he'd be bothered by Marty's mistreatment so much that he would go to the additional trouble of the needlessly complicated, risky scheme he undertakes, the one that ensures a much greater chance of him not getting the money, just so he can have the additional satisfaction of having fooled Marty, instead of settling for the much surer chance of getting the 10 grand that caught his interest in the first place (I don't have a problem with Marty being blinded to contradictory details by his rage because he's not the one who plans out a pointlessly elaborate, fallible con job, of course).
If we're restating our cases here, I think the mistakes are something Visser could and would make because they pretty much all happen at the last moment, when he thinks he's bested Marty. I think Visser's self-satisfaction in that moment (again "Who looks stupid now?" tells us the mistreatment did get to him) is his undoing as it causes him to get sloppy and miss the photo swap, leave his lighter behind and not check for a pulse. All the potential holes in his plan that you point out prior to that moment are only holes in the "perfect" plan that leave him with any number of fallback options, from going through with Marty's plan to dropping the whole thing before he's ever pulled the trigger with no cost to himself. So yes, I find it credible that Visser would methodically pursue those additional options if it would reduce the risk to himself and that the plan blowing up at the tail end because of hubris is equally as plausible. I'm not seeing any of this as a true plot hole.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:24 pm

Stu wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:58 am
Anyway, as for Memento, personally, I feel that
everything that Teddy said in the "final" scene of the film was the truth, so I believe him when he said Lenny's wife didn't die during the assault, and that it wasn't Sammy's "wife", but Leonard's that was diabetic (because what reason would Teddy have to lie about those details?), although it is significant that we never see an altered memory showing Lenny being the one to accidentally overdose her with the insulin, so the exact details of her death (or at least, her absence from the film) are never explicitly confirmed in the end (although if Lenny did accidentally kill her that way, it adds a lot of tragic poignancy to the film, so even without such confirmation, I personally prefer to believe that).

As for the point about how much Lenny is lying to himself about his memory abilities, I don't feel that Lenny somehow being able to remember that the incident gave him retrograde amnesia is a specific clue that he's an unreliable narrator, because of the obvious narrative inconvenience that would happen if, if every time he forgot the most recent events, in addition to whatever immediate circumstances he was already mired in, he also had to stop and puzzle out "Hey, why can't I remember anything since the night of the incident??". He could get a prominent tattoo on one of his hands, but even just having to watch him stop and absorb that every 5-ish minutes or so would still grow tiresome & repetitive pretty quickly, so I have to imagine that Nolan had him remember that detail for its practical storytelling utility, rather than imply anything untoward about his reliability as a protagonist (also, he did catch a glimpse of her assaulter crouched over her prone, wrapped-in-curtain form before his head got smashed, making it look to him she was already dead, so, since he doesn't see her anywhere around him in the present, him saying that he remembers her dying could be just him assuming that he saw her dead that night). So, considering all of that, I think the only concrete, intentional example in the film of Lenny remembering something he shouldn't be able to is the way he transposed the details (and guilt) of his story onto "Sammy", so I do feel that, excluding the purely practical considerations necessary to him remembering his condition, the Sammy Jankis story does stands out as being a sole violation of the film's established "rules", but I don't care because, like I wrote, it adds so much more emotion to the experience, so, if the film sort of technically "cheats" its own rules a couple of times (either for pure convenience or for the haunting effect it adds), it's all for a good cause, because it wouldn't be as great a film if it didn't do that all that; ends justify the means, etc.
This is a great discussion so I don't want to derail anything, but regarding the bolded statement, I seem to recall that we are indeed shown some quick flashbacks of Lenny giving his wife the insulin towards the end. They play the same way that his "memories" did, but instead of featuring Sammy (Tobolowsky), they featured him. I haven't seen the film in years, though, so I might be wrong, but it's something I remember distinctly.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:45 pm

Thief wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:24 pm
This is a great discussion so I don't want to derail anything, but regarding the bolded statement, I seem to recall that we are indeed shown some quick flashbacks of Lenny giving his wife the insulin towards the end. They play the same way that his "memories" did, but instead of featuring Sammy (Tobolowsky), they featured him. I haven't seen the film in years, though, so I might be wrong, but it's something I remember distinctly.
I thought the same, but I think Stu might just mean we don't literally see the accident play out like that. There's one quick-cut where he replaces Tobolowsky in the hospital and another one with Pierce where a syringe replaces a pinch to his wife's thigh. I'm more in the Melvin vein where I don't think the rules as initially set up are supposed to be taken totally to heart.

While it's plot-driven movie-logic at bottom, it's not like the real-life condition is so strictly bound to rules anyway. I recall seeing a much more severe case on tv where the guy could only speak in repetitive loops and was constantly greeting his wife with joyous adulation as if they'd been apart for years. He still had some awareness of his condition. When they asked him what it was like living with his condition, he'd always repeat some stock phrases ("No difference between day and night").
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:01 pm

Yeah, I agree that it's not intended to be a clear and definitive flashback. But yeah, I'm also with Melvin in that we're never meant to understand how everything played out. As far as I'm concerned, the ambiguity of everything is part of what makes it great. What really happened during the film, what happened *before* the film, who's lying, who's telling the truth, how much Lenny knows about everything, about himself. It's great.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:23 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:30 pm
There are plenty of ways to look at data. Look at the reviews ordered by "helpfulness" and three of the top four are positive. You're right that 2,000 people agreed with a negative review, but I'd argue that that's a number that pales in comparison to the 200,000 people who gave it an 8, 9, or 10 rating.

I'm not saying that I don't believe you that people online are turning discussion of this film into plot nitpicking. I'm saying that I don't see the value in engaging those people in debate on those plot points. If someone says something is a plot hole, but it's because they are fundamentally misunderstanding something then by all means, correct them.

You and I have probably written thousands of words back and forth about the waterfall, but do you think it's done anything to change my perception of the film? If anything, it's now made that plot element the thing I now reflexively think of when I think about the movie.

I'm all for sticking up for films that are unfairly maligned, but I'm not sure how productive it is to get into the trenches and specifically refute plot hole complaints. I know that I don't see as much online discourse about film (because I post here and I discuss movies online with a specific group of friends/acquaintances), but my memory of the discussion of A Quiet Place when it came out was that it was (1) mostly positive and (2) not very focused on plot holes as an issue.

I think you've just answered your own question here. If someone seems hung up on plot holes, it's probably because they didn't like it on some other level. Again, I'm a prime example. I thought that the last act was super predictable and kind of a miss. I had some fundamental issues with the film. People who like a movie on a deep level will tend to overlook plot holes or other flaws. If someone's hung up on the waterfall, it probably means that the story and the characters didn't have a great grip on them in the first place. (And I do think that a plot hole/inconsistency can be part of what creates that distance from the story/characters, so there is some relationship there.)
But, like you said, there are plenty of ways of looking at data, and if someone who hasn't seen A Quiet Place decides they want to look beyond the mere numbers into the more in-depth opinions, and look at the most popular reviews listed there (which is a better way of determining popularity than helpfulness, as that just goes by what percentage of positive votes a review got, meaning that the "top" review listed by helpfulness was determined by less than 50 votes), then they're going to be greeted by a bunch of mostly negative reviews that sometimes don't focus on anything but irrelevant nit-picks, it still helps to give a misleading impression of the film as a whole.

Of course the nit-pickers are a minority, but they're a loud minority (as I haven't even gone out my way that much to seek out such negative takes on A Quiet Place, but I still see them everywhere), so they're still having a negative impact on film discussion online, and I feel that just trying to ignore them is the worst reaction I could choose, because that's what they want; they want to be left alone and unchallenged, free to keep encouraging others to join with them in petty nit-picking rather than the substantive discussion they should be having. Saying I should ignore them is like saying we should just ignore Trump supporters, because they're not just going to go away if we pretend they're not there, and the problem only gets worse if you don't challenge them on their nonsense, and expose it for what it is.

I have no problem with it if someone wants to pick apart problems of logic in a film because they didn't like the film on a more fundamental level (as I've obviously done a ton of that myself here), but, if I'm complaining about Hereditary to a Facebook friend, the very first thing I'll bring up are the basic problems I had with the direction AA took with it (because that's what actually ruined the film for me)...and then maybe I'll get into its holes just for additional fun, which is the way it should be, because there are enough people who solely nit-pick plot holes online, that, if you see other people who only care about holes in a particular film because they didn't like it because of some other, more fundamental reason, but then they never get into those deeper reasons because they're only griping about plot holes, then it's impossible to tell the two types apart.

Anyway, no, I don't think I've changed your perception of AQP as a whole through our exchanges here, but I'm not at all surprised by that, because people tend to naturally double down on their opinions when challenged on them, and debates (online or off) almost never change the minds of the parties involved, but you don't measure the quality of a discussion or debate by whether or not anyone changed their opinion; William F. Buckley & James Baldwin didn't change either one's overall stances when they debated racial issues at Cambridge, but that doesn't mean that wasn't a debate worth having. I didn't expect to change your mind (as I haven't changed mine either), but our discussion of it was still worth having because it had substance to it (unlike what Jeremy Scott and his fans tends to produce), I enjoyed the intellectual stimulation I got out of it (I mean, are you kidding me? I wish there was always this much discussion I could engage in every time I log in here), I've had the weight of a discussion I've been eager to go into in-depth for some time lifted off of me, and now I have all this reference material of my own opinions to reuse whenever someone else tries to make similar criticisms of Place. Besides, discussions like this are also good to possibly win over neutral individuals that are witnessing all this in our "audience" through the strength of our points, and it's not like these never change anyone's mind (I mean, you just read that Popcorn conceded a point in my back-and-forth with him, and that it was a great discussion that he really enjoyed, which comes in addition to Wooley saying the same basic thing in our exchange in Apex's thread).
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:49 am

Thief wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:24 pm
This is a great discussion so I don't want to derail anything, but regarding the bolded statement, I seem to recall that we are indeed shown some quick flashbacks of Lenny giving his wife the insulin towards the end. They play the same way that his "memories" did, but instead of featuring Sammy (Tobolowsky), they featured him. I haven't seen the film in years, though, so I might be wrong, but it's something I remember distinctly.
Don't be silly, you can't derail a discussion with more discussion, only add to it; keep it coming, yo! Anyway...
...there's one flashback to a supposedly unaltered memory where we see Lenny injecting his wife with insulin (whereas before, he remembered it as being a mere suprise thigh-pinch, presumably in order to protect himself from the guilt of remembering everything), but, seeing as how she reacted in surprise to the unexpected injection in the flashback, it's very likely that this moment took place before he lost his new memory-making ability, before when his wife would've had to remind him herself that it was time for her injection, so there's no sure confirmation in the film that he overdosed her.

That being said, I still feel that there's multiple strong indicators in the film that, like Sammy supposedly did, Lenny really accidentally kill his wife with the insulin because she was testing whether or not he'd remember that he just injected her, because of the way Teddy intones about "the insulin" during his final, revelatory conversation with Lenny. Now, if that remark was just meant as a reminder that Lenny's wife's was diabetic, it would be like, no shit he injected her with insulin, she was diabetic. But, in the context of the story of Sammy Jankis, "the insulin" takes on a much more sensible but ominous tone, as in, "the insulin that you accidentally overdosed your wife with because she didn't believe that you really had your condition". Like I said, there's no sure confirmation on that point in the film, but, even though there's more reason than not to believe that Lenny killed his wife that way, I still think it's for the best that Nolan didn't confirm that part, because it shows a respect for our intelligence that I wish more mainstream directors would try to show.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Hipster Thor » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:05 am

Suspiria 2018 is better than Suspiria 1977. One of these movies gets worse as it goes along, the other one gets better. Argento may be a genius behind the camera but his films lack characters and typically survive on the merits of one particularly good setpiece. Bird With the Crystal Plummage is probably his strongest film. Phenomena would probably be his most entertaining of he didn't ruin it with his music choices.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:19 pm

Stu wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:23 am
But, like you said, there are plenty of ways of looking at data, and if someone who hasn't seen A Quiet Place decides they want to look beyond the mere numbers into the more in-depth opinions, and look at the most popular reviews listed there (which is a better way of determining popularity than helpfulness, as that just goes by what percentage of positive votes a review got, meaning that the "top" review listed by helpfulness was determined by less than 50 votes), then they're going to be greeted by a bunch of mostly negative reviews that sometimes don't focus on anything but irrelevant nit-picks, it still helps to give a misleading impression of the film as a whole.
Well, something that you and I don't know is what the behavior of the average movie-viewer is before watching a film. I personally will go to the IMDb page and look at the overall score. I might scroll down and read the featured review (which I don't agree with half the time, so I don't give it much weight).

Even going to Letterboxd, I immediately see that the overall score is a 3.7/5, and the little chart shows me that the ratings skew heavily positive (just like on the IMDb). When I scroll down and look at the reviews, I see reviews from people who have scored it a 3, 4.5, 4.5, 3, 4.5, and a 4. I can see that of the ~300,000 people who saw it, it's been favorited by about a third of them.

I guess I just fundamentally disagree with your assertion that negative "nitpick" reviews have skewed the online perception of this film, especially for someone who is checking it out as a possible watch. Every site I look at gives an overall positive impression of the film.
Of course the nit-pickers are a minority, but they're a loud minority (as I haven't even gone out my way that much to seek out such negative takes on A Quiet Place, but I still see them everywhere), so they're still having a negative impact on film discussion online, and I feel that just trying to ignore them is the worst reaction I could choose
But has anyone posting such negative reviews actually changed their behavior because of being challenged on them?
if you see other people who only care about holes in a particular film because they didn't like it because of some other, more fundamental reason, but then they never get into those deeper reasons because they're only griping about plot holes, then it's impossible to tell the two types apart.
But that problem goes both ways. My fundamental problem with A Quiet Place has to do with the predictability and cutesy plot-timing of the final act, as well as some plot elements (the waterfall, the newspapers). The predictability is my more fundamental problem, and yet it's the waterfall that has been the focus of 99% of the discussion. I think that it's just easier to debate something like a plot hole than it is to defend the structure of a film. So people who *like* a movie also fall into the trap of focusing on a "logical" debate instead of the far more subjective territory of pacing, writing, etc.
Anyway, no, I don't think I've changed your perception of AQP as a whole through our exchanges here, but I'm not at all surprised by that, because people tend to naturally double down on their opinions when challenged on them, and debates (online or off) almost never change the minds of the parties involved
Right, but a defense of a fundamental element of a film can often soften my opinion on it. Convincing me that it doesn't make sense for them to live by the waterfall isn't going to fundamentally change my perception of the film's worth. But by all means, someone try to help me understand why the last act had to be so predictable.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:13 pm

Okay, Youtube seemed to know exactly what this thread needed right now:

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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:17 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:19 pm
Well, something that you and I don't know is what the behavior of the average movie-viewer is before watching a film. I personally will go to the IMDb page and look at the overall score. I might scroll down and read the featured review (which I don't agree with half the time, so I don't give it much weight).

Even going to Letterboxd, I immediately see that the overall score is a 3.7/5, and the little chart shows me that the ratings skew heavily positive (just like on the IMDb). When I scroll down and look at the reviews, I see reviews from people who have scored it a 3, 4.5, 4.5, 3, 4.5, and a 4. I can see that of the ~300,000 people who saw it, it's been favorited by about a third of them.

I guess I just fundamentally disagree with your assertion that negative "nitpick" reviews have skewed the online perception of this film, especially for someone who is checking it out as a possible watch. Every site I look at gives an overall positive impression of the film.

But has anyone posting such negative reviews actually changed their behavior because of being challenged on them?

But that problem goes both ways. My fundamental problem with A Quiet Place has to do with the predictability and cutesy plot-timing of the final act, as well as some plot elements (the waterfall, the newspapers). The predictability is my more fundamental problem, and yet it's the waterfall that has been the focus of 99% of the discussion. I think that it's just easier to debate something like a plot hole than it is to defend the structure of a film. So people who *like* a movie also fall into the trap of focusing on a "logical" debate instead of the far more subjective territory of pacing, writing, etc.

Right, but a defense of a fundamental element of a film can often soften my opinion on it. Convincing me that it doesn't make sense for them to live by the waterfall isn't going to fundamentally change my perception of the film's worth. But by all means, someone try to help me understand why the last act had to be so predictable.
Yes, and the people who are interested in checking out the general opinion of movies they haven't seen by checking out the user reviews sorted by popularity (which is something that some people are inevitably going to do) will be immediately greeted by ones that (in the case of AQP) do almost nothing but complain about plot holes, and that's a problem. It doesn't matter exactly how big a problem it is at the moment according to this or that measurement, it's a recent, Internet-era trend that's steadily gotten worse in the past decade, and ignoring it for whatever reason is just letting that trend continue unabated, and get worse. And, similar to what you said earlier, there's a lot of data out there; you can focus on the fact that user scores for A Quiet Place tend to be better then what the amount of nit-pickers would lead you to believe, while I can point out the fact that a good Youtube channel like CinemaWins has over one million subscribers, while a lousy one like CinemaSins that does almost nothing but nit-pick movies into oblivion has over eight million, with dedicated fans who actually view it as a legit source of film criticism, which is not something I should just ignore if I want to encourage actual, substantive film discussion (which I do).

Not in my experience, and, like I said, you don't measure the quality of a debate by whether or not anyone involved changed their minds, because if you do that, then the vast majority of every debate across the course of human history were a complete waste of time; if Trump & Clinton didn't change the other's minds about anything in any of their presidential debates, does that mean we shouldn't have held them at all? Of course not, because you measure the quality of discussion by whether or not anyone had something of substance to say (although, it is worth noting that another poster in here just conceded a negative point about a film specifically because I took the time to respond to his criticism with a defense of my own, which is something that obviously never would've happened if I had just thrown my hands up and said "I probably won't change his mind on this because people are rarely convinced to do so, so I'll just give up right now"). Whether or not I change their minds, I'm still challenging the nit-pickers for the same basic reason why you're challenging my stance on the subject at the moment, even though I'm sure you already know that there's little chance that I'm going to do that; people like to throw their two cents in when they disagree with something, because that's just what human beings as a species enjoy doing, and that's how we get healthy, stimulating discussions going.

I know that the problem goes both ways but, again, while it's okay to be more bothered by plot holes then you would've been otherwise because you didn't like the overall movie in the first place, because, obviously, the exact same thing happened with me and Hereditary, the very first thing I wrote about it on this forum still said absolutely nothing about the holes, but was about my fundamental problem with the film's overall approach; I only started getting into the holes later, and I only talked about them because they helped to illustrate my overall problem with the film, that Ari Aster randomly threw things at us without thinking them, or the overall effect they'd have through, and the holes were a symptom of that fatal flaw, not the cause. It's okay to complain about plot holes some (especially in a movie you didn't like), I'm just saying that it's a bad idea to do nothing but focus on them, not when there are more substantive flaws you could be discussing at least a little bit.

As for the point about the film's 3rd act, it doesn't sound to me like your main problem with the father's death was that it was predictable so much as it felt forced, which is a fair point, since, even though I obviously liked the film overall, I still remember his sacrifice feeling like a forced moment, not because it was predictable, but because it felt like the film was reaching for a level of emotional pathos that it hadn't effectively established beforehand, at least not when it came to the strained relationship between the father and the daughter (compare that to the impact of the ultimate sacrifice in Logan, a film that had been setting itself up for that since the first frame). So, on a dramatic level, the film wasn't always the most effective, although there were plenty of moments that still left a significant emotional impact
like the shock of the sudden death of the first son, the liberation of yelling under the waterfall, or the striking intimacy of the couple's earbud dance to "Harvest Moon"
and in the film's defense, it wasn't predominantly a Drama, it was a Horror-themed Thriller with some dramatic moments that weren't always effective, but it made up for that by being incredibly tense & suspenseful otherwise, and an occasional lack of dramatic impact doesn't cripple it as much as, say, if Schindler's List had the same problem.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:28 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:13 pm
Okay, Youtube seemed to know exactly what this thread needed right now:

You see, I'm more okay with stuff like Pitch Meetings (and to a greater extent, Honest Trailers), because they tend to be actual comedy under the guise of nit-picking plot holes/flaws that almost every movie contains, instead of excusing nit-picking underneath the guise of "satirizing" film assholes online (which, as much as they may pretend to be doing, is something CinemaSins is certainly not really trying to do).
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:16 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:17 am
Yes, and the people who are interested in checking out the general opinion of movies they haven't seen by checking out the user reviews sorted by popularity (which is something that some people are inevitably going to do) will be immediately greeted by ones that (in the case of AQP) do almost nothing but complain about plot holes, and that's a problem.
But . . . is it though? I think that we'd need more information about someone who was going to watch the film, read those nitpicky reviews, and then had a negative perspective on the film because of them. I've heard not one person ever be like "Well, I was excited for the movie, but then I read this review about a plot hole and I was like FORGET IT."
not when there are more substantive flaws you could be discussing at least a little bit.
I think that plot holes are easier to explain than other, more fundamental flaws, and thus it's easy to quickly type them out when writing a review. And from personal experience, annoyance with plot holes is something I tend to feel more strongly in the immediate aftermath of watching a film, which is when most people probably write their reviews.
As for the point about the film's 3rd act, it doesn't sound to me like your main problem with the father's death was that it was predictable so much as it felt forced, which is a fair point, since, even though I obviously liked the film overall, I still remember his sacrifice feeling like a forced moment, not because it was predictable, but because it felt like the film was reaching for a level of emotional pathos that it hadn't effectively established beforehand
It's both. His death is both stunningly predictable and then the way they do it I was like "THAT'S HOW YOU DECIDED TO DO THAT?!" I guess my fundamental annoyance with it is twofold:

1) It seems to me that his sacrifice does little to actually protect his children, who are still trapped in a truck. It buys them a short reprieve.

2) You are really welcome to disagree with this point, but him dying for his kids should be the absolute last resort. He's leaving behind a woman who literally just gave birth (sidenote: with no post-partum care, there are a lot of things that can kill a new mother!), a tiny baby, and two kids. He and the mother are the best assets that the family has, and him dying puts everyone he leaves behind in a dangerous place. I know that parents will do anything for their kids, paternal instinct, etc. But when there's any other option available (like the movie pitch points out---throwing something!) it should be taken. I'm fine with him dying (sort of, again I thought it was way too predictable), but I wish they'd written that scene so that there truly was no other choice (like all of them being in a building with one exit and a creature, and he makes noise so that the kids can get out the exit).
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:39 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:16 pm
But . . . is it though? I think that we'd need more information about someone who was going to watch the film, read those nitpicky reviews, and then had a negative perspective on the film because of them. I've heard not one person ever be like "Well, I was excited for the movie, but then I read this review about a plot hole and I was like FORGET IT."

I think that plot holes are easier to explain than other, more fundamental flaws, and thus it's easy to quickly type them out when writing a review. And from personal experience, annoyance with plot holes is something I tend to feel more strongly in the immediate aftermath of watching a film, which is when most people probably write their reviews.

It's both. His death is both stunningly predictable and then the way they do it I was like "THAT'S HOW YOU DECIDED TO DO THAT?!" I guess my fundamental annoyance with it is twofold:

1) It seems to me that his sacrifice does little to actually protect his children, who are still trapped in a truck. It buys them a short reprieve.

2) You are really welcome to disagree with this point, but him dying for his kids should be the absolute last resort. He's leaving behind a woman who literally just gave birth (sidenote: with no post-partum care, there are a lot of things that can kill a new mother!), a tiny baby, and two kids. He and the mother are the best assets that the family has, and him dying puts everyone he leaves behind in a dangerous place. I know that parents will do anything for their kids, paternal instinct, etc. But when there's any other option available (like the movie pitch points out---throwing something!) it should be taken. I'm fine with him dying (sort of, again I thought it was way too predictable), but I wish they'd written that scene so that there truly was no other choice (like all of them being in a building with one exit and a creature, and he makes noise so that the kids can get out the exit).
Yes, it is a problem, because even if those reviews don't change anyone's minds straight up, they still encourage people to be mindlessly negative (and I say this from first-hand experience, as someone who used to be influenced to be glass-all-empty by the negative environments I was posting in), so those reviews are part of the overall online culture that over-emphasizes negativity that I'm tired of seeing, one that I see constantly whether I try to seek it out or not, and the one that I feel like doing what I can to speak out against, because I'm genuinely sick of it. Anyway, like I said, complaining about plot holes is okay, but of course, I prefer to see reviews that don't just do nothing but dwell on them exclusively (as they're not the sort of thing that make a big negative difference in a film), and regarding the father's sacrifice in AQP, I rewatched that scene recently, and, after he'd been severely injured by the monster, he actually dropped his ax on the ground, which the monster did hear, which caused it to pause for a moment... before it returned to attacking the truck, because the monster knew there were still people in there right underneath it, so screaming really was the last, best option he had in that scenario.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:19 pm

I feel like you're nitpicking the nitpicks. It's a lazy and common enough style of criticism, and you're perfectly justified knocking it, but I think you're making a much bigger fuss than is warranted. On AQP, if 200,000 people rated it an 8 or above and 2,000 found a nitpicky review helpful, that's flatly a really positive reception of the film. I can find 2,000 people on the internet to upvote anything.

I think of the centrist Democrat fretting about the Democratic Party at large because of something they heard some super lefty college kid say the other day. Dude, your candidate just clinched the primary. Slow the rolls. Take a victory lap!
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:48 pm

Stu wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:39 am
Yes, it is a problem, because even if those reviews don't change anyone's minds straight up, they still encourage people to be mindlessly negative (and I say this from first-hand experience, as someone who used to be influenced to be glass-all-empty by the negative environments I was posting in), so those reviews are part of the overall online culture that over-emphasizes negativity that I'm tired of seeing, one that I see constantly whether I try to seek it out or not
I think that you are maybe more sensitive to the overtly/shallowly negative posts. Yes, they are there. But they are by no means a mojority.

Both sites we've looked at in this discussion (IMDb and Letterboxd) would give any casual visitor a clearly positive overall impression of the film.

This is like worrying about those 1-star reviews on Amazon where the person is like "I ordered this phone charger and the next day I had a bad cough. 1 star!". Like, no one is really taking that seriously. Leave those people to their own echo chamber.

Like I posted previously, it would be more beneficial to pay attention to the people who actively target female-oriented programming or otherwise use rating systems and downvoting to actually suppress artistic representation from certain groups. I read a review of a TV show yesterday and the reviewer gave it 1 star because there was a gay character in it (something mentioned in exactly one episode and never brought up again). Isn't that something to focus on more than people nitpicking living by a waterfall?
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by DaMU » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:56 pm

Honest Trailers plays more like a roast to me than anything. It rarely feels too serious in its criticism, more elbow nudges than insults.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:34 am

Ergill wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:19 pm
I feel like you're nitpicking the nitpicks. It's a lazy and common enough style of criticism, and you're perfectly justified knocking it, but I think you're making a much bigger fuss than is warranted. On AQP, if 200,000 people rated it an 8 or above and 2,000 found a nitpicky review helpful, that's flatly a really positive reception of the film. I can find 2,000 people on the internet to upvote anything.

I think of the centrist Democrat fretting about the Democratic Party at large because of something they heard some super lefty college kid say the other day. Dude, your candidate just clinched the primary. Slow the rolls. Take a victory lap!
I've only written so much in here on this subject for the same basic reason Takoma has, though; there's people in here responding to what I initially wrote (which is feedback that I absolutely welcome), and new posts keep popping up in here that are worth responding to because they're creating good discussion, so that just makes it seem like I'm making a bigger fuss than is needed, when in reality, it's been an equal give-and-take between me and other posters (some of my posts have gone on a bit long, I admit, but that's because I enjoy expressing my opinions so much, and want to be able to draw on them when these topics inevitably come back up, not because, personal annoyance aside, I'm blindly livid with my rage about nit-picking 24/7). If I hadn't gotten any replies in here to the initial one-paragraph post that I took 15 minutes to type originally, I would've just left it at that and not written another word, so I don't see how my responses in here to other people's responses constitute any kind of overkill on the subject.
Also, I'm still not sure what that comment about Ari Aster was trying to get at...

:shifty:
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:23 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:48 pm
I think that you are maybe more sensitive to the overtly/shallowly negative posts. Yes, they are there. But they are by no means a mojority.

Both sites we've looked at in this discussion (IMDb and Letterboxd) would give any casual visitor a clearly positive overall impression of the film.

This is like worrying about those 1-star reviews on Amazon where the person is like "I ordered this phone charger and the next day I had a bad cough. 1 star!". Like, no one is really taking that seriously. Leave those people to their own echo chamber.

Like I posted previously, it would be more beneficial to pay attention to the people who actively target female-oriented programming or otherwise use rating systems and downvoting to actually suppress artistic representation from certain groups. I read a review of a TV show yesterday and the reviewer gave it 1 star because there was a gay character in it (something mentioned in exactly one episode and never brought up again). Isn't that something to focus on more than people nitpicking living by a waterfall?
The nit-pickers aren't a majority (thank God), but even as a minority, they're still having a measurable impact on the overall discourse, and I think that referring to AQP's overall average user rating on say, Letterboxd, just helps prove my point about the impact that people nit-picking the film (and film in general) has had, as 3.7 is not only a score that barely qualifies as being good (anything lower than that would just be decent, IMO), but that score is also a good 7 & 1/2 points lower than A Quiet Place's overall critical average on RT (and I've never known critics to generally be a group that obsesses over the kind of nit-picking I'm criticizing here, which is actually reflected in glancing at the percentage of positive reviews/blubs for AQP, as they can better appreciate the overall craft and effect of the film without worrying about things like how they planted all that corn so neatly).

Also, the most liked review there is one that, while a short, all-caps comment about why the family just doesn't live next to the Hoover Dam (an obvious joke, of course), at least a quarter of the comments on it are people taking it seriously and agreeing with it, and adding their own serious nit-picks on top of it, which is reflected in the fact that, compared to the number of users who gave the movie a good rating (as in a 4), a greater percentage of them gave it scores that were just decent, or even just okay, which are pretty weak scores (granted, a number of the comments on that review are also from users who are defending the film because they just as mistakenly took it seriously, which is something I didn't, because I don't take this so seriously that I can't tell the difference between an actual nit-pick and a joke).

Anyway, I do support equal media representation for women and under-represented groups, and when I have something to say in defense of them, I'll say it (just like I wasn't saying much of anything about nit-pick culture previously anywhere online because I didn't have anything worth saying yet), like when I wrote at length in my review of Black Panther about the importance of its representation of people of African descent (both in front of, and behind the camera) in a mainstream Superhero blockbuster, the exploitative casting of Milly Shapiro in you-know-what, or the way I just tried to warn you about watching A Woman Under The Influence because of the way I found its portayal of the
physical abuse of a woman
to be problematic, and something that would likely upset you (like it did me) if you watched it. I can talk about all of that and be critical of nit-pick culture for one post, because it's not some hard, either/or choice between the two.
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:40 am

DaMU wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:56 pm
Honest Trailers plays more like a roast to me than anything. It rarely feels too serious in its criticism, more elbow nudges than insults.
Which is why I actually like it.

:D
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:28 am

BL Sometimes wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:12 pm
Except
these aren't two strangers in an alley. Marty is highly despondent and desperate at this point in the movie, and Visser knows this. Pull a gun on someone like that and yes, they very much might want to die. And Marty's spiteful toward Visser, which Visser also knows. It's not a reach to assume such a person would have the suicidal impulse to refuse to comply out of spite.
Which again is not that great a threat to a character as visibly broken down as Marty by that point in the story. It doesn't require a God's Eye View for a character to see that. It's right there in Marty's behavior in reaching out to a guy he loathes in order to commission such a heinous crime. And if Visser is able to read Marty well enough to string him along as far as he does, he can certainly read that desperation on him.
This would cause the very significant problem of having to be stuck for an indefinite period of time while loudly torturing a person at a location where any number of people have access. Later on, you mention the potential of Ray coming back too early; this extends that risk from seconds to potentially hours. And kidnapping is a crime of much greater consequences than the breaking and entering in Visser's actual scheme. Again, this is a question of how Visser is going to escalate the crime before pulling the trigger, and you're again suggesting a much greater escalation of risk before the reward.
Yes, the plan can fall apart at any stage, but at what consequence? So far, the greatest risk is of Ray or Abby getting the drop on him during the break-in, but that's a risk that's inherent in Marty's plan, too.
On the latter point, this is again a few seconds of risk we're talking about. And on the former, how likely are you to spot a photographic forgery? And this is pre-Photoshop we're talking about, where the means and expertise to produce such a forgery weren't as common. And Marty is a character who already wants to believe his wife and her lover are dead. It's highly improbable that in that moment Marty, a man who's likely never viewed a murder scene before, would have the motive to scrutinize the photo too deeply or the know-how to spot a forgery. So yeah, why not take that minimal risk if it means ensuring Marty's cooperation?
Visser plays the part of gregarious good ol' boy while stringing Marty along, but that facade drops the moment Marty's seemingly dead and Visser takes on a much more cold-blooded demeanor. "Who looks stupid now?" is the tell that all of Marty's jabs did bother him, and that he was just holding back.
If we're restating our cases here, I think the mistakes are something Visser could and would make because they pretty much all happen at the last moment, when he thinks he's bested Marty. I think Visser's self-satisfaction in that moment (again "Who looks stupid now?" tells us the mistreatment did get to him) is his undoing as it causes him to get sloppy and miss the photo swap, leave his lighter behind and not check for a pulse. All the potential holes in his plan that you point out prior to that moment are only holes in the "perfect" plan that leave him with any number of fallback options, from going through with Marty's plan to dropping the whole thing before he's ever pulled the trigger with no cost to himself. So yes, I find it credible that Visser would methodically pursue those additional options if it would reduce the risk to himself and that the plan blowing up at the tail end because of hubris is equally as plausible. I'm not seeing any of this as a true plot hole.
I didn't see much indication in the film that Marty would be so despondent as to be suicidal, even by proxy (even if the gunman was someone he personally detested like Visser), but he indeed could've refused to comply out of personal spite for Visser... which is why he has a gun around to inflict great physical pain in a short amount of time in order to further persuade him. As we saw earlier, Marty has a low threshold for tolerating pain, and he was puking at just the sight of blood in a picture (blood that wasn't even real), so how long do we think he'd really hold out while being shot in highly-painful areas of his anatomy? I highly doubt Marty's sense of spite for Visser would make him so stubborn that it would out-weigh the pain of even just one gunshot for him, so the problem of Visser being stuck torturing Marty for this indefinite period wouldn't be so significant after all, as it's extremely difficult to imagine this process adding more than about one more minute's worth of effort (if that) onto his original plan, as shooting him would just take an instant (and not "hours", which was the actual window of time that Visser risked by hoping Marty wouldn't some way find out that Abby & Ray were still alive some time inbetween when the original picture was taken and when he finally got the money), and it's not like he's leaving Marty to hang on a pole for days on end like Vlad The Impaler or something.

And yes, gunshots are loud, and any additional shots do add an extra risk to the scenario, but that added risk is still very slight, as Visser was always going to have to risk the sound of at least one gunshot by shooting Marty to kill him, and if he's concerned about making too much noise, he can always use a knife instead, or put a silencer on his gun. As for the risk of doing this in a location that "anyone" has access to, the bar is in a location remote enough so that not even the people living the closest to it are close enough to hear the gunshot that does take place in the film, and it does have locks on its outer doors, as well as on Marty's inner office, so that's another two layers of security right there. And, if Ray had come by earlier (or if Marty had found out some other way they were still alive), then the only way left for Visser to get the money would be to use force anyway, so bothering with the forged picture scheme is still a waste of time, as, even if he gets the money, he still runs the risk of getting caught for murder in any scenario, a much greater crime than anything else he's done, so if the smaller crime of torture ensures a greater chance of Visser of reaching his end goal and getting the money, why bother with anything else?

The point about kidnapping being a greater crime than B&E also presumes that Visser would've gotten caught in the process of torturing Marty (which again, taking place in a private, isolated, then-closed business that the owner arranged for the two of them to be alone together in, isn't very likely), and the idea of him just getting arrested for the intrusion also presumes that he wouldn't be blown away by Abby, the woman with the gun who already noticed his Yellow Volkswagen (which he parked in plain view of her bedroom window) as the car that was stalking them earlier, which is something that Visser is aware of. Even if they just called the police and Visser was just arrested for the B&E, there's still a much greater chance of him getting caught there than in Marty's office. And, while we don't know if Visser is personally aware of Marty's earlier B&E (although if Marty did want him to succeed with the plot, it wouldn't make sense to not tell Visser that the two will be extra-jumpy as a result), it's still quite possible that Marty at least told him about the gun, since he knew exactly where it was when he stole it (fortunately for him, in the exact same place despite the earlier intrusion), which means that he's aware of the added risk of being shot by the occupants during this particular B&E; it's either that, or, since we never witness Marty mentioning his B&E or the gun to Visser, we could just assume that he broke into the house solely to search around blindly for a gun to frame Abby with, a gun that, as far as he knew, may or may not exist, which would obviously make his scheme even riskier... but, I'll be merciful to the film on that point.

But, if Visser forgoes the complicated scheme he undertook in the film, as well as forgoing Marty's original plan in favor of the much simpler, less risky alternative that I originally described here, then not only does he have a greater chance of getting the money, but he also never has to risk breaking into their house at all, or risk walking up to their window to take the picture, or risk even just setting one single foot on their property at any point at all. And regarding the forged photo, of course Marty wanted to see them dead, but Visser still had to hope that that urge of Marty's would outweigh his intense dislike and mistrust of him, one that he's very well aware of, as Marty's been extremely honest about it to his face, to the point where, during the last conversation they have before their final meeting, Marty very tersely warns him against attempting a double-cross (which of course, is just what he's about to try). As for the likelihood of a random Average Joe being able to spot a forged photograph, that depends entirely on the quality of the forgery, doesn't it? And in the case of Visser's altered photo, while the ability to forge pictures wasn't as common back then, it's not as though the general public didn't know that messing around with photos was possible, and if Marty had scrutinized the picture harder as a result of the distrust he clearly held for Visser, it wouldn't have take much studying to see that it was originally just a photo of the couple asleep (as evidenced by the peaceful pose they're in), with some painted-on blood, and a complete lack of the ragged holes that bullet wounds tend to create in human flesh. Of course, it probably would've passed muster no problem if Marty already trusted Visser, but the point is that Marty doesn't trust him, and Visser can't know that Marty's general queasiness around blood/violence would interfere with his scrutiny of the picture (which, again, is something he doesn't even have to do to find the truth, as he could do that by just calling Abby & Ray at home from his desk), so Visser trying to fool him with the picture is just another unnecessary risk.

But Visser is pretty consistently shown to be that same, chuckling asshole throughout the film, all the way back to his first conversation with Marty (which was before he started stringing Marty along with the con), and, even though he surely knows his attitude is a big part of the reason why he pisses off Marty so much, he keeps it up all along, even after being hired for the murders (while planning another one), because that's who he really is, to the point that, even after being shot, he still finds something to chuckle about, indicating that, even staring in the face of his own impending death, he really doesn't take anything too seriously. The "Who looks stupid now" remark is one of the few indications otherwise, but I don't feel that it means much, as it's a fairly generic comment (one that doesn't even make much sense if it was meant to show that Visser felt Marty didn't respect his intelligence, because, while Marty obviously doesn't like VIsser because he's a sleazy asshole, there's no indication that he actually thinks Visser is "stupid"). I feel that it's a relatively generic comment that the Coens wrote in to spice up the moment a bit, because if Visser had just shot Marty and walked away without saying anything, it would've been a boring way to end the scene, so I can't feel that it means Visser is really bothered by Marty's distaste for him, certainly not to the point where he'd go to all that extra trouble just to be able to say to himself that he fooled him, as though he's one of those Hollywood serial killers who only seem to kill so that they can taunt the lead detective on thee case with their "superior" intellects.

As for the point about the mistakes that Visser makes when he murders Marty, I wouldn't say that they're solely a result of arrogance on his part (although I do agree that they at least partly are), but I also think he made them, because, like everyone else in the film, he at least partly has the addled mindset of someone who's immersed themselves in such a violent situation, and, even though he's all alone with a (supposed) corpse, he doesn't even take a second to think or look around for anything incriminating he might've forgotten, like the piece of his personal property that literally has his name on it that he left behind right under his nose. I think this helps illustrate the point that Visser's scheme not only doesn't make sense when applying strict, external logic to it, it also contradicts the driving internal logic of the film, as, while characters do do illogical things at times, like the title says, they're "simple", straightforward things; Marty is so blinded by being cuckolded that he tries to murder his wife, Abby & Ray stop communicating with each other clearly after Marty's death, Visser forgets the lighter he left with his name on it at the scene of a murder, etc. But, none of those examples are needlessly elaborate, multi-step plans that are more likely to fail than not, and result in the characters not getting what they want, so Visser's scheme stick out like a sore thumb when compared to them. Again, none of this is to say that the Coens made a fundamentally wrong decision for the film when they came up with the scheme for him, as I actually think it was a good idea because it's a unique, unexpected, compelling process to watch; I'm just saying that, if you're evaluating it just from the basis of external or internal logic, the Coens sacrificed what would've made more sense for what was intriguing to watch (which again, was the right decision for the film in the end... just not the logical one for the characters).
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Takoma1
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:13 pm

Stu wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:23 am
The nit-pickers aren't a majority (thank God), but even as a minority, they're still having a measurable impact on the overall discourse, and I think that referring to AQP's overall average user rating on say, Letterboxd, just helps prove my point about the impact that people nit-picking the film (and film in general) has had, as 3.7 is not only a score that barely qualifies as being good (anything lower than that would just be decent, IMO), but that score is also a good 7 & 1/2 points lower than A Quiet Place's overall critical average on RT (and I've never known critics to generally be a group that obsesses over the kind of nit-picking I'm criticizing here, which is actually reflected in glancing at the percentage of positive reviews/blubs for AQP, as they can better appreciate the overall craft and effect of the film without worrying about things like how they planted all that corn so neatly).
In what way is their impact measurable?

A 3.7 out of 5 is an above average score (just like a 7.5/10). And here's the thing: I gave A Quiet Place a score of 7 on IMDb without having read a single word about plot holes. I had some general issues with world building and then I really did not care for the last act.

You're asserting that the nitpicky posts are the reason that people are scoring the film lower, but I don't think that's something you can actually assert. You reference the critical average on RT, but the audience average is an 83%, significantly lower. You see a lot of nitpicky posts, and you see what you perceive to be a lower score than the film "deserves" and you are correlating the two. But I think that there are plenty of other explanations as to why people are scoring it the way that they are (we haven't even talked about how the film was advertised). Every site we look at shows basically the same overall distribution of scores, with heavy weight in the upper average scores (3, 4, 5 or 8, 9, 10) and then a smattering of low scores.
compared to the number of users who gave the movie a good rating (as in a 4), a greater percentage of them gave it scores that were just decent, or even just okay
But that's just not true.

Really Good Scores:
5 stars: 13%
4 1/2 stars: 11%
4 stars: 32%
Total of 56%

Average Scores
3 1/2 stars: 18%
3 stars: 16%
Total of 34%

Below Average/"Bad" Scores: Total of 10%

Even if you combine the average score with the bad scores, that still only gives you 44%. The number of people who think it is average or above average is 90%! Frankly I think that a 3.5-4 is an appropriate score for this movie, and its average (3.7) falls right in that zone.

Also, two of the top 3 most popular posts (underneath the Hoover Dam one that is obviously a joke) are both 4 1/2 star reviews!
I can talk about all of that and be critical of nit-pick culture for one post, because it's not some hard, either/or choice between the two.
I'm not talking about addressing problematic issues in films.

I'm saying that when it comes to people scoring/reviewing films online, the intentional downvoting (did you read the article I linked on the gender disparity on IMDb?) of media made by/for women, or the targeted campaigns against films like Demon are more pressing issues than nitpicker culture. To me, someone giving The Letter for the King a 1-star score on IMDb because there was a gay character in one episode is much more problematic than people fixating over how much sand they used to make their path to town.

John Krasinski is going to be fine. I think that there are more marginalized, less powerful people who could use our energy to defend their art.
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Ergill
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:50 pm

Stu wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:34 am
I've only written so much in here on this subject for the same basic reason Takoma has, though; there's people in here responding to what I initially wrote (which is feedback that I absolutely welcome), and new posts keep popping up in here that are worth responding to because they're creating good discussion, so that just makes it seem like I'm making a bigger fuss than is needed, when in reality, it's been an equal give-and-take between me and other posters (some of my posts have gone on a bit long, I admit, but that's because I enjoy expressing my opinions so much, and want to be able to draw on them when these topics inevitably come back up, not because, personal annoyance aside, I'm blindly livid with my rage about nit-picking 24/7). If I hadn't gotten any replies in here to the initial one-paragraph post that I took 15 minutes to type originally, I would've just left it at that and not written another word, so I don't see how my responses in here to other people's responses constitute any kind of overkill on the subject.
I get that part, but I'm responding as much to the content of your argument and some of your examples as well. I just thought you were overstating your case. It's a good conversation. Keep at it.
Stu wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 6:34 am
Also, I'm still not sure what that comment about Ari Aster was trying to get at...

:shifty:
Nothing at all. I've just heard your case against Hereditary several times and didn't feel there wasn't any more I could add on the subject. So, non-sequitur.

:P
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Stu
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Stu » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:08 am

Ergill wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:50 pm
I get that part, but I'm responding as much to the content of your argument and some of your examples as well. I just thought you were overstating your case. It's a good conversation. Keep at it.

Nothing at all. I've just heard your case against Hereditary several times and didn't feel there wasn't any more I could add on the subject. So, non-sequitur.

:P
Okay; I thought maybe you were trying to imply that I was accidentally coming off as anti-Semitic because I kept calling Ari Aster by his last name (which would only make some sort of sense if I reversed it, since Aster is a Greek name, and Ari is Hebrew, which made it even more confusing), but doing such a thing seemed out-of-character for you, which is why it threw me for a loop there. At any rate, no problems, yo!
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Ergill
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Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Post by Ergill » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:13 am

Stu wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:08 am
Okay; I thought maybe you were trying to imply that I was accidentally coming off as anti-Semitic because I kept calling Ari Aster by his last name (which would only make some sort of sense if I reversed it, since Aster is a Greek name, and Ari is Hebrew, which made it even more confusing), but doing such a thing seemed out-of-character for you, which is why it threw me for a loop there. At any rate, no problems, yo!
Sorry, Stu. Easy to forget that a lot can be lost in this medium when we only see each other through a screen darkly.
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