Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movie devices I hate

We watched The Adjustment Bureau last night. Whatever else I may say in this blog post, please believe that I really enjoyed it. I did. While watching it, I realized that I had never had a good look at Matt Damon before. I've only ever seen him in the Bourne movies (where he never stands still for two moments put together) and in True Grit (where it took me half the movie to recognize him behind all that facial hair). Anyway, the movie was good, but it reminded me that movies across all genres use the same devices to establish facts about their characters that would otherwise be cumbersome and time-consuming to explain. And some of these devices really get on my nerves.

For starters, there's Girl Drops Boy's Cell Phone into Some Form of Liquid. The Adjustment Bureau used this device, and so did Charly. Along with dozens of other movies, I'm sure. The point is that the boy is too repressed by his business obligations, and he just needs to live, and the girl can help him do that...by ruining an expensive electronic device. Nobody ever do this to me in real life, mmmkay? It will not endear you to me or cause me to re-evaluate my priorities. It will cause me to hate you and send you the bill for my new cell phone.

Then there's Girl With Artsy, Non-Mainstream Interest. In The Adjustment Bureau, she's a brilliant modern dancer. OF COURSE she is. That's how we know she doesn't live by society's rules and is a free spirit at heart who is totally worth falling in love with. Sometimes they skew this one to a quirky interest instead of an artsy one, like maybe she collects ketchup labels from small-town diners or something, but since there are literally six thousand movies that use this device, I will refrain from listing any more.

I've already discussed Girl Who Wears Her Hair Down No Matter How Inappropriate the Situation, seen in (for example) GI Joe and parts of Salt. It's gotten to the point where this can really distract me during a movie. In real life, if a woman is a spy and she's about to embark on a physically challenging, crucially important mission, does she leave her long hair hanging down to be possibly ensnared in rappelling gear or blown about by the wind, thereby obstructing her vision? I submit to you that she does not. In the movies, of course, the woman lets her hair down to convey that although she has considerable physical prowess that rivals any man's, she's still a gorgeous lady who will be worth looking at throughout the movie.

The last one I'll complain about today is Girl Who Decides She's In Love With A Man Other Than the One She's Getting Married To Tomorrow Morning. This device is guaranteed to kick the romance factor up a notch, but I just can't buy it. A girl cancelling her wedding because she doesn't want to get married at all, or wants to postpone it? Sure. But deciding that the feelings she has for another man are deep and sincere enough to jump right into a relationship with him on the morning of her wedding to someone else? I'm telling you, Spiderman 2 (for example), it's just weird.

Ah, but so romantic. Touché, I guess.

What did I miss?

3 comments:

Andrew said...

I'm sure you've seen this most addicting of websites: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage - you can search by movie or trope

You can spend hours there :)

Scotty P said...

Great observations. I hadn't thought about some of them.

Nancy said...

But have you seen this?

http://www.everythingisaremix.info/

It's awesome.

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