The older I get, the crankier and less accommodating I am to sticking with things I know I won't like. I've decided to compile a list of things I see in movies that make me turn them off. This seriously annoys my wife since I can rarely finish a movie these days. I'd rather watch Sideways for the 400th time than watch any movies with these overused cliches.
So here's a list of movies I've recently shut off because I couldn't get past the idea that the writers or directors were so inept.
Going to Mexico? There's a 100% chance you'll find yourself running through a Day of the Dead parade
I have been to Mexico several times and not once have I got caught up in the Day of the Dead parade. I don't even know if this is a real thing or not, but I know the moment a character shows up in Mexico (or any Latin country that is) there's going to be a bunch of people walking around wearing skull masks.
Luckily these masks were able to reused for Coco.
Light your damn scene!
Solo (2018), Hostiles (2017)
I don't care how realistic the lighting is in your scene. Illumination is an important character in set design. How often have you seen a movie and been pulled out of the moment by how clear and well lit the room is? Now how many movies have you squinted to see what's going on?
This makes me depressed just looking at it. And I have no idea what's going on here.
Contrast this scene from a western with a far better night time scene from a far better movie. Is the lighting unrealistic? Sure. But is the light acting in a way where it's doing more than just reveal the person standing in front? If you knew nothing about these two movies which would you rather watch from this shot?
If I were you I'd get off his lawn
Oh and while we're at it...
Stop whispering your damn lines!
When John Wayne was in a scene, he'd push his chest out and dominate the room with every line. Do people really talk like that? No. But it's fantasy, it's not supposed to be hyper realistic.
The chief offender, in my book, who's a great actor by the way, is Christian Bale. I think we all gave him so much crap for his Batman voice that he's become the mad whisperer.
Christian Bale is such a great actor that he can seem completely wrecked in a scene devoid of any interest from the audience.
Here's an almost identical scene to the one above, but it's way superior in two ways
#1 - Wyatt is not whispering (remember Doc is on his death bed so he can whisper)
#2 - The characters and their relationship has been developed for two hours by this point so we actually care unlike the other scene in Hostiles which happens 20 minutes into the film.
Wyatt's refusal to accept Doc's terminal illness is way more powerful to the audience than watching a grown man blubber.
Introducing wildcard characters by showing them cheating in a card game
Solo (2018), The Magnificent Seven (2016)
There has to be more ways to introduce a rogue/uncontrollable character in a movie than show them cheating in a card game. It's a bore every single time.
Don't shoot, it was just a paycheck
I know what you're thinking: but all Doc Holliday did in Tombstone was play poker. And, yes, he was introduced cheating. But I'd argue that it was more important to show that Doc was also a killer of men. So when Doc hooks up with the Earp's it's established that he's not a law man, plus he's got the girl by his side who seems to be dragging him down with her.
Contrast this scene below with the scene above (if you can find it), and the whole card trick was just a ploy for Chris Pratt to unleash some of that Star Lord silliness and it did nothing for the story down the road, where in Tombstone Doc's decision to become a law man shows the growth of his character.
Or maybe not.
Truthfully I just think Tombstone is a 10x better movie than the Magnificent Seven.
Why is every line in this film so perfect?
90 pound women beating up scores of thugs (with ease)
Salt (2010), Atomic Blonde (2017) and many many more
I can totally let this one slide if the reason the woman has super human strength is explained, fine (see The Matrix(1999) as an example). But to chalk it up to "training" or "bad-assery" is silly. There's a reason the UFC has weight classes and divisions for men and women. They are biologically different and size matters. But when Angelina Jolie clears a room full of Russian gangsters with nothing but the bones in her fists, I can't handle it. It's just lazy writing.
I have no idea what this movie is about but it looks silly.
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To be continued...