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  1. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    The Good in the Bad and the Ugly

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Sclavus, Oct 29, 2017.

    I got a hold of Paycheck, the 2003 John Woo film. I'd only seen it a few times. As I was watching it last night, I thought, "Objectively, with my current skills, I'm not capable of even coming up with a story this good...and this isn't that good."

    "Hold on," I said to myself immediately. "If you're able to see the mistakes here, then it follows you should be able to avoid similar mistakes in your own stories."

    So that's what this thread is about: how bad and even ugly stories can teach us to avoid the mistakes and tell a good one. For example:

    In Paycheck, the main character reaches for the right prop at the right time for the right purpose, but there's no reason for him to do so. He's in a futuristic setting in FBI custody, the room has filled with smoke, and his first instinct upon escaping his restraints is to...put on sunglasses?

    Yes, the sunglasses help him see the room clearly, but we weren't shown that he knows that. We have no reason to believe that reaching for the sunglasses would be something he'd think to do. These sunglasses are obviously a specialized, futuristic gizmo, because regular sunglasses won't help you see in a smoke-filled room, so we had the opportunity earlier for the main character to say, "What, I have firefighter's smoke glasses? Why?"

    That would have played better, and shown us that he recognized what the sunglasses could do. Then when he goes for them immediately after escaping the chair he's been strapped into, it makes sense. Instead, he fumbles around in the dark and puts on the glasses. It's a little too convenient.

    What bad moments in stories have you seen, and how would you correct them?
     
    Seven Crowns likes this.
  2. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    The Way We Were is one of my favorite movies (1940's set dec and clothes to die for, interesting characters, and one of my favorite movie endings of all time), but the plot holes are so big that it is amazing it's one of my favorite movies. Let's call it my favorite Guilty Pleasure movie. Viewing this movie requires paying attention and filling in huge plot holes on your own.

    Spoiler Alert!!! (Note to self: learn how to do a spoiler tag)

    --------------------
    The biggest plot holes involve the character of Carol-Anne:

    1. She's Hubbell's college girlfriend, and then suddenly she's married to Hubbell's best friend J.J. with no explanation. How does Hubbell feel about this? After all, Carol-Anne and Hubbell were together long enough for Hubbell to notice a new painting in her living room (lounge, to the Brits here). And, he comments that the plants in her apartment have grown larger.

    Why those lines of dialogue, which would indicate some degree of closeness, if it's never explained how J.J. ended up with her? (Hubbell barely notices changes to Katie's hair, yet he immediately notices the painting and plants?)

    2. Then Hubbell cheats on his own wife with Carol-Anne. (If you're not paying attention and blink, you may miss it.)
    How does J.J. feel about his best friend screwing his wife???
    Miraculously, J.J. seems OK with it.

    3. Hubbell and J.J.'s friendship is unchanged by all of this? Seriously? From what I understand about the Bro Code, that's a major violation. Katie seems to be the only one affected by it.

    They try to gloss all of it over by J.J. saying to Hubbell, about the breakup of his marriage with Carol-Anne, "Well, it's not like losing somebody. Like Katie. That would be..."(I forget the rest of the line. "a loss"? "Tragic"? Something to that effect.)

    Those are the things I'd change for starters. The only reason they got away with them, in my opinion, is because they knew people would be distracted by Robert Redford in uniform, and that people would forgive the plot holes because of the ending, which has solid acting by both he and Streisand.
     

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