I had a big debate in my head whether to name this post “Movie Missteps” or “Film Faux Pas.” I obviously just wanted to write the word ‘faux pas’ and now I’ve written it thrice, so mission accomplished.
Are there certain moments in movies that ruin the experience for you? It happens to me a lot. I think I spend too much time concentrating on what’s going on in the background or actor’s expressions to fully get absorbed into the experience of just watching. That’s probably why movies don’t make me cry. I just can’t get into them enough to let my emotions get all crazy. I’m usually too busy concentrating on whether the actor or actresses’ tears are in the same position between cuts. Which brings me to my first point.
Bad cuts/Sloppy editing
I grew up knowing how to spot a bad cut. It’s a skill that will never come in handy unless your goal is to sound like a total douche. A “bad cut” is basically when a scene ends and goes onto a different scene without a smooth transition. OR it can take place within the same scene, which makes it more obvious and even more frustrating. Here is an example from one of my favorite movies during one of my least favorite scenes: between 2:40-2:45. It’s quick! See if you can catch it.
Dancing is extra tricky. You have to do a perfect take all the way through otherwise it’s easy to spot the mistake. Gene Kelly is always perfect so I’m going to assume it was Cyd Charisse’s fault.
This happens a lot when props (usually food or drinks) are involved. Have you ever seen a movie where someone is eating an ice cream cone and the director cuts away and then when he cuts back to the person eating the cone, it’s a different size, shape, or height? The worst. Consistency is a big deal. The damage that’s done between takes is big. And it shows the audience that the scene wasn’t accomplished in one fluid moment. They had to stop in the middle of it, take the ice cream away, get the person a new cone that looked nothing like the other one that had already almost melted, and start again from where they took off. Movie magic? I think not.
Another example happened in the movie Titanic when Jack hands Rose a white note to meet him at the stairs and when she opens the note, it’s on yellow paper. What genius made that mistake? Did they even have yellow paper in 1912?
Movies within movies
I don’t like to give my dad credit for things, but he did bring this faux pas to my attention. When you show characters in a movie watching another movie, it takes the attention off of the movie that you’re watching and puts it onto the movie that they’re watching. This is especially bad if the characters are watching a great, classic movie. It makes the audience think about how great that movie is compared to the stupid movie they’re watching right now.
I can’t really think of any examples off the top of my head besides Gilmore Girls. They would over-use obscure pop culture references and often sit in front of their television watching movies that were immensely better than Gilmore Girls itself.
Too much length
It turns into a problem if I can identify a scene that doesn’t belong in a movie. If a movie starts to head into the longer-than-two-hours zone, I begin thinking of ways I could’ve solved this problem if I were the editor. Most movies, even the classics, have pointless scenes that make the film a little longer than it should be. You know that rare feeling when a movie is so succinct and perfect? Nothing could be removed, yet nothing is missing either? Yeah, that’s what a lot of movies miss now. Trust me. I accidentally watched the director’s cut of Amadeus and it was like, 3 hours long. I feel like I’ve seen The Magic Flute in it’s entirety because of that movie. Rough.
Using a name to fill in the gaps
It seems to me that whenever a scene in a movie or TV show includes an argument between two characters, or a moment where one character is trying to convince another of something, names will be overused. I couldn’t have described that any worse. What I mean is when actors are trying to add more emotion, and steer away from their lines. I think when they do that, it causes them to get flustered and overuse their counterpart character’s name.
For example, if a character was crying and fighting while talking to her boyfriend and saying something like this:
“But Brad, I love you Brad. Brad, why won’t you talk to me? I can’t believe you would do this to me Brad. Brad, I’ve always been there for you!”
Bad example, but you get the point. They rely too much on an character’s name and it doesn’t seem like a real conversation. That kind of thing always takes me out of the moment and usually ruins what is supposed to be an emotional scene.
Any movie moments that bother you?