I’ve noticed that ever since I saw OUIJA, I find that when I’m watching a movie and my interest wanes, I stop watching it for content. Instead, I start paying attention to all the technical aspects that come together to make the film I’m watching complete. In doing so I’ve noticed certain aspects of a film that really make me angry for no justifiably good reason at all. Even before that, there were little things that some films shared that irked me. This isn’t a good list of anything that is actually wrong with films. This is just a personal list of things that bug me when I see it in films. So this is purely my opinion and should not be thought of as legitimate criticism of film. So with that, here it is, Your Moment of Rage: The Little Things.
I’m not sure who started this trend, and I have no idea the movies that perpetuated this trend that started it officially as a trend, but I’m going to complain about it regardless. I call this one, the Wallflowers Technique. See, it works like this. You’re watching the movie, and a night driving scene occurs in the film. When the car arrives at its destination, the camera is fixed in position as the car drives closer to the camera. As the car moves closer and closer, all that is inevitably in frame is one headlight. The car stops, and the next scene occurs. That is the Wallflowers Technique. On rare occasions this occurs in reverse, or sometimes during the day. So why does it make me angry? Much like the rest of the things on this list it’s more a personal opinion, rather than critique. So many films use the Wallflowers Technique, countless thousands at least. Every time I see the Wallflowers Technique, whatever immersion I was feeling towards the movie is immediately gone and I’m reminded I’m watching a movie. I don’t understand why the Wallflowers Technique is so popular. Is it me? Is the Wallflowers Technique actually a tribute to something, to the original Wallflowers Technique? I have no idea what that would be, but if you know, please post it in the comments section below.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Willhelm Scream, it’s used all the time in all sorts of films. Well, the Willhelm Scream is perfectly alright in my book because it isn’t annoying, to me at least. However, there is another scream that’s probably equally as used, but ten times as annoying. I’m not sure of the technical term for this scream, as I don’t think there is one, so let’s give it a name: The Chick-helm Scream. Why that name? It’s a woman’s scream. Yeah, I know, not very imaginative of a name, whatever. Anyway, the Chick-helm Scream is one I’ve heard a lot in movies. I’d give you a list, but it’s so all over the place that I can’t think of specific examples, save for one. In the Sam Raimi’s first SPIDER-MAN, there’s a scene at a burning building. Spider-man comes to the rescue, there’s one woman left in the building that he’s going to go save. But as soon as ‘she’ removes the blanket over her body it turns out to be Green Goblin, and he makes the Chick-helm Scream as he turns around quick to face Spider-man. So go watch that and you’ll know the scream I’m talking about, and then with it in your head, you’ll start noticing it over, and over, and over, in films. I find it very annoying.
The next little thing comes to us from the horror genre, although it happens in all genres, it is mostly horror that commits this heinous act. When a character is being stalked by the killer, sometimes they find a knife to defend themselves with, but it is ALWAYS the butcher knife, the largest knife short of being a cleaver. This bugs me because what’s wrong with the other knives? How does their hand always reach for the knife set and magically grab the butcher knife? Every once and a while, a film is gonna have to take one for the team and choose a knife that isn’t the butcher knife.
Speaking of the horror genre, here’s another little thing I hate seeing: The skeptic. There’s always at least one in any supernatural movie. They believe there are reasonable explanations for balls of flame coming off the floor (that’s from my next review on CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD), a ghostly apparition, or a ghost that contacts the living world by throwing things around. All of these things the skeptic will not cave in and believe what’s going on around him/her. They’re death usually comes three/fourths of the way into the film, and usually by a method that wouldn’t have had to happen if they just pulled the stick out of their butt and stopped being so skeptical when the evidence is right before your two goddamn eyes. I get it, you want one grounded character, but that character always up being the ‘groaner’, every time they speak the audience groans in unison. This bugs me because it seems every horror film has to have one of these characters, if not more.
The next little thing isn’t so little. I was reading an article on this very thing that annoys me last week and agreed with it point by point. CGI, when overly depended on, comes out looking like shit. You know what made JURASSIC PARK good? The CGI was used sparingly and mostly only to film something that a large puppet can’t achieve. The mixture of a little CGI and giant puppets made the creatures truly scary. When the T-REX gets out of its paddock you see it in all its glory, CGI’d, because there was no other way to get that shot off. But moments later we revert back to the giant puppet of T-Rex when he’s trying to eat the kids stuck in the car. Seeing the full T-Rex was awe-inspiring, but seeing a real flesh and electronics T-Rex trying to break into the kid’s car is absolutely terrifying because you can’t tell there’s anything fake about it. But just seeing the JURRASIC WORLD trailer sure looks like a LOT of CGI work. Which is sad because the puppet versions of them were legitimately terrifying, but CGI dinosaurs all the time? Now when I go see the movie I know one thing I won’t like is all the CGI it’s using. CGI isn’t scary because your eyes can recognize it and tell your brain “Nope, not a threat, just a computer generated image. No danger here”. But when used sparingly, it can make a big difference, when you’ve spent the majority of the film watching dinosaur puppets (animatronics, I guess), and then suddenly you see the T-Rex in all his glory at the end of the film, the illusion holds true, you walk out thinking that was breathtaking. However, nowadays everything is CGI’d, the biggest offender would be the TRANSFORMERS films, is all CGI’d on almost every frame. But it just clutters things in the frame and ends up giving me a headache. There’s no visionary, clever ways to shoot things practically. Which bums me out. It’s all “Hey, we can work around this through CGI” on most of your bigger Hollywood movies.
The 3D trend, and here’s why, a very specific case. Patrick and I wanted to see the THURSDAY night open of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Just one problem, they only had two showings for that night, both in 3D (which costs extra). Now, without going into too much detail, since birth my eyes have never worked…together. I can see out of both, but only focus out of one at a time. As I grew older, my eyes grew further away for muscle reasons or something. So I look really strange, I imagine. When I meet new people I cross my eyes, and everything gets blurry and I can’t see anything, but at least I ‘look’ normal. And the two pictures don’t combine together once to my brain. Long story short (too late) I have very poor depth perception (which I’ve adapted these last 34 years to a pretty good second system), and since I can’t put the two pictures together in my brain, I can’t see the 3D in 3D movies, which rely on your eyes sending the two pictures to your brain, where they are combined and given the illusion of stuff flying off the screen. So why should I have to pay extra to see a movie I want and not giving me the 2D option? This theater was specifically a Carmike Theater, so I’m not calling out all theaters, just Carmike. You guys can eat a hot bag of dicks.
The next little thing is actually a big thing, and is last on this list, which is really only a partial list. I’ll keep posting more as things become absolutely intolerable. Anyway, the last little thing on this list is two words Uwe Boll. He’s never seen a videogame property that he couldn’t screw up when adapting it to a movie. I remember his House of the Dead being one of the worst things I had ever scene. Camera matrixes around characters in mid jump as they fire guns, The first game, as far as I can recall, does NOT take place on an island, as this movie does. Then again, when he did ALONE IN THE DARK (which, not f*cking with you, there’s a sequel) he put them in a museum and it felt a lot like THE RELIC, only full of suck, and Christian Slater.
So there, that’s all my anger for this week. Join me next week when I find more first-world-problems to entertain you with.