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What do we expect from movies ?


GGGGerald
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The "sympathetic characters" inspired this thread. The quote about "I hated this film because the lead character was not  sympathetic  and there was no one to root for."  got me thinking. Its as if movies must have certain components. Or the plot must go a certain way or it can't be good.

I remember arguing with friends about the third Matrix movie Matrix Revolutions (2003). My friends felt that since it was the third film of a trilogy, it should end with the matrix being defeated. The fact that the machines the run the matrix are still in control bothered them. I said, no one promised you that would be how the story ends. Or that the film would be the end of the story.

What are plot lines and devices you see in films that must be there ? What were films that seemed to have parts tacked on that don't fit because its what people expect ?

(this doesn't have to be serious!)

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I expect sci fy movies not be be stupid i.e.Skyline, aliens came here for a brain downgrade or drama like "Twister" that insult my intelligence, people in the middle of an F5 don't get shredded to pieces and micro probes sending RTTY / FSK instead of packet burst :angry:.

Oh yes, modern weather satellites don't send RTTY either. :wacko:

 

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I expect movies to enlighten me as to the human condition.

Short of that, I like 'em when they blow stuff up real good!

(...well Gerald of not exactly the San Pedro area of Los Angeles California, you DID say this doesn't have to be serious here, now didn't you?!) ;)

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2 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

....What were films that seemed to have parts tacked on that don't fit because its what people expect ?

Okay, in a more serious mode here Gerald, my answer to this would be that the first two examples of this sort of thing that come to my mind and that would probably also first come to many other people's minds would be, first, the ending to Hitchcock's Suspicion, and secondly, the ending to In a Lonely Place.

Both films, and especially the first one mentioned above, would have probably greatly benefited from a more downbeat ending which might have shocked their audiences when they were initially released and thus would not have been what they would have expected at the time, but with their present endings now days just seeming tacked-on.

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Great thread topic.

A lot of people just expect to be entertained. Some expect much more than that.

Personally I might have different reasons for choosing a specific film to watch. For instance, I am not going to approach a film where Sally Field is leading a labor strike the same way I approach a flick about monsters from outer space. I adjust my expectations based on genre, subject matter, director and performers involved.

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OK TB....

I too adjust what I expect from a movie also based on different things.  Like.....

Is it a "BIOPIC"?  If so, I hope at least it gives me fact based insight into the subject's life.  Not sensationalism.

I expect a comedy to be funny.....  I hope NOT to be disappointed.  But sometimes I AM.  So....

I've learned(as far as expectations go...) to NOT "expect" ANYTHING from movies, as I also don't do so in relationships.  Dig....

Expectations not met run the risk of forming resentment.  And resentment of something OR someone is destructive in nature.  So, NO expectations = no DISAPPOINTMENTS!  And therefore too, NO resentment!  ;)

Sepiatone

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I like this topic too. 

I am most entertained by films that whisk me away, a fantasy that I hoped represents something positive in all of us. Best represented by the biggies Wiz of Oz, Singing' in The Rain, etc. Coming across a smaller, quieter fantasy film like The Invisible Ghost with bonus John Barrymore is always a delight!

Many musicals & comedies fall within the same realm as "fantasy" like the Marx Bros. or Busby Berkeley movies.

Serious films are entertaining in the opposite way in that you want to recognize the people and situations. Instead of empathizing "joy" (of fantasy movies) the viewer recognizes we all have "drama" in our lives.

Dramatic films that are uplifting like A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, gives the viewer courage to endure. Movies ending in a sad tone provokes a feeling of resolve to change things. Noirs are particularly enjoyable because they combine regular human emotions in charactors that go off the deep end-something we'd never do. It helps when you combine that with situations we never really experience such as war, crime or suspense.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for swaying opinions or at least illustrating other points of view you may have never considered. Also, your expectations for film changes as you change.

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I think many people expect a happy ending to all films.

I thought about the era of the Production code where there is usually the main character striving for a goal and despite many obstacles, they win in the end.

Around the 1950s, there were a few characters who failed in their goals like Pvt. Prewitt in "From Here To Eternity", I know someone who watched the film and she said "I wanted Montgomery Clift to live and Deborah Kerr to leave her husband and marry Burt Lancaster".

Then in the 1960s and 1970s we have characters striving for a goal and winning it but then finding out it was not worth it (think of Paul Newman in "The Hustler")

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9 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I think many people expect a happy ending to all films.

I thought about the era of the Production code where there is usually the main character striving for a goal and despite many obstacles, they win in the end.

Around the 1950s, there were a few characters who failed in their goals like Pvt. Prewitt in "From Here To Eternity", I know someone who watched the film and she said "I wanted Montgomery Clift to live and Deborah Kerr to leave her husband and marry Burt Lancaster".

Then in the 1960s and 1970s we have characters striving for a goal and winning it but then finding out it was not worth it (think of Paul Newman in "The Hustler")

A lot of the winning in the end was religious propaganda pushed by the architects of the production code-- to get society back on track, to show that morality was rewarded. So anyone who expects that is not expecting a lot of realism on screen.

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This was a question aired once by a teacher in a film class I enrolled in. The students racked up about a dozen answers: films can be educational, (or at least informative). They can be propaganda, or inspirational (in a religious sense). They can be scientific (a whole field of scientific filmmaking collapsed with the nickelodeon).

They can be experimental; they can be speculative and show us new ideas; new ways to live (as Lenin famously recognized). They can be realistic and reveal to us hidden aspects of the way we currently live. And of course films can be purely silly, escapist, perhaps sexual. They can gratify our baser urges. They can be voyeuristic and onanistic. Or, they can be programmatic, designed to change society in some fashion.

Ultimately though, film is a form of theater; theater (as any art must usually do) addresses itself to our emotions. The structure of drama has long been studied, from Greek thinkers on down. Principles of the stage can be argued with, (anything can be argued with) but it would be rare for a theater-goer to agree that attending a film or a play is satisfying without emotional payoff. Tension and climax.

Frustration with poor performance, poor writing, lack of credibility...this vexed the ancients just as much as it does us today. The catharsis is the thing. As the saying goes...why watch a movie if not to be moved? You might better read a book instead, or look out the damn window.

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Depends on Genre.

I expect Westerns to look and feel like the "legendary" films of Ford, Hawks, Mann, Hathaway, Boetticher, etc., etc or the countless TV Western series. The Legend. The more new directors go for historical accuracy the more the films look like Costume Dramas and if they go overboard with PC story lines and use actors that don't seem to have the sand the actors of the Golden Age Westerns had to give the characters life, they just seem off.

I expect Historical Epics to be somewhat accurate. 

I expect Film Noir to have Visual Stylistics and or interestingly seedy locations, along with a story that tips Noir  about Joe/Jill Anybody who feel alienated and obsessed, for the perfect Noirs. 

SiFi has to be entertaining, either passé and ridiculous or interesting and compelling.

 

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5 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Is it a "BIOPIC"?  If so, I hope at least it gives me fact based insight into the subject's life.  Not sensationalism.

Sepiatone

To your point, I saw the fillm Ali (2001), expecting a movie about a boxer and civil rights activist. And while I don't care for Will Smith's acting, I gave it a chance. All I saw was a story about a man who cheated on his wife.

I really couldn't care less about his personal life. I guess they had to add that to get women to buy tickets. Its not surprising to me that is bombed. I guess I expected something like Rocky or Raging Bull. Maybe that's my fault.

4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I am most entertained by films that whisk me away, a fantasy that I hoped represents something positive in all of us. Best represented by the biggies Wiz of Oz, Singing' in The Rain, etc. Coming across a smaller, quieter fantasy film like The Invisible Ghost with bonus John Barrymore is always a delight!

Many musicals & comedies fall within the same realm as "fantasy" like the Marx Bros. or Busby Berkeley movies.

 

I feel the same way about these types of films. I just sit back and enjoy.

 

1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

Depends on Genre.

I expect Westerns to look and feel like the "legendary" films of Ford, Hawks, Mann, Hathaway, Boetticher, etc., etc or the countless TV Western series. The Legend. The more new directors go for historical accuracy the more the films look like Costume Dramas and if they go overboard with PC story lines and use actors that don't seem to have the sand the actors of the Golden Age Westerns had to give the characters life, they just seem off.

 

You certainly have set a high bar !

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I am most entertained by films that whisk me away, a fantasy that I hoped represents something positive in all of us. Best represented by the biggies Wiz of Oz, Singing' in The Rain, etc. Coming across a smaller, quieter fantasy film like The Invisible Ghost with bonus John Barrymore is always a delight!

Many musicals & comedies fall within the same realm as "fantasy" like the Marx Bros. or Busby Berkeley movies.

 

This is also why I watch superhero movies and fast and furious types of movies. Sure I would love to be able to drive as fast as I want and never crash or get caught. Or to fly around and use special powers. Or the spy movies where all the people wear designer suits and look like models. And money is no object.

Or like in the old Fred Astaire film where he wears the same tuxedo the whole film and never gets dirty :lol:

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2 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

You certainly have set a high bar !

Yes I have I think the last Western that adhered to the Golden Age Western was The Long Riders (1981). I call all Westerns post 1981 Neo Westerns, I've liked a few I'll list them when I get back gotta head to town.

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14 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Yes I have I think the last Western that adhered to the Golden Age Western was The Long Riders (1981). I call all Westerns post 1981 Neo Westerns, I've liked a few I'll list them when I get back gotta head to town.

Using the Advanced Search on IMDb, I looked up all the feature-film westerns that I've seen released from 1982 to now. I've seen 124. My 10 favorites are:

  1. Unforgiven (1992)
  2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
  3. Tombstone (1993)
  4. Dead Man (1995)
  5. The Proposition (2005)
  6. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
  7. Django Unchained (2012)
  8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
  9. Appaloosa (2008)
  10. Three Amigos! (1986)
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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Using the Advanced Search on IMDb, I looked up all the feature-film westerns that I've seen released from 1982 to now. I've seen 124. My 10 favorites are:

  1. Unforgiven (1992)
  2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
  3. Tombstone (1993)
  4. Dead Man (1995)
  5. The Proposition (2005)
  6. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
  7. Django Unchained (2012)
  8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
  9. Appaloosa (2008)
  10. Three Amigos! (1986)

My chronological 10

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Salvation (2014)

Django Unchained (2012)

True Grit (2010)

The Good the Bad the Weird (2008)

The Proposition (2005)

Renegade (2004)

Tombstone (1993)

Unforgiven (1992)

 

 

 

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Contemporary Hollywood is a men's room joke. If even that. Telling a good dirty joke takes some competence.

Anyway, the current West Coast exhibits a puniness which characteristic not just of an industry which is depleted and exhausted of creativity and ideas; its a reflection of a whole culture which is dead.

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