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A "donut movie" -- weak in the center


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Donut movie.

I saw this phrase in a movie review I was reading today on the IMDb.

I guess the reviewer meant the film starts strong, has a sluggish second act, then picks up speed and has a good ending.

Are there well-known classic movies that you feel are "donuts"...?

Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 11.39.20 AM 2

 

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10 minutes ago, Aritosthenes said:

Can Think of Four,. At the moment...

.. ..All (much) newer.. ...Comparatively Speaking ..

_

The Counselor.

Boyhood.

.. Avengers ..

and Uncut Gems...

I wonder if this is because screenwriters work harder on the beginning pages, because they want readers to get interested in their scripts. And that most readers skip ahead to the ending to see what sort of big climax will occur. So as a result, the second act gets considerably less attention and polishing

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Interesting topic. Nothing Sacred has almost no second act at all. There's a fairly long set-up with the intro of Carole Lombard and her supposed illness, then her time as a celebrity in New York, which should be the second act, is pretty much reduced to a montage, and then there's the unraveling of the plot in the third act. This relatively short film, under 80 minutes, I think, needs fifteen or twenty minutes of second act.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I wonder if this is because screenwriters work harder on the beginning pages, because they want readers to get interested in their scripts. And that most readers skip ahead to the ending to see what sort of big climax will occur. So as a result, the second act gets considerably less attention and polishing

Its Interesting You mention the "zip to the caboose" of a respective film "thing"..

 

    Given the Chance.. ...i,ll ALWAYS Scoot to the films end FIRST,.

Personally.. ... i.. feel that.. ..most folks do NOT do that..

- .. ...but i might easily be mistaken in that.

. ... ..

Here are .. a couple Others i thought of .. ..that are "Donuts" For me..

 

Titanic.

12 Years a Slave,.

Empire Strikes Back.

E.T.

Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.

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Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) starts off with two very atmospheric murders by lycanthrope Larry Talbot.  We also get the greatest man-to-wolf transformation scene ever filmed by Universal (inside the Cardiff hospital).  Lon Chaney, Jr.'s performance early in the film is very engrossing, but by the time he meets up with Bela Lugosi's Frankenstein monster, the film begins to fizzle.  He meets Dr. Frankenstein's granddaughter, is pursued by an English doctor, and sits through a lavish (for Universal) musical production number, blah, blah, blah.  Not until the very end, when the 2 monsters actually fight, does the film perk up again. 

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1 hour ago, scsu1975 said:

Completely agree. The film should be renamed Thirds. The first third is intriguing, the middle third is boring, the final third is hair-raising.

Good point, Rich.

Could this maybe be attributed to the fact that the middle part is primarily where Salome Jens is featured?

I could never understand any appeal Rock Hudson's character might've had for her in this film.

(...I've always thought that with a more seductive actress playing what is basically a femme fatale role, perhaps someone like Julie Christie, the middle part might have worked a little better)

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52 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Good point, Rich.

Could this maybe be attributed to the fact that the middle part is primarily where Salome Jens is featured?

I could never understand any appeal Rock Hudson's character might've had for her in this film.

(...I've always thought that with a more seductive actress playing what is basically a femme fatale role, perhaps someone like Julie Christie, the middle part might have worked a little better)

Yes, that could be. 

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3 hours ago, Dargo said:

Good point, Rich.

Could this maybe be attributed to the fact that the middle part is primarily where Salome Jens is featured?

I could never understand any appeal Rock Hudson's character might've had for her in this film.

(...I've always thought that with a more seductive actress playing what is basically a femme fatale role, perhaps someone like Julie Christie, the middle part might have worked a little better)

Another way to improve the middle of the film: many people have the dream of being a painter or some other kind of artist. However, the reality of making art can be just as frustrating as the business world. Is the bohemian life really more fulfilling than the bourgeois life? Exploring this could make the second third more compelling. The beginning and ending of Seconds are so great that I tend to forget the weaker middle section.

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8 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Another way to improve the middle of the film: many people have the dream of being a painter or some other kind of artist. However, the reality of making art can be just as frustrating as the business world. Is the bohemian life really more fulfilling than the bourgeois life? Exploring this could make the second third more compelling. The beginning and ending of Seconds are so great that I tend to forget the weaker middle section.

In some cases, I think the weak middle section of an otherwise good film comes from the fact that the writer and director are trying to stretch out a concept that should be played in 75 to 90 minutes. For some reason they think it will seem more important if the film has a two-hour running time. So the middle gets padded with unnecessary, belabored scenes.

In the case of NOTHING SACRED, which you mentioned earlier in the thread, we have the opposite problem. Much of the story is rushed and undeveloped in the middle.

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