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BORING : a movie's worst sin


misswonderly3
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Being boring.

 

There's a fun thread in "Hot Topics" called "The World's Most Boring Movie", and it got me thinking about this - boring movies, that is.

I watched a movie on TCM a couple of weeks ago that is highly acclaimed and much beloved by many here. And for that reason, out of respect for my friends who like this movie, I'm not going to say what it was. Suffice to say, I found it extremely boring, and had to make myself sit through it till the end.

This experience confirmed something I'd concluded some time ago: I can forgive almost anything in a film, except dullness. Some bad movies are actually entertaining, and some films that are supposedly very good, I find insufferably boring.

I can forgive a movie almost anything, except that. I don't care if it's a lofty art film or a trashy melodrama, it's got to engage me. It's got to entertain me.

Que pensez-vous?

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Mar 6, 2012 12:40 AM

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Nope, I cannot imagine a scenario where boring is good.

 

You're right, though, I asked "what's a movie's worst sin" and chose to title my thread that way. But I was thinking specifically that a movie's "worst sin" is to be boring. It's the worst, plain and simple. But for clarification purposes, I should have titled the thread something else.

 

 

( ps - If two different people insulted me, one calling me a b*tch, and the other saying I was boring, I'd be more insulted by the latter. I mean, they're both insulting, but of these two "b" words, I'll take the first Of course, the worse case would be if I were a boring b*tch. :| )

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Speaking of boring, every movie should have some kind of plot theme well established within the first 25 minutes, or I will either bail out or fall asleep. A plot well established within the first 5 minutes would be even better.

 

Even if it is just some prelude to a plot theme, such as the beginning of Out of the Past, which leads up to the flashbacks. Better yet, the beginning of Casablanca, where we are shown a map so we know where the place is, we are told by the narrator what the plot is going to be, and we see some real action in the first few scenes. Wow! That?s a movie I wanna see. And The Letter has a good introduction. Close ups of the rubber trees, a dolly shot past the Oriental workmen?s hut, with all the jungle plants, and then POW! The gunshots start!

 

The Third Man is another good example, with a good clear narrated intro, and then right away we are hit with the "coffin" story and the cemetery scene. Wow! This movie is so interesting and so well made, and we are caught up in the mysterious plot so much that we forget Orson Welles is in it! So when he turns up suddenly, later in the film, wow, what a surprise!

 

Even with the slow-moving introduction to The Searchers (people moving slowly) we can go along with the slowness because the basic plot is established within the first minute: the return of Ethan Edwards. Whatever happens after that is just a McGuffin.

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To take your example further, there have been some simply awful evil vicious dictators throughout history. I don't think any of them was boring; but whatever they were, was worse than boring! Boring as a deadly sin has become sort of a cliche. You might say, after a day of dealing with exciting people, one is happy to have dinner with a boring friend.

 

To try to take it deeper -- look at the other thread of which your thread is an offshoot. The gist of many of the posts is that slow movies, particularly in the genre of Bergman, are boring. I disagree. I love Rivette -- Celine and Julie Go Boating is a great film, but many people find it excrutiatingly boring.

 

So, Miss W... there are worse things than boring! Cruelty, evil, disease and... being shown on TCM on March 23 at 12:45 p.m.

 

 

 

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Yup boredom. Even so bad it's good is better than boring ("Valley of the Dolls" being a prime example). Fell asleep during "Melancholia" recently and the film he (Lars von Trier) did with Bjork-nodded off in that one too. What was the name of that dull, dull movie? You can make long, rambling seemingly plotless films well (Altman's "Nashville" is brilliant) but von Trier's leave me stifling a yawn.

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Finding a movie boring is a matter of taste, not exactly a sin but the worst sin is forcing an average man to watch a movie tailored for women like "Sex in the City". As an average Joe would say, kill me now and spare the pain. :(

 

Women who does that should be forced to watch 2 straight hours of model train layouts.

 

Far as movie making goes, the worst sins are showing evidence of modern life in older plot movies i.e. airplane contrails or automobile tire tracks in old westerns.

 

Seeing studio equipment i.e. microphones, lighting, etc.

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The worst sin is to have too much zither music in inappropriate places. ;)

 

Actually, when I saw the thread title, "boring" was the first thing that popped into my head. Regardless of whether there is a concensus on a particluar movie being boring, I just find that if it doesn't interest me, it's not likely to get a second viewing ever.

 

I should say that I consider there to be a difference between being boring and not being entertaining. For example, the Costa Gavras film *"Z"* does not entertain me, but it's never dull and I can watch it repeatedly.

 

But *Resevoir Dogs* while also not entertaining me, and also not being dull, is not likely to get a second viewing because I don't want to have to spend time with those characters again.

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Just a "heads up" : I changed the title of this thread because I'm interested - ironically, I suppose - in the topic of "boring movies"; what makes a film boring, why some people are fascinated by a film that others cannot stay awake for, how sometimes a bad film can be entertaining, which would be its saving grace, and how sometimes a good film can be boring (sort of).

 

The original title of this thread was "What's a movie's worst sin?". Which, for me, is failure to engage or entertain, ie, to be boring.

But - understandably, given the title of the thread - too many people saw it as a topic about what they think is the "worst sin" a movie can commit, which apparently can include many things outside of being boring. Maybe a good idea for another thread, but I wanted this one to be all about boredom.

( Ha - so I'll have to keep it lively, or everyone will be too bored to post on it. ?:| )

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To me, boring is ephemeral. Something I find boring, someone else will find stimulating. Indeed, I might be bored by a particular film one time, and be amused by it at another, depending on my mood, and what else I have been watching.

 

Boring is hard to pin down. I love mysteries. Most of the classics are quite predictable, but I love many of them anyway. My favorite mysteries give me just enough clues to keep me guessing, until near the end. The deus-ex-machina ones, that don't really predict their solution at all just p*ss me off, and make me feel cheated.

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I feel this acutely as I find very many highly-regarded melodramas as quite boring. It does not engage me when the only plot is a contrived sequence to demonstrate how badly the star needs to go to a local boutique and get themself a life or make an appointment at an alterations shop to have some darts and gores put into their personality.

 

I believe that genre movies such as westerns, mysteries and science fiction are less likely to be boring because their raison d'?tre is action which has an effect on the characters. Writers have "The Ancient Rule for Westerns" which is: shoot the sheriff in the first paragraph.

 

I do not wish to take this thread away from the main topic but I wonder if any here found La Jetee boring? The montage format seems as if it would not be as exciting or engaging as action scenes.

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There seems to be a consensus that we all define boring in our own way. For me, as I define it, the most boring film is NBNW. Hitchcock needed to make a big Hollywood film and a few bucks, and threw all of his tricks together to make one of his weakest films. But the totality is tedious and without the grace and meaning that his greatest films display.

 

 

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Well, it always pays to look up the meaning of a word. I just checked the dictionary meaning of "entertaining", and it turns out that it means ( this is not word for word): "amusing, often in a comic way; diverting; pleasurable, with regard to staged performance". Something along those lines.

 

Which means that, at least when we're talking about motion pictures, to be entertained means, apparently, to be watching something that is amusing, perhaps even somewhat humourous. Light, maybe.

For some reason I'd associated the word "entertain" with simply meaning "engaging" for the audience. In my mind, if I'm "entertained" by the film, I'm not bored. I didn't realize it has connotations of lightness, of amusement in terms of comedy.

 

 

Anyway, of course there are many serious, dramatic, even "heavy" films that are interesting to me. What bores me in a film is not caring about the characters, no one I find empathetic. A character doesn't even have to be "nice", as long as they're interesting. So I have to be interested in, I like to use the word "engaged", with either the characters or the story - wanting to find out what happens, caring about the character(s). If that element of "engagement" isn't there for me, then regardless of how "good " the film may be in other ways, I'll find it boring.

 

 

Just to get everybody going, I've always been bored stiff by *Dr. Zhivago*, even though it's such a highly regarded film. It's not only its ponderous length - perhaps if I weren't bored, I wouldn't mind that - but the Julie Christie / Zhivago characters are not particularly likable or interesting to me, despite their noble efforts to help the wounded from WW l, etc. I know, I know, the historical backdrop alone ought to "engage" me, the Russian Revolution and so forth. But that just feels like a prop to me, something to highlight the love story between Christie and Shariff.

 

 

I did not want this to turn into a "bashing" of *Dr. Zhivago*, so I'll stop. I just cited it as an example of a movie that always bores me, and I wanted to explain why.

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}

> Dr. Z. is one of those famous movies that I've never seen! Of course, what we find boring says as much about us as about the movie.

Well, Swithin baby, you're not missing a thing. If you've read my mini "bash" in the post below, you've got all you need. ( *Zhivago* fans, I'm kidding ! )

 

If needing to like or at least have an interest in the characters I'm watching or reading about says something about me, fine.

I'm coming out, people: I need three-dimensional characters to be engaged in a film.

 

( Intelligent well-written dialogue helps, but other factors can come into play, too.)

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Billy Wilder once said that the Eleventh Commandment is Thou shalt not bore the audience.

 

He was right, of course, but movies, as with anything else, are like food: one's true and practical favorite is what one really craves at any given moment. So, if you're in a frame of mind to be bored, it really doesn't matter what you're presented with; you'll be bored.

 

 

As for myself, as a child I was frequently bored, as most children are. As an adult, I learned that there's always something to think about, so boredom is more or less impossible.

 

 

Now, while there's always something worth studying about a film that keeps it from being boring in a strict sense, a movie can be incredibly tedious. One such film is ONCE UPON A TIME (1944), which I'd had in my DVR's queue since TCM showed it last summer and I finally got around to watching. It's got to be the absolute worst film Cary Grant ever made, a very, very unfunny comedy with touches of some of the most cloying and revolting pathos I've ever seen on a screen. As punishment for inflicting such a pile of inane dreck on an unsuspecting world, the people who made this film all deserve to die, if they weren't already conveniently dead.

 

 

Some might be persuaded to call ONCE UPON A TIME "Capra without the 'Capra Touch'" (other examples of this deservedly neglected sub-genre are the Gary Cooper GOOD SAM and Jimmy Stewart MAGIC TOWN), but I'd call it Capra with the Ed Wood Touch. Oddly, what all these ersatz, Capra-wannabes have in touch is that they're tedious like few other films are. The horse is dead, rendered and turned to glue and the filmmakers continue to flog them.

 

 

I couldn't wait for the film to end; frankly, if Grant hadn't been the star, I'd have given up on it after the first twenty minutes. So, awful? A resounding yes. Boring? No, because if one can't learn and be enlightened from vewing a train-wreck of such magnitude, one is as dead as the makers of the movie.

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> {quote:title=Sprocket_Man wrote:}{quote}Billy Wilder once said that the Eleventh Commandment is Thou shalt not bore the audience.

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> He was right, of course, but movies, as with anything else, are like food: one's true and practical favorite is what one really craves at any given moment. So, if you're in a frame of mind to be bored, it really doesn't matter what you're presented with; you'll be bored.

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> As for myself, as a child I was frequently bored, as most children are. As an adult, I learned that there's always something to think about, so boredom is more or less impossible.

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> Now, while there's always something worth studying about a film that keeps it from being boring in a strict sense, a movie can be incredibly tedious. One such film is ONCE UPON A TIME (1944), which I'd had in my DVR's queue since TCM showed it last summer and I finally got around to watching. It's got to be the absolute worst film Cary Grant ever made, a very, very unfunny comedy with touches of some of the most cloying and revolting pathos I've ever seen on a screen. As punishment for inflicting such a pile of inane dreck on an unsuspecting world, the people who made this film all deserve to die, if they weren't already conveniently dead.

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> Some might be persuaded to call ONCE UPON A TIME "Capra without the 'Capra Touch'" (other examples of this deservedly neglected sub-genre are the Gary Cooper GOOD SAM and Jimmy Stewart MAGIC TOWN), but I'd call it Capra with the Ed Wood Touch. Oddly, what all these ersatz, Capra-wannabes have in touch is that they're tedious like few other films are. The horse is dead, rendered and turned to glue and the filmmakers continue to flog them.

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> I couldn't wait for the film to end; frankly, if Grant hadn't been the star, I'd have given up on it after the first twenty minutes. So, awful? A resounding yes. Boring? No, because if one can't learn and be enlightened from vewing a train-wreck of such magnitude, one is as dead as the makers of the movie.

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Well, first, I'm with Billy Wilder on this.

Second, I'm becoming ever so slightly offended at the implication several people have made here ( by the way, people whom I respect on these boards) that I am somehow lacking in something - not sure what? attention span? intelligence? - if I am bored with a boring movie.

 

Let me try to rephrase this: if, when I'm watching a film, it does not take me out of myself - there's a Greek word for it, but I can't be bothered to look it up right now ( not "catharsis", that's something different again) - if I don't in some way get into the world of the movie, and if I keep wondering when it will be over, then I am bored and I make no apology for it.

I don't agree with SprocketMan or Swithin or clore that there's something worthwhile to be derived from every movie-watching experience we have.

 

The subject of films - what they are, what they're for ( a huge topic in itself), how multi-faceted they are - is basically what this website is all about. So I don't want to trivialize such a big subject by philosophizing about cinema and art and the whole damned thing on a thread about the crime of being a boring film.

 

So I'll just reiterate: I can become engaged with a "bad" film if it somehow keeps me interested, even it's because of that "it's so bad it's good" notion, or because it's so bad it's funny, or whatever reverse redeeming qualities it may have.

A movie can be entertaining, or it can be profound, or both, or neither. But it has to keep my attention somehow, or I feel I've wasted 2 - 3 hours of my time.

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