Welcome to FTS’ brand new feature Word Around the Campfire where all of the FTS’ contributors take turns answering the question or topic of the month. This month we’re looking at our review writing process and style.
What is your biggest movie pet peeve? What cliche or unrealistic cinematic element really grinds your gears?
Happy Endings. Sometimes a movie gets so dark and deep that it couldn’t possibly end on a positive note. But then miraculously the character remembers something and defeats the villain or someone who was believed to be dead comes in and saves the day. Yay! Everyone happy. Get out of here with that.
I actively enjoy a lot of clichés. I smile with glee when I hear the Wilhelm scream. Show me a cop desperately trying to survive his last case before retirement, and I’ll enjoy the heck out of what surely must be a knowing parody of literally every other cop movie. Precocious, implausibly knowledgeable children? Family pets surviving any form of disaster? Henchmen who can’t shoot for shit? Love it all. But the one that irks me the most is a staple of the horror genre, and in fact is something that drives me away from slasher films. It’s the killer who can’t be killed. The immortal death machine, who has been shot, stabbed, burned, drowned, eaten, decapitated, threshed, shredded and had a piano dropped on them, but still jumps out behind the lone surviving protagonist at the end of the movie, to set up the sequel. If something cannot die, then as a viewer I know it’s not real, so the whole thing is fake, so why is anyone scared of being killed by it? It’s just silly, and it’s the reason there’s so many damn sequels to all those endless horror franchises.
The way drinking alcohol is portrayed tends to be inaccurate to the point of cliche. Most specifically 98% of scenes in a bar are just wrong. It annoys the hell out of me when characters order a “beer”. No one does that! I don’t care if it’s product placement, say something or it immediately takes me out of the moment. Then there’s the let’s take a bunch of shots and then magically not be drunk depiction. A movie I hated with a passion, Trouble With the Curve (or anti-Moneyball), features a scene where Amy Adams downs upwards of 10 shots of liquor within a couple hours. Then she is able to delightfully dance around with Justin Timberlake and hold a full on conversation. No way is she not stumbling, dazed, and talking slurred nonsense at that point. At least in American Sniper, Sienna Miller pukes outside the bar after such a consumption. In the same vein, getting trashed and then within an hour or two completely sobering up. I need to know their secret! Other things that are sometimes done right but mostly done wrong – characters getting cut off or kicked out to let the audience know they’ve gotten too drunk (on one super rare occasion I did see someone getting physically pushed out of the bar), not paying for drinks, walking up to a bar and immediately getting service, talking at normal volume in a busy bar. Sometimes these things are accurate, but anytime it’s not I notice.
Makeup and eyebrows and teeth. I can’t stand it when someone is supposed to be out in the wild for an extended period of time or just woke up hungover yet they have their makeup (and worse) their eyebrows – looking all perfect. There is only one Beyonce. A great example of this fuckery can be seen in Divergent – Ashley Judd’s character belongs to some group that does’t look at themselves in the mirror and denounces vanity yet her eye makeup is on point. Also in a similar vein is when I see an actor’s shiny white teeth/veneers in the Old West or some dirtbag time period. It’s anachronistic and I hate it.
A big pet peeve of mine is when filmmakers don’t take the time to develop characters because they are supposed to fall into a certain type. I don’t want to be told who someone is. I think part of the fun of watching films is seeing into others lives and I want to see many aspects of a character. Especially if it is a main character because they deserve the effort of being fleshed out.
What are your biggest movie pet peeves?
Let us know in the comments below!