Friday, September 30, 2005

The Faux Pas of Film, Pt. 1

This is an exerpt from a Coffee Crew essay I did awhile back concerning the things in movies and films that, quite honestly, irk the hell out of me. I'm sorry for regurgitating old literature that half my current readership has already heard, but lately I just haven't had the time to properly dedicate to getting down the swirls of thought in my head into print. So I offer this up in the meantime:

TV and Movies

I consider myself an average movie patron. I’m fairly up to speed with today’s films, despite the fact that I average about a movie a month, especially with the going price of a ticket in excess of $9 these days. I’m pretty good with following plotlines, though admittedly I sometimes require a session of twenty questions at the end of the more deeper films. For the most part, however, I think I’ve finally reached a point in my quest for entertainment to be able to discuss what I like and do not like, what impresses me and what irritates me. Since it is infinitely more enjoyable to bash topics that annoy, disturb or downright piss off, rather than drone on about ‘liking this’ or admiring that’, this essay will focus on the faux paus in the movie and television industry that particularly rub me the wrong way. I’m not referring to the more obvious blunders, such as terrible acting, crappy writing or a complete lack of a plot, but more specific things that, for the most part, are totally avoidable, had they been given the slightest bit of thought. For example:

• The Planted Moron
The “Planted Moron” technique is one that specifically drives me nuts, mainly because A) It is so incredibly obvious, and B) It insults the intelligence of the viewers. It goes as follows: a group of people are having a discussion about a certain topic, item or event, and inevitably a subject is brought up that the viewer may not recognize or understand. One member of the group, the ‘planted moron’, repeats the subject in a quizzical fashion, as if to imply that he/she has no idea what they are speaking of. Usually this individual is someone other than the main cast, who just happened to be included in the conversation. We can only assume that this is because the producers dare not jeopardize the integrity of the main cast by having them look foolish and stupid, and so they throw in this buffoon who, by all rights, should probably have some sort of an idea of the topic in question, if only by their mere presence in the group. However, this is not their lot in life; their job is to simply allow for a more detailed description of this mystifying topic, for the benefit of the viewers who can now follow the conversation more closely.

Example: Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The setting: A member of the Enterprise is abducted and replaced by a perfect replica, a probe that mimics the officer in every way. As it arrives back on board, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and “Ensign Perez” rush into the room, and begin questioning the probe on it’s function. The probe replies that it was given the officers form to more easily communicate with the “carbon-based units”. At that time Mr. Perez, in an acting performance that rivals Barney the Dinosaur, interjects, “Carbon-based units?” “Humans, Ensign Perez” McCoy offers in explanation. “Us”.
Now let’s dissect this little exchange. We must assume that Ensign Perez, being posted to the flagship of the Federation, has undergone the rigorous Starfleet academy training, same as all officers on board. We must also assume that somewhere, at some point, human biology was taught in at least ONE of his classes, if not several. Despite the fact that this poor schlep never progressed past Ensign despite looking in his mid-to-late thirties, you would still think he would be intelligent enough to outright know that humans are carbon-based, and if not, smart enough to freakin’ figure it out based on the conversation, especially in an age where everyone on board seems to have enough super-human brains to fix any system that breaks down in their immediate area. I only have an associates degree from a community college, I’m not even sure how a combustion engine works, and EVEN I knew that “carbon-based units” meant humans! Don’t insult my intelligence.

More to come!

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