Sunday, March 11, 2012

Off to the Races, I mean movies.

Watching movies with writers suck. They are as bad as movie critics. Well, maybe not AS bad, but they, and by they I mean we, are pretty bad, I dont know any movie critics to compare it too. A while back, I had the desire to go see Cowboys and Aliens. Why, well because it has cowboys and aliens in it. Indian Jones, and James Bond, and aliens. Plus the preview looked pretty awesome.

So I gathered up some of my friends, Bobby McDaniel's from Wildly Urban, Jess Stork from Ink Spot Plot, Michael Sullivan and Robin Sullivan from Write to Publish. Now, Robin isn't a writer, but she is an editor, which makes her equally as bad.

The problem with writers, and editors, is that we have trained our brains to think critically about things like, plot, and tension, and rising action. We can suspend our ability for disbelief but we cannot seem to turn off the part of our brain that goes, hmmm, why did they do that, then.

Cowboys and Aliens was proof, to a large degree, that you can stock pile a tons of cliches on top of one another and still make a movie that's entertaining as all hell. I mean, you had the rouge bad guy, the tough ex military cattle rancher with a wussy kid, the worldly preacher man, the kid trying to prove that he is a man, bandits, and Indians. Who all band together to fight the aliens. It was a very typical cowboy movie, and a very typical alien movie mashed together.

Plus it did a hell of a job sexploiting (I think this is a word) some of the male characters--hello gratuitous ass shots of New James Bond--something Hollywood has been doing to woman for eons (well, for as long as Hollywood has been around) so it was quite an exciting/interesting/different change of pace.

But once the movie was over, and everyone had gone to the bathroom. We met, and started picking apart the plot. When she came out of the fire, it really suspended my sense of disbelief, etc...

The thing is, I think it takes a certain type of person to be interested in writing, and to actually write. I think you have to have a since of taste. You don't have to have good taste, although I think most writers do. You just have to have a since of what is good and what isn't. Then, you have to have an opinion, and perhaps a dash of arrogance.

The opinion and a dash of arrogance comes in with the fact that most writers tend to believe they have written something worth while, or else why would they expect others to read it.

Then we train our brains to think critically about what WE write. And think critically about the things other people write and ask us to critique. Which is all well and good, except, sometimes, you just want to go watch a movie.

What do you think it takes to be a writer? What movie/book etc thing have you read/watched/seen lately and really enjoyed?


  1. Oh, my gosh! I'm a bottomless pit when it comes to movies! What haven't I watched? Movie buff? I'm the ultimate! Yes, it seems like I'm bragging, but it's true. Anyway, first thing's first...I used to be the worst person to watch a movie with. I'd seriously comment throughout the movie while everyone watched with me. Naturally, after years of being told off, I now keep my opinion so myself.

    BUT, it doesn't turn off that critical portion of my brain. And it's soooo true! We writers can't turn off that critical portion in our brains! We're built to determine a story before it unfolds! I've watched movies where LITERALLY I've been able to tell how the story will go from the first five minutes of the opening sequence. To me, that's a sad movie, formulaic and downright predictable!

    Nonetheless, there are some awesome movies that have come out recently that, even though predictable, THRILL! The movie Real Steel blew me away. It is predictable, but the emotion behind the whole film rocks! And some movies benefit from the sheer joy of the experience of watching a movie such as that.

    Man, I've written too much!!! Oh, and the new Planet of the Apes movie from last year kicked butt, too! :D

  2. I find myself really entranced with foreign movies, maybe because the way of thinking is a little bit off from mine and I can thus separate it from my writing thinking. I really think like a writer when watching TV shows though. Oh, I already have things planned for many of the ones I watch.

    Also, have you ever tried watching SF with an engineer? Throughout Star Trek I heard 'there's no lens flares in space' 'nothing can escape a black hole' 'THAT DOESN'T EXIST!' That's a joyful viewing.

    Recent views that I really enjoyed? Rubber. It's a about a tire who develops psychic powers who goes on a rampage, but also about following through on a story for the sake of an audience, which as a writer really had me intrigued. It's a indie dark comedy thingy.

  3. You're right! But I am even worse...half social worker brain/ half writer...As I watched Warriors Way last night, I found myself instructing my kids..."never mortgage your house for medical bills. Let them pile up and then go to the department of health for assistance...but I can see why the writer chose medical need a noble cause of the insurmountable debt to create tension without losing likability"
    lol...people will start muzzling me during movies!!

  4. I agree with everything you just said. Hopefully writers have good taste in literature and general pop culture, but I think everyone wants to believe they have good taste.

    I'm one of those people who picks apart movies. Not so much plot and character and whatnot, but those little editor details like, "Wait, her pants were just inside her boots, and now they're outside? WHEN DID SHE FIDDLE WITH HER PANTS?"

    Things like that.

  5. The fiance shakes his head at me every time I tell him that I am really enjoy movie A because they used B in the plot. Seriously though, Archer has some great plot structure.