Saturday, December 26, 2009

Familiarity Breeds Contempt or Content?


We saw several movies in the last few days. Two of the three were as familiar as Thanksgiving dinner (IT'S COMPLICATED and BROTHERS). Neither were bad movies just very predictable. The audience did not seem at all put off by this. Matter of fact, they laughed so hard at It's Complicated, I feared for their lives.

(UP IN THE AIR had several surprises and the writing sparkled for the most part).

Anticipating the next scene or action, seemed cathartic for my mid-western audience members. Maybe Christmas is not the time for surprises.

But I don't want to know what comes next. I want the writer to throw me some curves.

Do you get any satisfaction from the expected--other than in classic comic routines perhaps?

18 comments:

Lesa said...

So, what other movies did you see, Patti, and which one surprised you? We're going to see Invictus (probably tomorrow - and that will probably not have surprises). I'm going to see It's Complicated, and a friend is going with me to Up in the Air. Despite the great reviews, I'm not interested in Sherlock Holmes.

Lesa - http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com

pattinase (abbott) said...

I made adjustments to include the movie titles, Lesa. It was stupid not to include them from the start.
I can't decide about Sherlock. I do want to see A SINGLE MAN for sure. And Invictus if anyone will see it with me.

Mike Dennis said...

For me, Christmas is the time to break out my DVDs of "Holiday Inn" and "Christmas In Connecticut". They're as predictable as they come, of course, but wonderful just the same.

George said...

It could be that we have seen too many movies (and read too many books) to be satisfied with predictable plots. Many of my friends might see five or six movies a year so predictability isn't a problem for them. And broadcast TV is nothing but predictable. So perhaps predictability is a problem only to people who see a lot of movies and read a lot of books.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, we watch the old Christmas movies every year too. But when I am paying $10 at the theater, I want something new. Write a new plot for heaven's sake. I am wondering if Meryl Streep has finally given up acting for giggling after her last three movies.

Charles Gramlich said...

You've hit on the head my problem with a lot of movies. If I can consistenly predicte what will happen next then I'm not very interested.

Laurie said...

I was really interested in seeing It's Complicated - it's nice to see 'older' women like Meryl Streep get equal time when it comes to romantic movies. I'll probably still see it. Also because I love Alec Baldwin.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Funny you should mention this. I sat through a string of previews before Sherlock Holmes last night, and, given what people laughed at, I fear for the future of our nation.

Oh, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's Complicated is certainly a watchable movie IMHO. But Nancy Meyers is determined to make the same movie over and over with a different cast and more opulent and succulent surroundings. Given the people grateful for a bowl of soup this year, it seemed over the top. Alec was the best thing about it.

Randy Johnson said...

Something I saw recently, on DVD, surprised me. It was a little different and I posted about it. I think it might be one you'd enjoy if you haven't already seen it.

George said...

Actually, Meryl Streep doesn't giggle once as the voice of Mrs. Fox in FANTASTIC MR. FOX. In fact, she doesn't even sound like Meryl Streep. I'm with you on novel plots and unpredictable action.

David Cranmer said...

When I watch a film I think like a critic and as a result am out of touch with what wveryone around me finds entertaining.

Richard Robinson said...

As usual I'm coming into this late. Last week I watched some of the holiday classics (HOLIDAY INN, WHITE CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS STORY) and knew what was coming, naturally, but that's part of the fun.

With new films, most of the time there have been so many trailers and reviews it's hard not to have some idea of the plot and outcome. And let's face it, many films are obvious from the beginning - AMELIA, as an example. There's no "will she make it all the way? tension, we know she won't.

We only go to the theater (movie house) for a few movies, ones we think need to be seen on the big screen (STAR TREK, HARRY POTTER, AVATAR, and the like). So the $10 isn't an issue with us, Patti.

As for surprises, perhaps the best one is leaving the theater feeling that the movie was worth the price of the ticket!

Kent Morgan said...

allstar14I watched the first half of Empire Falls (2005) on HBO last night and will watch the balance tonight. Quite a cast with Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Dennis Farina, Estelle Parsons and Joanne Woodward. However, I had a problem with Paul Newman playing the drunk and not-much-good father of Harris. I'm looking forward to watching The Damned United, an English movie about football manager Brian Clough that I received for Christmas. Plus I don't think I can stop myself from buying the latest Trailer Park Boys movie that was released on DVD a couple of days before Christmas.

pattinase (abbott) said...

THE DAMNED UNITED is on dvd. Cool!
Yes, Paul wasn't meant to play that role for me either.

cassandrajade said...

Depends on my mood. When I'm stressed out with work and the like I want something very familiar and comforting. I don't like things that don't make immediate sense. When I am really relaxed or energetic, I can't stand watching something that is predictable. Christmas is stressful and given most people are going to the movies to mellow it seems like a good time for predictable.

JerThom said...

I grew up loving crime noir and other mysteries, but after being an investigator it is tough to enjoy a mystery anymore because I figure them out far in advance. So when a writer actually surprises me, I'm elated.

Dana King said...

If the expected is done well, and finds a way to hold my interest up to that point, then I'm usually okay with it, though it's not likely to provoke much of a reaction.

I saw UP IN THE AIR Christmas night and thought the whole was less than the sum of its parts. The ending left me wondering what I was supposed to take away from it, whi I should care.