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Closed Captioning for the Plot Impaired

A continually updating subtitled plot line that helps to explain movies/TV such as "Spy Game".
  (+15, -1)(+15, -1)
(+15, -1)
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uniball2, Dec 05 2001

for you aix http://www.movie-mistakes.com/
movie errors e.g. the watch in the ten comandments only kidding [po, Dec 05 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       This is good.
bristolz, Dec 05 2001

       Another group which this could deal with is those people who can't bear an iota of suspense in a film. It'd simply flash up "You'll find out later" at appropriate intervals.
-alx, Dec 05 2001

       can we have warning messages that something scary is about to happen? (Watched Aliens last night and jumped out of my skin about three times.) Alright alright I don't mean it, but someone's going to want to take this 'idea' to its logical conclusion, which is that all movies should be spoiled by the addition of an extra information source. This wasn't on the original storyboard...
lewisgirl, Dec 05 2001

       Croissant! Not so much for the plot line complexity solution, as for dealing with the folks described by -alx.   

       <rant>Is it just me, or are there people who think that everyone else has some sort of secret knowledge of all films that they themselves are not privy to? Do I attend briefings before I go to movies? Do I know the director personally? Did I write the script? Am I psychic? No. So how the fuck am I supposed to know who some character that just appeared on-screen two seconds ago is? So don't sodding ask me. Shut up and watch the damn movie. Grrr, snarl, spit, froth.</rant>
Guy Fox, Dec 05 2001

       I see this more as "Subtitles for the hard of understanding" - i.e. Explaining who that guy is, why they just got into the car with the bad guy, etc. - rather than explaining what's about to happen. Good idea. Compatible with FNH.
hippo, Dec 05 2001

       I take it that uniball2 went to see Spy Game last night and didn't understand it. Well, isn't it a sad indictment of the culture in which we live today, that the young 'uns think that the full meaning and all the nuances of a piece of cinema/theatre/literature should be readily available to the viewer/goer/reader on first viewing/seeing/reading? No, I say to you, no; part of the lasting pleasure of these media is that they are durable - you can read a book ten times and it will not say the same thing to you every time, not in the philosophical sense. Every time you read it you are in a different frame of mind, you have stored in your memory new experiences, current affairs... your brain has rearranged the look-up tables and your life database accesses a whole other suite of feelings and meanings. Why should the popular cinema directors of today have to produce oeuvres accessible to the lowest common denominator of attention span, subtlety detection, intelligence and patience held by the expected audience? Oh I know, I know it's just market forces and that our western world has reached such a critical mass of attention-deficient, brick-subtle, brick-thick and patient-as-a-six-year-old cinemagoers, that the better films made probably can't pay for themselves without tacking on a trite ending or a voiceover (Mission:Impossible for example - no need for the flashbacks if you were paying attention).

Shawshank Redemption. Best film ever made. Of course, as a geologist, I'm biased.
lewisgirl, Dec 05 2001

       Seconded. Imagine trying to get everything possible out of a film like 'Memento' in just the one viewing. And if you people haven't seen Memento, you really should do. At least twice.
-alx, Dec 05 2001

       I know people who won't watch movies unless they've got a happy ending. And I've spent the past 3 weeks trying to persuade a friend of mine to go see Ghost World, but she keeps asking me every 3 minutes "Does it have ghosts in it? I don't like films with ghosts in it!" despite the fact that the title is a METAPHOR. So (apart from getting Smarter Friends Who Actually Read Film Reviews/Are Open To New Experiences) we need a canonical database that'll contain every fact about a film from a graph of scariness against time, to the happiness or ambiguity of the ending (on a book level another of my friends hated me for weeks when I made her read The Crying Of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, a book with no narrative resolution at the end). Nah, Smarter Friends would be better. (Sorry!)
pottedstu, Dec 05 2001

       theres a website devoted to mistakes in movies- they found a couple in Memento (yes brill film) but you would need a brain like blue to find those errors!   

       Lewis, I love Shawshank too and I don't know my quartz from my fools gold.
po, Dec 05 2001

       [po] - you got a link for that site? Sounds interesting.
-alx, Dec 05 2001

       see link, aix
po, Dec 05 2001

       Hey, Ghostworld! Saw it last week. Excellent movie.   

       <devil's advocate>I'd argue that both plot and theme of a movie or a book should be readily accessible, or at least summarisable (Is that a word? It is now) in no more than a couple of sentences each. Not that all the nuances and subtleties can ever be spelled out completely (because I think with very good fiction, the deeper you go into the details, the more its meaning complexifies). I just think that writers who can't give a clear - albeit abstract and general - answer if questioned about 'what they meant' are basically admitting that they haven't really thought it through. You should certainly be able to summarise a Hollywood movie plot, if you're worth your salt as a writer at all.</devil's advocate>   

       Still, I'd hope these captions wouldn't be inflicted on everyone in the audience. Just those who want to know, //who that guy is, why they just got into the car with the bad guy, etc.// (usually because two minutes ago, when the character was introduced, they were too busy yammering in your ear, asking who some _other_ character was, and why they just got _out_ of the bad guy's car, etc., to pay attention to the bloody movie, goddammit.)
Guy Fox, Dec 05 2001

       Almost sort of kind of baked with the director's commentary soundtracks on DVD. Except the good ones explain things you never even thought needed explaining.
pottedstu, Dec 05 2001

       Once again, I have to agree with pottedstu (this is getting boring 'stu. Can't you say something blatantly stupid for once, just so I can disagree with you?).

On the subject of happy endings, did anyone see the 100 Best Films prog on Channel 4 the other day? There was a great bit in there about Pulp Fiction. Tarantino was talking about what a hard time he had selling the film to the producers (who wanted a happy ending), especially when they found out that the star, John Travolta, got killed halfway through. When he told them that Travolta was alive again at the end of the film they agreed that that *was* a happy ending and the film got made.
DrBob, Dec 05 2001

       "often I can even explain the ending fifteen minutes into the film; my family does not always consider this a service" - yes Peter in fact this should carry a life's sentence with hard labour.
po, Dec 05 2001

       How about implementing this as icons that pop up on screen (as opposed to subtitles)? Flash a little exclamation mark for 'This is relevant to something later in the movie', a little ghost means 'Something scary is about to happen'...
phoenix, Dec 05 2001

       sounds like MTV's Pop-Up Video
lewisgirl, Dec 06 2001

       <waits for someone to post achingly self-referential idea "Pop-up HalfBakery">
hippo, Dec 06 2001

lewisgirl, Dec 06 2001

       Pop-up Halfbakery's already baked. Look at those little names below each annotation and idea. That tells you almost exactly what's inside.
pottedstu, Dec 06 2001

       I like phoenix's idea, if only for family films that small children attend with adults. The moviegoing experience is so total for little kids, and they're so easily scared; a happy little ghost might help warn them about an imminent 'scary scene'.   

       Last weekend, I went to see "Monsters Inc.", and sat next to the five-year-old in my life. There was a scene where the "good" monsters go through a factory tunnel, and the reverberating voices and soundtrack indicated that something creepy was in that tunnel. I suddenly felt this clawlike little hand on my arm; "Is this gonna be the scary part?" she whispered.   

       "I don't know, honey," I told her. "I've never seen this movie before." Up came the other little hand; she held fast until the goofiness began again.   

       So, plot subtitles/icons: yes for children's films, no for the rest of them. Can you imagine plot subtitles for "The Usual Suspects"? Yikes.
1percent, Dec 07 2001

       Personally I'd rather people just be quiet during the film and work it out for themselves. I've generally found that if you don't understand it straight away it's because you're not supposed to just yet. Or possibly that you're a total moron and shouldn't be watching anything more complex than anything starring Barney. Of course I am an advocate of the cinema sniper for every offence from eating a cinema hot dog anywhere near me to rustling popcorn during the whispered bits. Hey there's a good use for the pop-ups - an icon telling everyone to shut the hell up because you're going to have to listen closely to understand the plot loop going on here.
CoolerKing, Dec 08 2001

       How would this idea be implemented with respect to David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" and "Lost Highway?"   

       (later): Many of the best films are designed to subvert linear thinking (see Kurusawa's "Rashomon," Tarkovsky, Kubrick's "2001..." Peter Weir's "Pinic at Hanging Rock," et al.) or at least provoke discussion about what happened. Akin to the unreliable narrator in fiction. Film is a hallucination anyway, and this element of it, to me, represents cinema at its finest. "Explaining" it just isn't the point...
snarfyguy, Dec 08 2001

       Running argument: Is there a difference between a "film" and a "movie?"
bristolz, Dec 08 2001

       I wouldn't call "Gone with the Wind" a movie or " Kevin & Perry go Large" a film.
po, Dec 08 2001

       Thank you UB, that cleared it up for me.
bristolz, Dec 08 2001

       I'd like to see projected film into a pool - 'surface' of still water and surface of pool itself would each reflect image. Occasional bug disturbing surface tension and occasional bat flying in occasionally for occasional bug snack on occasion, whatever the occasional crowd for the occasional film may occasionally be.
thumbwax, Dec 08 2001

       "I am sick to death of movies where the good guy wins, the bad guy has a minor medical ailment to make him seem 'immoral' to the viewer and you can predict the ending. If only life was like that..."   

       "Look, mommy! That short swarthy man keeps accosting the very tall pedantic ex-bouncer! I wish he'd stop!"   

       "Oh no! They're going towards the railing of the pier!"
daruma, Dec 09 2001


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