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So I was watching this old movie on TV...

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  #1  
Old 01-27-2013, 11:13 AM
donnaf (Offline)
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Default So I was watching this old movie on TV...


Krull, by the way--a really cheesy, horrible movie that I could barely get thru 5 minutes of watching without making a snarky comment--when it was really driven home to me how important it is to develop characters that a reader/audience can actually care about. (I was fortunate that my DH joined me in my observations or else he'd of been p.o'd at my interupting his television viewing.)

The movie just bounced along, the characters doing what I assume should have been viewed as noble/brave things and I just didn't care about them, even so far as wishing they'd get on with the whole getting killed thing so I wouldn't have to listen to them anymore. There was no attempt on the director's part to develop any of them, not even the hero and heroine. I kept thinking the basic story could have been so much better if a little more effort had been made.

Were all movies from the 80s (this one was circa 1983) that poorly written or is it that over time directors have come to understand the importance of actually having a story worth telling and making the characters something the audience can relate to and grow to care about?

Watching Krull actually made me want to get my current project out and work on developing my characters more fully. Anyone else ever watch a movie or television show so awful it made you have a writing epiphany?

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:14 PM
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The 1980s had some comedies and other films with some beautifully observed characters in my opinion.

Silkwood
9 to 5
Steel Magnolias
Tootsie
ET
Dirty Dancing
Beaches
Jumpin Jack Flash
Color Purple

I watch and read things all the time that are not as good as mine. Just finished reading an autobiography that was gripping in places and dull in others.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:16 PM
donnaf (Offline)
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You named quite a few of my favorites, esp 9 to 5.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:12 AM
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was 'The Big Chill' eighties? or late 70s?

superb movie - either way.

but back to OP. I think directors always have and always will have a target audience in mind. as regards character development - it can go both ways. minimal development, well wrought, can be sublime. and highly developed characters, poorly described can be painful.

incidentally - and with respect - it's 'could have', not 'could of'
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:25 PM
donnaf (Offline)
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Originally Posted by bumhead View Post
was 'The Big Chill' eighties? or late 70s?

superb movie - either way.

but back to OP. I think directors always have and always will have a target audience in mind. as regards character development - it can go both ways. minimal development, well wrought, can be sublime. and highly developed characters, poorly described can be painful.

incidentally - and with respect - it's 'could have', not 'could of'
You're right about that. I guess Krull was just one of those really cheesy movies. I don't think it did well at the box office.

Yeah, I should have read over my post more carefully. A writer should not be so lax about grammer.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:19 PM
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Many people consider the 80's a golden age of a certain kind of film.
I wouldn't try to describe it, but films like
Back To The Future
Lady In Red
Adventures In Babysitting (A GREAT movie)
Ferris Bueler's Day Off

Light comedies with a fresh, family feel, excellent production values, good scripts, offbeat premise, and that readily identifiable 80's pop music sound.
And absolutely, definitely identifable and even iconic characters.

Basically, anything with Elizabeth Shue in it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:22 PM
Lin
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You're definitely on to something about resonant characters, though.
I would say it's not necessary to "like" a character as long as you "care about" them. Think of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lector.

Let me refer you to this mention of that factor by a really great American writer, Lawrence Shames.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/...urence-shames/
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
Many people consider the 80's a golden age of a certain kind of film.
I wouldn't try to describe it, but films like
Back To The Future
Lady In Red
Adventures In Babysitting (A GREAT movie)
Ferris Bueler's Day Off

Light comedies with a fresh, family feel, excellent production values, good scripts, offbeat premise, and that readily identifiable 80's pop music sound.
And absolutely, definitely identifable and even iconic characters.

Basically, anything with Elizabeth Shue in it.
I LOVED Adventures in Babysitting. I bought a copy recently for the kids but they aren't as into it I was. I also liked the Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
You're definitely on to something about resonant characters, though.
I would say it's not necessary to "like" a character as long as you "care about" them. Think of Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lector.

Let me refer you to this mention of that factor by a really great American writer, Lawrence Shames.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/...urence-shames/
I agree, it isn't necessary to "like" a character as long as you "care about" them--or have some interest in what happens to them, even if it's only wanting to see them get their just reward. An Asshole-type character can evoke as strong emotions as one who is easy to love and admire. I've even found myself rooting for the jerk because the hero was so annoying to me.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:15 PM
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How about being indifferent towards a character but albeit find them interesting because they represent not the norms but the best of the best.
I personally never felt any care or even attachment towards any characters. If anything it would have bewilderment that I had shown towards characters in films and that not because of who they are but because of what they could do.
In other words I never have any feelings towards any character because I know they are not real. So the less reality in them the better I see through their persona.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:45 AM
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I've even found myself rooting for the jerk because the hero was so annoying to me.
"Home Alone 2" I was DYING for the robbers to catch Macauley Culkin and bugger his smug little ass.

I also liked the Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.
Two classic examples that slipped my mind. St. Elmos Fire as well.
And more of the 80's gang.
(The only one of the 80'a stars I just couldn't understand WHY he even had a job was Judd Nelson. Many of these people just disappeared after that kind of movie dried up.
Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Emilio Estevez (hey... Repo Man, dude)
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:47 AM
Lin
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Indiffferent to, but interested in?
Here's a suggeestion. If possible.
THINK a minute before posting things that other people might read.
Just a thought. Good writing tip.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:28 AM
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Yeah -- Ferris Bueler is a classic. I was channel surfing not too long ago and came across that scene where Ferris' friend was talking on the phone to the principle in that phony upper class accent. It takes a lot to make me LOL when I'm watching a movie -- but I really cracked up. I was annoyed I couldn't watch the rest of it.

Another really fun movie from the 80's is the first Ghostbusters -- and Caddyshack is right up there -- so goofy. And along that line, National Lampoon's Vacation.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:37 AM
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Caddyshack, unlikely as it may have seemed, is really one of the alltime great pantheon hits. Kind of like Blues Brothers.
(Speaking of unlikeable main characters that we end up pulling for)

Actually, I've yet to see a Rodney Dangerfield film that I didn't laugh out loud at some point. Also seems unlikely, but there it is.

One cool thing about these about films is that they were original, not forumla. There's no template for Caddyshack--except maybe the Marx Brothers. Nothing like Blues Brothers.

BTW, two more 80's films that will stand the test of time, Parenthood--a truly wonderful flick, and not just as a acomedy, either--and Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

Toss in Eddie Murphy flicks and there's another 80's ratpack for you--Saturday Night Live alumni
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:42 AM
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I liked Secret of the Sword (He-Man and She-Ra) it was a film where the story and characterisation made up for the rubbish animation and production values.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:47 AM
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Big Trouble in Little China is still one of my faves, and Blade Runner, oh, and Airplane -- I think a movie session is in order.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:51 AM
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BTW, two more 80's films that will stand the test of time, Parenthood--a truly wonderful flick, and not just as a acomedy, either--and Trains, Planes and Automobiles.
Two really good ones. Trains.. is pretty touching really without going overboard with it.

Really smart comedies with a gentle side, where you care about the people -- something you don't really see now. The Hangover would be the opposite of that, in my opinion.

Makes me want to go back and re-watch some of these. So many movies -- so little time.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:47 AM
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Big Trouble In Little China is a fav of mine. I'm a Russell fan anyway, since he was a little kid.

But that one has a special place in my museum because it was reviewed by a San Diego newspaper idiot (practically an oxymoron there) who complained about its "gratuitious use of special effects".

If a supernatural martial arts action comedy isn't a place for special effects, what the hell is?

I've often wondered,BTW, if Russell's tough guy trucker pose was influenced by the trucker in Tampopo, a wonderful film by Juzo Otami that came out the year before.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:17 PM
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"The Princess Bride"

one of the best flicks on the planet - circa 1987.

"my name is Inigo Montoya. you killed my father. PREPARE TO DIE!"
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:26 PM
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Amadeus
Platoon
Blade Runner
Blue Velvet
RAN
Full Metal Jacket
Das Boot
Spinal Tap
Back to the Future
Kagemusha
Wings of Desire
A Room with a View
Jean de Florette
The Breakfast Club
Moonstruck
Paris, Texas
Witness
Cinema Paradiso
Kaos
The Horse Thief
Flight of the Navigator
The Quiet Earth

sadly, I must leave Apocalypse Now off the list. it was '79
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