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Are Movies on Their Way Out? 
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
MGamesCook wrote:
If it can happen weekly, then it can never be definitive and how can the individual moments be as powerful as in a movie? It has to only happen once. You can have violence and action every week, but a certain character can only die once. And that moment where he does die becomes the lore. The Godfather can have any number of killings, but the restaurant scene can only happen one time which is what makes it iconic. With TV, you're chilling out with characters and stories, waiting for things to happen. But with movies, it's just moments that come and go. And the fact that they're fleeting is where a lot of the power comes from.


I agree with parts of your logic, but I think you're (by choice, and that's fine) possibly just misinformed about the best TV. AS you said, "it has to only happen once." But that's no more true or more powerful in a film then it is in a show that uses it usefully. Characters can only be killed once, yes, but again, that's true of any storytelling form.

Let me be clear that I agree with you that MOST shows do abuse and re-use the same forms/tropes/elements endlessly. That's one of many reasons why The Walking Dead is a remarkably shitty show - it never earns its deaths or shocks, and the vast majority of the time viewers are indeed just waiting for something to happen. Same with 24, Dexter, and many others shows.

But a statement like

Quote:
With TV, you're chilling out with characters and stories, waiting for things to happen. But with movies, it's just moments that come and go. And the fact that they're fleeting is where a lot of the power comes from.


just sounds to me like you haven't seen the right TV. I'm not trying to be a dick by saying that, you've made clear that you just don't have interest in TV and that you're not saying it's all crap. As I've said before, I'm hardly Breaking Bad's biggest fan, but I think there is factually not a filler episode among the 60. The show is far from perfect and not everything works, but it's always packed with story (and the big difference with Breaking Bad is that it all serves the purpose of the larger, bigger story -- no silly tangets). That's different than saying that everything works, because it doesn't, but the moments are earned and it doesn't recycle them. The "cliffhangers" that the show employed, which were rare, did two important things: they propelled the story and they didn't cheat. 24, for example, had tons of cliffhangers that meant absolutely nothing and were INSTANTLY resolved, often without explanation. The "big" moments in Breaking Bad were no more or less fleeting than the best movies, and were as powerful as almost any of them. And the shocking moments (which again were thankfully rare) were true to characters and story. Probably my favorite thing about the show is that everything is guessable if you had thought about it the right way.

MGamesCook wrote:
But no story needs 20 or 40 or 60 hours to be told. No character needs that long to be developed. Shakespeare didn't need that long.


If we're going to start comparing things to Billy Shakes (who had more than his share of storytelling issues) we're going to get into a messy discussion. Again, I just think your logic is a bit reductive. Breaking Bad is not one story told over 60 hours (although it kinda seems that way more than any TV show), it's a period of time in the lives of people that has an overall propulsion and direction, but contains many stories. As I said before, it's not just tossing in random things at the characters because it has more direction than that, but that's different than saying it's just one story.

And the idea that no character needs that long to be developed is very much a perspective/opinion and a matter of the medium. One can make a good case that even the best movie characters remain very 2-dimensional and undeveloped, they just seem developed, which is enough for the purpose of most movie storytelling.


Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:28 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
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And the idea that no character needs that long to be developed is very much a perspective/opinion and a matter of the medium. One can make a good case that even the best movie characters remain very 2-dimensional and undeveloped, they just seem developed, which is enough for the purpose of most movie storytelling.


Well, no case needs to be made for this, I agree right off the bat. Feature filmmaking is the art of maximum illusion. Not only is everything illusory to being with, but even the appearance of depth and character development is often an illusion as you suggest. That's another thing I love about it. Perhaps TV is about actually creating a character, whereas film is about the illusion that you've created one? If Bryan Cranston spent a significant portion of his life playing Walter White, then perhaps that character really does come close to existing, in a sense. But with a movie, the number of shots needed to create a character is so comparatively small that it's much more just an illusion that it exists in the first place.


Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:45 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
KWRoss wrote:
I'll give True Detective a shot, since that's only 8 episodes. Plus, I think the next season starts over with new characters, right?

True Detective completes its story. It should be stressed here that there is NO CLIFFHANGER whatsoever - i.e. there is literally zero hook to make you want to watch a hypothetical Season 2... except you will want to watch Season 2 if only to see an insanely high quality production (and who doesn't?). American Horror Story is another TV show that 100% completes a story arc every season. You could watch Season 2 without having seen a second of Season 1 - there is literally no overlap with the exception of ACTORS (not characters) in entirely different roles.


Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:41 am
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
Something that hasn't been pointed out yet: not everyone agrees that Breaking Bad and True Detective and others are so great. I have nothing specific to say since I don't watch either, but I can see that there are plenty of dissenting voices out there for both of those shows. And not everyone watches a sizable about of TV either. A lot of people do. Not everyone.


Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:40 am
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
MGamesCook wrote:
Something that hasn't been pointed out yet: not everyone agrees that Breaking Bad and True Detective and others are so great. I have nothing specific to say since I don't watch either, but I can see that there are plenty of dissenting voices out there for both of those shows. And not everyone watches a sizable about of TV either. A lot of people do. Not everyone.

Yeah, I tried getting into BB and I found that it did not live up to the hype, so I lost interest and stopped caring.


Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:37 am
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
MGamesCook wrote:
Something that hasn't been pointed out yet: not everyone agrees that Breaking Bad and True Detective and others are so great. I have nothing specific to say since I don't watch either, but I can see that there are plenty of dissenting voices out there for both of those shows. And not everyone watches a sizable about of TV either. A lot of people do. Not everyone.


I said several times that Breaking Bad has its flaws, and its detractors, and True Detective has more of both. That's why I said I mostly wanted to stay away from specific examples because there will always be dissenting opinions. No one is claiming that Breaking Bad is perfect or that everyone loves it -- nothing is for everyone.

But I'm not sure what your point is, here. Are you saying that if those shows are the best of TV, then that speaks poorly of the quality of TV since they're not universally loved?


Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:03 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
Shade2 wrote:
Are you saying that if those shows are the best of TV, then that speaks poorly of the quality of TV since they're not universally loved?

Nothing is "universally" loved as far as I know...


Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:34 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
As of this writing, I'm halfway through True Detective. It takes a while to get going, as the first two episodes are mostly setup, but after that, the pace and tension level ratchets up considerably. That raid/shoot-out at the end of the fourth episode, shot in a single take for more than ten minutes, is something to behold.

That said, I still prefer movies overall because more often than not, the story is finished in one sitting. Even multiple-chapter stories don't come with the annoying "last time/next time on ______," the same theme song repeated several times (even though this show's is quite catchy), or awkward, endless cliffhangers. With True Detective, I can understand the need for 8 hours; this is a very densely plotted piece of work that also gives sub-plots to flesh out supporting characters that a movie might not have time for.

It's possible I might have enjoyed it even more had I been following along with first-time viewers instead of playing catch-up. With the former approach, you have just under one hour per week; it's perfectly compartmentalized. With the latter, you're looking up at an eight-hour mountain. With movies, playing catch-up is a lot more fun and efficient because 2 hours is 2 hours, whether you see it on its first run in the theater or years later streaming on Netflix.

One question still remains: if people are raving so much about this show, which deals with incredibly dark subjects like murder, abduction, and sexual violence, why didn't more of those same people see PRISONERS? That movie works in all the same ways.

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Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:24 am
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
KWRoss wrote:
One question still remains: if people are raving so much about this show, which deals with incredibly dark subjects like murder, abduction, and sexual violence, why didn't more of those same people see PRISONERS? That movie works in all the same ways.

True Detective has better CHARACTERS that are examined far deeper than what is normally possible in the limited time frame of a movie. It is the same reason why "the book is (almost always) better than the film" - it's because you can develop characters that you genuinely feel a connection with in a book or TV show a lot more easily than in a film. Films are great for telling a story, but imo they can't compete with TV/books for character development.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:10 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
Just depends on how much you value characters. Personally I don't. I value story and rhythm.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:15 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
MGamesCook wrote:
Just depends on how much you value characters. Personally I don't. I value story and rhythm.

Yeah me too, a lot of the time. But sometimes when the characters are more interesting than the story they are put in, a TV show might be the better medium. True detective is certainly much more about the characters than it is about the story. So is Walking Dead. So is Game of Thrones. Movies are more like the cinematic equivalent of written short stories which are usually all about themes and plot. Seems to me, TV would tend to better suit the full-blown novel that are generally more concerned about the character's interaction/perception/feelings of the situation they are part of. There certainly is a time and place for both.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
I agree with what you say about short stories, many great movies feel that way. But something else that separates film from TV: a deep-seated, almost scientific approach to craft. A Rhythmic approach that's completely incompatible with a square focus just on characters. Movies aren't just literal presentations of characters and incidents. They're operatic, delicate constructions.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:40 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
MGamesCook wrote:
Movies aren't just literal presentations of characters and incidents.

Nothing, aside from maybe a script, is just a literal presentation of characters and incidents. This statement is meaningless.

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Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:01 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
Ken wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Movies aren't just literal presentations of characters and incidents.

Nothing, aside from maybe a script, is just a literal presentation of characters and incidents. This statement is meaningless.


I think your response is what's meaningless. Plenty of movies are exactly what I said; the bad movies.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:22 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
So is this leap beyond the literal presentation something that separates movies from TV, like what you said before, or is it something that separates some movies from other movies, like you're saying now?

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Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:34 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
Ken wrote:
So is this leap beyond the literal presentation something that separates movies from TV, like what you said before, or is it something that separates some movies from other movies, like you're saying now?


It's both, but TV shows can still be good on their own terms. But they can never truly encompass the cinematic side of things.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:40 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
What do you see as fundamentally cinematic, as opposed to things that cinema draws from the larger language of sequential art that also informs TV, comic books, and so on?

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Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
Ken wrote:
What do you see as fundamentally cinematic, as opposed to things that cinema draws from the larger language of sequential art that also informs TV, comic books, and so on?


The specific rhythm and pace of a movie, largely. The immediate impact of it. The fact that you can't choose the rate at which you watch a movie. It dictates the rate to you.


Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:30 pm
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
But a movie is a living breathing thing. It doesn't stand freely from the rest of existence, like some kind of sculpture in hyperspace.

I think you view films too impersonally. You said yourself that you see composition, symmetry, lighting etc as the basis of a film, and even though a number of TV shows do match films in these regards, they can't just be about those things, because when the law of diminishing returns kicks in, the audience wants more.

And this gets me to my point. People bring baggage to their entertainment. Life experience. A song may remind them of a person, a time and a place. In fact, I cast-iron guarantee you yourself have felt this.

And likewise, in films and TV shows, viewers look for their own experiences, situations and metaphors in what they see on screen. Art imitating life - in other words. And I gotta say, this isn't going to change in the foreseeable future. So although you may opine quite honestly that Resident Evil is a superior in some ways piece of technical construction to Gravity, the things that may make it superior in your point of view won't gain traction above the things that viewers (that is to say human beings with baggage and life experiences) will identify with.

You argue your points well, but from a very narrow perspective. The same perspective that could be used to argue that Resident Evil is better than, for example, the Shawshank Redemption. RE may be better lit, more pleasing on the eye in general, smother in its execution. But the people watching these films don't exist in a vacuum outside of real life, and will identify with Shawshank 9 times out 10.

And this is why TV is hurting film. Because film in general is significantly about people, and TV does people very well. Call it empathy, call it voyeurism, call it a cocktail of the two. But it's in our nature. And those mediums that give us the broadest and deepest access into the lives of others (all else being equal) are here to stay.

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Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:45 am
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Post Re: Are Movies on Their Way Out?
MGamesCook wrote:
The specific rhythm and pace of a movie, largely. The immediate impact of it. The fact that you can't choose the rate at which you watch a movie. It dictates the rate to you.


The funny thing is that even though I really like most of the Oscar-contenders/critical darlings released every year (and definitely prefer Gravity to Resident Evil 5), I still find myself agreeing with this statement. I finished True Detective last night, and while I definitely enjoyed it overall, I can't help but feel mildly let down by the final episode. The final confrontation is well-done all right, and the main villain is appropriately menacing, but after 7+ hours of this mystery and these characters (many of whom are very fascinating), I couldn't help but feel like this was a tad anti-climactic. And then that pretentious-as-hell final conversation about light vs darkness.... uh, what? Not to mention that

[Reveal] Spoiler:
the man with the scars is revealed at the end of episode 7, so we have to wait for the protagonists to catch up to us.


I might have liked this more as the climax of a 2-hour movie rather than of a 7.5-hour mini-series. I'm glad I caught up on this show, but it once again reminded me of why I prefer movies more. For some people, the thought of watching a 2.5-hour+ movie in one sitting is a whale of a challenge, but for me, even the longest movies offer tighter pacing than these shows do.

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Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:35 am
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