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Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound 
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Post Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
I liked Looper a good deal. I'm betting most people whose names don't rhyme with ShmickShmamesSmook did too. But you gotta admit, a premise as out-there as Looper's doesn't really lend itself to scrutiny. So let's scrutinize it! Any nags, nitpicks, and complaints you have can go here so as not to detract from higher-level discussion of the film elsewhere.

So for me...

Time travel is not the same as spatial travel. So how does Bruce Willis get put into a time machine in Shanghai and end up in Kansas? Are there ports all over the world that shoot people to 2044 Kansas? How the hell does that work? Why Kansas? Did Jeff Daniels somehow jigger every time machine portal to end up in his city? Explanation needed!

Jeff Daniels makes a point about how he can't kill Paul Dano because it doesn't work like that, but then JGL shoots himself and Bruce Willis vanishes within a couple of seconds. I guess...it does work like that?

Noah Segan is waiting for Bruce Willis in Piper Perabo's kid's bedroom. Why? He says he knew Bruce Willis would return to his old girlfriend's house. So why wait in the kid's room? Why would Bruce go in there?

What do you guys have?

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Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:32 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Yeah, I think the time-travel aspect definitely should've been explained better, JGL killing himself might be an effective shock ending, but when you actually stop and think about it, it contradicts the film's internal logic.

For me one of the best time-travel films was the direct to video film Retroactive, it had a lot of great ideas and while it may have been confusing at times, the time-travel aspect was mostly executed without too many logic lapses and was highly compelling, and it only had one-tenth of Looper's budget.


Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:53 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
JamesKunz wrote:
Time travel is not the same as spatial travel. So how does Bruce Willis get put into a time machine in Shanghai and end up in Kansas? Are there ports all over the world that shoot people to 2044 Kansas? How the hell does that work? Why Kansas? Did Jeff Daniels somehow jigger every time machine portal to end up in his city? Explanation needed!


Are we 100% sure that the time machine is in Shanghai? It could be that they picked him up there and dragged him back to Kansas. I don't know, but I don't recall it being explicit that they were still in Shanghai... Either that or the time machine also does spatial travel. And why Kansas? Why not Kansas?

JamesKunz wrote:
Jeff Daniels makes a point about how he can't kill Paul Dano because it doesn't work like that, but then JGL shoots himself and Bruce Willis vanishes within a couple of seconds. I guess...it does work like that?


Ok, so assume time-travel works on the whole parallel timeline logic (which I assume it does, since old Joe killed himself in his timeline). Then that means... Fuck it, I tried to think about it and it just gave me a headache. I'll just assume that Jeff Daniels didn't want to take unnecessary risks that could mess up the future for his criminal organisation. JGL wanted to change the future, not preserve it, so he took the risk, and it payed off (at least on a thematic level). The movie specifically states that time travel is not important, and it functions more to portray the movie's themes than hold up under scrutiny.

JamesKunz wrote:
Noah Segan is waiting for Bruce Willis in Piper Perabo's kid's bedroom. Why? He says he knew Bruce Willis would return to his old girlfriend's house. So why wait in the kid's room? Why would Bruce go in there?


I just assumed that Noah Segan was hiding there, waiting for a opportunity to catch Willis by surprise. I think he was just lucky that Willis intended to go to kid's bedroom.

I think the biggest credibility stretch for me was the fact that the Rainmaker, who could have been anyone in the entire world, just happened to be growing up in Kansas, where the movie takes place. And one of the potential Rainmakers just happens to be Piper Perabo's kid. Guess it's a small world.

But none of that really matters for me, since the film is more interested in ideas. It's rare to get a good science fiction film these days, and even rarer to have one that uses the science as a way of exploring its themes in unique and intelligent manner.


Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:15 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
But none of that really matters for me, since the film is more interested in ideas. It's rare to get a good science fiction film these days, and even rarer to have one that uses the science as a way of exploring its themes in unique and intelligent manner.


Oh I agree completely. Hence me calling this the nitpick thread.

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Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:24 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
JamesKunz wrote:
Time travel is not the same as spatial travel.


Says you. I don’t think there’s anything too crazy in having the machines send people back exactly 30 years to a specific location. We’re already talking about a completely ridiculous concept; I don’t think adding spatial travel changes things that drastically.

But yes, I think you’re exactly right; the time machines were designed to send people back to Kansas in 2044 because that was deemed an ideal time and place to set up an operation. Maybe it’s due to the limits of what they can achieve with their time/space travel machine, maybe they’re worried about sending them back too far because of the effect it could have on the current timeline. I know the film could have spent a bit of time explaining why it was deemed as such, but I get the sense that Rian wanted to limit the amount of narration he had, else he’d end up with a Nolan-esque level of explaining. I think its all stuff we’re just supposed to just accept, and that’s okay by me.

JamesKunz wrote:
Jeff Daniels makes a point about how he can't kill Paul Dano because it doesn't work like that, but then JGL shoots himself and Bruce Willis vanishes within a couple of seconds. I guess...it does work like that?


I think the point he’s trying to make is that doing it like that could cause problems in the future, which is why they work by such a strict system. Not that it wouldn’t actually work like that.

And that’s why I think it causes problems with the whole limb removal thing, since that seems like it could have a pretty drastic effect on future events. That seen is really visceral, and I think it does a great job at showing the lengths Jeff Daniels crew will go to keeping things the way they are; but it seems really reckless with how strict they’re supposed to be.

JamesKunz wrote:
Noah Segan is waiting for Bruce Willis in Piper Perabo's kid's bedroom. Why? He says he knew Bruce Willis would return to his old girlfriend's house. So why wait in the kid's room? Why would Bruce go in there?


Convenience for the plot? Yeah, I got nothing for this one. It might make sense for him to choose the kid’s room as a place to hide, but I don’t think he should be expecting Bruce to go in there. Having her child being one of the three kids is also really convenient.

Vexer wrote:
JGL killing himself might be an effective shock ending, but when you actually stop and think about it, it contradicts the film's internal logic.


I think it’s perfectly in line with the film’s logic. They repeatedly set up that hurting a person in the present effects the person from the future. So yeah, JGL killing himself works fine for me.


Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:40 pm
Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Alfred Hitchcock would hate this thread.


Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:56 am
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
AJR wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Time travel is not the same as spatial travel.


Says you. I don’t think there’s anything too crazy in having the machines send people back exactly 30 years to a specific location. We’re already talking about a completely ridiculous concept; I don’t think adding spatial travel changes things that drastically.
.


Oh come on! People have not only invented time travel but also teleportation and they don't even mention it! All I need is a line of dialogue or (clumsy) voiceover

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Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
I wanna know why you guys aren't nit-picking Twilight the same way you are Looper!

Sparkling vampires my ass! ;-)


Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:14 am
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
mrguinness wrote:
I wanna know why you guys aren't nit-picking Twilight the same way you are Looper!

Sparkling vampires my ass! ;-)



Who takes the Twilight movies even remotely seriously except pre-teen girls?

A much better example to discuss time travel and alternate timelines compared to Looper would be Man in Black III, no? I didn't even mention the Back to the Future trilogy. Oh well, now I did....


Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:38 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Alright, I still haven't had this explained in any kind of satisfactory way, so here goes:

I think we've established that this movie adheres to Terminator rules of time travel. You can go back, but not forward. So how does JGL, or anyone, know where their targets are going to show up so they can shoot them?

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:26 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Alright, I still haven't had this explained in any kind of satisfactory way, so here goes:

I think we've established that this movie adheres to Terminator rules of time travel. You can go back, but not forward. So how does JGL, or anyone, know where their targets are going to show up so they can shoot them?


I assumed Abe received messages from the future, at a predetermined pickup place. So the messages are sent back to Abe, who knows where to collect them, and he gives the Loopers the time and place. We see JGL in the movie pick up a slip of paper with a time on it.


Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Alright, I still haven't had this explained in any kind of satisfactory way, so here goes:

I think we've established that this movie adheres to Terminator rules of time travel. You can go back, but not forward. So how does JGL, or anyone, know where their targets are going to show up so they can shoot them?


The people in the future have time machines. They can send the time and place information to the loopers, or they can send it to Abe and he can forward it. The one time we know of that they screwed up was because Old Joe took his assailants out then sent himself back, and you'll notice he arrived several minutes late, reflecting the length of the fight.

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:17 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Why is it that time travel movies like Looper get picked apart because of perceived plot holes dealing with the mechanics of time travel but something like Midnight in Paris doesn't? Neither film really attempts to explain the science behind the time travel and both use the concept of time for thematic purposes. Yet, Woody Allen's film was accepted as the fantasy it was intended to be and Rian Johnson's movie gets the standard "let's pick it apart" treatment.

It just doesn't add up. If we're suspending our disbelief enough to accept that time travel is a given in a film's world, then why try to pick apart something the movie doesn't attempt to explain in any detail?


Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:03 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
PeachyPete wrote:
Why is it that time travel movies like Looper get picked apart because of perceived plot holes dealing with the mechanics of time travel but something like Midnight in Paris doesn't? Neither film really attempts to explain the science behind the time travel and both use the concept of time for thematic purposes. Yet, Woody Allen's film was accepted as the fantasy it was intended to be and Rian Johnson's movie gets the standard "let's pick it apart" treatment.

It just doesn't add up. If we're suspending our disbelief enough to accept that time travel is a given in a film's world, then why try to pick apart something the movie doesn't attempt to explain in any detail?


Well I think that movies like Looper are done in a style which suggests that exact scientific mechanics are behind the schemes and decisions of the charcters. Not unlike the Terminator movies as mentioned by sexy choc. Midnight in Paris is a fantasy and a "love letter" to Paris. Any scientist or even expository dialog (say: the protagonist has a scientist friend and would ask questions) - simply would throw you out of the atmosphere; the magic would be lost. There is a film called Somewhere in Time which I remember faintly, where the Christopher Reeve character "wills" himself into the past. That's even more of a stretch - but since it's an unpretentious romantic fantasy I am willing to take it as such. I think as soon as a movie establishes the fact that time travel and its mechanics are truly scientific (as opposed to supernatural) and complex, need to be treated with utmost care to avoid paradoxes, and crucial to the plot (they cannot be replaced as hallucination or dreaming), we can and should ask questions, inluding action comedies like the Back to the Future trilogy, since Doc Emmett Brown provides tons of explanations and exposition, even using (almost to) scale models.

I also think that people in Looper cannot travel into the future in the year 2044 because the time machine hasn't ben invented yet and they don't take any device with them which could transport them into the future. Men in Black III solves this with a small mechanical device. Very implausible, but so is the entire movie. It's so "anything goes" in style, that it is hard to pick apart, but it would be very intersting reading someone analysing everything in this particular flick.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:51 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
Threeperf35 wrote:
I think as soon as a movie establishes the fact that time travel and its mechanics are truly scientific (as opposed to supernatural) and complex, need to be treated with utmost care to avoid paradoxes, and crucial to the plot (they cannot be replaced as hallucination or dreaming), we can and should ask questions, inluding action comedies like the Back to the Future trilogy, since Doc Emmett Brown provides tons of explanations and exposition, even using (almost to) scale models.


But why? Why do we need to start asking questions? It's not like Looper tries to explain how time travel was invented (in fact, the movie explicitly states that it doesn't matter), it just exists in its world. These scientific questions aren't things the movie is interested in, and attempting to answer them doesn't have anything to do with the movie. To insist the movie should deal with these things is being needlessly pedantic.

I mean, a machine that sends someone back in time 30 years and being at a certain spot in Paris at midnight every night are essentially the same plot device.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:17 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
PeachyPete wrote:
Threeperf35 wrote:
I think as soon as a movie establishes the fact that time travel and its mechanics are truly scientific (as opposed to supernatural) and complex, need to be treated with utmost care to avoid paradoxes, and crucial to the plot (they cannot be replaced as hallucination or dreaming), we can and should ask questions, inluding action comedies like the Back to the Future trilogy, since Doc Emmett Brown provides tons of explanations and exposition, even using (almost to) scale models.


But why? Why do we need to start asking questions? It's not like Looper tries to explain how time travel was invented (in fact, the movie explicitly states that it doesn't matter), it just exists in its world. These scientific questions aren't things the movie is interested in, and attempting to answer them doesn't have anything to do with the movie. To insist the movie should deal with these things is being needlessly pedantic.

I mean, a machine that sends someone back in time 30 years and being at a certain spot in Paris at midnight every night are essentially the same plot device.


My point is: we don't need to ask these questions but in certain movies we should assume that time travel is possible solely through scientific means. In other movies it can be replaced (or interpreted as a metaphor) by the supernatural or even the good old "it was all a dream" premise.
Being pedantic about time travel movies who go to great length waving it into the plot, is just a hobby - it isn't a necessity.

Are you pedantic about Jacob's Ladder? If not, why not?
I am a pedantic hairsplitter by nature. I am mainly an orchestrator/arranger and only pedantic hairsplitters come up with professional results. Intuition (=trust your ears) is a necessity and doesn't even need to be mentioned. One thing doesn't rule out the other. It is the same as a cinematographer studying the great painters and trying to recreate that look as opposed to just throwing white light at everything (think 60s/ 70s). Is it really necessary? Do people really notice? Perhaps not, but trying to fid out the very DNA of any book/film/music/poem.... is so much fun and besides making us human it is an achievement. If you only do what is really necessary, you could as well be a robot.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:10 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
PeachyPete wrote:
Why is it that time travel movies like Looper get picked apart because of perceived plot holes dealing with the mechanics of time travel but something like Midnight in Paris doesn't? Neither film really attempts to explain the science behind the time travel and both use the concept of time for thematic purposes. Yet, Woody Allen's film was accepted as the fantasy it was intended to be and Rian Johnson's movie gets the standard "let's pick it apart" treatment.

It just doesn't add up. If we're suspending our disbelief enough to accept that time travel is a given in a film's world, then why try to pick apart something the movie doesn't attempt to explain in any detail?


Oh come on. Midnight in Paris pretty much sets up from the get-go that Paris is a magical city where magical shit happens. Looper has a voiceover narrator explaining things to us matter-of-factly. You know there's a difference

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Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:02 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
JamesKunz wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
Why is it that time travel movies like Looper get picked apart because of perceived plot holes dealing with the mechanics of time travel but something like Midnight in Paris doesn't? Neither film really attempts to explain the science behind the time travel and both use the concept of time for thematic purposes. Yet, Woody Allen's film was accepted as the fantasy it was intended to be and Rian Johnson's movie gets the standard "let's pick it apart" treatment.

It just doesn't add up. If we're suspending our disbelief enough to accept that time travel is a given in a film's world, then why try to pick apart something the movie doesn't attempt to explain in any detail?


Oh come on. Midnight in Paris pretty much sets up from the get-go that Paris is a magical city where magical shit happens. Looper has a voiceover narrator explaining things to us matter-of-factly. You know there's a difference


They're very different films, for sure. I just don't see that value it picking apart the nuts and bolts of the time travel when the movie never claims to have figured it out scientifically. Threeperf saying it's a hobby and not a necessity is a good enough explanation for me.

I just don't think the movie should be judged on whether or not the time travel aspect holds up to scrutiny. You can say this is simply a nitpick thread, and that's fine. However, I think it says quite a bit that in both this thread and the film's own thread in the reviews section the only thing people seem interested in is the plausibility and logic behind the time travel in the film. It seems like these nitpicks have become the movie in a lot of people's minds. That's a shame, but so is Jayson Werth not being called out on strikes earlier today...oh wait, no it's not! It is a shame the Nats don't have Strasburg, though. Those boys from St. Louis would have already been sent packing. :D


Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:04 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
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I liked Looper a good deal. I'm betting most people whose names don't rhyme with ShmickShmamesSmook did too.


I haven't seen Looper and don't plan to, so seeing all this fanboy love is refreshingly unprovocative for me. Nobody gets pissed off this way, either; not a bad deal.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:21 pm
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Post Re: Looper Nitpick/Plot Hole Thread -- Spoilers Abound
PeachyPete wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
Why is it that time travel movies like Looper get picked apart because of perceived plot holes dealing with the mechanics of time travel but something like Midnight in Paris doesn't? Neither film really attempts to explain the science behind the time travel and both use the concept of time for thematic purposes. Yet, Woody Allen's film was accepted as the fantasy it was intended to be and Rian Johnson's movie gets the standard "let's pick it apart" treatment.

It just doesn't add up. If we're suspending our disbelief enough to accept that time travel is a given in a film's world, then why try to pick apart something the movie doesn't attempt to explain in any detail?


Oh come on. Midnight in Paris pretty much sets up from the get-go that Paris is a magical city where magical shit happens. Looper has a voiceover narrator explaining things to us matter-of-factly. You know there's a difference


They're very different films, for sure. I just don't see that value it picking apart the nuts and bolts of the time travel when the movie never claims to have figured it out scientifically. Threeperf saying it's a hobby and not a necessity is a good enough explanation for me.

I just don't think the movie should be judged on whether or not the time travel aspect holds up to scrutiny. You can say this is simply a nitpick thread, and that's fine. However, I think it says quite a bit that in both this thread and the film's own thread in the reviews section the only thing people seem interested in is the plausibility and logic behind the time travel in the film. It seems like these nitpicks have become the movie in a lot of people's minds. That's a shame,


All movies' premises should hold up under some model of internal consistency. This is essential for storytelling. If you're a filmmaker and you tell me that every person now has the ability to teleport, that's fine, as long as you don't then claim that the hero can't do so at a crucial third act moment. So it's natural that we look at Looper's rules and chafe at a lack of explanation.

However, with all that said, I gave the movie 3.5 stars and created a separate thread so that nitpicks wouldn't detract from high-level discussion

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Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:25 pm
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