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Berserker's avatar

Something that happens on TV and movies, what is it? (see details)

Asked by Berserker (33470points) June 5th, 2011

A bit like an inconsistency, but I think there’s another word for it. I’m pretty sure it’s on TV Tropes, but I’m not quite finding it. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about;

In the first Halloween movie, Laurie manages to poke Myers in the eye with a coat hanger, and he passes out. In the second movie, he grabs a nurse’s head and dunks her into a therapeutic bath tub with boiling water. Her face gets all boiled off and it’s all nasty. The thing here is, while Myers is keeping the girl’s head in the water, half of his arm is in there and he doesn’t even flinch. No damage to his arm, either.
So, he can withstand boiling water, but he gets knocked out by a coat hanger? What would one call this sort of loophole/inconsistency?

Another example. In Xena Warrior Princess, Xena is fighting off all these dudes at once, and someone from afar shoots an arrow at her. He’s aiming behind her head. Without even turning around, she catches the arrow in her hand just in time. Yet, in another episode, she’s alone in the woods at night, it’s all silent, and she gets caught off guard by some peasant.
So she can catch arrows in the midst of battle but gets surprised by random normal dudes in the woods? What’s the word for this?
Also, feel free to give your own examples of this situation, should be quite interesting.

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33 Answers

incendiary_dan's avatar

An obvious plot device?

Berserker's avatar

What’s a plot device? Making something work just because, regardless of how little sense it makes when compared to what had previously been established?

TheIntern55's avatar

I think it is just writers who are too lazy to think about continuity.

Berserker's avatar

Well, there could be so many different reasons why this happens. Reasons related to the content of the show, or production…doesn’t matter much, but I really wonder what one calls that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Symbeline Exactly. It’s a lapse in continuity for the sake of making something happen.

Berserker's avatar

@incendiary_dan Aah. So like everything that happens in the last Harry Potter book haha. So, plot device.

AmWiser's avatar

If you look hard enough, there is a blunder, descrepancy, blooper or faux pas, in every movie that is made. If you have ever watched the movie Ben Hur, you will notice that during the chariot race, Ben is wearing a Rolex modern day watch

mazingerz88's avatar

Those are inconsistencies in the form of honest mistakes or just plain reckless carelessness. If you have worked as a crew or played a major part in a naturally highly volatile film shooting you would come to realize there should be more inconsistencies in movies. All I could point out as most occuring are the “sidewalk with extras” scene. You will always notice some people reappearing coming from a different direction just after walking towards another spot. Unless an assistant director pays meticulous attention to the video assist footage to review which extra should not be given another walk through, it’s deja vu time.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@AmWiser Can you provide a link to this fact? I don’t doubt you and am just interested in supporting evidence. It’s the first time I’ve read this.

AmWiser's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer, that is going to take some searching so bear with me I will find it. But I do remember once someone pointing those facts out to me and years ago (lol! this may have been before internet) there was a TV show/station where you could send in any movie or TV show’s descrepancy’s that you noticed. I will ask hubby when he wakes up (might not be until tomorrow) and see if he remembers. I know it sounds far-fetched, but it’s true.

YARNLADY's avatar

@AmWiser @Pied_Pfeffer There is a wealth of internet lore about this.

anartist's avatar

I think you are mixing up two things—continuity errors and lame plot devices/lousy scriptwriting. A continuity error might be if Myers lost his eye in the first movie, but has it back again in the second movie with no explanation—sort of like an actor is wearing a blue t-shirt when a scene is shot of him leaving his date at the restaurant table—the actors and crew knock off for the day and film again the next day—but when the guy emerges from the bathroom he is wearing a red t-shirt. Usually someone is on the production crew just to be a “continuity checker”—

but what you are talking about is just plain dumbness of the script. The non-boiling arm could—with some effort—be written off as superhuman endurance due to adrenaline high . . .but pretty lame.

Berserker's avatar

@anartist Aye, but if he’s so superhuman, why does a coat hanger knock him out lol.

anartist's avatar

@Symbeline lousy lousy grade Z scriptwriters and a market willing to ignore such things.

There was a big fuss about the shadows on one of the worlds in a SDtar Wars flick. The world had 2 suns or something and had shadows cast in two directions sometimes and sometimes not. Or maybe the world just had one sun and the studio setup aimed major lights from 2 directions, I forget . . . but viewers noticed and complained. People were serious aficionados of Star Wars movies.

mazingerz88's avatar

@anartist Or they really meant to say that a monster such as Michael does get hurt when punctured in the eye ( who wouldn’t ) and also he reacted rather defeated after losing something as important as half an eyesight but during the act of killing somebody, he didn’t notice any pain as he was too busy getting his fix? Lol. : )

Berserker's avatar

@mazingerz88 Maybe lol. But despite this, injury should still have shown on his arm.

@anartist Prolly. Carpenter never DID want to make ANY continuity to his first movie. He said so. So he prolly didn’t try too hard, but through contract, was forced to make a sequel. His idea of Myers was probbaly never meant to be supernatural, despite what we know of the killer these days as he’s defined.

anartist's avatar

@mazingerz88 that’s the adrenaline rush I was talking about—caused by the stimulation of killing . .

mazingerz88's avatar

@anartist Right. Or are we just making a genius out of the lackadaisical John Carpenter? : )

anartist's avatar

Was this guy Carpenter [never heard of him] just out to make a super-cheap thriller for an undiscriminating teenage market?

mazingerz88's avatar

@anartist John Carpenter took the same film course and graduated from the film school Spielberg and George Lucas attented if i’m not mistaken. He is a great director for me only because he was indeed a competent cinematic manipulator and he did have a feeling as to which boundaries to cross and not cross at that time in horror cinema, enough to know what could be a hit movie.

He was out to agitate audiences with his cinematic vision ( that is what all young directors seem to want to do, make a mark ) and hit it big after applying them to what is a “cheap thriller”. But the thing is, he had a method to his madness and applied his vision to pay tribute to the cheap thriller genre. He broke new ground with it at the box office and spawned numerous copycats.

anartist's avatar

Going to school with notable talents does not make one a notable talent.

mazingerz88's avatar

See that’s the thing, John Carpenter will never be an Ang Lee but an Ang Lee will never be a John Carpenter. Serious cinema cannot always be entertaining and sometimes “entertainment” is all that matters in film appreciation.

Berserker's avatar

@anartist John Carpenter created Halloween. In his mind, he envisioned suspense, not horror. Watch the first movie and you’ll see. You’ll notice that there’s no gore at all in this. Or barely. That movie was also supposed to originally be called The Babysitter Murders.

However, he didn’t think his movie would be successful, so he signed the contract, going, what the hey. Halloween is a b movie. But the man had an idea in mind. It worked. It wasn’t some gore fest aimed at horror fans. But since it became all successful, he got owned in the long run. Hence the rest of the Halloween series.

Which by the way, I love to no end. My favourite horror franchise, I’m sure some know by now. But I do recognize the facts of its history.

anartist's avatar

@Symbeline I have never been a friend of the whole slasher genre—but in a similar but different vein, I have enjoyed the movies of Val Lewton, which might also have been considered B movies.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Symbeline Oh yeah. I’m sure you maybe right. I saw the docu on him but I just could not recall the exact genesis on it. He was young and he wanted of course to make money so he was pragmatic and chose the horror-suspense route. Horror since his suspense scenes went through the roof in intensity! Spielberg on the other hand showed his brilliant use of the camera with a very early film called, “The Duel”. If you see it, you would recognize his signature wide angle shots perfectly placed to where you would not normally expect the shot to come from. John Carpenter did not even bother so much with finesse, just the raw camera placement needed to capture what’s going on in the screen and with editing, proceeded to shock and jolt the audience. He knew he was not putting oil on canvass. He was puncturing with a knife from behind the canvass.

Berserker's avatar

@mazingerz88 Yeah he was broke, but his idea was novel. He just didn’t think it would work.

I saw Duel, it’s a great, and, actually, very scary movie. :)

mazingerz88's avatar

@Symbeline Well the film in its entirety was “novel” but its foundation was not. After all Carpenter was a film student and most of them studied the works of the Masters like Hitchcock. To me it’s like he just injected acid into what was Psycho, blasted it with a blowtorch and ended up with Halloween.

Re: Duel, who knew a truck by itself would have so much rage against another vehicle? And Spielberg pulled it off.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

All I could point out as most occuring are the “sidewalk with extras” scene. Sweet holy moly. In the movie ”True Believer” with James Wood and Robert Downey Jr. it was blatant in one of the street scenes. They were on the street trying to figure out how the murder went down, and this Asian woman in a light blue jacket must have passed them a dozen times. There was never anything in her hands and she was never out of scene long enough to appear to be shopping; also another Asian female in a long leather coat, could be picked up doing the same thing.

In the X-Files Moulder never seem to have even a disposable camera on him to record the ”fantastic” finding or let anyone know where he was going. And if he happened on a ”discovery” and was ran out by the bad guys, etc he never thought to call the locals stating he was a federal agent and to send a prowl car over there to secure the building or area before the bad guys cleaned out all the evidence.

ucme's avatar

It’s like with zombies, bear with me ya bugger! Whenever we see some unfortunate sucker running for their lives…..zombies in tow, it begs one question. Why, when they’re caught, are they torn limb from limb & basically feasted on? I mean, if that was the case with all the “undead” then their numbers would be so small as to not warrant a second glance.

This is not the case though, hordes of the flesh eating buggers can regularly be seen frolicking about the place, seemingly without a care in the world. Does this mean, they pick & choose their victims? Do they select recruits with due care & attention, therefore deciding their fate with a casual nibble?
Ooh, he looks like a team player, i’ll just take a wee chunk out of his arm!” As opposed to the weak & unworthy souls who are eagerly savaged to death.
This could of course be just me being a fussy fucker, I dunno.

YARNLADY's avatar

When the hero (usually police) finds out something is going to happen across town, he jumps in his car to drive wildly to the scene and save the day. Why not just send a message to dispatch to send the nearest unit?

Berserker's avatar

@mazingerz88 Aye true dat, although I never quite caught on to that, because Myers, in the first flick and as far as we know, doesn’t suffer from Oedipus Complex, or at least some type of element closely resembling that. Whereas, Thomas Hewitt or Jason Voorhees do.
But yeah, the slasher genre is, initially, born of Psycho. (whether or not killers are mamas’ boys)

As for Duel, the man driving the truck, even though you only see his one arm, scares me a lot more than the truck. the truck is really the star, and they picked a good one. But I loved that whole feeling I got in the movie…why would anyone do this? Did this guy snap or something? We never know, and it’s awesome.

@ucme I don’t get what you’re trying to explain. All I can think of about are zombie phases that dictate their actions. (hunt, eat, repose, which is aimless wandering about, start over)
But since that’s not actually explained in any movie I saw, (although I’ve observed this zombie behaviour in the Romero films) you might be on to something. I just don’t really understand it lol.

ucme's avatar

@Symbeline That’s okay, it’ll come to you when you least expect it…bless ;¬}

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