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Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:06 pm UTC
by freezeblade
(Moved from "The worst film you've ever seen" thread, as it was mentioned this would be a good starter post for it by ST)

Background: in preparation for watching "The Disaster Artist," I watched "The Room" again with the wife, who had never seen it before. She has since dubbed it the worst film she has ever seen, and I fully admit to not being able to stomach it again sober (thus I watched it very un-sober). We have been watching the excellent netflix show "mindhunter," and this context, combined with my state of mind, produced the following head-canon and personal theory for the horribleness/strangeness of "The Room."

This all began with Mindhunter, which if you don't know, follows an FBI team in the 70s-80s as it grapples with what it means to be a sociopath, and it's implications, motivation, and how they interact with society (good or bad, and especially as it relates to serial killers). Part of this is describing how sociopaths have a hard time (or just cannot) understand typical "social interaction" or motivation in the same way as most members of society, mainly emulating what they see as "polite interaction" it to get or integrate with society. Musing on the strange dialog and interactions in this movie led to the conclusion that the actor/director/writer may in fact be one of these people.

Combine this with the strangeness of the secretive director's background, the huge funding, and the theory that this movie is all a big money-laundering scheme, and you get the following theory (which is likely not true, but is my own personal headcanon):

TW moved to San Fransisco (been shown on publicly available documents) where he worked many odd jobs, and ended up running a business in the tourist zone (fisherman's wharf) selling jackets and Levi's irregular jeans (again, public knowledge). This business was a front for some form of illicit business, which made plenty of money that needed to eventually be laundered (pretty common for mostly-cash businesses in that sort of area). Somewhere around this time, TW had a close brush with death (car accident, reported by the actor who played "Mark" in The Room), and decided he needed to "get out of the game." He begin taking acting workshops (This is where he met Mark).

At this point, either TW, or some "organization" he knew realized that the movie industry is a huge money-pit, small indie movies especially, and is a possible vehicle for money laundering. TW sets out to make a movie for the purpose of making a flop as cheaply as possible, yet inexplicably spends an inordinate amount of money to produce (using self or associate-owned subcontractor shell companies as much as possible):

- Self-written script (no hiring outside writers)
- Shoot on a cheap, purpose-built set instead of on location. Set is rented for far above market value, built by another subcontractor (again, built cheaply as possible, but paid lots of money on paper)
- Buy all equipment instead of renting (Easier to cover up that equipment was bought for far more money that it was worth)
- Spend as little other money as possible (no-name actors or friends, no craft services*, make actors provide their own clothes**, etc.)
- Put only a token effort to promotion (One billboard was run, and initially film only showed for two weeks at a few theaters in Southern California)

As for the movie/scrip weirdness itself, this can be explained by the previously mentioned mental state of the writer/director/actor. TW seems to have based the script partially off of personal experience, which was edited, embellished, and translated though his understanding of the people and society around him. The main character is written in a way that the writer extrapolates an upstanding American upper middle class citizen would behave (Throwing a football around constantly, work at a bank, being a favorite customer to local businesses, meet in coffee shops to talk with friends, paying school tuition for Denny).

Laura is possibly based on an ex, who possibly cheated on TW, or someone he knew. As the writer cannot properly prescribe meaning or motive to others, his perception is that Laura just becomes an evil succubus. The character of Mark is very similar in his role-reversal, from professed "best friend" to an uncaring person who just wants to get his rocks off, and only becomes more ok with the situation as the movie progresses. To the writer there is no grey area of complication or emotion, only "good" and "evil/bad." This is because the writer does not understand other's emotions, motives, or loyalty dynamics.

The dialog is stilted and awkward, lacking what most would call logical conversation flow. The writer knows where these conversations should end up (to coincide with pre-determined plot points, such as asking about Mark's sex life, Lisa's mother's cancer, the "interesting story" of how Johnny and Lisa met, or the flower shop scene), but has no idea how the typical person would approach these subjects, as he does not understand the flow of conversation, or the emotion/motives in the "lead up" parts. Along these same lines, TW knows that people "show emotions" due to seeing them do so in movies/other media. Even the the possibly most emotion-filled moment in The Room is an example case; the "You're tearing me apart Lisa!" line, is actually TW doing an impression of James Dean from "Rebel Without A Cause." TW does not understand these expressed emotions, but parrots sayings such as "it will be alright" and "oh hi [name]" as his as seen these as socially acceptable conversation points.

Now that TW has left the game (and now legitimately independently wealthy), he now has all the free time in the world to do such stunts and showing up to nearly every major showing of The Room to answer questions and see his fans.

I admit that parts are relatively conspiracy-theory-ish but to my substance-fueled mind, made perfect sense, and I still think it does!

*Craft Services is listed as some form of fast food in the credits
**Anecdote about the actor playing the Drug Dealer getting yelled at by TW for requesting replacements for his damaged shoes. TW had required that the actor provide his own shoes for the scene.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:13 am UTC
by Grop
Today (or yesterday really, as it is late in my time zone) I watched À bout de souffle, a movie from 1960, with a friend.

This movie is super sexist, like in your face sexism. The main male character is always telling his girlfriend to shut up and undress. In the end we couldn't tell if this movie was about sexism or just showing "normal sexism from the 60s". (However since I am an optimistic person I suppose they wanted to make a movie about sexism).

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:13 am UTC
by Ginger
Sansa's married forcefully to another abusive man! He was all like, "You must be ladylike and show respect to your husband on his wedding night by giving up your hotness and lady parts right meow woman!" And she was all shy and stuff. They talked about the previous man she was married to and I liked him way better: Tyrion Lannister. Now there's a man that can treat Sansa right. None of that undressing for your husbando because you're his housewaifu and he owns your hotness sexy body now. Seriously that show can be a beast for me to watch. And Daenaerys's relationship with Khal Drogo at first? Forced sexy times aren't fun Mr. Khal Drogo. Respect the Queen of your peoples!

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:01 pm UTC
by Grop
That was quite harsh. It is sort of interesting to point that in the middle ages women would be married against their will (or they would just agree because that would be necessary to their survival). And that it still happens in many countries.

However that kind of content would belong in a horror movie, or in a noir movie. Something you watch while knowing that you will see people who suffer. GOT is aimed at a large audience, which is quite awkward (although to be fair it showed from the beginning that it would feature violence). For your information the books are even worse in that regard.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:32 pm UTC
by Ginger
Never reading those books unless I want bulimia nightmares. And I identify heavily with both Sansa and Daenaerys. They're both trying to be women of their own wants and needs but then different things get in the way. For Sansa it's abusive men she's forcefully married to against her will. For Daenaerys it's like armies of opposing cities and stuff? But then Daenaerys just has her dragon children eat them I assume. Sansa is forced only to rely on her ladylike charm and etiquette and hot sexiness body that all her men want apparently.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:52 pm UTC
by Grop
I watched A Ghost Story today. It's fun times, indie movies come here with such a lag that I could download them instead of going to the theater.

In this movie someone delivers a long speach to his drinking friends. I think this conversation would be impossible to have in real life. Someone drunk would do something silly, or a phone would ring, or the kids would wake up. Even if there was no external interruption, at some point someone would interrupt their friend to say something witty.

Quite a sad movie. In the theater I mostly watch painful movies, because I wouldn't be patient enough to watch them at home.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:23 pm UTC
by Liri
Those sweat stains under his arms were so good. I got the impression the people at the table didn't know each other especially well, so they let the monologuist continue.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:15 pm UTC
by Grop
That might make sense if they didn't really know him, that they would let him have his talk. That person asks a few very personal questions and I didn't notice that. Also we don't really know

Spoiler:
What year that is, which might exclude cell phones. And that weird frame -almost square with round edges- feels like the eighties, alghough it wouldn't make sense that everything happens in the same decade.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:45 am UTC
by Ginger
I wish Lord Theon Greyjoy would remember that he's a fucking noble boy and not let Lord Bolton treat him like his slave. I fucking hate the "Reek" nonsense. I wished Theon not Reek would have stabbed Lord Bolton's junk while he was (censoring) Sansa on their wedding night. Like totally icky.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:55 am UTC
by cephalopod9
I have trouble taking Game of Thrones seriously, and I sort of can't tell how seriously the show takes itself.

How often does Cersei Lannister cut her hair? It's been like, 3 years since she had her head shaved, and she's still pretty committed to that terrible bob.


I keep thinking about a potential alternate timeline where Zack Snyder got to make a Heavy Metal movie, instead of being put behind the wheel of terrible Superman, and making myself sad.


It's on the verge of giving me a headache that we had "TJL" and "TLJ" a few months apart.


What's going on with Will Smith's projects? Does it benefit his family in some way to set a large pile of money on fire? His son's animated, vanity project(?) seems to have a character (??) design based on a Damien Hirst piece, ?
It's like something made up for a gag about spending too much money.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:02 am UTC
by Ginger
cephalopod9 wrote:I have trouble taking Game of Thrones seriously, and I sort of can't tell how seriously the show takes itself.

How often does Cersei Lannister cut her hair? It's been like, 3 years since she had her head shaved, and she's still pretty committed to that terrible bob.

I don't think noble women even cut their own hair off. So she'd probably make a servant girl do it. I take that show pretty seriously but it's a bit too dark sometimes. Like they're attempting very much to gross you out. Like all the kinky/unwanted/forced sex, siblings having sex, murder, wars and people killing their parents and girlfriends. Wacky stuff.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:54 pm UTC
by Kewangji
Fleeting thought/question: Why is it that I can immediately tell from a few seconds of glancing at something on TV whether it is a movie or a TV-show?

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:48 pm UTC
by freezeblade
Kewangji wrote:Fleeting thought/question: Why is it that I can immediately tell from a few seconds of glancing at something on TV whether it is a movie or a TV-show?


Frame rate? TV shows are usually 30 frames a second, Movies are still around 24, those extra frames give TV that "sitcom" look (it's too smooth!).

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:19 pm UTC
by Grop
Is a tv show even framed like a movie these days? (I wouldn't know as I don't have a tv; generally from a few seconds of glancing at a tv it doesn't look good).

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:23 pm UTC
by Kewangji
Aha. That makes sense as an explanation, thank you freezeblade!

Grop: like ... the dimension of the screen? Are movies wider? I know on certain TVs there are black lines above and below, but most TVs that I notice these things on tend to not have that. I guess they adjust to fit the screen, either by zooming or warping the dimensions ... maybe that's it, too.

I once saw a movie with higher [something] than usual (som Jack Black comedy, I think? He was given a curse that made him not see people's weight, or something) and I was convinced it was animated rather than filmed.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:54 am UTC
by commodorejohn
Yeah, framerate is a dead giveaway. It's also part of why "motion smoothing" on fancy HDTVs mostly just makes movies feel like cheap public-access TV shows. Color balance used to be a noticeable factor as well (at least in NTSC territory, dunno about PAL,) but these days half of everything is color-graded into the same orange-'n-teal pseudo-monochrome anyway regardless of whether it's on the big screen or not.

Grop wrote:Is a tv show even framed like a movie these days? (I wouldn't know as I don't have a tv; generally from a few seconds of glancing at a tv it doesn't look good).

It probably varies from show to show, but I haven't noticed a significant break in the "rules" of television shot composition from the days of 4:3 broadcasting. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:20 am UTC
by speising
Another clue is depth of field. TV shows usually have large DoF, while movies play with it more.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:02 pm UTC
by Kewangji
I'm learning so much!

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:22 pm UTC
by Zohar
Ugh, yet another case of Bury Your Gays in a show I really enjoyed. It's very frustrating. I guess we'll see where it goes from there.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:22 pm UTC
by Raidri
Zohar wrote:Ugh, yet another case of Bury Your Gays in a show I really enjoyed. It's very frustrating. I guess we'll see where it goes from there.

Which show are you talking about?

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:46 pm UTC
by Zohar
Spoilered because spoiler, of course. It's on CBS, if that helps people determine if they care about that a lot or not.
Spoiler:
Star Trek: Discovery. And I bet you their partner is going to be blamed for the murder next episode.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:55 pm UTC
by eSOANEM
Yeah, I had a similar thought.

Spoiler:
One of my friends did point out to me though that, unlike a lot of other shows, killing almost any character hits at least one problematic trope. Like, the only major (presumed) straight white man's Lorca and him dying is way too major to pull outside a finale.


Idk, I'm still kinda worried

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:05 pm UTC
by Zohar
Maybe people should just not use this sort of thing anymore for character development.

Re: Fleeting Thoughts: Movie and TV Shows

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:30 am UTC
by cephalopod9
Ginger wrote:
cephalopod9 wrote:I have trouble taking Game of Thrones seriously, and I sort of can't tell how seriously the show takes itself.

How often does Cersei Lannister cut her hair? It's been like, 3 years since she had her head shaved, and she's still pretty committed to that terrible bob.

I don't think noble women even cut their own hair off. So she'd probably make a servant girl do it.

this scenario you're describing would make me want to watch the show more than anything else that's happened in at least 3 seasons.

I also think a lot about how almost everything bad that happens, happens because no one was ever nice to Cersei Lannister. Legit if instead of Ned Stark
Spoiler:
confronting her about her infidelity and threatening her
Cersei Lannister had a Sassy Gay Friend..
King's Landing could be a democracy at this point.
Kewangji wrote:Fleeting thought/question: Why is it that I can immediately tell from a few seconds of glancing at something on TV whether it is a movie or a TV-show?

How does that apply to streaming content?
I think there's a lot of subtle differences in the "language" of film for a theater or tv screen viewing.
...I was going to talk about camera movements and differences in stages and location shooting, but I don't actually know that much of the vocabulary and instead I'm reading internet accounts of unfinished widescreen video being shown to audiences.