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Little things that would make a movie better

post #1 of 140
Thread Starter 

So, first thread. I've noticed there are a lot of movies that are achingly close to greatness, or are good but with obvious "How could they miss that?" moments. Little things, not stuff that would result in an entirely different movie ("Moonraker would've been so much better if it were about Daniel Craig getting into a lightsaber fight with Voldemort on a hover-train"). So, let's have a thread for that.

 

Grandfathered out: No "No shakycam!"/"Hard R instead of PG-13!" examples unless you're going to get creative. Die Hard 4 being R instead of PG-13 isn't a fun notion on how to improve a movie, it's common sense. But I'd love to hear anyone's reasoning on why The Princess And The Frog would've benefited from an NC-17 rating.

 

And since James Bond is on everyone's mind.

 

  • Goldeneye is a near-perfect Bond movie held back by a score that is simply awful, sucking all the life out of every scene. It sounds like the house music in a nightclub known for its high suicide rate, or an entire movie of Madonna's theme tune for Die Another Day. If anyone else had been on soundtrack duties, I mean anyone, the movie would've been greatly improved. Even the Wu-Tang Clan would've been better.
  • Quantum of Solace has some pretty obvious problems, but I think the most egregious is Strawberry Fields. There's nothing wrong with the actress or the character, but she's pretty obviously only there so Bond can bone someone in a movie where he ostensibly 'doesn't get the girl'. And the character's final fate is just insulting: she's killed off in a silly reference to Goldfinger so Bond, who is already out for revenge for the murder of the love of his life, can now avenge a one-night stand as well. Even the characters in the movie comment on how many women have been fridged for the sake of Bond's man-pain. Speaking for myself, I would've been okay with saying that Bond actually just didn't have sex in the week following his true love's gruesome death.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies was supposed to have Monica Belucci as Carver's wife instead of Teri Hatcher. Nothing against Hatcher, but even Pierce Brosnan called bullshit on that one.
  • Diamonds Are Forever really, really should've ended with Blofeld's final defeat. It also would've been nice if they could've kept the iconic Donald Pleasence in the role after there was so much build-up to him showing up in the first place.

 

Lastly, the example that inspired this thread: The Avengers is a great thrill ride, but it does veer toward goofy-in-a-bad-way whenever this guy shows up.

700

Given that Captain America ended with the Red Skull getting Tesseract'd to parts unknown, how cool would it be if Thanos's lieutenant had been a displaced Nazi supervillain? Instead of Babylon 5 speechifying, Tom Hiddleston and Hugo Weaving getting in each others' grill! You wouldn't even have to have the Skull take place in the invasion at the end (although that would be aces too), just save him for The Avengers 2 or have him pulling some strings for Thanos in Captain America 2.

post #2 of 140

I think Godfather III would have been improved exponentially with original choice Winona Ryder as Corleone's daughter. Granted, my primary memory of GF3 is Sofia Coppola's lousy performance, so it would have probably made a debacle into something more forgettable.

post #3 of 140

Open Range

 

A perfect movie..that overstays it's welcome by a pointlessly strained, unausing, & unnecessary five minute epilogue. The film should've faded out on the image of Costner & Bening in the garden.

 

 

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

 

It's 99.99% perfect but Scott's switching the great, vitriolic, & thematically sound "Fucker" for the lame & obvious "Father" nearly kills the film for me.

post #4 of 140

Sunshine

 

My issues with the odd turn it takes in the third act keep it from being great. Those moments are no more than 5-10 minutes of the overall movie, but it takes me out of the film in a major way. 

post #5 of 140

My love of Sunshine notwithstanding, "the direction of the third act" is pretty much not a little thing.

post #6 of 140

I think it was small because ultimately, it served as a third act obstacle and brief fight scene that lasted only a couple of minutes. I felt the third act could have headed in pretty much the same direction it did, minus those moments.

 

EDIT: To clarify a bit, those moments feel less like a third act turn and more of a brief pit stop.

post #7 of 140

The epilogue in Matchstick Men needs to go, keeping the dark and downbeat ending of the book.
 

post #8 of 140

My main memory of Titanic is Gloria Stuart making that squeaky "Oo!" sound when she dropped the necklace into the ocean.

post #9 of 140

I always felt like the ferry resolution in The Dark Knight came off a tad arbitrary, and Batman's confidence in the outcome really unearned.  I think it would've underlined the themes better if there had been some gesture at making Harvey Dent's example the inspiration for the civilians not blowing up the other boat, rather than just the one guy chickening out.  Even something as simple as an "I Believe in Harvey Dent" poster over his should while he's deciding.  And have Bale's insistence that the Joker's wrong about people be a little more desperate, like he really needs to believe that it's true, but doesn't know.

post #10 of 140

The Avengers

 

A film that I was initially lukewarm on but have come to really love. The "little" thing that's consistantly difficult to deal with is Cap's poorly made, poorly designed costume. The material, the white shoulder things, the "helmet" with ear protectors. Just awful.

post #11 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

I always felt like the ferry resolution in The Dark Knight came off a tad arbitrary, and Batman's confidence in the outcome really unearned.  I think it would've underlined the themes better if there had been some gesture at making Harvey Dent's example the inspiration for the civilians not blowing up the other boat, rather than just the one guy chickening out.  Even something as simple as an "I Believe in Harvey Dent" poster over his should while he's deciding.  And have Bale's insistence that the Joker's wrong about people be a little more desperate, like he really needs to believe that it's true, but doesn't know.

The ferry sequence always bothered me, and I think you nailed why. The only way we really know that Dent served as a symbol is because Batman told us at the end. I get that Batman is supposed to be a voice of the people, but it would be nice to have seen any of those people confirm his assumptions.

post #12 of 140

In Point Break, I think Lori Petty should've bleached her hair blonde.  It would look terrible on her, mind, but it wouldn't feel quite as much like Keanu was doing love scenes with his little brother.

post #13 of 140

Actually, I thought Trinity looked a bit too much like his sister in "The Matrix", too.

post #14 of 140

Monkeys.  There's not a movie ever made that wouldn't have been improved with more monkeys.

post #15 of 140
Little ones, though?  The thread title is very specific.
post #16 of 140

Well, we know that tiny monkeys didn't keep Community or Animal Hospital on the air.

post #17 of 140

The Game

 

Over time, this has become my second favorite Fincher film next to Zodiac. I think people are turned off a bit by the ending, but

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I think it boils down to how Fincher shot Douglas' fall, and how tall the building seems. He's not just jumping off a building, it's shot like he falls off the Sears Tower. I think if shot more realistic, the power of that ending would seem more clear on first viewing.

post #18 of 140

Kiss of Death('95) would have never been a great, but man David Caruso sucks as a tough guy in it. It's got a fantastic cast, but he just sucks the life out of it. He probably could have pulled it off when he was older.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Decade View Post

The Avengers

 

A film that I was initially lukewarm on but have come to really love. The "little" thing that's consistantly difficult to deal with is Cap's poorly made, poorly designed costume. The material, the white shoulder things, the "helmet" with ear protectors. Just awful.


It also makes him look tiny. At least it seems that way, since he still looks huge in other scenes. My main issue is the exposed chin, it just looks silly.
I was also very lukewarm on the score but I like a lot more now.

post #19 of 140

I think Sunshine's third act issue could have been solved if it just had a scene where Gina Davis is tied to a water wheel.

post #20 of 140

The Captain America thing is tough because his outfit does need to be different from, and more artificial than, the rest of the team's. Everyone else wears stuff that's a functional extension of their skill-set or, in the case of Hulk and Thor, just their street-clothes. Cap's garb is explicitly a costume, in line with his duties as a symbol and a role model.

post #21 of 140

Return of the Jedi: Should've gone with Plan A (Less ewoks, more Wookiees)

 

OK, maybe that doesn't really qualify as a small thing, but still...

 

Centurion: Lose the tacked-on love story in the last twenty minutes or so of the film.

 

Batman Begins: If only Maggie Gyllenhaal had been cast as Rachel Dawes from the start. I'd still have issues with the way the character was written, but at least they would've been tempered by a better performance.


Edited by Workyticket - 11/7/12 at 5:07am
post #22 of 140

I'm a Krull fan (yes, I exist) but even I can acknowledge the movie has some flaws. I think my biggest problem with the movie involves the hero's main weapon. It's a great weapon. No, honestly, it's awesome. Look at it!

 

krull_glaive.jpg

 

It bounces off walls and does cool things. Even Jesus uses one to smite his enemies!

 

And the hero does virtually nothing with it apart from at the end where it proves to be virtually ineffective against the main villain. In my opinion, this whole movie would be ten times better if Prince Colwyn had used the glaive a lot more throughout the movie and if it had been utilised a lot better in the conclusion (seriously; screw the whole love fire thing and just throw that pointy star around a lot more). Imagine going to see Star Wars and Luke only uses his lightsaber at the end of the movie, only for it to break?

post #23 of 140

BATMAN BEGINS: That DA character Rachel works for should have been Harvey Dent from the beginning. Maybe then we would have seen a little more Two-Face in TDK, as the character would already have been (partly) established. But then again, it was clear that Nolan was mre interested in Dent than the Face, anyway.

post #24 of 140

On a similar note, the prequels would be significantly stronger if Dooku were introduced in TPM.  Possibly he and Qui-Gonn should've been the same character, but at least have him in the council and funeral scenes.

 

Similarly, I don't know why Grevious wouldn't be Darth Maul.  You don't even lose out on a new toy, but it gives Obi-wan some history with the villain he's chasing around for half the movie

post #25 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

On a similar note, the prequels would be significantly stronger if Dooku were introduced in TPM.  Possibly he and Qui-Gonn should've been the same character, but at least have him in the council and funeral scenes.

 

Similarly, I don't know why Grevious wouldn't be Darth Maul.  You don't even lose out on a new toy, but it gives Obi-wan some history with the villain he's chasing around for half the movie

Yup. Agreed on both; and this is just further evidence that a trilogy needs some sort of rough throughline written out in advance.

post #26 of 140

Prometheus - Charlize Theron is great.  But why is she in this movie again?

 

Just have Weyland running the mission, since his appearance is the lamest attempt at a twist I've ever seen anyway.

post #27 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

Prometheus - Charlize Theron is great.  But why is she in this movie again?

 

Just have Weyland running the mission, since his appearance is the lamest attempt at a twist I've ever seen anyway.

 

Agreed on this. If Weyland had been a member of the expedition from the start, Prometheus would have been a vastly improved film, not one without flaws but one without the most idiotic and poorly telegraphed Lost-style "twist" I've seen in a feature length production in the last couple of years.

post #28 of 140

Plus it spares us the head-scratching manner in which the movie treats her as a hiss-worthy villain even though she acts the most reasonably of anyone in the film.

post #29 of 140
Alien: They keep the monster in the darkness, you get brief glimpses of its nightmare visage in between flashes of strobe light, and it is scary. And then it's blown out of the airlock and suddenly it's just a tall skinny dude in a rubber suit dangling around on a string. Kills it a little bit for me.
post #30 of 140
Thread Starter 

I know Speed Racer is beloved around here, but I think most people would admit it'd be a lot better with less painful attempts at comedy by the kid and the monkey--especially during the villain's main speech. It actually one-ups George Lucas, because even he never had Jar-Jar Binks step on a turd during Qui-Gon's death.

post #31 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by avian View Post

I know Speed Racer is beloved around here, but I think most people would admit it'd be a lot better with less painful attempts at comedy by the kid and the monkey--especially during the villain's main speech. It actually one-ups George Lucas, because even he never had Jar-Jar Binks step on a turd during Qui-Gon's death.

I like Speed Racer, but I agree that the kid and the monkey are horrid. I hate, hate, HAAAATE that final scene where they interrupt the victory kiss. Downright Jar-Jar-ian.

post #32 of 140
I've always thought Peter Jackson missed a great opportunity in the death of King Theoden in Return of the King.

He just shouldn't have projected the guy's death. I've always felt a bigger impact could have been achieved if Theoden was taken out in front of Eowyn's eyes in one sudden surprising swoop, almost like a jump scare and definitely no use of slow motion. It would have heightened the feeling that no character is safe in this final battle.
post #33 of 140
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockley View Post

Alien: They keep the monster in the darkness, you get brief glimpses of its nightmare visage in between flashes of strobe light, and it is scary. And then it's blown out of the airlock and suddenly it's just a tall skinny dude in a rubber suit dangling around on a string. Kills it a little bit for me.


Similarly, what the hell is up with Ripley's panties in that scene? You know the ones I'm talking about.

 

700

 

Maybe it was supposed to add an element of vulnerability or sexuality to the final battle, but those panties are simultaneously the most skimpy and least sexy underthings imaginable. C'mon, Sigourney Weaver is better than a plumber's crack. It's actually ruining Aliens a little to think Ripley had those on all the time under her badass gear.

post #34 of 140

Well, there's that whole rape subtext. The female protagonist at her most vulnerable kinda plays into that.

post #35 of 140
Thread Starter 

I get that, it's just that they picked, like, the most ridiculous panties imaginable and it's so on the nose. "LOOK! SHE'S SEXUALIZED NOW! SHE'S A WOMAN! AND NOW SHE'S GOING TO GET ATTACKED BY A GIANT BLACK PHALLUS WITH ARMS AND LEGS!" Ugh, calm down, Ridley Scott.
 

post #36 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

Prometheus - Charlize Theron is great.  But why is she in this movie again?

 

Just have Weyland running the mission, since his appearance is the lamest attempt at a twist I've ever seen anyway.

 

On that same note, why cast Guy Pierce?  I mean, I like the guy as an actor but I was totally distracted by that horrible old man makeup the second he hit screen.

post #37 of 140

Quote:

Originally Posted by avian View Post

I get that, it's just that they picked, like, the most ridiculous panties imaginable and it's so on the nose. "LOOK! SHE'S SEXUALIZED NOW! SHE'S A WOMAN! AND NOW SHE'S GOING TO GET ATTACKED BY A GIANT BLACK PHALLUS WITH ARMS AND LEGS!" Ugh, calm down, Ridley Scott.

 

Haha, I get ya. The analogy in action is hardly subtle. Still, it's a hot chick in ridiculous future panties. Enjoy the view:)

post #38 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Pathetic View Post

 

On that same note, why cast Guy Pierce?  I mean, I like the guy as an actor but I was totally distracted by that horrible old man makeup the second he hit screen.

 

He was scripted to appear as a young man in a dream sequence or somesuch.  It probably wasn't needed, but without it the whole thing does look kind of dumbfounding.

post #39 of 140

I love me some Guy Pearce but "Old Man Weyland" is one of the worst onscreen performances of the past few years.

post #40 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Pathetic View Post

 

On that same note, why cast Guy Pierce?  I mean, I like the guy as an actor but I was totally distracted by that horrible old man makeup the second he hit screen.

 

He was scripted to appear as a young man in a dream sequence or somesuch.  It probably wasn't needed, but without it the whole thing does look kind of dumbfounding.

 

See also: Winona Ryder, exclusively in old-age makeup for Star Trek. The hell?

post #41 of 140

Battle Royale - What is a great, great movie has one annoying flaw. That the kids tend to shoot each other with about 10,000 bullets. The effect is abit too 'Jackie Chan' for such a sombre film.

 

Paranormal Activity - Cut the last two seconds...

post #42 of 140

STAR TREK 2009: What the fuck was up with that Tyler Perry cameo? I remember the whole theater gasping, "MADEA...!" Distracting as hell in what is otherwise a well-cast film.

post #43 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Love Machine View Post

Battle Royale - What is a great, great movie has one annoying flaw. That the kids tend to shoot each other with about 10,000 bullets. The effect is abit too 'Jackie Chan' for such a sombre film.

I disagree. There is a ton of black humor and satire in in Battle Royale and I think the overload of bullets works for the film. The entire movie is all about being an adolescent and all the heighten emotions that come with high school and puberty. One day a high schooler may fervently wish that their former best friend would die in the most horrible way possible because of a careless comment that has cut them to the bone. The next day they are the "bestest of friends" again and all is forgiven.
post #44 of 140

Speaking of STAR TREK 2009, the casting of Harold as Sulu bugs me to death. Why? Because Sulu's Japanese & Harold is Korean.

 

Lazy casting by JJ "Hey, all Asians look alike, am I right?" Abrams.

post #45 of 140

Is there anything in Sulu's backstory that says "I MUST BE OF JAPANESE DESCENT!" though?

post #46 of 140

The of Japanese descent George Takei having played the fucker for 50 years is reason enough for a little skewed accuracy.

post #47 of 140

Did it bother you that Simon Pegg was not Scottish?

post #48 of 140

Ugh...well, this is going nowhere fast.

post #49 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangy View Post

Sunshine

 

My issues with the odd turn it takes in the third act keep it from being great. Those moments are no more than 5-10 minutes of the overall movie, but it takes me out of the film in a major way. 


I'll take Sunshine over Prometheus any day of the week. I think Sunshine actually pulls off that ending, even if it's not what people were expecting.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by avian View Post

So, first thread. I've noticed there are a lot of movies that are achingly close to greatness, or are good but with obvious "How could they miss that?" moments. Little things, not stuff that would result in an entirely different movie ("Moonraker would've been so much better if it were about Daniel Craig getting into a lightsaber fight with Voldemort on a hover-train"). So, let's have a thread for that.

 

Grandfathered out: No "No shakycam!"/"Hard R instead of PG-13!" examples unless you're going to get creative. Die Hard 4 being R instead of PG-13 isn't a fun notion on how to improve a movie, it's common sense. But I'd love to hear anyone's reasoning on why The Princess And The Frog would've benefited from an NC-17 rating.

 

And since James Bond is on everyone's mind.

 

  • Goldeneye is a near-perfect Bond movie held back by a score that is simply awful, sucking all the life out of every scene. It sounds like the house music in a nightclub known for its high suicide rate, or an entire movie of Madonna's theme tune for Die Another Day. If anyone else had been on soundtrack duties, I mean anyone, the movie would've been greatly improved. Even the Wu-Tang Clan would've been better.
  • Quantum of Solace has some pretty obvious problems, but I think the most egregious is Strawberry Fields. There's nothing wrong with the actress or the character, but she's pretty obviously only there so Bond can bone someone in a movie where he ostensibly 'doesn't get the girl'. And the character's final fate is just insulting: she's killed off in a silly reference to Goldfinger so Bond, who is already out for revenge for the murder of the love of his life, can now avenge a one-night stand as well. Even the characters in the movie comment on how many women have been fridged for the sake of Bond's man-pain. Speaking for myself, I would've been okay with saying that Bond actually just didn't have sex in the week following his true love's gruesome death.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies was supposed to have Monica Belucci as Carver's wife instead of Teri Hatcher. Nothing against Hatcher, but even Pierce Brosnan called bullshit on that one.
  • Diamonds Are Forever really, really should've ended with Blofeld's final defeat. It also would've been nice if they could've kept the iconic Donald Pleasence in the role after there was so much build-up to him showing up in the first place.

 

Lastly, the example that inspired this thread: The Avengers is a great thrill ride, but it does veer toward goofy-in-a-bad-way whenever this guy shows up.

700

Given that Captain America ended with the Red Skull getting Tesseract'd to parts unknown, how cool would it be if Thanos's lieutenant had been a displaced Nazi supervillain? Instead of Babylon 5 speechifying, Tom Hiddleston and Hugo Weaving getting in each others' grill! You wouldn't even have to have the Skull take place in the invasion at the end (although that would be aces too), just save him for The Avengers 2 or have him pulling some strings for Thanos in Captain America 2.

I like Strawberry Fields, but I hate Gemma Arterton. She gave as mannered and artificial a perforamance as I've ever seen. Her character, a consulate worker who gets swept up against her better judgement in Bond's quest for vengeance- to fatal effect.

 

The problem is that while Craig and Mathis are taking part in the best scenes of the film, she's there looking barely human. Imagine how much better the film would have been with a more grounded Fields.

 

I do like her death though. Appropriately unpleasant, clever (to throw the UK and Americans off the trail of the secret water), and serves to set up Bond's awesome final 'fuck you' to Greene.

post #50 of 140

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr Harford View Post

I'll take Sunshine over Prometheus any day of the week. I think Sunshine actually pulls off that ending, even if it's not what people were expecting.

 

It has more to do with how shoe-horned & unnecessary the whole Mark Strong/crazy man bit is. It's almost as if Garland & Boyle didn't have full confidence in what they actually did have, which was The Wages Of Fear...In Space where the Sun and the unpredictable nature of space travel itself are substitutes for dynamite.

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