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Just switch your brain off!


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Isn't it frustrating when you trawl through a film or tv programme rife with plotholes, inconsistencies and outright stupidity - and you prepare a carefully contructed tirade against this crime against celluloid and someone says 'it was fun. I just switched my brain off!'

 

Maybe people just absorb films differently to you. Why can't you just like things you joyless sod. Maybe it's an ability in of itself. Maybe they can teach us how to pull the off cord. Maybe they're all just stupid fucking idiots and don't deserve to watch anything.

 

What are your worst encounters with this phenomenon? What films and telly do you wish you could have done it with, but that pesky brain just stayed running despite your best efforts

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As we were leaving a screening of Dunkirk the other week two fellas in front of us were complaining that one of the spitfires was equipped with cannon. The other moaned that he had spotted a modern TV mast/antenna.

 

I didn't notice either and thus my enjoyment was not impaired/tarnished.

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I think some films just expect you to allow expanded artistic license.

 

The Fast and Furious films are a perfect example where you can enjoy and even allowed a little laughter at the exaggerated action.

 

Same with bitching about too much CGI. I truly believe we are now at a time where good CGI looks absolutely real (maybe not human faces just yet).

Some films benefit totally from it, others need none.

There are films that no amount of CGI can save though.

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3 minutes ago, Benny said:

Amateur film criticism that tries to pick holes in elements that are unimportant from an artistic point of view is usually just as annoying as people who say to switch your brain off.

 

Benny, the authority on the validity of film criticism. 

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I enjoy reading criticism of films both positive and negative. Just turn your braaaain off, is generally used to try and shut down conversation by people who can't actually find a good counterpoint to what's being said. It's that attempt to stifle any attempt at debate that irks me.There's also always an inference that if you didn't hoot and holler at Transformers: Dark Age of the Fallen Knight's Extinction, that you're some Fraiser Crane type who only watches Ingmar Bergman films.

 

Quote

Every year like clockwork. It’s the beginning of the summer movie season and a bad film gets released; while many people complain about how awful this overhyped spectacle was, others inevitably come in and drop pearls of amazing wisdom:


‘It’s fun, don’t overthink it!’

‘Movie X that you love is just as stupid!’

‘You’ve lost touch with your inner five year old!’*

and the kicker

‘You have to turn your brain off!’

It’s that last one that really tweaks me. It’s so lazy, so lowest common denominator… and worst of all, it obliterates all critical thought. There is no difference between ‘You have to turn your brain off to enjoy Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!’ and ‘You have to turn your brain off to enjoy this series of colorful displays and loud noises!’ By taking that side of the debate, not only are you killing all future discussion (there is no actual comeback to that stance in terms of talking about the film – you can only attack the stance itself, which has rendered the film immune to every single possible criticism), you’re murdering the very concept of discernment itself. It’s the equivalent of ‘Phish is really great if you’re totally stoned’ argument; banging on pans is also really great if you’re totally stoned. This argument is just as valid for Epic Movie as it is for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You’ve leveled the playing field with an H-Bomb.

A good storyteller will use magician’s techniques when weaving his tale, especially that of misdirection. A magician will bring your attention away from wherever the illusion is taking place so that you’re looking at his right hand while his left is stuffing a silk handkerchief up a dove’s asshole or something, and that’s the same thing a good action/adventure storyteller should be doing. Steven Spielberg has in the past been a master at this -sure, lots of stuff in Raiders, Temple of Doom and Last Crusade don’t make 100% sense, things happen because they need to happen or because it’s exciting for them to happen, but Spielberg is keeping your eyes on something else so that you’re not paying attention to the narrative trickery required to get characters from place to place or to make an action scene more exciting.

That misdirection happens in the form of strong plot construction, attention to detail and great characters. None of these things are important to turn your brain off crowd though – they don’t care if no one in a film has a personality as long as enough loud moments occur to keep their flat-lining alpha waves comforted. Over the years I’ve seen audience members become more and more lowest common denominator, to the point where basic narrative is no longer of any concern to them. Sure, I understand the metaphor of a movie as a roller coaster, but it’s important to remember that a roller coaster is not a narrative experience. It’s also usually about three minutes long, not two plus hours. 

The time has come to pull the plug on this thinking. Walk into your local theater this summer with your brain proudly turned on.

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4 minutes ago, Benny said:

 

Smitty, the authority on everything and everyone else's opinion and what they are allowed to say in a discussion. Including when they are more knowledgeable than he is.

 

Did you switch your brain off before you wrote this? You're only meant to do it with shitty movies, not constantly y'know. 

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1 minute ago, Smitty said:

 

Did you switch your brain off before you wrote this? You're only meant to do it with shitty movies, not constantly. 

 

I offered an opinion on something in a thread on a specific topic, and you popped up to try and shout it down without giving a counter argument. What was the purpose of your contribution and quoting me other that to rile me? Have I done that to you in some way that has given you an axe to grind?

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1 minute ago, Benny said:

 

I offered an opinion on something in a thread on a specific topic, and you popped up to try and shout it down without giving a counter argument. What was the purpose of your contribution and quoting me other that to rile me? Have I done that to you in some way that has given you an axe to grind?

 

It was to register my distaste with you definitively stating what isn't artistically important, or even just suggesting that it isn't ultimately the audiences assessment of something that matters but artistic intent.

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34 minutes ago, Benny said:

 

Then just fucking say that instead of making a snide remark that adds nothing to the discussion.

 

My remark said everything it needed to. 

 

As for your argument, could you please provide me with a list of people who you do think can rightfully critique movies? 

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36 minutes ago, Benny said:

The artistic intent and audience reaction to it is a collaborative process. 

 

Yeah, it's a collaborative process where they make the movie and then I watch it and say that its shit. You'll notice there's no role for you there.

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In some cases, films that don’t make sense or are inconsistent do annoy me.  But if a movie has other strengths – plot, visual style, elicits strong emotions from me that other movies don’t, etc. – I can happily ignore such shortcomings.

 

For me it’s not about switching my brain off, it’s just enjoying films on my own terms. 

 

I don’t have a huge problem with people critiquing films to the nth degree, but it’s not something I find an enjoyable use of my spare time, so I don’t get involved myself.

 

But yeah, responding to a criticism with "It was fun" or "Just turn your brain off" - pointless IMO.

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1 hour ago, Smitty said:

 

Yeah, it's a collaborative process where they make the movie and then I watch it and say that its shit. You'll notice there's no role for you there.

 

It's a shame you don't have that university education you always say you wished you had, then you might have had the ability to have an academic argument without sniping at people for no real reason or purpose other than to get their backs up. You're staggeringly ignorant on the subject of academic film criticism so I'm going to back away from this discussion now.

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19 minutes ago, Benny said:

 

It's a shame you don't have that university education you always say you wished you had, then you might have had the ability to have an academic argument without sniping at people for no real reason or purpose other than to get their backs up. You're staggeringly ignorant on the subject of academic film criticism so I'm going to back away from this discussion now.

 

Are you seriously beating a hasty retreat to 'you're not a academic'. Jesus Christ, low. 

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7 minutes ago, Smitty said:

 

Are you seriously beating a hasty retreat to 'you're not a academic'. Jesus Christ, low. 

 

I'm just responding to your snide remarks to me in kind, and leaving a discussion you have no intention to have in good faith. Would you like me to say yes, you're not an academic, you therefore have less experience of academic criticism, so trying to have an academic argument with you is too hamstrung by your ignorance? As that is the kind of remark you often make to others if you think you know better. Goodbye.

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1 minute ago, Benny said:

 

I'm just responding to your snide remarks to me in kind, and leaving a discussion you have no intention to have in good faith. Would you like me to say yes, you're not an academic, you therefore have less experience of academic criticism, so trying to have an academic argument with you it's too hamstrung by your ignorance? As that is the kind of remark you make to others if you think you know better. Goodbye.

 

No, you've twice now implied that academics opinions of movies are more worthy than those of mere plebs.

 

You're just further revealing the aloof attitude that I was criticising in my initial post.

 

You haven't tried to have an academic argument with me, so please don't imply you have.

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I despair.

 

How is it not obvious that, when responding to a post which reads:

2 hours ago, Benny said:

Amateur film criticism that tries to pick holes in elements that are unimportant from an artistic point of view is usually just as annoying as people who say to switch your brain off.

 

...that this reply...

2 hours ago, Smitty said:

Benny, the authority on the validity of film criticism. 

 

...is needlessly aggressive and personally-focused, rather than actually addressing or discussing the topic at hand in any way?

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2 minutes ago, Made of Ghosts said:

At this rate switching off my brain will soon no longer be necessary.

 

You don't need to switch your brain on when it comes to movies though - Benny's got his academic one switched on and he's more knowledgeable than you. He'll take the reigns from here.

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