Thursday, June 09, 2005


No one sets out to make a bad movie.

They don’t get together, ala The producers, and figure out how to make a movie that’s sure to fail.

So how come so many fail?

They screw up, that’s how.

I was watching a movie yesterday called Vibes. This is a very good half of a movie. A sexy Cindy Lauper (I wish she had made more movies), a good Jeff Goldblum, and a great, scene stealing, incomparable, Peter Falk.

The plot is excellent. Lauper and Goldblum are psychics with superpowers. Falk comes to recruit them to help find a cache of gold in the Ecuadorian mountains.

Falk tells lie after lie but, have you ever tried to deceive a psychic with superpowers? Probably

But they go with him anyway and we are off to a genuine comedy-action-adventure quest with great characters. What could be better than that?

Then they suddenly kill off the Peter Falk character. It wasn’t just downhill after that. That’s the equivalent of sending the movie off a cliff.

What the hell could they have been thinking of?

What a disappointment for the audience. They cut the heart right out of the movie. And probably cost themselves a fortune.

Oh well, life goes on.

There is another movie in which the same thing happens. It’s called Let’s Get Harry. In this one the actor is Robert Duvall.

Duvall plays a mercenary hired to lead a band of amateurs on a quest to rescue a relative in South America.

Duvall’s energy and stage presence carries the movie until they kill him off half way through it.

The scene showing him dead, his sightless eyes staring nowhere, is a perfect metaphor for the remainder of the movie and for all the money invested in it.

Here’s a good rule: Don’t kill off a charismatic character in the middle of a movie. (Duh!)

The plots of both movies followed the adventure formula perfectly until they derailed. Yes there is a formula and it has worked for thousands of years. It goes back to Greek mythology and it is quite simple. The hero is given a quest (underlined above). Usually accompanied by a ‘faithful companion’ the hero descends into the nether world to fight through horrible demons and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. He emerges triumphant on the other side and is given untold wealth and is crowned king of the world.

Now isn’t that simple?

Go thou and do likewise.


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