Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why You Never Want to Watch TV or Movies With Me

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It’s the little things that bug me! I was watching TV this weekend. More than usual. I’ve been doing a little remodeling, and after downing 600mg. of generic Ibuprofen, I settled down to listen to my bones calcify and turn on the TV. And, IMHO, there’s nothing on. At least nothing that I might really enjoy watching. But, my kids and I have this rating system, and one of the ratings is “A movie I would watch only if I were in a full body cast and couldn’t reach the remote”. This one may qualify…

I’d never seen Robocop III. I liked Robocop, but the sequel, II, was pretty bad. I wasn’t even aware that they’d made a third one. Peter Weller was missing from the cast. I thought the fact that he had to go through pretty much the entire first movie with just his mouth and jaw showing to convey emotion was pretty cool.

Anyway, they get some Peter Weller lookalike to reprise the role. Plot spoiler alert: Towards the end of the movie, he flies. That’s different. But, unfortunately, the point in the movie that really caught my attention was a couple of boneheaded mistakes by the writers/director. According to the story, Robocop is more machine than man. He is heavily armored to withstand bullets, mortars and rocket fire. At one point in the movie, he is doused with gasoline and set on fire. Why this didn’t burn his unarmored face off, I’m really not quite sure! (See what I mean?)

Then Robocop is down in some sewer helping his friends escape the evil bad guys, and he’s running out of energy. He collapses. Great! How are they going to get this heavily armored piece of machinery out of there? He must weigh a ton! No problem! Two guys, a woman and a little girl pick him up and carry him into an adjoining space. Actually, the little girl was more hanging on him than carrying him. Now, that might work if Robocop was merely an actor in a plastic costume, but these people didn’t even pretend to break a sweat. There went what little suspension of disbelief there was for me!

And then, there was this episode of Law and Order (I think). I stopped watching L&O when it became more of a platform for every liberal cause célèbre than for entertainment. At the beginning of the episode, we see a body. Some SYT (sweet young thing) lies on the floor and pretends to be dead. No big deal. SYTs do it all the time looking for their big show biz break! Now, I’m not sure if this particular SYT fell asleep while waiting for her close up, but you can see this twitching around her eyelids. A second close up confirmed that this corpse definitely had Rapid Eye Movement! What was she thinking?

I must confess, that spotting continuity glitches and the like are sometimes more entertaining than the shows themselves. I saw one movie where the bad guy holding and firing a gun was alternately holding a revolver or a semiautomatic pistol from one moment to the next. I like looking for car chases where a car loses a hubcap or a side mirror which miraculously reattaches itself in the next shot. Or the good guy that takes a bullet through the thigh or shoulder who is sprinting and wrestling the bad guy mere hours later. And whenever I see a scene where a car is making or about to make some dramatic turn, I look to see if there are already skid marks on the street where it was done in earlier takes or rehearsal. This also works in Westerns, where if you can sometimes see wagon tracks or hoof prints where supposedly no one had gone before.

In that respect, my TV viewing did not disappoint me, and full disclosure, I generally multitask, watching the TV next to my computer, so my time is not entirely wasted. Well, on TV anyway!

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