Tag Archives: steven spielberg

7 Annoying ‘Movie World’ Mistakes

coffee

This seemingly random stock photo will make sense later on in reading this piece.

There’s a blatant continuity error in Jurassic Park that terribly irked my six year old brain. I’ve pointed it out to tons of people in my life, so I might as well publicize it here too. I’m sure it’s already on IMDb, but c’mon, this is my life story here.

When the helicopters are landing to deliver our main characters to their exotic location, there are several shots of the helicopter slowly lowering to the landing pad. It’s a great sequence, but in it is a shot of two jeeps pulling up to a stop, and in the wide shot, the jeeps are already there.

This mistake was very bothersome to me. It also awakened me to the fact that movies are fake, and, that they are made by people.

Later in life, I learned that Spielberg doesn’t care about continuity mistakes and just lets them happen. Scorsese has a similar attitude. In their minds, you should be paying attention to the story, and if a mistake like that ‘takes you out of the movie’, then they have already failed. In other words, if a movie is truly lessened by these errors, how good could it be in the first place? Scorsese just lets his actors go nuts and freely cuts between takes, because he knows that, at the very least, he’s adding to the jaggedness of the scene. And when Spielberg overlooks them, it’s because he’s simply more focused on the story than the amount of coke left in someones glass.

Continuity errors don’t bother me—unless we’re talking Troll 2 or something. Instead what’s always bothered me is the bizarre rules that govern the worlds in movies.

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Smug Film Podcast Episode #3 – Movies That Got Us Into Movies (4/21/14)

movietheaters 1:15:47 | View on iTunes | Download Mp3

On this episode, I am joined by fellow Smug Film contributors John D’Amico and Jenna Ipcar. We discuss the movies that got us into movies, and were our gateway into obsession. As always, we go on tangents along the way, take a quick break for a movie joke by comedian Anthony Kapfer, and then close the show with questions from our mailbag.

If you have a question for the show, leave it in the comments or email us at Podcast@SmugFilm.com.

If you enjoy the podcast, be sure to subscribe on iTunes, and leave a rating and a comment on there as well. Doing this helps us immensely as far as our ranking on there, which is what allows people to be able to discover us. Word of mouth is always best of all though, so spread the word!

Movie Stuff Referenced in this Episode:
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An Interview with Director and Actress Joan Darling, Pioneer of the 70’s

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Joan Darling (bottom left), part of the cast of Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1971-1973)

Joan Darling entered show business as an actress on the New York theater scene in the 1960s, then became a fixture of early 70’s television. In 1974, she made the leap from acting to directing and quickly made history as one of the first and most successful women directors in television. She had an instant knack for it—her debut, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a soap opera parody, has become an enduring cult classic for its dark-edged humor and deep understanding of the desperation and sadness of the American home.

Highlights of her career include a Mary Tyler Moore episode, Chuckles Bites the Dust, which, for its deft tightrope-walk between comedy and pathos, TV Guide calls the greatest television episode ever; a classic M*A*S*H episode, The Nurses, which  revolutionized the way the show portrayed women; and a leading role in an episode of The Psychiatrist, directed by a pre-Jaws, pre-Duel Spielberg.

These days, Joan teaches acting and directing classes at the Sundance Filmmakers Lab. She agreed to a phone interview, and in about an hour, I learned more about the arts of acting and directing than I ever thought possible:
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On Exposition

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There’s a great little story about how on the set of E.T., Spielberg slowly unwrapped a toy off camera to illicit a reaction from the young actor playing Elliott.  I’ve always thought this story was a great way to explain how a filmmaker should approach exposition.  Exposition is the easiest, most fun, and most misunderstood part of storytelling.  But filmic exposition is generally stupid, because people are afraid of it.

Somebody once asked me,  about my 50/50 Rule, “When making a movie, would you pay extra special attention to how it starts, since you lose interest in so many movies so fast?”  The answer is decidedly no, because every frame of a movie is sacred and equally important.  If you treat your entire movie like that, then you don’t need to spend extra attention to any one part of it.  Exposition is too often just underestimated as something that has to be blown through in order to get to the fun stuff.  To counteract this, the indies have bloated their exposition with way too much visual minutiae.  You can build a ‘stark’, ‘oblique’, ‘atmospheric’ world with your story—you don’t need shots that hold too long on a girl as she wistfully puts on makeup.

Jurassic Park is my favorite exercise in exposition, and in a way, the entire movie is exposition.
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Smug Film Podcast Episode #1 – Writing About Film (4/7/14)

writingabout
1:07:12 | View on iTunes | Download Mp3

This is the very first episode of the Smug Film podcast! On this episode, I am joined by fellow Smug Film contributors John D’Amico and Jenna Ipcar. We discuss Matt Zoller Seitz’ article, Please, Critics, Write About the Filmmaking, and what we believe the duties of a film reviewer are. We also go on tangents—from Russian cinema to the ideal usage of DSLR cameras—and to close, we answer questions from our mailbag. Be sure to listen to the very end of the episode for a movie joke by comedian Anthony Kapfer!

If you have a question for the show, leave it in the comments or email us at Podcast@SmugFilm.com.

If you enjoy the podcast, be sure to subscribe on iTunes, and leave a rating and a comment on there as well. Doing this helps us immensely as far as our ranking on there, which is what allows people to be able to discover us. Word of mouth is always best of all though, so spread the word!

Movie Stuff Referenced in this Episode:
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