The Big Picture: Plothole Surfers

JakubK666

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daibakuha said:
One of the points in the Patrick (h) Willems video is that people often don't pay close enough attention to things and then complain when they don't make any sense. That's about 90% of the problems people have with The Last Jedi.
But my chief problem with The Last Jedi is that literally everything involving Finn/Rose/Poe/Holdo/Leia is nothing short of a pure idiot plot. The more attention I pay to it, the worse it actually gets.

I don't give a shit about pedantic nitpicks regarding the feasability of FTL ramming or Rey being too powerful too quickly. I do care when the entire two-thirds of the plot is facilitated by one character refusing to divulge even the slightest amount of crucial information with no estabilished reason for them not do so - other than the fact divulging said information would collapse the entire story.

Holdo doesn't owe the recently-demoted Poe a detailed explanation, but the fact Poe isn't just throwing a fit by himself but instead successfully inspires a mass mutiny amongst a sizeable portion of the officers in charge who were also willing to go against Holdo speaks volumes about her failure as a leader. Yet instead of the theme being something about two flawed people trying to do their best and accidentally going against each other due to poor communication, the film is still seemingly trying to sell it as "Poe do a bad, Holdo right and good all along" which straight up doesn't work.

It seems to me they initially came up with two key themes, a fairly comprehensive idea of where they want those characters to end up, and zero clue how to get them there:

1) Subvert the classic archetype of authority-defying bad boy rebel character who says "screw the rules" and saves the day. Instead have Poe be in the wrong and inadvertently put in motion the events that screw everything up.

2) Don't be obvious about Poe doing something genuinely wrong or shady-looking. Don't even hint at it, either. Instead bait-and-switch the audience into fully sympathising with Poe's point of view and purposely paint Holdo as a *****, before pulling a fast one on them.

Plenty of stories have done this kind of stuff before, but in order to do it succesfully you absolutely have to lay out a fair bit of narrative groundwork for the audience to buy into.

I understand what they were trying to do, the themes themselves are pretty excellent, and TLJ gets brownie points for actually trying something like that in the first place, yet at the end of the day they still completely failed narratively. Poe and his fellow mutineers are left looking like a bunch of people making the best choices based on bad information, while Holdo looks hopelessly incompetent.
 

hentropy

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I think this presupposes that people actually did like The Last Jedi due to its themes or whatever but convinced themselves not to like it because of plot holes, real or imagined. To me, The Force Awakens frustrated and angered me more than the prequels, but it wasn't because of plotholes or secret bigotry, I hadn't examined the movie enough to care about plot holes. But bitching about TFA is soooo pre-Trump-as-President, so I'll keep with the nontroversy du jour (spoilers ahoy for TLJ).

I came out of The Last Jedi mixed. I loved the Rey/Luke/Kylo plot thread, weird monster-milking and all, it was great. I enjoyed the Finn/Rose storyline quite a bit and thought it was necessary to change up the setting and tone, and remind us there's a world outside of these two ships.

But then there's the Leia/Poe/Holdo storyline, which felt strange and bad from the beginning to me. Is it because I hate the idea of women in positions of power? Well, no, I wouldn't have minded if Leia castrated Poe on-screen if she was doing it for a good reason. But that's why the whole thing felt wrong, the only thing Poe did that was so terribly wrong was disobey orders, which is something only the Empire would hold as extremely important. Luke couldn't have blown up the Death Star without disobeying his superiors. I was actually excited to see what special plan Holdo was holding from Poe that was going to put him in his place, but it ended up just being a suicide attack that she could have told to the entire crew at any time. Leia/Holdo was asking Poe to blindly follow orders and trust his superiors over his own sense of judgement and morality- something antithetical to the idea of being in a Rebellion, most of us our taught that blindly following orders no matter how cruel/nonsensical is a bad thing.

So am I just nitpicking plotholes? Well, no, this a serious thematic problem in the movie that is to the detriment of the central themes of the film. Rogue One, for its various flaws, was interesting because it portrayed a Rebellion that had to do unsavory things to stay alive, and portrayed some of the very difficult decisions that are posed in war.

At the same time, if someone felt really compelled by that storyline, I'm not going to try to tell them their objectively wrong, just as people want to tell me I'm wrong for liking the space casino.
 

darkrage6

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JakubK666 said:
daibakuha said:
One of the points in the Patrick (h) Willems video is that people often don't pay close enough attention to things and then complain when they don't make any sense. That's about 90% of the problems people have with The Last Jedi.
But my chief problem with The Last Jedi is that literally everything involving Finn/Rose/Poe/Holdo/Leia is nothing short of a pure idiot plot. The more attention I pay to it, the worse it actually gets.

I don't give a shit about pedantic nitpicks regarding the feasability of FTL ramming or Rey being too powerful too quickly. I do care when the entire two-thirds of the plot is facilitated by one character refusing to divulge even the slightest amount of crucial information with no estabilished reason for them not do so - other than the fact divulging said information would collapse the entire story.

Holdo doesn't owe the recently-demoted Poe a detailed explanation, but the fact Poe isn't just throwing a fit by himself but instead successfully inspires a mass mutiny amongst a sizeable portion of the officers in charge who were also willing to go against Holdo speaks volumes about her failure as a leader. Yet instead of the theme being something about two flawed people trying to do their best and accidentally going against each other due to poor communication, the film is still seemingly trying to sell it as "Poe do a bad, Holdo right and good all along" which straight up doesn't work.

It seems to me they initially came up with two key themes, a fairly comprehensive idea of where they want those characters to end up, and zero clue how to get them there:

1) Subvert the classic archetype of authority-defying bad boy rebel character who says "screw the rules" and saves the day. Instead have Poe be in the wrong and inadvertently put in motion the events that screw everything up.

2) Don't be obvious about Poe doing something genuinely wrong or shady-looking. Don't even hint at it, either. Instead bait-and-switch the audience into fully sympathising with Poe's point of view and purposely paint Holdo as a *****, before pulling a fast one on them.

Plenty of stories have done this kind of stuff before, but in order to do it succesfully you absolutely have to lay out a fair bit of narrative groundwork for the audience to buy into.

I understand what they were trying to do, the themes themselves are pretty excellent, and TLJ gets brownie points for actually trying something like that in the first place, yet at the end of the day they still completely failed narratively. Poe and his fellow mutineers are left looking like a bunch of people making the best choices based on bad information, while Holdo looks hopelessly incompetent.
Holdo looked plenty competent to me.
 

Abomination

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JakubK666 said:
I understand what they were trying to do, the themes themselves are pretty excellent, and TLJ gets brownie points for actually trying something like that in the first place, yet at the end of the day they still completely failed narratively. Poe and his fellow mutineers are left looking like a bunch of people making the best choices based on bad information, while Holdo looks hopelessly incompetent.
If Holdo had even once mentioned that she fucked up I think the whole thing would have been far better. Some realization that she TOO was flawed would grant the theme or message they were going for a lot more weight.

Thinking about why he was demoted in the first place... the bombers were already in place. If they had attempted to turn around and run they would have been cut down just the same. At least this way they did some damage on the way out.

Is the theme or message that you should follow orders or understand that the chain of command exits for a reason? Because that was a piss poor way of delivering it.
 

JakubK666

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darkrage6 said:
Holdo looked plenty competent to me.
So competent that she got overthrown by a chunk of her desperate direct subordinates who felt they had reasonable grounds to believe she was incompetent/insane/treasonous, her plan went completely sideways, hundreds of people died, and she was forced to launch a suicide attack.

All of which could have been avoided with almost literally six words - "Poe, I have a plan. Chill.".
 

Canadamus Prime

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I tend to ignore plot holes in films because I go to a movie to be entertained, not to expend my energy picking apart someone's hard work.
 

Alex V.Sharp

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TLJ is not only bad, but it's entirely broken and borderline insulting.

People who actually think this is the best the Star Wars universe has to offer are either a) Uninformed, don't know of KOTOR, Jedi Knight series, or any of the books; b) Give zero shits about the Star Wars universe in general - for them it's just another action film; or c) Have either no standards or no thoughts of their own and just follow the crowd. Watch the pretty light: Boom! 10/10 best film ever! Reviews said so, must be true!

TLJ can burn in hell as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping the downward spiral continues and the property get ruined so much that they regret ever putting their greedy paws on it. China banned it, toy sales are failing, fans left.

The only good thing to come out of this dumpsterfire is that I found out about Mauler and the crew.

I didn't even know 'The Big Picture' returned to Escapist till now. I was actually hoping for something odd and interesting to hear about, something like all the 'comics are weird' or similar. Instead all I got was this piece of... again talking how maybe, just MAYBE TLJ plot and themes aren't so bad? Being disappointed does not even begin to explain how I feel atm...
 

Callate

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Falseprophet said:
No, if you're in the moment, you don't care about the reasons for X and Y. Rather, the film has successfully pulled off its magic trick of making you care about these fictional people (or heavily dramatized real people) in this fictional (or heavily dramatized) situation without stopping to think "why?" or "how?" Any reasons you then come up with later are just rationalizations after the fact, but that doesn't change how you felt in the moment. And the door jokes didn't originate with a bunch of haters who never gave the film a chance--it was an in-joke among the superfans who saw it half-a-dozen in theatre and bought the DVD and knew every detail by heart.
TV Tropes uses the term "Fridge Logic" to describe moments that don't jangle your sense of logic, reason, or continuity until later (e.g., when you're away from the show/movie getting a snack from the refrigerator). The thing of it is, sometimes such contemplation does become like a hanging end that makes the whole sweater unwind, diminishing your memory of the experience- and other times, sometimes on the strength of your pleasure "in the moment", you put the matter aside as inconsequential.

Or you split the difference and come up with a reason why it might not be the problem your querying mind things it is- as in Bob's "shaken up by trauma, half frozen, not thinking clearly" excuse.

I've done this, too. One example is Tim Burton's Batman. I've convinced myself that Vicki Vale realized who Batman was when they exchanged glances in the Batmobile while he was driving her from the museum to the Batcave. But I'm pretty sure that Burton himself has admitted that he simply never made the linking scene where Vale finds out that Wayne is Batman before Alfred just escorts the curiously unsurprised reporter into the Batcave while un-masked Bruce Wayne is working amidst all his gear. Oops.

As far as Titanic goes, it's hard to pin down the origin of a joke, let alone twenty years or so after the release of the movie that inspired it. But I would certainly say that the joke does persist is a testament to the movie's impact and longevity, whatever the original intention.

Callate said:
Arguably it's better for a critic to be nit-picky or adopt an unwarranted pedanticism than for them to be so caught up in a work (and/or whatever attendant buzz/controversy/real-world-parallels follow it) that they cannot produce criticism of value to someone who doesn't see the world in absolute parallel.
To what end? Neither the cineaste nor the average film-goer spares a second thought for the tiny bunch of pendantic never-satisfied nerds whinging about expanded universe/fanon/retconned continuity nitpicks. Which by the way--pot to kettle--is also being "so caught up in a work" but in a tedious, priggish way far fewer people can relate to. And I resemble that remark, I've just become more self-conscious of it over the years. So why should a critic bend over backwards to accommodate them? To alienate the majority of their audience in the attempt to please a minority who's never satisfied anyway? That doesn't make sense for the critic, and frankly nerds shouldn't seek validation for their opinions if they can't be mature enough to take the criticism with the praise.
I should clarify that I didn't mean that net-picky pedanticism is a good thing- "better" in this case is a value judgement not unlike whether it is "better" to be afflicted with bed bugs or lice.

I don't really find harm in things like "Cinema Sins" or "HISHE" or "Honest Trailers" or "Pitch Meeting". Often they're funny; sometimes they bring up interesting points.

But I also don't really think of them as "criticism" in the same way I think of what Siskel and Ebert used to do as criticism. They're their own form. I'd be far more distracted (and irritated) if in the middle of a paragraph about the protagonist's character arc a conventional film critic went off about how a scene used a POV shot when there was no one who could plausibly served as that camera's POV in the scene. The list-makers, I go in girded knowing what to expect. It's a bit like not going into Zero Punctuation not expecting to hear about a game's glorious scenery and stellar voice-over cast.
 

RTR

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Aw, man. I can't think of what to ask when I'm on the spot.

OK, here go a couple ones off the top of my head:

1. Are you gonna do a video on THE VENTURE BROS? (I know you're a big fan).

2. Can we expect a return for INTERMISSION (Your weekly column)?

3. How do you think CAPTAIN MARVEL will tie into AVENGERS 4?

4. That new SPIDER-MAN game seems pretty awesome. Have you played it?

5. What is your favorite pre-comeback memory of working on THE ESCAPIST? Favorite video, column, etc.?
 

tumblingmice

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I'm a big fan of Lindsay Ellis but her rejection of film criticism that focuses on plot structure rather than academics or politics is very obnoxious to me. Of course it's just her opinion but it's really dismissive and harmful to film writers who care about such things specifically. I don't think anyome can say YouMovieSucks is a bad film critic because he cares a lot about films making sense, but that's what the video was implying.
 

darkrage6

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tumblingmice said:
I'm a big fan of Lindsay Ellis but her rejection of film criticism that focuses on plot structure rather than academics or politics is very obnoxious to me. Of course it's just her opinion but it's really dismissive and harmful to film writers who care about such things specifically. I don't think anyome can say YouMovieSucks is a bad film critic because he cares a lot about films making sense, but that's what the video was implying.
She didn't say you could NEVER criticize plot holes, her main point was that that should not be the ONLY reason you criticize a film, you have to balance it out with other criticisms, otherwise it just comes off as being pedantic for the sake of it.
 

darkrage6

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JakubK666 said:
darkrage6 said:
Holdo looked plenty competent to me.
So competent that she got overthrown by a chunk of her desperate direct subordinates who felt they had reasonable grounds to believe she was incompetent/insane/treasonous, her plan went completely sideways, hundreds of people died, and she was forced to launch a suicide attack.

All of which could have been avoided with almost literally six words - "Poe, I have a plan. Chill.".
You are exactly the kind of person Bob was criticizing in the video, the fact that you fail to realize the irony is hilarious to me.
 

Gennadios

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Any movie out there will have critics and analysis videos, but at the end of the fiscal year the only thing that matters is how the majority of viewers feel about the movie. The majority of viewers won't care about the water tension of the door in Titanic because they recognize it as a primarily emotional piece and it was well made. Nobody cares about the historical accuracy of viability of the LOTR castles because the movies genuinely felt like they were set in a different world, accuracy didn't matter.

Nu Star Wars isn't viewed positively. People care about the plot holes because because the movie didn't give the majority of fans anything that they wanted. Akbar's heroic moment was stolen by a character that didn't resonate, and a Mystery Box pushing hack robbed fans of their Han/Luke/Leia reunion to set up a mystery turned disappointment.

Damn straight people are going to look for plot holes in highly anticipated movies that failed to deliver, when something gets broken you look for what went wrong.
 

Batbro9240

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For Q&A: Are you glad that the New 52 wasn't immediately reversed like you'd said when it all started, or would you have rathered it be reversed quickly?
 

Gizen

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Gennadios said:
Nu Star Wars isn't viewed positively.
This is something the internet has to get over itself about. TLJ is viewed extremely positively by the movie going public at large. Just because an extremely vocal minority doesn't like something, doesn't mean the silent majority who can't be bothered to argue over internet forums agrees.
 

kwerboom

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For Q&A: Being as you have done updates of "The Big Picture" episodes like 2013's "Ninetiestalgia Stinks" as 2017's "In Bob We Trust - SHERMAN'S MARCH: THE CRITIC IN 2017", could you do an update of 2011's "In Defense of Nostalgia"? I know it's a weird request but that's one of my favorite "The Big Picture" episodes and you could even slot in a "ThunderCats Go" reference where the "ThunderCats 2011" reference was in the original.
 

WindKnight

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Samtemdo8 said:
Patrick's video became viral because of Mauler's 5 hour long stream criticising it:


Honestly to me this is gonna soon create precendent where everyone are gonna now criticize youtube critic's videos when it comes to movies and tv. Making video responses to other videos.
on the one hand I've never heard of this takedown till now, but I absolutely saw the 'shut up about plot holes' video. On the other hand

... 5 HOURS criticising a 13 minute video?

Five. Full. Hours. That's over TWENTY times as long as the thing their critiquing.

(disclaimer - not actually watched the video (again FIVE HOURS) so if they don't actually spend all that FIVE HOURS on on 13 minute video, feel free to mock me for jumping to conclusions)
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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Windknight said:
on the one hand I've never heard of this takedown till now, but I absolutely saw the 'shut up about plot holes' video. On the other hand

... 5 HOURS criticising a 13 minute video?

Five. Full. Hours. That's over TWENTY times as long as the thing their critiquing.

(disclaimer - not actually watched the video (again FIVE HOURS) so if they don't actually spend all that FIVE HOURS on on 13 minute video, feel free to mock me for jumping to conclusions)
If it is the case, it would be a very unintentional meta statement about that type of compulsive YouTube nitpicky over-analysis it intends to defend, even on top of the fact it is supposed to be criticising the criticism of criticism.
*Sigh* Whatever makes them the money and attention I spose.
 

Pat Hulse

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tumblingmice said:
I'm a big fan of Lindsay Ellis but her rejection of film criticism that focuses on plot structure rather than academics or politics is very obnoxious to me. Of course it's just her opinion but it's really dismissive and harmful to film writers who care about such things specifically. I don't think anyome can say YouMovieSucks is a bad film critic because he cares a lot about films making sense, but that's what the video was implying.
I think the point she was making was less that plot structure (and worrying about plot structure) isn't important, and more that it's not the only thing that matters, and if you make other parts of the movie weaker in service of patching up perceived problems in the plot structure, you'd probably be better off just leaving those problems alone. The "Beauty and the Beast" remake was a great example of this because in almost every case, their pedantic attempts to patch over perceived plot holes only created more problems and hurt the tone and pacing of the film. Hence the recurring phrase, "Thanks, I hate it." Plot holes only matter when they take you out of a movie. If you're only noticing the plot holes because you're already out of the movie, odds are good that something else disengaged you (maybe you were already bored or annoyed or otherwise antipathetic), not the plot hole itself, but as the plot hole is often more tangible and easier to articulate, it's what your brain wants to naturally latch on to as it searches for a reason why you aren't enjoying yourself.

To put it another way, you don't hate "The Phantom Menace" because of Jar-Jar Binks, you hate it for a whole host of other reasons. It's just that Jar-Jar Binks is such an obvious problem that it pretty much speaks for itself. Removing him wouldn't make the movie much better, and if the rest of the movie were actually fantastic, audiences probably would have just ignored Jar-Jar's presence.

Virtually all movies have logic gaps if you're in the mood to look for them. The key is whether or not a movie bores or irritates you enough for you to notice or care.

Every "Star Wars" movie is bad. Every single one. Each movie's enjoyability depends entirely on the viewer's willingness to overlook their inherent silliness and campiness for the sake of whatever that particular movie has to offer them, and if it doesn't have enough to offer, they will just become fixated on the silly parts.

Considering that, it's a mistake to try and make your movie better solely by ironing out logical gaps. That will only give people fewer tangible things to complain about if they disengage. The more worthy focus, therefore, would be to just try and keep the audience engaged by finding more to offer them. None of the "improvements" made to "Beauty and the Beast" offered the audiences more. The movie didn't add any new depth to the characters or the story. They just painted over a few nitpicks.

Sometimes it's important for a story to make sense. If the meaning of a story hinges on a character's behavior seeming logical, then it's very important. Like, "Breaking Bad" is a great example. The entire idea of that show is to demonstrate how an ordinary person can become a monster in a believable way, because we are meant to relate to the character and see how we ourselves could also become monsters under similar circumstances. If Walter acts illogically, therefore, the audience struggles to relate to him, and the entire show's premise is compromised. But not all shows are meant to evoke direct empathy with a flawed protagonist. Sometimes it's just about wallowing in melodrama, as is often the case with soap operas and comic books. In these cases, characters don't necessarily have to behave *logically*, they just have to behave *consistently*. Like, let's even take one of the most cold, logic-driven characters from one of the grittiest comics of all time, Rorschach from "Watchmen" (I'll be vague to avoid spoilers). In the end, the most logical, sensible thing for him to do would have been to keep the truth a secret. He knew what Dr. Manhattan would do if he tried to leave, and he knew he couldn't do anything to hide his intentions from Dr. Manhattan. Even if he disagreed, the best thing to do would have been nothing, because at least then he could still have continued fighting the fight in other ways. But that wouldn't have been consistent with his character. He believed what he believed strongly enough to lay down his life for it, and that's more important than whether or not it makes sense as a thing to do in a vacuum.

And really, that's the biggest problem with nitpicky criticism in general. By its very nature, it's criticism divorced from context. It takes a movie intended to be consumed whole and breaks it up into tiny chunks to be examined on their own terms, when they were never really meant to in the first place. It can be helpful if you are trying to identify symptoms of larger problems present throughout the entire film, but when the entire piece of criticism is just cataloging "problems", then it's utterly useless as a piece of constructive criticism. It can still be entertaining, though.
 

The Great JT

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A plot hole is what happens when a movie breaks its own rules. It is not when the rules lawyer starts complaining to get his way.

For the Q&A:
-Do you have any comic book recommendations?
-Who is your favorite Robot Master in the Mega Man series?
-If you could bring back any extinct species of animal, what would you bring back?
-What fighting game move would you use to finish off your worst enemy?
-Who are your top five favorite wrestlers?