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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Weird Movie Conventions

1) Why do so few characters in the movies shut the door behind them after entering a house/flat? In real life, I've only seen someone fail to do this if:
a) They are unloading a vehicle into the premises; or
b) the place needs airing out for some reason.

But notice (if you haven't already) how in movies and TV shows this practice is habitual, to the extent that I'd guess the door is left open more often than it is closed. Why would this be? The reason could hardly be to avoid losing time in advancing the plot! The act of swinging the door shut can be accomplished while walking through it.

Does Hollywood have some vested interest in seeing lots of doors ajar?

2) Why does just about no one in the movies exhibit decent table manners? For instance, why does just about everyone in films keep stuffing food in their mouths and then mumbling through the mouthful while having a conversation? Certainly there are people who act that way, but if the intention is realism, then a film ought to depict other characters who don't flout that principle of dining etiquette. However, note that this is almost never the case.

Does Hollywood have some vested interest in promoting poor table manners?

11 comments:

  1. Good observation Gene. I had never consciously recognized that before, but now that you bring it up I think you're right.

    My dad's complaint (along these lines) was that people always let their showers run for a million years in the movies before getting in. He would always demand, "Who the heck takes a shower like that?"

    However, he has a much smaller sample size (presumably) than Gene does for his door remarks. I.e. I don't know how many people my dad has watched take a shower in their homes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dr. Murray Tyson4:06 PM

    Gene,

    Why do so few characters in the movies shut the door behind them after entering a house/flat?

    Do you actually have examples of this from several movies, or are you just, in typcal fashion, shooting from the hip?

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1. Maybe shutting doors messes with the sound equipment, distorting any dialogue that might be happening at the same time?

    Or, alternatively, since many scenes are filmed on artificial sets with fake walls, shutting the door might shake the whole set and mess something up?

    2. We are presumably watching the movie to hear the dialogue, and are less interested in observing the process of eating. But if the director wants to incorporate eating into the scene without giving up precious time for dialogue, presto: bad table manners.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sidney1:06 AM

    Micha,

    This is the most coherent writing you have ever done at this site.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Do you actually have examples of this from several movies, or are you just, in typcal fashion, shooting from the hip?"

    Yes, Murray, this is the big empirical project that has been taking all my time lately, the one you're not aware of. I'm just about to publish my magisterial work, "10,001 Movie Scenes Where a Character Fails to Shut a Door."

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you may be right, Micha.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the backhanded compliment, Sidney!

    ReplyDelete
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