I love movies. Period. Being able to open myself to a whole new world and perspective in a grandiose adventure is one of my absolute favorite pass times, and I could do it until the day I die. Embarking on new journeys with a cast of characters I grow to love, while looking forward to what’s in store next is a feeling that simply cannot be created by anything else.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all movies are good. Those who have seen films like Fantastic Four (2015), The Last Airbender, and anything made by Michael Bay know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the sad truth of films that while there are people who put years of passion into what they do, there are others who do not. Because for every Transformers or After Earth, there’s a Pulp Fiction or The Avengers just around the corner.
However, what if I told you that even the good movies slip up many times? What if I told you that there were mistakes that not only the bad movies made, but the good ones did too? You might call me crazy, but after decades of watching films, I’ve began to notice the same mistakes in them over and over again. Does it make them bad films? Absolutely not! But you can’t deny that it’s annoying to see the same mistakes made movie after movie.
Here are 10 big mistakes that every movie makes. There will be a few exceptions to some of these points, so just keep that in mind.
10. Bad or Cheesy Dialogue
I understand that dialogue is difficult to write. But honestly, it makes it very difficult to take a film seriously when you have lines like, “it’s like looking in a mirror. Only not.” (Face/Off).
This problem is much more prevalent in terrible movies, which makes it easy to ignore when we watch a refreshingly good film. Nonetheless, they’re still existent, even in cult classics like The Lord of the Rings. If you still don’t believe me, watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
9. Gaping Plot Holes
Plot holes are some of the most aggravating things that have ever happened to movies, yet somehow, they pop up in just every movie to date. Think of the Disney film, Aladdin. The sultan forces Jasmine to marry a prince at a certain age because those are the rules. However, when she falls for Aladdin, the sultan evokes the rules just because “he’s the sultan.” So why then would he force Jasmine to still be married at a certain age even if she didn’t want to? Plot holes, people. Nothing is more annoying than plot holes.
8. Romance Subplot
Romance films are excused from this, because that’s what their movies are about. However, when you have an intense action film, a kids’ film, or even a Transformers film, that is frustrating. Having a love interest in movies like that doesn’t progress or enhance the story, it actually takes screen time away from what we went to the theater for in the first place. The Hobbit did it, Transformers beat it over our heads, and even How to Train Your Dragon shoehorned it in. Romance is not necessary to make a story interesting, but directors find it important enough to keep thrusting it anyways.
7. Main Character Invincibility
Die Hard is a prime example of this. It’s a fantastic film, but nearly everything Bruce Willis did in it should have killed him. Making the main character immune to death makes the entire experience feel much less real. What’s even more annoying is how when a hero is captured by the villain, the villain always monologues or takes forever to kill him. Just snap the hero’s neck already and be done with it! Directors, stop making the main character invincible. We want to identify with them. Make them slip up, make them get hurt, make them die even. Just stop making them impervious to everything.
6. Heavy CGI
Honestly, very few times have I ever seen a movie with CGI that really needed it to be there. It feels like producers don’t want to go to the trouble of hiring a makeup artist or have to get all the necessary pieces to make it happen. The end result is something that looks incredibly fake. It might look okay at the time, but in a few years, it instantly looks old. Using CGI isn’t the issue, making it look good is the issue. Take a look at characters like Gollum, Rocket Raccoon, and even Optimus Prime (despite my hatred for the Transformers movies).
5. Misleading or Revealing Trailers
Trailers are easily the best marketing ploys that film companies have. An audience is introduced to a movie’s concept by a trailer, and that will either peak their interest or drive them away. Because of how important getting a trailer right is, a lot of companies have trailers that either make the movie look way different than what it actually is (i.e. Bolt), or reveal a key plot point to try and sell an audience over early (i.e. How to Train Your Dragon 2). Either way, both of these strategies ultimately hurt the film in the long run. In my opinion, the best trailers show the outline of the film, while still leaving a lot of details a mystery.
4. Unnecessary Jokes
Surprisingly, comedy films are probably the biggest offenders for this movie mistake. To try and get audiences laughing as an attempt to engage them more is something nearly every film tries to do these days. While sometimes there are some genuinely funny moments that I would more than recommend, there is always that one joke or two that didn’t need to be there, and left me shaking my head more than dying of laughter. The worst jokes by far are fart/poop jokes. They’re just a cheap copout to try and get little kids to giggle.
3. Mary Sue
A Mary Sue (or Gary Stu for males) refers to a character who is somehow good at everything they do so much that you never really feel any danger for them. Legolas in The Lord of the Rings, Eggsie in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Rey in The Force Awakens, the list goes on and on. While it may serve as a means of showing how awesome a character can be, it’s really quite frustrating, especially when the Mary Sue is the main character. The tension ultimately leaves when those characters are present because we don’t worry about them. They’re too great at everything to lose their lives so easily.
2. Underwhelming Plot Twist
There are two films I’ve seen in my lifetime that had good plot twists: The Empire Strikes Back and The Sixth Sense. Since then, movies have tried to replicate plot twists with the same kind of impact, and none have even come close. Iron Man 3, The Village, Oblivion, etc. All that the twists end up doing is reducing the impact and tension of the film instead of enhancing it. If movies stopped trying to have plot twists that are remembered as well as the Darth Vader reveal, then maybe they might start becoming good.
1. Deus Ex Machina
Literally translated as “God from the machine”, Deus Ex Machina is when a seemingly unsolvable problem is somehow solved by the inclusion of a new character, event, or act of nature. This is easily the biggest mistake movies make today. Every film does it. Every single one. The eagles in The Lord of the Rings, Hulk controlling his anger in The Avengers, I could go on. Unlike bad plot twists, Deus Ex Machina doesn’t decrease tension; it kills it entirely. There are ways around struggles other than having something enter at the last second to save the day.