By Troi Watts
Good movies seem hard to find in today’s theater line-up. With Hollywood dishing out so many movies to make a quick buck, it can be torture finding out which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t. So, take my advice and watch out for movies that have these five fatal flaws:
- Cliché Plot Lines
Cliché plot lines are a suspense killer to any movie, especially in mysteries and thrillers. There are some things that have been done so many times that people expect them any time they are hinted at. For example, when a young, blonde nanny who works for a married couple is involved in a movie, it’s expected that the nanny is having an affair with the husband. This specific cliché has been beaten to death by detective shows and dramas. Other cliché plots include: having a Romeo-and-Juliet situation, a daughter rebelling against the mother, the culprit being someone on the inside, and many more!
Example: The Girl on the Train (2016)
- Cliffhanger Endings for Movies Without Sequels
All stories are told for a reason; their plots all work toward a goal. It gives audiences a sense of satisfaction when they feel like the movie had a point, even if the movie was fictional. That satisfaction is stolen when movies end in cliffhangers. It makes audiences think, “Wait, what? We just sat through this whole story and it all meant nothing?!” This is most definitely a fatal flaw if the movie does not have a sequel. Then the audience is left forever wondering what was going to happen. For movies with sequels in the works, cliffhangers can build suspense and excitement. Hopefully, the sequel isn’t too far away though, because a negative effect of that delay can be that too many theories about the movie are discussed, which leads to spoilers and the audience losing interest in the series.
Example: Daybreakers (2009)
- Too Many Cuts/A Lot of Rapid Motion
Filmmakers shoot scenes with purpose. They want audiences to look at something specific, so that’s what they show in a shot. But what happens when the filmmakers want to show multiple things to the audience and can’t decide what to focus on? They use cuts to flip between the important subjects or they move the action rapidly around the screen. This becomes a major problem because the audience doesn’t know what to focus on or can’t keep up with the blur of motion happening. This can lead to confusion, disinterest, and headaches, which all ruin a movie.
Example: Opening of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Too Many Trailers
The main appeal of movies is suspense and anticipation. Audiences want to be thrilled and surprised by what screenwriters and filmmakers create. If they already knew what was going to happen, they wouldn’t go see the movie. Trailers are supposed to give audiences a little taste of what the movie will be like. They’re meant to get the audience pumped up! This purpose is totally contradicted when four or five trailers are released, with each trailer showing new information and scenes. Too much of the storyline ends up getting released and audiences can piece the story and action together themselves. This makes the movie anticlimactic when it’s finally seen! No surprise = no excitement. You end up just sitting there and watching a movie go through its motions.
Example: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
- Too Many Sequels
You have to remember that film studios are looking to make money. So when they find a movie that is super successful and makes them lots of money, they want to keep it going. They assume that another movie in the same world will bring in just as much, if not more, money. And thus, sequels are born. Then, trilogies are created. Then, a fourth movie… it can start to get out of hand. This is a problem because Hollywood will try to lengthen movies by adding fluff storylines and introducing new elements. All of that can start to make a story confusing, resulting in too much going on to keep straight. Other times, audiences will just be thinking one thing: LET IT END.
Example: The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014)
*Sidenote: Not every movie that has these traits is necessarily terrible. For example, the Harry Potter franchise has eight movies and is still considered phenomenal. Use this as a general guide to your movies, but not the main deciding factor.