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What makes a movie boring?


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#1 hal0000

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:54 PM

This topic came up on .org a few years back and after reading clyde and L's thoughts in the Akerman Eclipse thread (which make me worried) and seeing several (mostly) uninteresting Herzog movies, I figured I'd ask: What makes a movie boring to you? And is boring bad?






My own thoughts:

I usually consider myself bored if I feel the need to start checking my email while the movie's playing, if I press eject the moment credits roll, or start glancing back and forth at the timer and the run time on the DVD case.

First, I don't think what makes a movie boring has very much to do with length or pacing (they are ancillary at most); Lawrence of Arabia, Gone with the Wind, and La Belle Noiseuse have commanding lengths, yet I hardly found myself bored or wishing they would end. I used to think a slow pace made me bored, but now I'm not so sure. You can't say a lot happens in La Belle Noiseuse, but I was engrossed with the atmosphere and pacing of the movie; they were fundamental parts of what made the movie work, I think. Jeanne Dielman, too, is a movie that fascinated me; the slow, quiet pace and solitude felt oddly... comforting? I can't say I'll ever see Jeanne Dielman or La Belle Noiseuse again, but they never bored me, and I firmly consider Belle among my favorite movies.

I think what makes me bored, more than anything else, is a failure to connect on an emotional level, whether it be with characters, the atmosphere, or the attitude of the filmmakers themselves. I recently gave away my Lord of the Rings movies because I couldn't stomach another viewing. They emote, but in a typical and almost synthetic sense; the emotions feel too rehearsed. I think there's a difference between an emotional movie and a movie that emotes. I've also really lost my taste for cold indifference, I suppose, which is so prevalent in stuff like The White Ribbon, A Clockwork Orange, Fitzcarraldo, Reservoir Dogs or 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days--none of which I find either interesting or emotionally stirring.

To answer the second question, I think any movie that fails to engage you probably isn't good, so yes; for me, a boring movie isn't a good one.

#2 Lawrence

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

For me it's definitely about connecting with the film (or not). Some directors I admire but I feel absolutely no connection with - Godard is one of the most famous for me. I like what he does with film structure and his playfulness is something I find fascinating but I never find myself able to connect on any emotional level with his films. They leave me a bit cold. But then again they don't bore me so maybe all of the above is wrong.

I think the thing that really bores me is predictability, that has me checking how long is left of a film or even drifting off to make a cup of tea without pausing the film. I really hate having to turn a film off since that is the ultimate it must have been awful test.

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#3 clydefro

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 10:06 PM

I get bored with predictability. This is why action movies tend to not hold the same appeal for me as they do for seemingly most red-blooded American males. A poorly-directed action scene (and that must be 90% of what comes out now) makes me mentally wander off. I dislike explosions or chases or computer-generated anything just for the sake of it. I zone out. Movies can be art but, first and foremost, I think they should be entertainment which engages.

There are other problems I tend to have with experimental works but some of that is a lack of context and a major change in how we view things now versus at the time of these works' creation.

#4 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:01 PM

I get bored with predictability. This is why action movies tend to not hold the same appeal for me as they do for seemingly most red-blooded American males. A poorly-directed action scene (and that must be 90% of what comes out now) makes me mentally wander off. I dislike explosions or chases or computer-generated anything just for the sake of it. I zone out. ...


As an understatement: I've watched many action films. Even directors I like quite a bit have difficulty in pulling off a decent to good action or fight sequence (Christopher Nolan). One of the worst influences on action has been the Bourne Series with the third being the most uninteresting in terms of fight and action. The fight was basically a pose off between two, camera shaked viciously and Bourne was victorious. David Bordwell has talked quite a bit about this influence in shaky-cam, quick edits and various artifices comprising modern day (post-Bourne) action. But this influence has annoyed me severely.

This does not mean there was not a horrific amount of bad action (and scenes) films previously. There is not much more "boring" when a fight scene is shown with a master shot and the actors or stunt doubles do not know what they are doing.

In dealing with predictability: romantic comedies seem to be one of the most overdone and full of clichés genre.

How about the explosions in Police Story 2 and A Better Tomorrow II? Those are not boring to me, but they do put their actors in harms way :). I do think I'm tired of car chases that end in the car exploding though. I can easily see getting bored of basic car chases (not counting the ones in The Blues Brothers, The Seven-Ups, Bullitt ...)
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