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Headscratchers: Film In General
General Headscratchers for Film are listed below. Please make sure you are not duplicating an existing HS before adding a new one. New entries should go on the bottom of the page.

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  • Are children who act in R-rated movies allowed to see them? And doesn't that interfere with child labor laws in the first place?
    • Unless I am mistaken, movie ratings aren't legally binding, so it depends on the theater and the child's parents.
    • I believe the point was raised in the UK with Billy Elliot- the star was only 14 and the movie was rated 15. I don't recall what happened.
    • Olivia Hussey was fifteen at the time she did the 1968 Romeo and Juliet, in which she had an exceedingly brief topless scene. Because of this, the movie was rated PG, and one theater wouldn't let her in to see the film. Apparently, she was too young to see her own breasts. How a young woman is expected to shower for 5 or 6 years without looking down is quite beyond me.
      • "Yeah, sure you're in the movie. And I was in King-Kong, I played Super Captain Cool Man."
      • Although that particular example would presumably be able to be resolved by simply looking at the poster.
    • Modern convention has it that, if the film is R-rated, someone under 17 can get in just as long as he or she is with someone over 17. After The Passion of the Christ, this should be known to all Americans.
      • Not in the UK, though. The 12-A rating works like this, but 15 and 18 are strict limits.
      • I have watched the commentary for Love Actually, and the little kid (Thomas Sangster) is there doing the commentary. And that movie is rated R. The actors even joke about the fact that he's too young to see the film during the commentary. And ... all of the actors are from the UK (or, most of them are). So ... the rules can't be that strict, or Sangster would not have been permitted to be in the commentary.
    • The cast of a film typically sees the finished product at a private screening. It's not likely that a kid in an R-rated film would have to go to a theater and buy a ticket in order to see his or her own work.
      • All depends on the jurisdiction. The USA is at one end of the scale with no ratings being legally enforced. The UK "15" rating (Love Actually's) is described by The Other Wiki as "Nobody younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a 15 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game," which doesn't seem to block private screenings (such as when recording the commentary.) Where I am in New Zealand, it is a criminal offense to show a restricted film to an underage person without exception (parents cannot give consent). (Love Actually has an unrestricted-but-aimed-at-over-16 desgination here.)
    • Somewhat related, as I only just saw The Reader recently, but the kid who starts the whole affair was just under 18 when filming started, and they waited for him to become legal to do any of the sex scenes.
    • Emma Roberts, who played the daughter of Johnny Depp in Blow, was still very young at the time that filming was completed and "forbidden to see it." Instead, the studio sent her a VHS that contained her, and only her, scenes.
    • All an R-Rated movie means is that the kids have to be accompanied by an adult to get in. A little kid just has to convince their parents to buy them a ticket for the movie.
    • Before Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe had a small part in The Tailor of Panama, which is rated R. IMDb trivia says he's never seen the film (although that info might be outdated now).
  • Why do very, very few movies show realistic reactions to violence? Seriously, shoot someone, anyone, even a mook, and TRY not to feel horrible about it later.
    • I want to see a movie where every single mook and inept guard get their own unique back-story. And 5 children. And then get killed all within the span of 10 seconds. And no slow-motion crap, just a quite, ignoble death like any extra.
      • There were a few deleted scenes from the first Austin Powers movie along these lines. (which even entered the released cut of some countries!)
      • They do make that sort of movienote . At which point they recast the mooks as main characters and bill it as a Downer Ending.
    • How many movies have you seen where they showed more than a few days after the climax? Maybe, after the pure relief of success, they did go home and cry.
    • Willing Suspension of Disbelief meets Acceptable Breaks from Reality, baby.
    • Truth in Television is boring. Violent movies are supposed to be entertaining. Therefore, violent movies need to have unrealistic reactions to violence.

  • I am aware that dramatic movies of any degree have been known to get critical praise and awards. But why would ANYONE love a dramatic movie that is not only considered good, but is also rather mean-spirited? I believe that a truly good movie should have the complete package of an acceptable story, sympathetic characters that are likable, and a few funny moments to go with the more touching/suspenseful ones.

  • The excessively pedantic nature of producer credits. I mean, we have producers, co-producers, associate producers, executive producers, co-executive producers and executives in charge of production. Are these all actual jobs? Does someone go to the 'associate producer' with a question and get told 'sorry, that's the co-executive producer's job?'
    • They have different jobs; producer handles the logistics for the movie (such as organising the acquisition of sets, shooting locations, equipment, etc.) and tends to oversee the overall production; associate producers work alongside the producer, generally having tasks delegated to them (given that, depending on the size of the production, their may be too much production work for a single person to handle); executive producers represent the studio, and are in charge of financial, administrative, and legal duties (such as managing funding, or securing music rights); co-producer works with executive producer the same way associate producer does for producer; co-executive producer is an alternate term for co-producer; executive in charge of production would be the film studio executive responsible for the business around producers (such as hiring and paying them). All of these positions are legally required to be acknowledged in film credits, the same as anyone else who works on the film. So, essentially, yes, a person could go to the associate producer and be told that their query is related to the co-producer (guy goes up to the associate producer "Hey, I've got this paperwork for the rights to use Iron Man by Black Sabbath in this movie" and associate producer says "Oh, sorry, that's for the executive producer. He isn't here today, so you can take it to the co-producer.")
    • Executive Producer can also simply be a gift title for some individual person who has made a significant financial investment, rather than giving the person any actual controlling or decision-making role in the production.

  • This is more of a general zombie movie question, but is there a zombie movie anywhere that shows the characters actually, y'know, putting something protective on their arms so they don't get bit? You'd think this was common sense! "There's undead monsters that spread the disease through bites, and I've seen people get bit/eaten - maybe I should put something on to protect myself." You don't see them put on so much as a long-sleeved jacket, even though they have time to prepare.
    • Several possibilities:
      • In many movies, people are surprised by the Zombie attack and wear whatever they had on their bodies before.
      • It is almost impossible to cover the full body with normal clothes. Even with long sleeves/pants, boots, gloves etc. there still will be exposed (or easily exposable) areas like wrists, neck, face and so on.
      • People need to be bitten, how else could John become a Zombie?
      • Full-Body clothing prevents fanservice. ;-)
    • Teeth can penetrate a lot more than you think.
    • I'm not well-versed in zombie movies, but I have never seen one where it was spread through bites. In Romero's zombie films, for example, I'm pretty sure you turn into a zombie when you die regardless. It just so happens that most of the people die from zombie bites.
      • It's usually spread either by fluid exchange (getting saliva and, if it's liquid enough, blood, in open wounds) or a curse/isn't spread at all. Then it "kills" you and brings you back, but every once in a while you have to die of something else shortly after being infected, and sometimes it's spread by something else and the protagonists just have an immunity.
      • As I remember, in the original Walking Dead graphic novels, you came back, like, ten minutes after whatever death. What the bites/scratches/etc did was kill you, rather than spread the actual disease.
    • While the above points are pretty true (hard to cover entire body, teeth penetrate, etc), it still bothers me that they never even try. There's lots of situations where protective clothing won't save you, but it'd still be a good idea to wear it anyway. Just once I'd like to see a zombie movie where the characters at least attempt to wear protective clothing, even if it didn't save them.
    • Part of the problem of clothing that would provide you with protection from bites: It will restrict your movements. Especially thick gloves. You won't be able to use a chainsaw without risking dropping it and cutting your own leg off. You also may not be able to get your finger through the trigger guard of a gun, or to remove it from the trigger guard. So, either you won't be able to fire the gun, or you may waste all of your bullets trying to get your finger out of the gun. And good luck trying to outrun even the slow zombies when you have to waddle around and are prone to falling on your face and have a hard time getting back up. It's just not going to work. So this actually falls under Truth in Television.
    • The other problem would be that zombies in many mythologies tend to grasp and grab at their victims (to bring food to their mouths); depending on what you wear, you might just make it easier for them to get a grip.
    • Why aren't there any fat zombies? If 65% of the U.S. population is overweight, wouldn't the numbers suggest that overweight people die, too? Zombies in movies are way too good-looking all around.
      • Those who are more overweight are more easily hunted down and eaten while fitter folks might just get a wee bite and run off to die/un-die somewhere else

  • Specific zombie movie question: In Returnofthe Living Dead the zombies eat brains because it takes away the pain of feeling themselves rotting (because the brain is full of those smooth endorphins). This leads to two questions: How do the newly risen zombies know that eating brains will help with their pain? Do they tell each other or something or do they just hear the other zombies saying "Brains!" and think "Hey, not there's an idea!" or does the chemical just give them a natural knowledge of brains = painkillers. The second question is why the hell don't they just take shitloads of painkillers? Seriously, you break into a hospital and eat the brains of all the doctors in order to get the endorphins in his head. Why not just steal the damned morphine?
    • Instinct?
    • Zombies aren't usually very bright. They probably get foiled too easily by the childproof caps that painkillers have. Plus, painkillers may not work on the undead. Personally, I've always questioned the brain eating zombies as a whole. It's just a silly plot device...

  • In most movies that involve a real Santa Claus, the adult world denies his existence. This is a bit strange — how do those adults explain the millions of very real toys that show up every Christmas that they know nobody bought? How could they grow up in a world where presents mysteriously appear on Christmas Eve and yet universally deny Santa's existence with rock-solid certainty? Examples include Elf, The Santa Clause, Ernest Saves Christmas, and far too many others to list.
    • This is actually how I figured out the truth about Santa.
    • I know that The Polar Express explained it with Weirdness Censor — the parents just don't believe it and ignore it. This was symbolized with them not being able to hear the ringing of a magical bell, despite the fact that said bell was in plain sight.
    • Santa hacked their brains.

  • A bit of Fridge Logic just hit me as I was talking about zombie movies. What makes a Shambler scary? By itself, it's just a really slow zombie that you can see coming from a mile away, giving you plenty of time to head for the hills (or your shotgun). They're really only scary when they come in massive, unescapable groups. But the whole group probably just started as one really slow person. So if everyone else saw that single, not-scary Shambler coming from a mile away, why didn't they just turn and head for the hills or their shotguns?
    • Nobody is going to believe the shambler is a zombie until there is a widespread infection. I mean, think about it. Even if you have seen a bunch of zombie movies, if you saw some dude walking around shambling would you think "Holy shit, that's an actual zombie! I'd better grab my gun and pop him right now. I'm sure the police will believe me when I explain it to them..." or "must be a crazy, better ignore him or call the cops."
      • Neither. I would think "Huh, that guy/girl is acting like a zombie. I've never encountered evidence of zombies in real life. Am I dreaming? (one totem spinning later)Hmm, doesn't seem like it. Okay, I'll try to contain him/her in a closet or something, then let the cops/government sort out the details."
      • No, you wouldn't.
      • You'd most likely become Patient 1 if you attempted containment.
      • The cops/government are usually the first ones to get infected, when they try to sort out the details.
      • You know who else acts like a zombie? Drunks and people on drugs. And most people would assume that if they came across a zombie it was just some drunk or stoned person until it was too late.
      • More recent zombie movies (the remake of Dawn of the Dead, for instance) have altered it so the shamblers can now walk, run, and SPRINT after you.
      • I really want to see a zombie thats sprinting break it's leg considering they're supposed to be living corpses.
    • Watch Shaun of the Dead. Things seems odd, but nobody really notices the zombies until it is too late(and not really then either).
      • In the deleted scenes, there are more little bits of weirdness (Shaun has to take the bus because the Underground's been closed), and people are aware that something's off...they just don't care enough to be curious, apart from the inconvenience it poses them. Then again, one of that movie's slightly Played for Laughs messages is that the living often aren't much more than zombies themselves.
    • This is what detachment has done to modern audiences. It's all well and good for someone who has seen zombies only on the screen to wonder what the hell is so scary about THE WALKING DEAD but I am guessing (though I admit I don't know you) that if you saw one shambling toward you right now, even at a turtle's pace, you would fucking shit your pants. In Real Life (if you grant for a moment that real life contains zombies) it is usually difficult to predict how anyone, including one's own self, will react in a bizarre, unexpected, belief-shattering, and potentially life-threatening crisis. Some people will be virtually paralyzed with fear—yes, not too differently from in the movies; some would go into a blind panic; some might manage to keep their wits, at least as far as it goes, but still have to think fast as in any crisis and might fuck up because they're only human...It would be like with any crisis really. If the average person saw a perfectly human stranger with a Slasher Smile coming toward them at two miles per hour in blood-splattered clothes, roaring a chainsaw, the speed at which the person is shambling would not be the first or primary thing to strike them. In fact, they might already be on the run before they even notice the motherfucker is even shambling at all.
    • With a slow moving zombie, it will hobble at you with an almost humanlike stagger. With the fast moving killing machines there's no chase no mano a mano fights, only the dead and the armed-to-the teeth etc.
    • What's scary about a slow moving zombie is that it's still coming after you, no matter how far away you get from it. Its slow pace allows it not to have to stop and rest, or run itself out of energy trying to get you. So, when you collapse from exaustion, it can get you in your sleep. Or, if it's Jason Voorhees, it has Offscreen Teleportation and can just reappear in front of you.
    • To be honest, in a lot of 'shambler' movies, I get the feeling that this is sort of the point — when they're not tearing people to shreds, the zombies are more ... pathetic than anything else. it's other living people who are usually the ones to be frightened of, because they're the ones who turn into panicky cowardly monsters who fuck everything up.

  • WHY, oh why, do 99% of people in movies sleep with curtains up/other sources of light on? I mean, of course you have to actually show the actors and get the viewers to understand what's going on. But how about what everyone does? Light up abatjour, get into bed, (optional: read something/have sex/whatever), light off the light and then sleep? It's perfectly understandable and showable. Instead, we get rooms from which moonlight or streetlight isn't (usually) even half of normal daylight in the movie. Gah!
    • Actually there are movies that try to go for more realistic lighting. It's still a part of cinematography, since it's not a good idea to have your audience looking at a completely black screen as a conversation goes on, but there will be some films that have only just enough lighting to see movement.
    • Because most of us don't want to try watching a movie that has realistic lighting. I'm lucky enough to be one of those people who has extra rod cells in my retinas, affording me a bit of extra night vision. Most other people aren't. So, unless you want to hear 99% of a horror movie and not see it, or complain about the room being artificially lit with no light sources, you can shut up. At least they're trying to show why there's light in the room...

  • Horror films. Specifically the ones where there's one Cassandra type character who tries to warn everyone about the monster, but no one believes him. Ok, in our world ghosts don't exist. Knowing this, we, the audience, can identify with the rest of the people who don't believe him, and know how we would react if we found a murder and the only suspect claims it was a ghost or a monster or something, which makes the situation all the more desperate for the poor disbelieved hero. But in the movie's world, they *do* exist. So people should be much more open to the notion that a possessed pencil could have shoved itself into the brain of the victim. So it's like they've taken the monster and the hero from the movie's world, and the rest of the population from our world.
    • If people were accepting of the supernatural in these movies, the film quite simply wouldn't be a horror. ("What, you've got a possessed doll in our house? We'll get the nearest exorcist over as quickly as possible.").
    • The Howling III: The Marsupials actually deals with this topic. You have to understand that in most worlds, unless the ghosts/werewolves/etc. are widespread enough, the general public is going to assume that the person making the claim is a nutjob. Only those who believe in that sort of stuff, or secret government kill squads are going to believe them. Unless of course, you live in Crystal Lake or on Elm Street... The best bet would be to get on the internet and track down groups of people who do believe and notify them. Or track down that secret government kill squad and tell them. Or, in the case of the movie mentioned, marry into the monster's family and become one of them. After all, why worry about therianthropes when you can join them? I wouldn't advise that method for dealing with serial killers, the undead, or ghost, though. They either don't care about family, or tend to turn on their own family first...

  • In movies where they shoot at a car, why do they always shoot at the windows and not the tires? I know it's extremely hard to hit a moving target anyway, but wouldn't they stand a better chance of stopping the car with the tires blown out than the windows?
    • You can still drive with a flat tire, if not very fast. You can't drive with a bullet in your brain.

  • Why do movie climaxes seem to almost always boil down to some kind of physical conflict (not necessarily a fight, but you know what I mean), regardless of genre? For example, in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the main character is trying to lose his virginity but wants it to be in the context of a meaningful relationship, all Played for Laughs. Yet the movie's climactic scene involves Andy chasing his love interest on a bike and crashing through a truck. What the hell?
    • Because you can film something physical. You can't film, say, inner turmoil. Having the hero have to do something physical makes for a dynamic scene, something exciting to watch because, well, you're there to watch the movie.
    • If it's a chick flick, chances are they've dragged their boyfriend kicking and screaming to see it. So, they put those things in there for the poor boyfriend to avoid killing their girlfriend for having dragged them to a movie that has no violence in it.
    • If it's not a chick flick, people are going there to see violence. If it's an action or horror movie, the fans will rise up and form a lynch mob and give you a violent end if you cheat them out of a violent climax.
    • Film is an active-visual medium; whereas in static art the whole point is that we only get the still image and in literature we can gain more of an insight into the character's thought processes, relying on static imagery and motionlessness in film is a good way to make it boring.

  • The term "genre film". Well, duh, it's got a genre, so do all films. It's redundantly repetitive. You might as well say "a TV show on television".
    • No, a 'genre film' fits comfortably into a set pattern, as does a genre novel. The Untouchables is a crime film, 2001 is a Sci Fi film. Now, what genres are 'Mulholland Drive', 'The Big Lebowski' for starters? Or 'In Bruges'?
    • "Genre" doens't just apply to movies. You can have a Horror novel, movie, show, or game.
      • In Bruges is clearly black comedy. Pure-strain black comedy at that. Those are awful examples as they are all genre movies. Mulhholland Drive is a thriller (Neo-Noir Psychologic Thriller) and The Big Lebowski is a crime comedy. Kramer vs Kramer is a drama. What genre does that fit into?
    • I would agree that it is a bit of a patronizing label, since it implies a certain lack of prestige. Nobody would refer to a drama as a "genre film" — they'd refer to it as a drama, but it's no less a genre than horror, science fiction, comedy, musical, western, etc.

  • What is that weird bug chirping/droning noise used in movies dealing with bugs? It even shows up in the kennel sequence in The Thing. I know a lot of people who know what I'm talking about, but no one who can identify what sort of bug it comes from, if it does come from a bug. Is it a real group of bugs chirping? And if so, what bug is it from? Or is it just a clever sound effect?
    • Cicadas, I believe.
    • It's unnerving how much southern California sounds like a movie at night... it's the cicadas.
      • Kind of relates to a similar point - am I the only one who wonders what that strange chirping animal is that features in many anime stuff? You know, whenever the area is deserted (for a good example, see episode one of Neon Genesis Evangelion, when Tokyo-3 is evacuated).
      • Cicadas again.
      • You can find video and sound on YouTube of cicadas. They're huge, weird-looking bugs.

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