Call Me the Over Analyzer

6 Mar

My wife just read my last post, and she was not happy with it. She says that I ruin sappy movies by over analyzing them. She is probably right. I tend to over analyze movies.caution

Jeremiah Johnson is one of my favorite Westerns, and I critique it because it is not a true portrayal of  mountain man life. They never show him doing his job, which should be trapping beaver for a fur trading company. That is what I loved about The Revenant. It actually showed the bloody and grueling work of mountain men. Of course, they also filmed a movie in the Canadian Rockies even though the actual story took place in the Dakotas. Those are two places that do not look the same.

There is a long list of movies that I have over analyzed, but there is one that I could not get my head around. In The Bridges of Madison County, Meryl Streep watched her husband and kids leave town to show a cow at the state fair. Then, Clint Eastwood shows up and sweeps her off of her feet. Most people walked out of the movie thinking about this love that could never be fulfilled. I left the movie thinking about her poor husband showing the cow at the state fair. He would never know that his wife was screwing around while audiences cried over her heartbreak.

Anyway, I guess I am bad about over analyzing movies. I look for the inconsistencies. Heck, I have my classes watch movies based on historic events and make them write papers about how wrong the movies are.

Maybe I am taking this movie thing too far. I expect movies to tell me what really happened, and movies are not going to do that. Many of them are going to be entertaining. Many of them are going to be thought-provoking. A bunch of them are going to suck. I just need to understand that they are rarely going to be realistic.

 

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6 Responses to “Call Me the Over Analyzer”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong March 6, 2017 at 04:48 #

    I over-analyze too, but after ALL of these years, we’ve reached a compromise. i analyze a bit less, although bad history will still make me froth at the mouth … and Garry analyzes a bit more, recognizing that really bad history IS really bad. Some things he will watch. I won’t and things I really love, he doesn’t always love. But we have found an acceptable middle ground.

    More or less.

    • Rick March 6, 2017 at 18:50 #

      A lot of people need to remember that there is a middle ground.

  2. Ellen March 6, 2017 at 14:07 #

    I am in agreement with you on The Bridges of Madison County. It is one of the few movies of that genre that I have seen only one time and would pass right by it when looking for something on TV.

    • Rick March 6, 2017 at 18:51 #

      It’s a terrible story once you dig into it.

  3. sittingpugs March 6, 2017 at 14:53 #

    This post reminds me of thread I saw recently on Reddit about what war films do not depict accurately or at all.

    Whether an action or an object is shown to be historically or behaviorally accurate/authentic is likely an oversight on the part of the wardrobe or set decoration. If certain cars did not exist in the year or month in which a film takes place, there is absolutely no authorial choice in the world to justify inclusion of said car unless time-travel were somehow part of the narrative.

    Not representing a convincing experiential aspect of a character’s job or daily life given narrative or environmental factors (eg, when class and race make a difference in what a character could do or say within the story world) can be lazy writing.

    Critical film theory asks the viewer to imagine off-screen space. What happens between shots that isn’t shown? It could be as simple as people exchanging contact information or having traveled great distances in the space of several edits.

    I think the pacing and tone of a film can determine whether or not a mountain man’s life, for instance, is shown in full scope or if it’s just visual cues and sufficient verisimilitude.

    • Rick March 6, 2017 at 18:51 #

      Excellent points all.

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