jarring details

Do you ever have moments, while reading a book or watching a movie, when you just cringe because you sense that a scene, or even just an isolated detail, just shouldn't be there? That happens to me a lot.

Last night I watched Speed for the umpteenth time. It's a very nice entertaining movie --despite Keanu Reeves typical wooden performance-- but there's this one scene that always annoys me. When the bus "jumps" over the gap in the highway the front end rises way up in the air right as it takes off. Now that's what you see when a biological critter jumps because just before you jump you spring upwards so you'll go further. I don't see how a bus could do that. LOL Buses don't pop wheelies all on their own.

A scene in The Last King of Scotland struck me the same way. Near the beginning of the movie, the young Scottish doctor, due to unusual circumsances, finds himself treating Idi Amin. While the injury is small--just a sprained wrist--the nearby bellowing of a cow distracts the doctor. The cow is by the side of the road, hit by Idi Amin's truck, and presumably has a broken leg. The doctor demands that the cow shut up, then requests others to convince the cow to be quiet--then finally grabs a handgun and shoots the cow several times in the head himself.

I guess that all was to establish how brash and direct the doctor is--none of these things actually occured since the doctor's character was based on a man much older and ex-military, not medical background--but to me it just seemed silly. The demands direct and indirect that the cow be quiet when it was in agony come off as petulent and grabbing a gun in the presense of Idi Amin and his numerous bodyguards would have been suicide. The scene just seemed foolish to me.

What scenes have you seen that grate on your nerves?


Shephard said…
It was interesting to read someone posting about this... we tend to notice scenes where characters behave differently (or make choices) that people in real life wouldn't make. Particularly scenes that advance the plot. It always makes us feel like the screenwriter gave up.

One such scene recently... Evan Almighty... Evan's wife thinks he's crazy and has decided to leave him if he doesn't drop his strange inexplicable behavior. He doesn't lift a finger to reach her. All he had to do was to take her into the bathroom and shave his self-regenerating beard and she'd know that whatever was happening wasn't a question of sanity. This would not have impacted further plot choices, as the wife could have still left him because she was freaked out. Her arc still would have played the same as well.

We notice things like this a lot.
Interesting post. :)

Kristi Mantoni said…
"Face Off" pops to mind. Nick Cage's character is in a coma when they bring him to the secret hospital to have his face removed. A bunch of the cops have a conversation on how many times they have thought this guy was dead. And they don't AT LEAST handcuff him to the bed? It's flaws like that that throw me right out of the movie and back into real life. I can only suspend reality so much.
rosemary said…
As a nurse, I cringe at all of the stupid medical scenes or treatments that are in movies...no one in particular, they are just always so dramatic, medically incorrect sometimes and the settings are a joke. Not a movie, but I just can't watch ER or House. S.T.U.P.I.D.
MissMeliss said…
Nothing specific leaps to mind, but I absolutely recognize the feeling you've described - it's jarring, to be confronted that way, with something that so completely doesn't fit, doesn't enhance.
SassyAssy said…
Interesting post and it seems very typical of you! I have a similar experience with some books on tape I have been listening to. The main character is being stalked by a raging lunatic and she turns down the offer of police protection, because really, will this guy actually get her? He has managed to kill five other people and left a message that she was next. What person in their right mind would do that? Then the boyfriend lets her go off alone at night to meet a friend...uh, hello? Then there is the issue of the author using the word "thrum" in almost every chapter when other words would have worked equally well. She should fire her editor. Sorry--off the soapbox now.
utenzi said…
Shephard, I've not seen that movie but I can relate. Character motivation is a frequent sore subject with me. I have many a pet peeve in that area.

Kristi, my girlfriend likes that movie but I can't figure out why. There's so many plot problems in it!

Rosemary, I'm lucky in that regard. There's not a lot of lab science movies out there so I don't often get my professional sensibilities offended. Medical folk and law enforcement must grit their teeth a lot during movies and tv.

Sassy, books are often as bad as movies--but that's another post!
Smug said…
I agree, some movies just have so many problems that I wonder how the screenplay got picked up let alone made into a movie and released!! I really hate unanswered questions, nothing specific, but if the movie is going to take the time to set up a question or sub-plot, why would you not finish it up? Leaving everyone hanging does make for a nice movie watching experience! I think that TV movies are famous for this - I guess there is a reason that the producers did not make it for the big screen!!

Anyway - great post!!
tiff said…
inexplicably expoding automobiles, imporbably hospital scenes, inccorect science, reanimating corpses, it all bugs me.

Maybe this is why I almost never watch movies.

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