A pet peeve of mine: unoriginal movies

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RobR, Dec 21, 2001.

  1. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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    One of my pet peeves concerns movies that steal scenes and ideas from older, different movies (I'm not talking about remakes). I find it very distracting when I could recognize such subtleties in new movies. I'll provide a few examples:

    The most obvious is The Shawshank Redemption, which seems to be a copycat of Escape from Alcatraz (1979). Not only the lead characters' companions are African-Americans (Paul Benjamin as English and Morgan Freeman as Red), both Morris (Clint Eastwood) and Andy (Tim Robbins) have a close encounter with the warden/guard involving the bible (in which they hide the tools). There's even a character in Shawshank Redemption just like Litmus in Escape who cares for a pet mouse (except a pet bird was used). I'm aware that The Shawshank Redemption was based on a short story (?) by Stephen King, but that's irrelevant because it's as if the makers of Shawshank all sat down to watch the 1979 Clint Eastwood classic and said "Yeah, that's a good idea. Let's use a variation of that."

    Another example is Boogie Nights. While watching the movie in the theater, I could not help but see Goodfellas in it: The long, unbroken Steadicam shots, the close-up shots of the face after snorting cocaine, and a gunshot to the heads. It seemed like a cheap attempt to steal from Scorsese. At least Paul Thomas Anderson made Magnolia original (although I didn't like it much).

    Likewise, I saw A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey in Steven Speilberg's A.I., which distracted me from the movie. His love is real, but the film is not.
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Stunt Coordinator

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  3. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    I believe it's a raven or maybe a crow?

    Jon
     
  4. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Reread his post, Barry. He says that like Escape has a Mouse, Shawshank has a bird.
     
  5. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    My pet peeve is comedies getting their "humor" with parodies of other movies.
     
  6. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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  7. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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    I think I'll blow it off.
     
  8. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    RobR adn Al Brown: agreed!
     
  10. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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    The "kidnapper directs cop from payphone to payphone" scene in Kiss the Girls was ripped almost verbatim from Dirty Harry. One of the Die Hard movies has a similiar sequence as well.
     
  11. Barry S

    Barry S Stunt Coordinator

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  12. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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    I didn't edit that part. I miswrote "weapons" when it should be "tools." Stupid me!
     
  13. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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  14. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    It's been awhile since I've seen Kiss the Girls but I KNOW the "phonebooth to phonebooth" scene was in Along Came a Spider. If it was indeed in BOTH Kiss the Girls and Along came a Spider then that is just sad.

    Dan Hine
     
  15. Sergio Martorelli

    Sergio Martorelli Auditioning

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    Rob, in the case of Shawshank Redemption (AND The Green Mile, where one character DOES have a pet mouse), the blame must go to the author of the source books, Stephen King. Although the writer/director of both Shawshank and Mile is the same, Frank Darabont, the movies are pretty faithful to the books - including the specific parts you mentioned.

    And we all know that King is a good writer, but originality is not exactly his forté.

    And about the Kubrick mentions in A.I., well... you know, sometimes Spielberg has a very heavy hand when it comes to subtleties...
     
  16. James RD

    James RD Supporting Actor

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    Also included in "Along Came a Spider" was the ransom exchange taken directly from Kurosawa's "High and Low".

    As bad as "Along Came a Spider" is I dislike "Blow" even more.
     
  17. Greg_C_T

    Greg_C_T Second Unit

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    Ooooh, there's always Barb Wire and it's take on the classic, Casablanca.
    Pam sticks her neck out for nobody...her boobs, now that's another story... [​IMG]
     
  18. MikeAW

    MikeAW Second Unit

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    Most of today's filmmakers are the products of filmschools and limitless hours of Commercial Television, who churn out graduates like link sausages, teaching them how to pitch story ideas to the lowest common denominator consumer and inspire these blank blackboards to seek mediocrity in Media Personality Fame, and to spurn originality and innovative. Among the other lowbrow marketing vices passed on to the new generation of film makers, include ripping off stories that are based on successful films and formulas, NOT true and respectful homages to the classic film makers.

    So what can someone expect, originality and innovation ?

    From the garbage pile imerge artists like Wes Anderson who find a way to do something apart from the Crowd...but these filmmakers are few and far between.
     
  19. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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  20. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Brian -
    Agreed agreed agreed. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Blow sucked to the point of offending me. All my point of view, of course, and I'm not trying to pass judgement on anyone who liked it.
    Speaking of unoriginal movies, does anyone remember the rash (literally) of Pulp Fictionesqe films that were released following PF's success? I am not trying to imply that 1) these films were all bad OR that 2) Pulp Fiction was completely original (it was not, IMO, but instead an homage to the Pulp genre). But these films struck me as an attempt to gather the then-still-active coattails of the average Pulp Fiction devotee. In my little ole' opinion, Pulp Fiction had a finesse and confidence that these other films lacked.
    Of course the fact that I can't remember the films' names kind of weakens my argument, doesn't it. [​IMG]
    Oh well... cheers!!
    Joseph
     

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