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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Plot Flaws vs Stupid Plots (spoiler alert)

   
Author Topic: Plot Flaws vs Stupid Plots (spoiler alert)
babooher
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I was watching the new Total Recall and (spoiler) the invasion plan has got to be the STUPIDEST plan I've ever seen. It was just dumb. No amount of Jessica Biel dressed as Han Solo's little sister could possibly make up for how stupidly easy it would be to stop the invasion. The idea that anyone could ever believe such a plan could work blows my mind.

But is that a plot flaw or just a stupid plot? Are they one and the same thing? I'm inclined to say they are different things, but in the end they're both bad. Thoughts?

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rcmann
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Kind of need a little more info before venturing an opinion.
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babooher
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Australia and England are linked by a giant tunnel that goes through the Earth's core. The invasion plan is to load up all the soldiers and send them through the tunnel. The news in Australia is covering the oncoming invasion and no one thinks to simply blow up the tunnel. Seriously, the Ausies know exactly where and when the invasion will arrive and their response is to give up and run. They don't even need to stage an epic 300 style battle. Just blow the tunnel. Completely stupid.
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extrinsic
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Film interpretations of Philip K. Dick's original "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" don't and can't do the 1966 short story's subtexts justice.

[ August 05, 2012, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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rcmann
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I grieve to admit that I must consider that particular turkey one hell of a stupid plot.

extrinsic: Granted. Agreed. But you don't need to get into the subtle details to realize that your major plot has a hole in it big enough to drive a politician's ego through. Egad.

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babooher
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But is it a plot hole or just a stupid plot? IS there a difference? It's a question of rhetoric (as opposed to a rhetorical question).
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extrinsic
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Neither a plot hole or a stupid plot for the original story. The films and the Piers Anthony novelization of the first film are another story.

[ August 05, 2012, 12:28 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Pyre Dynasty
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If it's a stupid plot then smart characters figure it out and make fun of it. If it's a plot hole then the smart characters are just as stupid as the people who came up with the stupid plot.
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Robert Nowall
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I heard they eliminated all the Mars stuff from the Schwarzeneggar version...sometimes ya gotta wonder why these movies get made in the first place...I mean, you'd never mistake that first version for Citizen Kane but it had some fun moments...
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MartinV
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When I saw the title of this thread, I thought you were going to talk about Prometheus. Now there's a stupid plot, full of holes. The moment I saw that movie, Ridley Scott just lost all points with me.
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extrinsic
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A core low-concept premise of Philip K. Dick's original short story is explored in the two reimagination translation films and one novelization of the first film: What is reality, valid memory, irreality, and implanted memory when a person's mind has been fiddled with by government and corporate brainwashing. Brainwashing stands for real-world propoganda and persuasion forms as a figurative premise.

Unfortunately on one hand, an artful metaphor on the other hand, the invented seeming reality of film immerses audiences in the very manipulation and coercion premise Philip K. Dick explores in the original short story.

I think projecting that thought-provoking message, as paranoid as it is, is difficult for film to pull off because of film's close imitation of reality and the difficulty film has expressing the inner lives of the characters, where the inner turmoil caused by slipping loose from reality anchors is most accessible.

Bertolt Brecht would have interpreted the concept differently, using Verfremdungseffekt, audience distancing effect, to keep audiences critically, consciously alert to the premise concept of what is reality when brainwashing alters existential perception, though the flims would not be as appealing if their cerebral underpinnings were foregrounded.

A film with a $125 million budget needs to appeal to a large audience to earn out its costs. So spectacle is necessary and spectacle works pretty effectively as a a brainwashing tool.

There's still plenty to explore about the premise that is in the original, that the films don't touch; plenty to explore about the premise that the original doesn't touch, too. A more artful creator is out there somewhere and somewhen reimagining the premise more accessibly and appealingly for publication.

[ August 05, 2012, 01:52 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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babooher
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I personally think a story with Philip K Dick as a character would be awesome. That guy was tripping something fierce. If their lives had overlapped more, it would be awesomely fun to have Tesla and Dick as a team.
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extrinsic
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Include a present-day Freud, update Tesla and Dick, question and answer identity assumptions, Cartesian reality, and cultural and spiritual belief systems, and I think you'd have the bases for a riotous comedy if not tragic farce.

What might be the main dramatic complication, though, the literal and perhaps figurative central problem wanting satisfaction from which all else springs? For the sakes of audience appeal and accessibilty? Tesla, Dick, and Freud involved in an epic criminal conspiracy they were seduced into by their street naïveté maybe. Lots of book sense, limited street sense, and, of course, self-serving agendas that cause them great personal costs and inevitable personal transformations.

[ August 05, 2012, 02:30 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Robert Nowall
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There were news reports, just a couple of weeks ago, that someone was building a Philip K. Dick robot---no idea why. Sorry I couldn't find a link.

I still think it's sad that Philip K. Dick enjoys his greatest literary (and financial) success after his death.

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MartinV
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He's not the only one.
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shimiqua
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I think Tesla is a great name for a little girl.
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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by shimiqua:
I think Tesla is a great name for a little girl.

I think "Diesel" is a good name for a little girl.
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babooher
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MattLeo, have you thought about Diesel's future boyfriend? When he and Diesel are entwined in the throws of ecstasy is he supposed to call out her name "Diesel, Diesel, Diesel!"? I'm guessing that would be awkward. I'm also guessing the neighbors will be really confused.
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by shimiqua:
I think Tesla is a great name for a little girl.

The term for a magnetic flux density unit fits the gender nominative feminine suffix inflection "la" consistent with Romance languages. She, I'm sure, would be powerfully magnetic.

"Diesel"? Term for a heavy fraction mineral oil fuel, I don't know for a female given name: masculine "el" suffix.

Though both terms derive from male engineers' surnames.

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Robert Nowall
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Diesel? Famous as the name of a type of engine, named after its inventor, Rudolf Diesel. German, though Diesel himself was born in Paris of Bavarian immigrants.

Aside from that...the name of a nurse / villain in Mel Brooks's High Anxiety, brilliantly played by Cloris Leachman...and the last name of a more-recent actor mostly in action-adventure movies, not as brilliantly...

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Brendan
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Ok, Ok. How about Dieselle?
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extrinsic
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Diesiraella? Dees or Des-I-ray-ella. Diesel, Desirae, and Cinderella rolled into one?
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Robert Nowall
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Disraeli? Wasn't he a 19th Century British prime minister?
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