January 26th, 2010


Sloppy Endings, Saves, and Get Aways . . .

So the other night I was watching a movie on Lifetime. I know. I know. I don't do it often. But sometimes I just need a boost to my estrogen levels.  Anyway, the female protagonist was kidnapped, tied up, and shoved onto the backseat of a car. The kidnapper pulls over for some snacks, tosses a blanket over her, and says he'll return. 

Okay, stop. Freeze frame. 

A writer thought it made sense to just leave a person tied up in the back seat of a car? I don't know about you, but I would kick the blanket off and sit up.  Then I would hope someone noticed the tape over my mouth and would help me.  But maybe not. 

Okay, push play. 

The protagonist kicks off the blanket. SMART! Sits up. THANK GOODNESS! Crushes a soda can on the floorboard. Using her feet, she lifts the can to the seat, grabs it with her hands, and uses the sharp edge of the crushed can to cut the rope (within two seconds). 

Okay, push pause again. 

Hmmm? I'm not saying this isn't plausible. But it ain't probable. I mean, really? Only MacGyver can pull off that move. 
I wish I could say this only happens in Life Time movies, but alas, it does not. This summer's mega-hit Transformers had one (several) silly moments. The scene garnering the biggest eye roll from me occurred when the characters landed in the desert. The female protagonist, wearing prestine white pants and perfect lip gloss, hands an ace bandage to the male protagonist. Hmmm? Really? In the middle of the sand dunes, you pull out an ace bandage? Where would one carry such an unlikely item when you don't have a backpack, purse, and only enough room for sweat between your skin and your pants? Granted the actor broke his hand in real life, but come on writers! Some of the people in the audience have more than two functioning brain cells.

For me, I can forgive the improbable if it fits within the rules of the world.  The rules supplied by the author.  When the 'get aways' and 'quick saves' venture away from the rules, it just seems sloppy.  I can practically see some guy/girl with jelly filling splotched on the front of their shirt, rushing the pages to the publisher/director. And the moment such events happen in a book or movie, I immediately disconnect. I think, 
If the writer doesn't care, why should I?

Remember how breaking the rules got you in trouble on the playground? Guess what. Breaking rules will get you in trouble in when you write. No, you won't have to trek to the office, but you may lose some readers or watchers. You're the writer.  You must know the rules. You must follow your rules.  It is not enough to write that your characters survive. It must make sense they survive.

So what are some great and not so great get aways you've seen or read lately?