16 April 2009

Brevity at the Expense of Clarity

It occasionally astonishes me how few films some of my closest friends have seen, though the truth is probably just that I've seen a ludicrous number of good ones; I was very lucky to become an ardent filmgoer at a time when cinema was celebrating its centenary so television and Dublin's cinemas were awash with reissued classics and modern masterpieces.

I tend to forget this, though, which is why I tend to be baffled when my friends look at me blankly when I casually allude to films that mean nothing to them; people have looked at me blankly when confronted with my fifty quotes from a couple of months back. It probably goes without saying that I have a weakness for playing 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon'.*

Still, I can't help but look at things like Dorian Wright's list of Uncomfortable Plot Summaries and think what a marvellous parlour game lies within.

How about challenging people to guess the film, based on the plot description?
  1. Gays kill blacks.
  2. Peasant girl develops Stockholm Syndrome.
  3. Pretty redneck girl fools socialites, flirts with gay gigolo.
  4. Amoral narcissist makes world dance for his amusement.
  5. Unemployed college professors destroy hotel with nuclear weapons.
  6. Hired murderer sleeps with little girl.
  7. Midget destroys stolen property.
  8. Despite shock-and-awe tactics, a superior occupying force is no match for a tenacious sect of terrorist insurgents.
  9. Modern dating proves challenging for working class man.
  10. Stalker drives woman to suicide.
And there are more than a hundred more. No, I'm not telling you the answers, not till tomorrow anyway. Work them out for yourselves, or look it up if you can't be bothered thinking.

Actually, not all the plots are from movies; try these TV shows:
  1. Teenage serial killer destroys town in fit of semi-religious fervor.
  2. Elderly man serially abducts young women.
  3. In an analogue of the post-Civil War west, a white man on the losing side bosses around a black woman.
  4. Over-sexed officer routinely places crew in danger.
  5. Wealthy man assaults the mentally ill.
And then, for a final bonus round, try identifying the following, and figuring out just what -- or who -- they have in common:
  1. Misfit discovers she is special person in a secret world just beside our own.
  2. Misfit discovers she is special person in secret world just beside our own.
  3. Misfit discovers he is special person in secret world just beside our own.
  4. Misfit discovers he is special person in secret world just beside our own.
As a hint, they're in alphabetical order and number 3 isn't a film, at least not yet...

*And I'm sure you'll be glad to know that according to the Oracle of Bacon, I have a Bacon Rating of 3.

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