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Author Topic: Perception, movies and detective shows
LetterRip
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I've been going through detective TV shows recently (Monk and a couple of Psych) and I'm solving them basically as soon as the clues to solve them have been made available - generally far before the detective is solving them. When I was younger I used to solve Sherlock Holmes novels before he did also (if he didn't 'cheat' - ie using knowledge from the era that was impossible for me to know). More recently for the Sherlock Holmes movie I guessed almost everything of the how it was done immediately (and it actually bugged me that he didn't spot the needle hole in the cork since it was obvious to me that she was drugging him but I guess blinded by love is a semi plausible excuse).

I also have the habit of predicting all of the 'twists' for movies (and books) within a short period of time.

I enjoy the challenge of figuring them out, but it kinda bugs me that I solve it in 10 or 20 minutes, and then it is another 40 before Monk (or whoever) figures it out.

I'm curious if there are others of you who do that. I haven't ever met anyone else who does such except my dad - people always assume I've seen the movie or tv show before.

LetterRip

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RickyB
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Often. Very, even. Once you've watched enough procedurals, the tells and tricks become very predictable. I'm more bugged by the fact that I'm running out of Law and Order episodes I haven't seen yet. [Smile]
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Athelstan
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Some time ago, I know, but I did guess the ending of Avatar pretty quickly. Does that make me a genius or in the Pocahontas in Space camp? Good to see the Americans taking the place of the British as the bad boys. Personally for twists and turns I don’t think you can beat the old black & white films like Casablanca and the Maltese Falcon and No I didn’t watch them when they were released.
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RickyB
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You were munching peanuts in the gallery at the premiere of Henry V, weren't you? [Big Grin] (ducks...)
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TomDavidson
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LR: when it comes to mysteries, in book form or on TV, it usually comes down to some form of Chekov's Gun (or the TV version of it, Played By A-List Celebrity).

In other words: if you're reading a mystery novel and, somewhere around the third or fourth chapter, an otherwise minor character suddenly grabs quite a bit of screen time and/or is name-dropped repeatedly by the other characters, but is not presented as the most likely suspect, that person is very likely to be the culprit. Unless it's a locked-room murder and there's a will involved, in which case the "victim" probably isn't dead until later in the book.

On TV shows and movies, the murderer is almost always the person who's as big a star (or bigger, even) than the detective, but who's guesting on the show (i.e. isn't a regular member of the cast -- or, if it's a movie, has second or third billing but hasn't been in the film much since the first twenty minutes).

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vulture
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I don't always get it right, but yeah, generally once you are used to the format of such TV shows, it is pretty easy to spot the answer either from the clues within the program or the 'meta clues' of knowing how the show has to be structured to work. It is pretty much a given, for example, that the culprit has to have a speaking role for some innocuous reason fairly early on. Occasionally, in a twist, they will be the obvious suspect at the start and cleared shortly thereafter, only to become implicated at the end.

But the alternative, really, is to drop someone in at the end who is the culprit but who hasn't featured at all up to that point, which tends to be very unsatisfying. It is easy to create an unsolvable murder if you refuse to give the audience the relevant information until the last possible minute.

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Clark
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In Monk, and other shows, the camera will pause very briefly on a visual clue at some point. I suppose they do this so people don't completely miss the clues that Monk will put together at the end. But, if you're observant you can see the pause and then you know that is the most important clue.

40 minutes isn't a whole lot of time to present a problem, find clues and then solve it. And every misdirection eats up more time. And the shows are trying to do other things as well. Monk has to set aside time to be OCD, wipe his hands a lot and confuse regular people. Law and Order has investigate the crime and then put together an entire prosecution. Other shows insert jokes, or (from what I can tell from the commercials) girls in bikinis. (I'm looking at you, CSI: Miami.)

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LetterRip
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TomD,

yes I'm aware of that phenomenon. The 'who dun it' is almost always the least interesting and most trivial part. The how and why are what are interesting. Generally the 'precisely how it was done and the chain of evidence leading thereto' is what I find interesting. Similarly for films I'm talking about knowing exactly what plot twists will happen.

LetterRip

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TommySama
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quote:
I also have the habit of predicting all of the 'twists' for movies (and books) within a short period of time.
I recently started to train myself to hold stable stories in my mind, and it is much easier to figure things out now. I could figure out the Sherlock Holmes stories before Watson did this winter (the stories I hadn't read before) and I knew how Shutter Island would end after about 30 minutes. I like.
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Jordan
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You all have a much better plot-sense than I have. [Frown]

[ May 05, 2010, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: Jordan ]

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LetterRip
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TommySama,

quote:
train myself to hold stable stories in my mind
I'm not sure what that means.

quote:
I could figure out the Sherlock Holmes stories before Watson did this winter
I considered writing a monograph arguing that holmes became senile/demented (was going to pick Alzhemiers) in his later years and that Watson attempted to do the solving himself. Or alternatively argue that Watson solved all of the early mysteries and Holmes was falsely attributed them. (This would be based on 'The Adventure of the Lion's Mane' and how horrendously slow he was to solve it - and the fact that he missed a rather interesting nefarious twist that was possible; and based on another case that he was abnormally slow/dense on solving which i don't recall offhand).

LetterRip

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0Megabyte
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I'm in film school, being trained to write scripts, and I don't know what he means either.

Sure, it's a wonderful feeling to know the thing you're making well enough to be able to grasp the entirety at once, but... I don't think that's what he means.

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Jordan
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Without meaning to presume, I think Tommy's explaining that he used to have a much harder time concentrating on stories for long enough to keep them together in his mind's eye?
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