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Can 'one minute' of screen time make or break a film?

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Can 'one minute' of screen time make or break a film?

Old 05-19-08, 08:40 PM
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Can 'one minute' of screen time make or break a film?

Someone in a Jurassic thread asked how 'one minute' of screen time could possibly lessen the overall opinion of full length film.

And it got me thinking about one particular example from a film that did largely add a greater sense of depth and appreciation of the primary characters (one in particular) all in one stroke. If this brief scene had not happened the entirety of the film would have been dampened fairly significantly. Sorry for the generic speak but it's necessary.

The film I speak of is Joze, The Tiger and the Fish, a Japanese romance drama.
Spoiler:
If Tsuneo doesn't emotionally break down on a city street after severing ties with Joze and getting what he wants with Kana, the overall consequence of his decision would not carry the same weight. And this would have lessened everything that the film was built upon if this particular scene had not happened.


So I'm interested to find out which sliver of a scene has had the biggest overall impact to everything else just experienced within the film.

(spoilers)
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Old 05-19-08, 09:33 PM
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What would the Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects be like without the reveals? I suppose that could be said of just about any "twist" movie.

A lot of "twist" movies are fairly mediocre until the actual twist. I'm not necessarily saying that the Sixth Sense or Usual Suspects were mediocre...I just used them as examples.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:46 PM
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...you can say it, they were mediocre without the twists.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:25 PM
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Of course one minute can make or break an entire movie. There are movies I can't think of specific examples of but it's like it's just one scene that ruins either the entire movie because the ending you saw just blew chunks or there is a change in the tone of the movie going into the third act that just is such a let down. Again, I can't think of any examples, but I know there are movies out there I enjoyed the heck out of until the ending came along and then I hated it. If only they changed one minute of the movie, it could have been saved.
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Old 05-19-08, 11:37 PM
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I think, as the other posters have illustrated, it is easier to suggest that a minute has broken a film than that a minute has made one.

I think when there is something good in a film that affects the whole piece, it requires the rest of the piece to really have any meaning, but if a film makes a misstep, it is like an instant, reflexive dislike.
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Old 05-19-08, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by droidguy1119
I think, as the other posters have illustrated, it is easier to suggest that a minute has broken a film than that a minute has made one.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:01 AM
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Matrix Reloaded. Rave scene. 'nuff said.
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Old 05-20-08, 01:16 AM
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Old 05-20-08, 02:43 AM
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I must say that that video does not make me want to watch Spiderman 3 any more than I did before I watched it.
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Old 05-20-08, 02:50 AM
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This 30 sec. clip easily makes Invasion USA one of the 10 greatest movies ever made.
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Old 05-20-08, 10:38 AM
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A few seconds in Collateral diminished the movie:

Spoiler:
Near the end in the office when Vincent is about to shoot Jada's character he hesitates, for dramatic effect I guess, and it is just enough time for Jamie Foxx to come to the rescue. For the whole movie prior to that Vincent was a stone cold professional and never hesitated. That just kills the movie when I think about it.
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Old 05-20-08, 10:56 AM
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I recently watched Mario Bava's Lisa and the Devil and I thought it was a good movie, but not great, until the final minute when
Spoiler:
you discover that Lisa has in fact been dead the entire time and she's reliving a past life, and that Telly Savalas really is the Devil.
That really elevated the film for me.

The most effective minutes in films are those that close it. I've had perfectly good films essentially ruined by terrible endings, such as High Tension. Although some movies can feature a scene so terrible it runs the risk of ruining the film altogether, like the dance number in Return of the Jedi: SE.
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Old 05-20-08, 11:33 AM
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To Live and Die in LA...
It's sort of a typical movie until
Spoiler:
Chance takes a shotgun blast to the face. Friedkin kills the main character?
.
A damn good holy shit moment that sets the film apart from all others.
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Old 05-20-08, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Matrix Reloaded. Rave scene. 'nuff said.
Indeed. That's part of what made me enjoy Reloaded and Revolutions more than the first.



Some more (recent) quality moments that elevated a movie:

Inland Empire:
Spoiler:
Laura Dern sick on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


Flight of the Red Balloon:
Spoiler:
The piano tuner in Binoche's apartment... a stunning cacophony of sound and vision


Southland Tales:
Spoiler:
Justin Timberlake lip-syncing The Killers


Funny Games (1997):
Spoiler:
rewind...

Last edited by sundog; 05-20-08 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:33 PM
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Cutting out the very last couple seconds for The Descent and Brazil certainly changed things.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:55 PM
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How about The Departed (obviously the same coule be said of Infernal Affairs) and that certain elevator sequence? That scene just added a whole new ruthless dimension to the entire film.

American History X
Spoiler:
(where Furlong gets blown away) certainly added a new take on what would have otherwise been a prolonged build up towards a hopeful ending.
It completely changed the dynamic of the film.
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Old 05-20-08, 01:02 PM
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I think it depends on what you're referencing. For instance, most action sequences don't continually effect the plot, but can add or take away from a movie, and are purely reliant on execution.

One minute of Plot can change the entire movie, as a paragraph can in a book, or an episode in a TV series, so of course those can make a movie great or terrible (add a segment where the hero is revealed to be a serial child rapist, and yeah, that's going to bring down a movie).

In terms of strictly execution and directorial choices (such as the Matrix Rave scene, or the Invasion USA scene), yes, it can help make or break a movie, but won't totally redeem or destroy it. For example, Daredevil, if it weren't for that horrible playground fight sequence, I wouldn't remember the movie at all. Now is that making or breaking it? It's a tough call.
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Old 05-20-08, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
Matrix Reloaded. Rave scene. 'nuff said.
You mean because that sequence made the movie less-awesome, right? Right?
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Old 05-20-08, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Correct. Any time Robin Williams enters a scene, it breaks the film.
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Old 05-20-08, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cdollaz
Correct. Any time Robin Williams enters a scene, it breaks the film.


If you want to get technical I was referring the the last minute or so, the O' Captain, My Captain part when he is leaving the scene. It's almost as if the whole movie hinged on how his departure would affect the kids and it would have been quite easy to do something average and uninspiring. Instead we get one of the coolest minutes of cinema.
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Old 05-21-08, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DthRdrX
I guess I'm in the minority in thinking that sequence was awesome. I almost fell on the floor during the whole extreme close up of his mouth, as did most of the group I was with.
I thought Spider-man 3 was an absolute blast. I laughed harder in that than I do in most comedies, plus it had a lot of heart and great action.
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Old 05-21-08, 03:30 PM
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Also, that line in the beginning of Diary of the Dead (something like "I added music because I want the movie to scare you" or whatever) killed the movie before it even started. Even if I didn't dislike the film as a whole it would be hard getting over that.

That bit of dialogue is just terrible on so many levels. I would rather they had just not addressed the fact that there was a score or managed to make the movie suspenseful without the score.
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Old 05-21-08, 03:37 PM
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Old 05-21-08, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin


If you want to get technical I was referring the the last minute or so, the O' Captain, My Captain part when he is leaving the scene. It's almost as if the whole movie hinged on how his departure would affect the kids and it would have been quite easy to do something average and uninspiring. Instead we get one of the coolest minutes of cinema.
I think having all the students become crazy nonconformists at the end was average and uninspiring.
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Old 05-21-08, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mattressman
I guess I'm in the minority in thinking that sequence was awesome. I almost fell on the floor during the whole extreme close up of his mouth, as did most of the group I was with.
I thought Spider-man 3 was an absolute blast. I laughed harder in that than I do in most comedies, plus it had a lot of heart and great action.
That was the part where people got up and walked out when I saw it. It was and still is terrible.
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