Archive for September, 2008

Week One: Why Am I Reading This, Again?

September 30, 2008

The Nitpicker Guide to the Movies
“See the films you love in a whole new way!”
Week One: Why Am I Reading This, Again?
I can still remember the very first movie I ever saw in a theater.  It was one of the Benji films (Benji Does Backflips, I think) and I was three or four years old.  I distinctly remember having to fold the seat up and sit on the raised edge just to see the screen.  I also remember being absolutely enthralled.  Twenty-something years later, I’m still enthralled, even though I can now sit like a normal person.
            I’m telling you this because in a second, you’re going to question whether or not I like movies at all.  Because I have a confession.  My name is Will, and I’m a nitpicker.
            I know, I know.  After having a lot of popcorn thrown at me, I keep it to myself while at the theater–but I can’t help it!  It’s fun to find things wrong.  I blame my dad, who to this day rewinds VHS movies.  “The car’s headlight was broken a moment ago, but now it’s magically fixed!  Didja see that?” 
            If you’re still reading, either you’re a member of my family (hi, Ma!) or you are, like me, an unashamed Nitpicker.  And you know how finding those little things in your favorite movies doesn’t take away from their wonderfulness.  You also know how putting on your nitpicking hat can make even the worst movie…well, not as bad.  (Did anybody else see Ghost Rider?  Being a nitpicker saved my life that day…)
            Some movie nits are so famous most people have heard about them, even seen them firsthand.  And a number of books on the subject of nitpicking already exist.  So why bother with a weekly blog?  Two reasons.  One, the books out there list every nit the authors could find, and seeing the microphone blooper in the first thirty seconds of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy would require watching the first thirty seconds of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.  I doubt Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s direct descendants even want to do that.  So this particular weekly blog will focus on the best nits to be found in (cue stentorian announcer’s voice): “The Top 50 Grossing Movies of All Time!!”  Movies like Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings, and The Dark Knight.  In case it matters, I’m taking that list from IMDB’s world-wide box-office gross.  (Because let’s face it, France matters too.)
            Reason the second: currently existing nitpicky reference books are as dry as unbuttered whole wheat toast.  If you really want to know how many continuity errors there are in Star Wars (answer: a whole bunch), there is a book by T.A. Chafin and Polly Luttrull that thoroughly, I mean somebody-needs-to-send-these-two-outside-to-play exhaustively lists every last one, complete with timecode for the original VHS, Special Edition VHS and Special Edition DVD versions.  Which is well and good if you’re that much of a ner–um, fan.  But how much fun are reference books, really?  When I get around to nitpicking Star Wars, I’m going to bring up things those two never thought of.
            Did I hear a request for an example?  Sure!  Remember the scene where Obi-Wan gives Luke his father’s lightsaber?  Forget about the disappearing, reappearing shawl in the background, or the items on the coffeetable switching around.  Wise, knowing Jedi Master Kenobi casually hands over an extremely dangerous weapon, an energy sword that can slice through anything, to a hot-headed, easily excitable teenager who’s probably never even seen one of these things before.  Does that make any sense?  (“Careful with that, Luke, I should have mentioned it can cut through–AAAACKK!!”)
We’ll cover some fun regular nits, too.  In Spider-Man, Mary Jane falls off a balcony and it takes her eight seconds to almost hit the ground.  How high up does that make the balcony?  (Tune in and find out…)  Too boring?  Think about this, then.  For whatever silly reason (don’t get me started) the Spider-Man creators decided that Peter turns so spider-like, webs actually come out of his wrists.  Setting aside what a travesty it is not to have Peter create his own web-shooters, why does the webbing come out of his wrists?  Shouldn’t it come out where it does on an actual spider?  (That would make for some interesting shots!)
More?  All right, one more.  In Finding Nemo, Marlin says to his son, “Forget to brush?”  Nemo darts away and we hear brushing sounds.  What, exactly, do fish have to brush?  (And how do they brush it?)
I will see you back here next week.  What?  A whole week of waiting?  Yeah, we’ll do a new movie every Friday, just like they do at the theaters.  If you can’t handle going that long without finding some of your favorite movie goofs, surf on over to for a nit fix.
Join me on the journey of movie rediscovery.  Please silence your cell phones, deposit all trash in the appropriate receptacles, and refrain from talking during the blog. 


            Coming Next Friday: uh…aw man, do I have to watch this again?  Okay, fine, #50, King Kong.  Don’t think I won’t have comments about the ridiculous thirty-seven minute long bug-killing scene!