Story is overrated

I’ve often found it difficult to talk about movies with people. It’s never due to a lack of criticism or excitement. Rather, it is because I do not like the standard or norm for discussing movies. It usually relies on far too much plot regurgitation. I’ve never been too interested in retelling people the plot of movies considering wiki or imbd are both there at your disposal. I don’t think the plot ever strikes me.

I’ve said it before on several occasions, I enjoy moments. Whatever strikes me during the duration of the film. A primary example of why I don’t place stories too highly is because of Christopher Nolan and Satoshi Kon. No, this isn’t a reference towards the fact that Paprika and Inception have plots that involve going into each other’s dreams. It is rather about those two movies specifically, as well as each directors process in their filmography in general. Nolan is often heralded on the internet because he constantly makes ‘smart’ movies. Eh, I’d rather not get into debating whether or not they’re smart in great detail, however I will say I disagree with that notion.

Nolan is applauded because of his tightly woven stories, and they are in fact well knitted. It’s just that he is such a terrible visual director that it’s hard for me to give a damn. It’s bad enough that I vaguely remember storylines as is. Nolan, usually, slavishly goes through explaining to the audience directly about what his characters are trying to convey. And this isn’t directed primarily at Inception, no The Dark Knight is a far better example. Nolan, as screenwriter,  goes through unnecessary lengths of explaining things that should have been shown or redundant. For example, take the Batman and Joker interrogation scene, instead of delving into something substantial meandering off into interesting quips, Nolan instead hammers into the audience about the obvious: The Joker and Batman are opposites. Really? A clown is different from a super serious bat guy. Thank you for this wonderful insight that has been part of Batman for over 70 years.

Contrast this against Satoshi Kon who largely has very simple stories. Don’t let people’s inability to tell you the storyline of Paprika tell you otherwise. Kon let his stories breath and take any direction they may. If a character was interested in something, he’d allow him or her to talk about to another character for a scene. While these always dealt with a portion of the movie themes or was a recurring motif throughout the film, they never feel as though he’s bludgeoning you in the head with a brick with the obvious. Granted, I’m not sure how ‘fair’ of a comparison it is for someone directing animation versus someone doing live action. I think it’s an apt comparison for those who’ve seen a couple works from each.

On the broadest level, movies with taut stories aren’t usually my favorites because directors seem to focus more on the literal aspects of the movie instead of the melding of the visual/audio (cinematic). Discussing what happened isn’t particularly interesting either. What a scene means or embodies, that’s where it gets interesting because that line of questioning delves further into people with different perspectives and backgrounds. Discussing what happened on other hand is more about how closely you were paying attention to plot details or how adept you are at referencing websites that have.


About panamaenrique

Afro-Latino film lover in NYC. I love blues, jazz, soul, funk, and everything else under the sun. Any questions, comments, or concerns about anything I say, feel free to hit me up. My contact info is there and I'll be sure to give you a lengthy response about what I said and why I said it.
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