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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Script work is being finished up on a movie I'll be helping shoot early next year (Hopefully January), and there's a friendly debate between myself and the writer/director. Obviously, it's his movie, so what he decides will win, but I felt like getting some views from movie fans.

There's a MacGuffin in the film. For those who haven't heard the term, this is the object or goal that drives the movie, but isn't really important in and of itself. The Maltese Falcon in the movie of the same name is a classic example. The debate, in this case, is over whether or not to show the audience what the MacGuffin is at the end of the film. So, that's the question:

Do you want to know all the details? Would you rather know, or have something that leaves you guessing.

One example is Pulp Fiction's briefcase. We never learn what's IN the briefcase, we just no it's something really important. Does it matter to you whether you know what it is or not? Do you like it being left ambiguous, or would you prefer to see what it is?

The flipside would be from The Hangover (just the first one, I haven't seen the other two). The whole movie is based around these guys having no idea what the hell they did or what happened to them. At the end, during the credits, they run "photos" from the night that lay out all the stuff that happened to them.

One argument is that you want the audience to feel connected to the characters. You want them to see everything the protagonist sees because it helps them feel more like a part of the story, pulling them in deeper to the tale.

The other argument is that no matter what you show the audience, it's not going to be as clever, interesting, fantastical, whatever as what the audience can make up for themselves. Leave it to the audience imagination, and they will fill in the blanks in creative fashions that would never occur to others.

Tarantino latched onto this idea when opinions started after Pulp Fiction. He even ran a contest to see who could guess best (not closest, since there never was a real answer).

I know folks here have a lot of opinions. Let's hear it, do you want to know, or is ambiguity the master of the day?
 

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Ambiguity, and to really aggravate the audience you could have one of the characters at the end come face-to-face with the McGuffin and stand there in awe, saying "I had no idea..."

Kind of like Jamie Foster said, while travelling in the worm hole and looking out at the stars and galaxy. Nothing they could have came up with visually could beat my imagination of what she saw.
 

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Tarantino says the worst mistake they made in "Pulp Fiction" was to put the light bulb in the briefcase that made the glow. Everyone thought that whatever was in there was supernatural (a soul for instance). He never meant for that to be it - it was just supposed to be an object.

I think finding out at the end brings closure to the story. We all want to know, whether we admit it or not.

Another example - in "Ocean's 12" there was always the idea that Tess looked like Julia Roberts (I can't possibly imagine why). They never say why Danny doesn't like for people to suggest it. In fact Rusty says "It's not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can't talk about it and I can't talk about why."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ambiguity, and to really aggravate the audience you could have one of the characters at the end come face-to-face with the McGuffin and stand there in awe, saying "I had no idea..."
One idea being kicked around is files on a computer/data card. For the "reveal", the character opens the file and then you see the character's face in extreme close-up, colored lights flashing (like a video, maybe?) and shock registering at what they're seeing....then cut to black.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tarantino says the worst mistake they made in "Pulp Fiction" was to put the light bulb in the briefcase that made the glow. Everyone thought that whatever was in there was supernatural (a soul for instance). He never meant for that to be it - it was just supposed to be an object.
He also said that his original idea was to make it the diamonds from Reservoir Dogs, but that struck him as too boring.
 

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One idea being kicked around is files on a computer/data card. For the "reveal", the character opens the file and then you see the character's face in extreme close-up, colored lights flashing (like a video, maybe?) and shock registering at what they're seeing....then cut to black.
That's what I'm talking about!
 

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I know there was no answer, but based on Marseillus Wallace and his bid'niz, I always assumed it was drugs. . . or the diamonds from RD.

Brett, Flinchy and Flock'o'Seagulls were in BUSINESS with M'Dub. Ergo, he fronted them the $$ to buy. . . ???? What does a gangbanging drug-dealin, fight-fixing dude want? Drugs or diamonds. Based on Ringo's comments, it's drugs. He wouldn't ask if they wuz diamonds.

EDIT:

And freakin SPILL IT! I'm sorry, but there are too many pretentious screenwriters out there trying to make the next Wizard Gone with the Kane. And between them, goofy directors and horrendous editors, massive movie plot holes form.

It's too easy to have a cadre of morons think they are clever and make massive plotholes that are only obvious to THEM. Make em spell it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And freakin SPILL IT! I'm sorry, but there are too many pretentious screenwriters out there trying to make the next Wizard Gone with the Kane. And between them, goofy directors and horrendous editors, massive movie plot holes form.

It's too easy to have a cadre of morons think they are clever and make massive plotholes that are only obvious to THEM. Make em spell it out.
You're absolutely right about bad plots and horrible stories being patched (or attempting to be patched) by gimmicks. That's just bad process and cheap street-magician theatrics.

But when it comes to MacGuffins, the whole thing is that they AREN'T plot holes, because they serve no true purpose. The case in Pulp Fiction, it doesn't matter at all what was in it. It didn't change the outcome of anything, didn't save or end the world. It was there for the sole purpose of being there.

That's the kind of thing I'm talking about, the non-essential object that everyone wants. Why they want it doesn't matter, though, the story is in one guy trying to keep it, the other guy trying to get it.

If it were something essential to the plot, the debate wouldn't even be happening.
 

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And freakin SPILL IT! I'm sorry, but there are too many pretentious screenwriters out there trying to make the next Wizard Gone with the Kane. And between them, goofy directors and horrendous editors, massive movie plot holes form.

It's too easy to have a cadre of morons think they are clever and make massive plotholes that are only obvious to THEM. Make em spell it out.
I generally agree with this. Too many times there is something that isn't remotely explained. It can work, but I haven't seen it often.
 

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Some movies are just like word problems in HS. There are 342 pieces of unrelated data and you have to decide which 12 data points are relevant to the plot of the story.

Back when DVD's were big (we're all blu-ray now), deleted scenes was a BIG part of the DVD experience. I remember MANY movies where the deleted scenes filled in HUGE plot holes and such. Yet they never made the movie. ???? Editors can be morons the most. Even if the screenwriter makes a good screenplay and the director films the whole thing, a bad editor can mish-mash a movie together.

Ghost Ship was one of those movies. It was only 91 minutes long. I think the deleted scenes added 9-10 more minutes and made a MUCH better movie. It languished and died and no one saw it despite a decent cast. :(

There was one I watched recently and was saying, "But what about the____?" I had to look it up online afterwards. It meant NOTHING. I just can't remember any details about the movie except the frustration. LOL

The Star Wars prequels are other good examples. ;)
 

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Did it really matter what the fish was in "The Fish Called Wanda?" No, but they did show it. And then Kevin Cline ate it. :rofl:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Editors can be morons the most. Even if the screenwriter makes a good screenplay and the director films the whole thing, a bad editor can mish-mash a movie together.
Luckily, in this case, the screenwriter, director, and editor are all the same guy. The beauty of independent film!
 

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Some movies are just like word problems in HS. There are 342 pieces of unrelated data and you have to decide which 12 data points are relevant to the plot of the story.

Back when DVD's were big (we're all blu-ray now), deleted scenes was a BIG part of the DVD experience. I remember MANY movies where the deleted scenes filled in HUGE plot holes and such. Yet they never made the movie. ???? Editors can be morons the most. Even if the screenwriter makes a good screenplay and the director films the whole thing, a bad editor can mish-mash a movie together.

Ghost Ship was one of those movies. It was only 91 minutes long. I think the deleted scenes added 9-10 more minutes and made a MUCH better movie. It languished and died and no one saw it despite a decent cast. :(

There was one I watched recently and was saying, "But what about the____?" I had to look it up online afterwards. It meant NOTHING. I just can't remember any details about the movie except the frustration. LOL

The Star Wars prequels are other good examples. ;)
Sounds like the ending of "The Abyss." It makes absolutely no sense until you see the deleted scenes. Then you have an "a-ha" moment.
 

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I never minded not knowing if they ever got the shotguns in "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". It was a good movie either way.

WP
 

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Another good McGuffin was in Ronin...



BTW: I never knew there was an alternate ending to Ronin!

[ame]http://youtu.be/WFBoIda0y5A[/ame]
 

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You'll either have me by the end of the movie, or you won't. Knowing the MacGuffin won't make a difference.

Regards,
Happyguy :)
 

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