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Chekhov's gun (wikipedia.org)
11 points by tchajed on Oct 13, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

Be prepared to spend hours wandering the site.

To anyone who doesn't know what this is - don't read it. It wil make 99% of the movies from now on very much predictable to you. Although most might already be subconciously aware of this trick, having it spelled out for you will make you actively recognize it every time, as opposed to only some of the times.

I strongly oppose this view. Understanding how refraction works in no way diminishes the beauty of a rainbow. I would say it even enhances it's glory. Similarly, understanding the underpinnings of fiction does not ruin it at all, and if anything, enhances it.

This is just my personal view, of course, and to each his own. But I personally can say that having seen the inner clockwork of fiction, I would not go back and have it any other way. (And many other agree with me: There are many internet communities devoted to understanding and explaining literature's inner workings, the most well known of which is tvtropes. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in plumbing the full depth of literature's workings.)

That's true, I shouldn't have generalized. Maybe how well a Checkov's gun is "integrated" is a mark of the quality of the movie, and the fact that it's obvious isn't what kills the movie for me, but just the poor quality all around, and I use the gun as the reason, while it's not that at all.

I think movie enthusiasts are able to intuitively determine writing styles and assess quality in modern movies anyways, mostly during the first 20 minutes of a movie. An awful lot of recent movies are relying on formula's, blueprinted in screenwriting books like 'Save the cat'[1].

The lack of predictability and formulas are the exact reason that Tarantino and Koen Brothers movies are valued so highly by critics. Chekhov's gun is a commonly used excuse for poor, predictable screenwriting when not used sparsely. It feels like solving a puzzle that is already laid out in front of your eyes to me. Unfortunately, the ingredients of a blockbuster nowadays consist out of flashy CGI, lens flares and constant-climax soundtracks. I think it's no coincidence recent movies and series with a good plot are based on books.

[1] http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/07/hollyw...

Remember this next time you're to writing code you ain't gonna need.

Pulp Fiction seems to have lots of useless stuff in it.

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