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Don’t qvestion it!

28 November 2012

As I’ve no doubt mentioned before, I watch a lot of stuff. There aren’t many movies or shows that I don’t get around to seeing eventually — even if they end up sucking, I’ll pretty much give everything a chance. While there are a few things that I can tell won’t interest me from the trailers, I usually find something to like in most things I watch.

But this isn’t a post about finding the good in otherwise bad films and TV shows — it’s actually about hiding the bad in otherwise good movies and shows.

I’ll explain.

Every movie or show, no matter how good, is full of plot holes. I loved The Dark Night Rises, but there were huge plot holes in that one. Here’s a big one:


Yep. The whole police department has been in the sewers for three months, surviving on whatever Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been able to toss down the sewer grates. Yet when they come out, they’re all clean-shaven, wearing clean uniforms, and ready to punch-fight thousands of armed criminals pretty much immediately.

Ignoring the fact that no department in the world would send its entire force on a “training exercise” at the same time (which is how they got trapped in the sewers in the first place); ignoring that they would not have been able to survive on scraps dropped through the grates for three months; ignoring that their uniforms would be dirty and they’d all smell terrible; ignoring that there are no razors or barber shops in the sewers — if you ignore all of that, these guys have still spent three months sleeping in concrete sewer pipes while their muscles slowly atrophy. They’re fighting no one.

But here’s the thing — thanks to the pacing and the general great performances and direction of the film, you probably don’t notice the plot hole until later. It doesn’t pull you out of the film — you accept it and move on.

Sometimes, it’s not about avoiding the plot holes — it’s about misdirecting your audience’s attention so the plot holes aren’t so glaring. All writing — even our beloved books — will have plot holes. The trick is to make a strong enough overall story that your readers/viewers let you slide on one or two tiny details.

So what’s your favorite plot hole you didn’t notice until after the fact?

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