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Thread 'Based On A True Story'...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The Village Idiot, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. The Village Idiot

    The Village Idiot
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    Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed as of late that there are a lot of movies 'based on' or 'inspired by' true events. Just this year, several are up for Oscars - Selma and American Sniper are the first two that come to mind. I also have been watching the HBO series 'John Adams' - and being the nerd that I am, noticed some historical inaccuracies, so of course I looked them up.

    Anyway, it got me wondering that are the events that occur in reality so boring that you can't possibly make an accurate movie about them without throwing 'documentary' on it? By the way, I love documentaries, but apparently I'm quite in the minority.

    Focus: Should movies that purport to tell a historical story be accurate? Or does the 'inspired by true events' moniker cover it? Is there a historical event that you'd like to see portrayed as a movie, if so, who's in it?

    Alt Focus: Is there any truth to the saying 'truth is stranger than fiction' saying? If so, why do you think so many movies create fictions to make the story 'better?'

    Alt Alt Focus: If you had to pick a time/event in your life to be made into a non-fictional movie, what event would that be? Who would be in it? Go nuts, give us a treatment, script, scene, one line description, whatever...
     
  2. Juice

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    Im fine with artistic license in trying to squeeze some event into a 2 hour time slot and at the same time making it compelling. One good example is Band of Brothers. I know they had some of the real guys, including Winters, from Easy Company on set to give an account of what happened. But again, Spielberg had to make it interesting so I dont assume every conversation, every interaction, or each the likeness of the characters was accurate.

    I'd probably make my time in college into a nonfiction story. It would be like Animal House, except with someone trying to crash a car into our house, another person trying to run down a hooker that stole his coke, getting a gun pulled on me in a McDonalds parking lot, and many other zany adventures. It would be called, "Paint You Like a Ladybug."

    bump.
     
  3. AlexWolfe

    AlexWolfe
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    I think it's absolutely true that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction is designed to make sense; reality isn't.

    We could argue for weeks about the things that make a good story good, but allow me to present a metric I often use to support my point. I believe one of the ways a good story can be measured is by the concurrent interaction between what the character wants, what the character does to get it, and the toll this takes on the characters' physical/spiritual body. I think it's extremely difficult to create a great character in a great story that has an interesting interplay between those three things.

    First, people want all kinds of things, but that's rarely interesting. WHY people want these things... that's what gets us. We want to feel their hunger.

    Next, people will do all sorts of things to get what they want, but even that isn't interesting to us if they don't have a reason or a story attached to them. We want to know why this person utilizes this style to get what they want, and we want to see them work for it. We want to see how practiced they are, we want to feel their skill. We want to understand their instincts.

    Finally, our physical and spiritual body. This is the cost of going after what we want. There must be costs, physically and spiritually, along the story. Without these costs, the story is not real, for the character has not spent or sacrificed any of their energy for what they really, truly want. And how do we know they really, truly want it? Because we should see it in blood and sweat and tears.

    The reason we see so many historical stories "improved" is because they feel real, but just like any story, without the above things on a character, it isn't really a story. It's just a sterile slideshow from history. In fact, if the above are the traits of a compelling character, in some situations, I can imagine it would be MORE difficult to create a compelling story given the expectations demanded by history. I would go so far as to say I believe that other than providing an interesting setting, an actual historical movie would be more difficult to make than an original story, because it's easier to create an interesting character, but that's pretty debatable.

    Then again, people are familiar with history, and will go see the movie anyways for reasons other than seeing a compelling story. So I'm sure that's why movie studios do it.