The Big Picture: Stone Soup

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Stone Soup

MovieBob takes a good look at the Flintstones.

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And they will be returning to Primetime at somepoint thanks to Seth Mcfarlane and Fox.

i don't if i love the flintstones. but i do like them. Also is the kick off to the Hanna-barbara mega-series?

You are right Bob. Fruity Pebbles is one of the best cereals out there.

And I'm out of it.

Goog God.

I haven't heard the name "The Flinstones" in years!

Myself having grown up during the time of its second run I can vouch for Bob when he says it's going to get weird.

And it IS going to get really fucking weird!

hehe, i kinda wanna go back an play an old Mega Man now :3.

but ... the really interesting part is a week away ? :< aww...

When I think of The Flintstones, I think of 3 things:

1.) I think of how often I'd watch it as a kid, even though I NEVER paid attention to the actual plots of each episode.

2.) I think of how it's one of the few animated Prime Time shows that lasted longer than 2 season, aside from The Simpsons and another obscure animated show.

3.) I think of how Doug Walker doesn't like The Flintstones, because of how lame and unfunny it is.

Speaking of shoddy criticism. I've seen quite a disturbingly high amount of movie reviews, Metacritic'ed movie reviews, that started with "I couldn't stand trough more than 15 minutes of this, therefore, I give it a zero". While I would understand that in the case of obviously bad movies, I've seen such reviews of things that weren't that bad actually. I think Melancholia was one.
This type of behavior really bugs me, since my current job requires me to review video games. Often horrible video games, and I make sure to play them properly, at least once, to make sure that when I review it, I actually know what I'm talking about.

Character Archetypes2 + Standard Plot2= $2
Glad you brought up such a sedimental favorite.

Wait, I thought you hated The Flintstones. Or at least thought it was overrated because "what kid wants to watch a show about a middle aged man with middle aged problems that isn't even that funny?". I could have sworn it was MovieBob who said that, I'm starting to get my Internet critics mixed up :-S

MatParker116:
And they will be returning to Primetime at somepoint thanks to Seth Mcfarlane and Fox.

Now that I think about it, The Flinstones isn't too far removed from the family sitcom schtick that MacFarlane has milked (excessively IMO) with Family Guy, American Dad and Cleveland. It'll be interesting to see whether or not MacFarlane manages to completely fuck it up.

*Cringes* Oooh, I know what's coming next week. Ah, the Flintstones spin offs. It may be the Nostalgia Goggles speaking, but I'm pretty sure that anything beisdes The Flintstones Kids are crap, and the only reason I don't think The Flintstones Kids is crap is because of the Captain Caveman shorts every episode.

When he said "plot formula," who here immediately thought of Detective Conan/Case Closed? Seriously, entire episodes were written like a Madlib:

RAN: So you were all in the [activity usually associated with European upper class] at university

[FEMALE CHARACTER WHO INVITED THEM AND IS THE ONLY ONE INNOCENT OF ALL OF THEM]: Yes, until [Dead Girlfriend/Boyfriend of the KILLER] passed/killed him/herself.

[VICTIM 1 AND THE ROOT CAUSE OF SAID-GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND"S DEATH, Yelling]: All you shut up, I don't want to talk about him/her. I'm going to grab a smoke/take a bath. [Exit's for a few hours only to be found dead later...]

MB202:
When I think of The Flintstones, I think of 3 things:

1.) I think of how often I'd watch it as a kid, even though I NEVER paid attention to the actual plots of each episode.

2.) I think of how it's one of the few animated Prime Time shows that lasted longer than 2 season, aside from The Simpsons and another obscure animated show.

3.) I think of how Doug Walker doesn't like The Flintstones, because of how lame and unfunny it is.

Who cares if some guy in glasses doesn't like the flintstones?

Urh:

MatParker116:
And they will be returning to Primetime at somepoint thanks to Seth Mcfarlane and Fox.

Now that I think about it, The Flinstones isn't too far removed from the family sitcom schtick that MacFarlane has milked (excessively IMO) with Family Guy, American Dad and Cleveland. It'll be interesting to see whether or not MacFarlane manages to completely fuck it up.

That's probably going to be his biggest hurdle. That formula that Bob spoke so highly of the show's ability to work with has also been run completely into the ground by the four shows Fox has already wrung out of it. Maybe five, if you think Bob's Burgers counts.

It's okay to follow formula if the rest of the elements in the film is good enough to cover it up, Avengers had fun characters and well done action sequences to distract you, Flintstones had sight gags but when a movie fails to deliver anything beyond it's formula, then the formulaic criticism can be applied, Speedy Buggy is just a crappy reimagining of Scooby Doo that never added anything new, I that case saying "It's just the Scooby Doo formula" works.

Lunar Templar:
hehe, i kinda wanna go back an play an old Mega Man now :3.

but ... the really interesting part is a week away ? :< aww...

Weird, I want to go play Mega Man 3 too. I might just do that.

Steve the Pocket:

Urh:

MatParker116:
And they will be returning to Primetime at somepoint thanks to Seth Mcfarlane and Fox.

Now that I think about it, The Flinstones isn't too far removed from the family sitcom schtick that MacFarlane has milked (excessively IMO) with Family Guy, American Dad and Cleveland. It'll be interesting to see whether or not MacFarlane manages to completely fuck it up.

That's probably going to be his biggest hurdle. That formula that Bob spoke so highly of the show's ability to work with has also been run completely into the ground by the four shows Fox has already wrung out of it. Maybe five, if you think Bob's Burgers counts.

That's the beauty of having a formula. It can be rebuilt with the basics that worked and be ehnanced to have it's own appeal.

It's much like a choclate chip cookie, you know the basics for making it, how it works etc. If a cookie is poorly made, it's a bad cookie, if a cookie is greatly made, it's a bitching cookie. No one is ever going to say cookies are bad, unless they just hate cookies. People will just say that particular cookie is bad, and wish for a good cookie. That applies to Fox sitcoms.

Fox seems to bake up some bad cookies. They take a basic formula and use the cheapest/worst materials to make some horrible shows. That's why I don't watch Family guy anymore, it's much like those famous Amos cookies you get at the store, sure they are great for a bit, but keep eating them and you realize how cruddy they taste and wish your Granmother is still alive to bake cookies.

Now I want cookies.

So then, would do you think of the idea of using generic elements to tell stories that said elements have never told before?
For example, the big project I've been working on for the past twelve years is a fantasy world that features all the generic fantasy elements (elves, dwarves, wizards, fairies, yadda yadda yadda), but instead of telling Tolkien-esque stories about to find magic items and defeat dark lords, it's all boiled down to small stories that focus on individual characters trying to go about their daily lives. While I'm still at the moment doing world building with some of the stories I have written, my intent is to increasingly focus on the more "common" people of the world as an attempt to explore the realm of normal people in an epic fantasy world.
IE, what would life be like for most of us if we lived in a world with elves and dwarves and magic.

My last Flintstone "spin-off" encounter was the "Simstones" mods over at ModTheSims site back in 2006. I had a lot of fun with that neighborhood. :)

The trouble with using a formula plot is that it means I don't really care what's happening in the movie. I know what's going to happen so there's zero tension. It may not be a criticism in itself but as one aspect of a movie which has little else to redeem it, it's perfectly valid to point it out.

There are enough different ways of playing out the various set scenarios of cinema that there's no excuse for not surprising me. That surprise doesn't have to come from the plot but it had better come from somewhere.

"I love the Flintstones" - Bob

Okay, Bob, now I forgive you for that one thing in the twilight review.

bdcjacko:

MB202:
When I think of The Flintstones, I think of 3 things:

1.) I think of how often I'd watch it as a kid, even though I NEVER paid attention to the actual plots of each episode.

2.) I think of how it's one of the few animated Prime Time shows that lasted longer than 2 season, aside from The Simpsons and another obscure animated show.

3.) I think of how Doug Walker doesn't like The Flintstones, because of how lame and unfunny it is.

Who cares if some guy in glasses doesn't like the flintstones?

Well, considering that when the show went to the "Saturday morning kids cartoon" slot the show went from oddball animated sitcom to just plain weird, I can't really blame him.

DVS BSTrD:
Character Archetypes2 + Standard Plot2= $2
Glad you brought up such a sedimental favorite.

*groan* You do realize you're going to be lynched for this one of these days, right? :P

LordLundar:

bdcjacko:

MB202:
3.) I think of how Doug Walker doesn't like The Flintstones, because of how lame and unfunny it is.

Who cares if some guy in glasses doesn't like the flintstones?

Well, considering that when the show went to the "Saturday morning kids cartoon" slot the show went from oddball animated sitcom to just plain weird, I can't really blame him.

But again, what does that matter. This is the escapist, not that guy with the glasses. For sake of argument, it would be like saying my cousin doesn't like Flinstones. No one cares what my cousin thinks.

I really appreciated your discussion of "formula plotting" as criticism of a film. I was thinking about that a lot myself recently. Here's a brief list of films with plots that could be considered "formulaic": Casablanca, Toy story, Rocky, Frankenstein, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

When someone describes something as formula, what I really think people mean is that the film's plot is empty. It lacks any emotional punch, so scenes feel like they are drawn from some checklist of "what the film needs," rather than created to enhance the story. So, most movies described as formula are really just being described as BAD. This seems to jive with bob's point that inexperienced reviewers tend to overuse the term.

And this doesn't even get into the Hollywood Formula, the massive genre-defying formula that has become so ingrained in the popular consciousness over the past 70 years that almost every film adheres to but no one seems to notice. Name any film that was outrageously popular, and I'd bet it used this.

When it comes to formulas my favorite tends to be "Person corrects wrongs they were part of".

In Avatar it was correcting what the character had done to someone else's land.
In District 9 it was about about trying to save another race.
In Daybreakers it was about returning one's race back to normal.
In Machete it was about correcting a setup that harm another people's identity.
In Enemy Mine it was about correcting wrongs of degrading & enslaving another species.
In Iron Man its just about correcting ones A-holeness.... Even for a moment.
In Halo 2, Via The Arbiter, Its about correcting oneself when you find out your religion is wrong.

Another part most of these in formulas tends to be racial tension.

....

*Off-Topic*

*Sarcasm*
Thanks Bethesda for upholding Racism when you prevented my Female Khajiit from Marrying another Female Khajiit in Skyrim.
*/Sarcasm*

*Edit*
I was just reminded of this....
http://www.housepetscomic.com/2012/05/11/in-all-fairness/

Not sure that introduction came off well, maybe a touch arrogant sounding?

With the Avengers thing, they could have done with making the formula tie up more. It felt a bit like Serenity (One of my favourite all time films) where instead of thinking about the stuff that happens and putting it there for a reason, they put stuff in that didn't have much relation to the main focus of the film (characters) because thats the stuff you put in films, rather than because it does something.

Still a fantastic film

Like the reason some people didn't enjoy the film so much because of formula, was because they noticed the formula. For them it didn't work. Whereas if it's good formula (like Phineas and Ferb!) it doesn't even occur to you that it's being formulaic or it's something objectionable

Kuth:

That's the beauty of having a formula. It can be rebuilt with the basics that worked and be ehnanced to have it's own appeal.

It's much like a choclate chip cookie, you know the basics for making it, how it works etc. If a cookie is poorly made, it's a bad cookie, if a cookie is greatly made, it's a bitching cookie. No one is ever going to say cookies are bad, unless they just hate cookies. People will just say that particular cookie is bad, and wish for a good cookie....

This is pretty much the perfect explanation for why formula isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I like how this very episode follows "the formula" exemplifying what he talked about.

I admit I was never a fan of the Flintstones, I would watch it on occasion, but never really got into it, though I do appreciate how long-lasting it is. Can't wait for next week to see how weird things get!

CrazyGirl17:
I admit I was never a fan of the Flintstones, I would watch it on occasion, but never really got into it, though I do appreciate how long-lasting it is. Can't wait for next week to see how weird things get!

I've got three words for you:

The Great Gazoo

(hmm, captcha is "dueling banjos", it feels oddly appropriate for some reason...)

Well...

I saw a production of Moliere's "The Imaginary Invalid" put on by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival a while back, and while it had its points, somewhere between a "see, this audience doesn't get references to Moliere, they're here for the fart jokes" gag and a shoehorned-in "live every minute to the fullest, life is brief" summing-up, I was digging my nails into my arm.

It didn't help that I'm painfully familiar with the tropes of commedia del arte (and, farther back, the Greek and Roman farces from which they evolved) that Moliere drew upon. It's one thing to rework old jokes for modern sensibilities, but somewhere between making jokes at the audience's expense and sitting through about three hours of jokes that might have gotten chuckles from the Caesars to be told that life is brief was a bit much to be borne.

Formula can be okay, sure. But the thing of it is, if you're going to use a formula that the audience is very familiar with, you damn well better get from the completely familiar 'a' to the quite predictable 'b' with a certain amount of style and flair. Certain cliches I have less sympathy for than others- I've commented on the "and then the man runs after the girl and/or humiliates himself in public" of many romantic comedies- but whatever the case, the more obvious formula you use, the less slack you get if you fail to perfrom with distinction within your self-created limitations.

"Avengers" did very well. But I lost all interest in ever seeing "Lock Out" without a large group of friends and copious quantities of alcohol when someone in the trailer un-ironically spouted the phrase "He's the best there is... but he's a loose cannon!"

Plot =/= Story

Characters can create a story just as much as any elaborate chain of events can. In fact, characters can often do it better. I can't always related to the events of a show (sci-fi or fantasy, in particular, are outside my day-to-day experience), but I know people. I can relate to the characters. I can have strong, personal feelings about them, even when the events are far beyond me.

MatParker116:
And they will be returning to Primetime at somepoint thanks to Seth Mcfarlane and Fox.

That's apparently all but dead, with the official word being that it's been put on hold.

Thanks Bob, now I'm going to have that theme song stuck in my head all week. X_X

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