Dumb Scenes in Movies
by Phil Boatwright

...Then there was the obtuseness of I Know Who Killed Me. Just before entering a substance abuse sanctuary, Lindsay Lohan played a teen abducted and tortured by a sadistic serial killer. Here’s an example of the film’s absurdity: after being chased through a dark house (nobody ever turns on the lights in these movies), Ms. Lohan manages to hack off her attacker’s hand. But a couple of scenes later, our young heroine is seen bound tightly to a chair. Somehow, the villain has gotten the upper hand (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I was thinking as I watched Lindsay struggle with sailor knots, “How did the nutcase tie her up? He’s got one hand."

More doltishness – writer/directors Cathy Konrad and James Mangold go to great lengths in 3:10 To Yuma to point out that their protagonist has a wooden leg. He stumps around like Matt Dillon’s buddy Chester – until the final chase scene. Suddenly, he’s racing down alleyways and over rooftops with the agility of an Olympiad. I suspect the actor must have brought this up: “How can I be running without the limp?” I’m assuming the director’s answer was, “Just run.”

And then there was 30 Days of Night. Its story concerned a vampire sect feasting on the residents of a small Alaskan community. It’s spooky and action-filled, but it’s also gruesome and dreary. Oh, yeah, and dumb. For example, all the townees go to one house to hide, yet, somehow the blood-suckers can’t track them. Why? It’s Alaska in the dead of winter, with lots of snow, and lots of footprints in the snow. Helen Keller could have found these people.

Here is a bit of trivia, or at least a blooper you may get a kick out of. In the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim, I caught a major mistake. If you have it in your video library or decide to rent it for this holiday season, keep an eye open during the final section, just after Scrooge transforms into a good man. There’s a scene where he’s excited at his awakening to find it’s Christmas Day and that he is a new man. Twice he looks into his mirror, holding a conversation, first with himself, then with his maid.

If you look closely, you’ll see a stagehand in the reflection. What’s more, he doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the scene. Surely, this had to stand out on the big screen. But then, people are so caught up with Sim’s brilliant interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge that most are just focused on him. Indeed, I saw this film maybe ten times before I caught the boo-boo.

I get a kick out it because there’s this great acting going on, it’s the moment in the film we’ve been waiting for, an uplifting, fulfilling moment. And suddenly there’s this prop man looking around for his lunch.

Don’t worry, it won’t ruin the mood. Nothing gets in the way of Alastair Sim’s wondrous transformation.

In James Cameron’s 1997 hit Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio, a similar flub occurs. At a fancy dinner, a waiter opens a beautiful door for Jack (DiCaprio). The door reflects the image of a steadi-cam operator.

Also a mystery from Titanic: The crew of the lifeboat is coming back looking for survivors, and Officer Lowe yells “Is there anyone alive out there? Can anybody hear me” After every yell there’s an echo. How? There’s nothing around to create an echo?