‘Dishonest’ Films

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Siegmund, Jul 31, 2020 at 2:14 PM.

  1. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    "JFK" goes waaay beyond the "not meant to be a documentary" domain, though.

    It's just a load of hogwash packaged as "fact"...
  2. misteranderson

    misteranderson Forum Resident

    englewood, nj
    As you said, it's still a remarkable film.

    How much of Casino or Goodfellas is truly factual? Maybe neither is as fanciful as JFK, but who really cares?
  3. finslaw

    finslaw muzak to my ears

    The king of dishonest films, based on a dishonest song too:

    Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington.

    If you read up about it he exaggerated how close he was to a top boxer and the facts seem to point him out as the most likely suspect, even considering the police ineptitude. It doesn't help that after he was released he beat up a lady in his hotel room.

    Ron Howard takes a lot of liberties' with his biopics.
  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    The singer sounded like he believed it.
    carrick doone likes this.
  5. Dylan had a thing about romanticizing criminals back then - see also “George Jackson” and “Joey”.
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Sure but they were dead, not looking to get out of jail!
  7. Borgia

    Borgia Forum Resident

    My thing with most movie exaggerations is that often the real story is just as good without embellishments, life being stranger or more exciting than fiction sometimes.
    scobb and GodShifter like this.
  8. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    To me, the difference is the subject matter. The Scorsese films are more openly honest about their fictionalization - and involve events much less significant than the Kennedy assassination.

    "JFK" was such a "bombshell" that it impacted actual national legislation, as it caused such a stink that Congress enacted a law to release assassination-related records.

    And that happened because people took it seriously, not as a piece of fiction.

    When I saw it in early 1992, I remember thinking "if only 25% of this is true, there had to be a conspiracy!"

    And that would've been accurate, but only about 2% is true! We had a president named Kennedy and he got assassinated - thus ends the factual content in the film! :D
    Phil147 likes this.
  9. Docudramas are terrible condensations of history. At best. I don't like any of them as history. I'm capable of suspending my disbelief in order to enjoy some of them as entertainment. But the discrepancies with the facts can be glaring.

    The problem is that they tend to unduly influence the viewing audience to think that all of the details in the depicted narrative are factual, if they don't already have some background with nonfiction reading on the events and characters.

    At least the Internet makes it easy for the curious to do fact checks these days. But to me, oversimplifications and inventions detract from the entertainment value to be found in reading nonfiction historical accounts as well as the educational value, because history is all about the subtleties! It's learning about the twists that makes reading history intriguing. History is almost never simple and straightforward. Whereas fictional dramas rely on plot devices and symbolism. Myth and Legend, vs. documented facts and chronologies.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020 at 3:00 PM
  10. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident

    Bexley, Ohio
    Plus a VP named Johnson what was tied to the military complex and wanted to continue heavy military presence to keep the coffers full. Just kidding......I could not resist
    Oatsdad likes this.
  11. Graham

    Graham Forum Resident

    London, UK

    U-571 (film) - Wikipedia

    The film does not portray an historical event. The British Royal Navy had captured the first naval Enigma machine in May 1941, before the U.S. Navy had engaged in the Atlantic. The American portrayal offended many of the British military and public. The Allies captured Enigma-related codebooks and machines about fifteen times during the War; all but two of these by British forces. The Royal Canadian Navy captured U-744 in March 1944 and the U.S. Navy seized U-505 in June 1944. By this time, the Allies were already routinely decoding German naval Enigma traffic.

    On the film's release, opposition Labour MP Brian Jenkins, used Prime Minister's Questions in June 2000, to claim that the film was an "affront to the memories of the British sailors who lost their lives on this action." Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "I agree entirely with what you say...we hope that people realise these are people that, in many cases sacrificed their lives in order that this country remained free."[4] Paul Truswell, MP for the consituency of Pudsey, a town closely associated with HMS Aubrietia, wrote to the U.S. president, Bill Clinton who acknowledged that the film's plot was only a work of fiction.[9] The director of the local Hosworth Museum lamented the rewriting of history, saying: "You can't rewrite history and we have to pass on the facts to the younger generation through the schools."

    The first capture of a naval Enigma machine with its cipher keys from a U-boat was made on 9 May 1941 by HMS Bulldog of the Royal Navy, commanded by Captain Joe Baker-Cresswell assisted by HMS Aubrietia. The U-boat was U-110. In 1942, the Royal Navy also seized U-559, capturing additional Enigma codebooks. According to Britain's Channel 4, "the captured codebooks provided vital assistance to British cryptographers such as Alan Turing, at the code-breaking facility of Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes."[10]

    The United State's involvement in the European Theatre of the Second World War did not commence until mid-1941 with Lend-Lease, and direct, open participation did not begin until the U.S. Navy began engaging the Kriegsmarine in the fall of 1941, months before Pearl Harbor, by which time Enigma machines had already been captured and their codes broken in Europe. An earlier military Enigma had been examined by Polish Intelligence in 1928; the Polish Cipher Bureau broke the Enigma code in 1932 and gave their findings to Britain and France in 1939, just before the German invasion of Poland.[10]

    Sub Lt. David Balme, the Royal Navy officer who led the boarding boarding party on U-110, called U-571, "a great film"[11] and said that it would not have been financially viable without being "americanised". The film's producers did not agree to his request for a statement that it was a work of fiction, but[9] the end credits dedicate the film to the "Allied sailors and officers who risked their lives capturing Enigma materials" during the Second World War. The credits acknowledge the Royal Navy's role in capturing Enigma machines and code documents from U-110, U-559 and the U.S. Navy's capture of U-505.[11]

    In 2006, screenwriter David Ayer admitted that U-571 had distorted history, and said that he would not do it again.[12] He told BBC Radio 4's The Film Programme that he "did not feel good" about suggesting that Americans, rather than the British, had captured the naval Enigma cipher: "It was a distortion...a mercenary decision...to create this parallel history in order to drive the film for an American audience. Both my grandparents were officers in the Second World War, and I would be personally offended if somebody distorted their achievements."[12]
    marmalade166, arley, Phil147 and 4 others like this.
  12. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Rocky Horror Picture Show, with all that Dancing...

    Nuff said!
    scobb likes this.
  13. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Which movie doesn't? Even the news are always exaggerate or distorted to some point to make sales.

    I thought Once upon a time in Hollywood was a interesting and surprising twist/take on the subject. I didn't love it, I didn't hated. A bit slow, at the beginning it wasn't clear were it was going but the end with all the over the top exaggeration made the movie hilarious, I would watch it again.
  14. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I think there are a number of issues when it comes to bringing superheroes to the big screen:
    • Many origin stories don't contain enough material to support an entire movie. Despite the number of retellings, the original Batman origin story was about four pages long (if I remember the number correctly). Likewise, Superman's origin story was also short. This isn't just limited to superhero movies, How The Grinch Stole Christmas was a very short book, and in the 30-minute Christmas special a large section of the special was taken up with a sled ride down to Whoville to extend the length of the story.
    • Many superheroes have origins that worked in the past but don't work in the Modern Times. An example of this is Elongated Man, who literally got his stretching powers by drinking a juice used in a soda pop. Superman is the same, with his powers originally just because of Earth's lighter gravity, which has been expanded on over the years to explain powers that can't just be due to Earth's lighter gravity.
    • Many things which work on the comic page won't work as well on the big/small screen. One of the issues with The Fantastic Four is what made them unique when they were introduced: They were a team of heroes who didn't get along. Green Lantern has an extremely powerful ring and its use looks great on the printed page*, but it tends to look a bit silly when put on the big/small screen (although it was done fairly well on Green Lantern - The Animated Series).
    • Many comic stories are so big that they can't be properly told in a single movie. An example of this is the miniseries Infinite Crisis, which was a seven-issue miniseries (six regular-size issues, and one double-sized issue). Added to that were the large number of stories leading up to Infinite Crisis. The novelization of the story is around 350 pages, and the audio book version contains 13 compact discs. In a similar manner, I estimate that the entire "Death Of Superman" story line would take at least five movies to tell the entire story as it was presented in the comic books.
    I'm sure there are other issues when it comes to bringing superheroes to the big/small screen, but those are the ones that came to my mind.

    *In the comics, although each Green Lantern has the same type of ring, each one uses it in a different manner. John Stewart literally constructs each device he creates (when he made a sniper rifle you can literally see the individual pieces of it as it comes together, Kyle Rayner's creations slowly come together has he slowly sketches them in his mind like the artist he is, Guy Gardner's constructs spark like he can't wait to unleash them, Kilowog creates blunt devices that actually make a sound, and Hal Jordan make constructs that are simple and direct.
  15. BrokenByAudio

    BrokenByAudio Forum Resident

    Do we know he was a Nazi? Is there anything in the book's text to suggest he was? We know he was a German, or worked for the Germans during the war, but that doesn't necessarily make him a Nazi (as defined by being a member of the party).
    scobb likes this.
  16. This was the FIRST thing that came to mind when I read the thread title.
    Oliver Stone's....everything.
  17. Some of these films are good overall, but have a dishonest, or at least less than realistic, portrayal of an event, or character.
    A very recent version of this happens in Ford VS Ferrari.
    Leo Beebe (played by Josh Lucas) is portrayed as mean, petty, and greatly disliking Ken Miles to the point of almost manic.
    This was simply not the case in real life.
    Ken and Leo had a pretty good professional relationship and Leo was not some back stabbing, conniving, power hungry jerk either.

    Are there any 100% accurate films. They must use some portion or artistic license in order to fill in the gaps where they don't have good, verifiable, information.
    Some do a MUCH better job than others, but unless you are watching a live film made in action of the real event, there will be some reality discrepancies.
  18. It's been awhile since I last saw ' The Buddy Holly Story ' but I know there's very little factual elements in it. One could say that the only truth in it is there was a 50s rocker named Buddy Holly who died in a plane crash.
    What a horrid movie it is : The Crickets aren't given the right names , no mention of Norman Petty ( a huge figure in the true Buddy Holly story ) , fictional characters saying ruduculous things , situations and occurrences that never happened.....the list goes on and on.
    Grand_Ennui and groundharp like this.
  19. MadMelMon

    MadMelMon Forum Resident

    In before Rocketman. Honesty isn't relevant when a movie is explicitly fantasy. But man, that movie got raked over the coals for its inaccuracies.

    That said, a lot of Disney movies are sanitized to the point of silliness. They're cartoons of course, so nobody (hopefully) treats them like documentaries. But telling kids stuff like Pocahontas and John Smith having a romance is a bit much.

    A Beautiful Mind...no. As somebody who struggles with mental issues myself, I might be a little more sympathetic towards bad behavior caused by said issues than most. But not this. Dude was a straight up scumbag.

    My Name is Dolomite. It's a fun movie, and to be honest Rudy Ray Moore himself probably would have liked it. But it bypasses his homosexuality, with only the tiniest of hints (he's uncomfortable with his sex scene, and one character is slightly effeminate for a few seconds.) He was in the closet, and the filmmakers were clearly focused on telling the "successful underdog" thing, so bringing that on board would've muddied the waters considerably...and it's not like every damn movie ever made has to bring up people's sexuality. But a big part of his Dolomite persona was his hypersexuality, and with his promotional efforts he blazed a (closeted, but nonetheless important) role in bringing gay performers to a straight audience, and feminist perspective to the notoriously misogynistic comedy underground of the 60s and 70s. Making a completely chaste biopic leaves a fairly big elephant in the middle of the room.
  20. Slackhurst Broadcasting

    Slackhurst Broadcasting Forum Resident

    Harlow (1965) had almost nothing to do with the real life of Jean Harlow.
    Siegmund likes this.
  21. kevywevy

    kevywevy Forum Resident

    I think "Once Upon A Time" in the title was a pretty big clue that it was a work of fiction . . .
  22. groundharp

    groundharp Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger

    California Day
    Count Laszlo Almasy was a Hungarian adventurer, but he was NO hero!

    I can't put a link in right now because I don't know how to do that on my phone and can't use my laptop at the moment, but the English newspaper The Telegraph described Almasy as an "ugly, homosexual, incompetent Nazi spy."

    Screw the book, which is as complicit in glamorizing Almasy as the movie is.
  23. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    ComixBook movies are great - for kids.
  24. misteranderson

    misteranderson Forum Resident

    englewood, nj
    Yeah, that's reasonable. I wouldn't have known anything about Henry Hill or Frank Rosenthal if not for Scorcese.

    Although I like it and have seen it many times, JFK actually turned me against conspiracy theories of any kind, about anything.
  25. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    "JFK" prompted me to learn more about the assassination, though I took a while.

    As I mentioned, the movie made me a conspiracy believer in 1992.

    Can't remember how I soured on that perspective, but I think read my first assassination book in the early 2000s, probably sparked by a screening of the DVD.

    I definitely don't believe in any conspiracy for the JFK assassination now! :)

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