The Gleisser-Matulich Obtusity Scale, v. 0.9

My literary wing-man, Sheldon Gleisser, felt compelled to create a scaled for the obtusity of movies after seeing Annihilation. Not that it was a bad movie, but even if you had read the book which shared a title and few other points with it, you still had no idea what was going on when the credits rolled. It may have been artistic, but it was definitely obtuse. Perhaps not as mind-numbingly obtuse as 2001, but way more than the Andromeda Strain that made sure to explain the scientific process through-out and wrapped up with a voice-over. Voice-overs are Kryptonite for obtuse movies.

So, sitting down at the local B&N with hot beverages, we hammered out a ten point scaled for Movie Obtusity: The Gleisser-Matulich Obtusity Scale, or GMO. You really don’t want this GMO in your popcorn.

In considering if a movie is Obtuse, there are three primary factors we looked at. The first is Accessibility. If the film is set in a milieu that is recognizable to the audience, like a contemporary drama or  frequently seen historical era like the Western or WWII, the audience will be able to grasp the context without too much effort. A thriller set in Pre-Columbian Central America without English dialogue risks being Obtuse.

The second factor is Plot Clarity. If everything on the screen does not need explanation, or is explained in grueling detail, the film is not Obtuse. If the hero of the film moves from a vehicle in space to a prolonged special-effects sequence to a French Provincial bedroom, this is Obtuse.

The final consideration is Interior Logic. If every single event in a film comes from a previously seen event and extends to the next event, it is a least less Obtuse. If the teenage hero is haunted by the dead man in the rabbit suit he will accidentally kill in the third reel, not so much.

So here is the initial version of the Gleisser-Matulich Obtusity Scale. Feel free to suggest additions or changes of point value. Just, please don’t be obtuse about it.

Level 1: Where the Hero is always right & no-body thinks too much.

The Andromeda Strain

any Steve Reeves gladiator movie

most John Wayne movies

Level 2: Well, That’s Something New.

Billy Jack

El Dorado

Star Wars

Level  3: Yeah, I Guess That Makes Sense

Gojira

The Legend of Hell House

The Towering Inferno

Level 4: Whatever…

Robocop

Unforgiven

The Poseidon Adventure

Level 5: Here be Anti-Heroes & Ambivalence

Kong: Skull Island

any of the Clint Eastwood Man with No Name films

Pacific Rim

Level 6: I’ll Watch This Again Later

Star Trek: the Motion Picture

Tron: Legacy

Excalibur

Level 7:  I Think This Might Be Bad

Alien

Monsters

The Shape of Water

The Manchurian Candidate

Starship Troopers

Level 8:  Everything You Know is Wrong

The Matrix

Annihilation

Buckaroo Banzai.

Level 9: Would Someone Care to Explain This?

The Innocents

The Others

Inception

The Sender

The Cell

Level 10: WTF Did I Just Watch?

Shutter Island

Shin Godzilla

Mother!

Jodorowski’s Magic Mountain

Zardoz

2001

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Silly stuff, Writer stuff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s