Contingency Plans

I just finished watching THE DEPARTED because I wanted to know why my buddy, Edie Ramer, didn’t like it.  I also wanted to see why it won the Oscar for best picture.  The trailer didn’t do anything for me, so I never bothered to see it.  As a result, I wasn’t in a hurry to watch it either.  Anyway, I have one HUGE gripe about this movie and others as well. 

No freakin’ contingency plan!

This was the biggest issue I had with TRAITOR, although I liked that movie.  My only excuse is when it got to the part where the undercover agent’s superior said, “I’m the only one who knows your true identity and can get you out of this mess,” I knew the superior would die.  I’m numb to that cliche now, so it completely goes over my head.  But here’s the part that pisses me off and THE  DEPARTED only made it worse because it won for best picture.

No freakin’ contingency plan!

Why is that such a simple concept that never seems to apply to law enforcement?  Nobody has one, let alone knows what it is.  Sorry, but if my ass is ever on the line like that, you damn well bet I’m going to have/demand a contingency plan.  Either that or I’ll create my own.  Is it that difficult to plant evidence that will clear your butt of the charges in case your superior chokes on a piece of steak and dies?  How about a safe deposit box?  Sign a document and get that thing notarized, if you have to. 

For heaven’s sake, let’s stop with the drab, old cliche of “I’m the only one who knows which side of the law you’re really on.”  Better yet, let’s not kill the supervisor at all.  Put him in a coma and have him wake ten years later to confess.  Then let’s see the shit hit the fan.  Better yet, the undercover agent dies in prison before the supervisor wakes up from their coma.  Good lord, put a f***ing twist on that anti-contingency plan.  For the sake of all that’s storytelling holy!!

And as for THE DEPARTED, good movie, but it whored out that tired cliche.  While I liked TRAITOR, I’d never–ever–recommend it for a Oscar for that very reason.  A best picture, to me, means 100% originality…and having a freakin’ contingency plan. 

By the way, how did what’s his face know to kill the other guy at the very end? I must have missed something.

Yay or nay?  What say you?  And while you’re at it, let me know of any other movies that suffer from the same problem so can start avoiding those ones, too.


5 thoughts on “Contingency Plans

  1. You already know how I felt about it. The worst part is it left the audience with no hope. Without hope you have a movie only the critics like. Which is why it won the Oscar.

    This movie had such great acting, but it will never be on a best movie list. It won’t be one we want to watch again and again. In fact, I’ll never watch it a second time.

    Compare this with Jodie Foster’s The Brave One. Crummy things happen there too, but the ending leaves us with hope.

  2. Good catch, regarding the critics, which makes sense why the film literati’s would give it the best pic nod. While I liked it, I didn’t think it was all that. I guess the only hope I was left with at the end of the movie was I “hope” Boston cops aren’t this in real life. If so, I don’t want to know about it.

    The only movie that came out in the same year as The Departed that I wished had gotten a best pic nom was CHILDREN OF MEN. Now, THAT was a doggone good movie. Sad ending, but it was also one filled with hope.

    I have THE BRAVE ONE on my to-watch list. Right now, that’s smaller than my TBR infestation. 😉

  3. Wish I could comment one way or the other, but I didn’t know the movie won Best Picture, let alone see it.

    My question is this: Does a story with a hopeless ending make it something critics love? I’m hoping that they loved it for more than that. I hope it was the road leading up to the end that got them to love it.

    As far as Best Picture, isn’t it the members of the Academy that vote on it? And isn’t the Academy made up of actors, directors, etc.? I’m naive when it comes to Hollywood, but if Best Picture is based on votes by those in the Academy, are those members greatly influenced by what the critics say, or are they better attuned than the average movie goer as to what makes a good movie?

  4. My question is this: Does a story with a hopeless ending make it something critics love? I’m hoping that they loved it for more than that. I hope it was the road leading up to the end that got them to love it.

    I wholeheartedly agree, Kath. If a movie is meant to have a sad ending where the hero and/or the heroine dies, then I have no problem with that as long as the jouney was worth it. Everyone knew how The Passion of the Christ ended, but it was the journey that made that movie one of the best ever, IMHO, and I’m nowhere near being a Bible thumper.

    From what I understand, members of the Academy do vote on the best picture. But I also understand that the foreign press has huge stakes in it, too. That’s why everybody makes sure to include them in their acceptance speeches. 20/20 did a story on the foreign press a couple of years ago, and all I recall is they play a big part in making sure the movie gets it’s accolades and is recognized.

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