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DID YOU READ

Movie Pet Peeve #14: Characters Hanging Up the Phone Without Saying Goodbye

Movie Pet Peeve #14: Characters Hanging Up the Phone Without Saying Goodbye (photo)

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So today I’m watching the movie “Wild Things,” the 1998 erotic thriller with Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards and Kevin Bacon. One scene in particular caught my eye — no, it wasn’t the make-out session between Campbell and Richards. It was an otherwise innocuous phone call between three characters who shall remain nameless for reasons of spoilers. Here is the transcript of their one-sided conversation:

Character #1: Now, look. We gotta stay calm, all of us. Now since the settlement, people think I’m rich. So I’m out there spending money, doing what rich guys do. Now this cop, Duquette, he’s gonna try and fuck with you. Don’t let him.

Character #2: Yeah, that’s easy for you to say!

Character #1: [Character #2]! Don’t fall apart! Only people who can fuck this up is us.

Character #1 hangs up the phone.

I know a transcript isn’t the ideal way to analyze a scene in a film, but do you see the problem here? No? Let me rewrite the same scene as if it actually took place in the real world, and let’s see if it becomes clearer.

Character #1: Now, look. We gotta stay calm, all of us. Now since the settlement, people think I’m rich. So I’m out there spending money, doing what rich guys do. Now this cop, Duquette, he’s gonna try and fuck with you. Don’t let him.

Character #2: Yeah, that’s easy for you to say!

Character #1: [Character #2]! Don’t fall apart! Only people who can fuck this up is us.

Character #1 hangs up the phone.

Character #2: Hello? Hello? [Character #1]? Are you still there? [To Character #3] I think we lost him. Should we call him back?

Yes, that’s right: Character #1 never says goodbye. He’s talking, he’s explaining their plan, and then he just suddenly puts down the phone without any verbal indication that the conversation is over. This is a major movie pet peeve of mine: characters hanging up the phone without saying goodbye. Think about it: how many of your own phone conversations, out of the thousands upon thousands of phone conversations you’ve had in your life, end without you saying goodbye? Maybe 1% at most? In movies this is how almost every phone call ends.

Other than the occasional angry hang-up on a girlfriend or a parent, I can’t think of any examples from my own life. Even the most dramatic phone calls I’ve ever made — job offers, deaths of relatives — they all have goodbyes. But in movies, no call ends naturally. Whoever has the most dramatic thing to say just stops talking and puts down the receiver and stars off into the distance dramatically, like a weird game of verbal chicken.

After I posted this Movie Pet Peeve on Twitter, a few people forwarded me this supercut, which is a good illustration of what I’m talking about, though it’s far from comprehensive.

Except maybe the example where an asteroid is on a collision course with earth — and you have to figure that you’ve got bigger things on your mind at that point than social graces — those are just ridiculous. Why can’t anyone just act like a normal human being in movies? It’s awful. It would be like ending a piece in mid-sentence with no conclusion and without even

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…