exposition overload

MOTHER!

(2017, Darren Aronofsky)

If you love your very on-the-nose religious allegories aggressively shoved down your throat for an excruciating two hours, then mother! is the movie for you! Darren Aronofsky’s latest is a big ol’ parable that’s pretty impossible to miss since instead of wrapping its deeper ideas inside of anything resembling a plot of its own he instead throws it right there on the surface with giant sign posts indicating every little thing that anyone needs for even the most basic viewer to “get it”. Of course it’s also just the kind of obnoxiously “ambitious”, “auteur-driven”, “provocative” feature that will ignite a heavily divisive response with its lovers insisting that the detractors somehow “didn’t get it” even though there’s literally nothing else to it. That’s a big part of the problem. Aronofsky just drowns this beast in his giant allegory (which, yes, could also be an interpretation of the creative process, but isn’t that essentially the same thing? And really there’s too much religion here for it not to be that more than anything), leaving no room for anything else.

Certainly not for even the slightest modicum of character development or dimension, as a talented cast led by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem is criminally underserved by a script that treats their characters as props rather than actual people with inner lives who the audience are supposed to care for. And yet as the deliriously, infuriatingly chaotic final act rages on there’s this odd pull that the movie suddenly wants us to have an investment in these people, but it did absolutely zero groundwork to get us to that point. Ultimately it did zero work to establish practically anything. It’s well and good to work an allegory like this into something, but you have to actually have something there in the first place to work it into and Aronofsky missed the boat on that one. Even more than that he missed the concept of having it all actually mean anything on a grander scheme. Sure, it’s all about religion, but for what purpose? Why does this movie exist? Beats me.

Others who bafflingly love the picture can surely glean out their own satisfying answers for that question and more power to them for finding a way to get any measure of satisfaction out of this ugly and irritating masturbatory slice of filth, but try as I might the only reactions I got out of this haphazard display of an egomaniac director stroking his own arrogance were vehemently negative. If I were able to give mother! one compliment it would have been that it’s refreshing to see a studio movie that doesn’t feel the need to push out a ton of exposition in its dialogue, but I can’t even applaud it for that as somehow the exposition overload just comes straight out of the plot and direction that whacks your head open with a sledgehammer and just violently shoves its pathetically blunt grade school meanings directly into your open skull.

Whether it’s the gratuitous violence and debauchery (good luck to Lawrence for actually falling for the director during the making of this), the full-on obnoxious anarchy of a filmmaker given complete control and displaying absolutely none in the final act, or the paper thin characterization and allegory on display throughout this nonsense, mother! is a movie that fails hard early on and somehow only gets worse from there as it stretches on for an agonizing two hours that feels like at least three by the time it mercifully ends with the most predictable, eye-rolling ending of the year. Aronofsky has claimed that this movie is the most similar to Black Swan that he’s made in his career, but the truth is that it more rightly fits alongside the obnoxious aggression, infantile lecturing, and overbearing toxicity of Requiem for a Dream. In that regard, Aronofsky would surely find at least some satisfaction in the fact that I can’t recall the last time a film has made me as angry as this one. You know, the way that a child with not a lot else going on will needlessly attack others in order to get attention.

F

How to Write an Opening

Whether it’s a prologue or Chapter One, the opening of a novel can be a scary and stressful to write.  There is no right way to write an opening, but there’s a few things that can make it a lot easier to write.

1. Stop Stressing Over the First Sentence

Originally posted by 5-mins-to-places

Yes, the first sentence is a key part of your novel.  No, it does not have to be perfect right now.  You need to stop freaking out about the first sentence, especially if it’s your first draft.  All writers do it.  Write down the first thing that feels right to you, and just start writing.

You most likely will go back and change it later.  I changed the first line of my novel-in-progress about four times before I found a line that I really liked, and it’s probably still subject to change.

2. Exposition Overload

Originally posted by theprolapsedanus

Please, do not overload the reader with exposition in the very beginning.  It’s boring, quite frankly.  Though it is probably useful information that the reader should know, there are better ways to introduce exposition throughout the novel.  To make exposition effective, try sticking parts of it in dialogue or using brief, yet powerful descriptions.

3. Leave Suspense

Originally posted by thegifofthemagi

Don’t give everything away to your readers from the start.  Leave out bits and pieces of your characters that will come as twists later on.  On the other hand, give them valuable information right at the end of the opening, so that they feel as if they have to continue reading.  How will they know what happens if they don’t?

4. Physical Description

Originally posted by gotevita

No one is going to read three paragraphs of pure character description.  It’s just not happening.  You don’t want to bore your readers in the opening.  That would defeat the whole purpose of the opening itself!  

You want to captivate readers– draw them in so that they don’t put the book down.  Scatter your physical description.  It isn’t necessary that you describe them immediately.  Your readers can still imagine them just fine.

5. Don’t Overthink It

Originally posted by capricorn-truths

I know that your opening is important to you.  It’s important to every reader and writer, but so is the rest of your novel.  Write the first thing that comes to you.  Don’t sit there and think about whether this is the best thing you’ve ever written.  Chances are that it isn’t.  It’s called a first draft for a reason, but you’re also a writer for a reason.

What I mean by that is have fun with it! Writing shouldn’t be stressful, and it shouldn’t feel like a chore.  Just write :)

7

Top 10 Films of 2016 #9 - Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV -  dir.  Takeshi Nozue

One of the most beautifully animated films I have ever seen. This was a surprise. I am not too familiar with any Final Fantasy games, films, tv shows and I didn’t even know what to expect. What I got was an conceptually interesting fun film. The story suffers through a bit of exposition overload in the first few minutes but after that it is a very entertaining ride with intense fight sequences which are just so much fun to watch. I really liked this film. 

Story Roundup: Issues 1 - 50

Before I get to the next comics, I feel like I should reflect on what happened in the first 50 issues, along with the specials and miniseries that came out in that time. Since there was so little plot for so long, I’ll mostly just be talking about where the major characters are at right now and how they’ve changed

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