This Slate article on the book that provides the model for most movies is quite interesting: where the twists show up, where the b-plot has to go. Worst of all, it recommends that someone announce the theme to the hero within the first five minutes. This does not seem like a recipe for anything good. Incidentally, the Dissolve has an essay on "forgotbusters" that echoes the Slate piece very well: the contemporary movie experience is devoted to making the blandest, most formulaic, most predictable movie possible, all the better to have the audience not realize that the twist where the antagonist allows himself to be captured seems familiar because it was also in five other movies they saw this year.

Relatedly, one of my first-level tests for a sophisticated movie or tv show is "no one ever announces the theme." You'd be surprised how many well-regarded things fail; you'd be surprised how often "I am announcing the theme" is presented as a profound bit of dialogue.

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