Do you want to dazzle your friends with the ability to tell the future....in movies?
If so, here's 5 methods to use to predict movie outcomes....and without further ado - let's get into it.
To start - the art of noticing patterns, symbols and signs to find the moral or the meaning that's being displayed is a process called Semiotics.
Semiotics is a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics.
This skill, along with key elements to look for like Genre patterns, Imagery, an understanding of the characters, logical vs metaphorical interpretations and context - Can be awesome tools when trying to figure out the ending of films before the end of the film.
One of the easiest, if not the easiest ways to figure out how a film will end is to remember patterns of other films you've watched in the same genre. For certain genres stories get told over and over again only separated by different characters in different costumes. Take for instance any Lifetime move - it's usually about love, heartbreak, or revenge with other things sprinkled in. The order of events change - but if you can add 1 +1, you can usually figure out the outcome within the first 15-20 mins, 30 mins tops.
Another example of a predictable genre is the horror, thriller, mystery genre. The gore varies, and the way a character is punished changes, but the overall course of events is very familiar. In the movie Kristy for example, the main character makes a series of predictable mistakes when she's running away from the goons. Everyone that tries to help her gets caught instead of surviving, of course - She almost gets away before the bad guys catch up to her, of course ...and yadayadayada.
Films that follow these patterns in particular use the same themes time and time again - making some movies highly predictable. So much so, that these types of films often include satire or ironic comedy.
Costume, Set Design and Images in the Background
Things like the wardrobe, the set and images in the background help to tell the story that the film wants to convey. In my video "what does the lady in red mean" - I point out that color is used to deliver certain messages and ideals. The color that the character wears tells a lot about who they are or who they will be.
An example of a this in costume is In the twilight zone, the Movie - anthology, the young boy that's the center of the action wears a red shirt. He appears to be a sweet little boy, but his shirt gives a clue that he may be more diabolical than he appears. As the segment continues, we learn that he has power and he inflicts pain. Red being a color of passion, love, war or blood - gives a clue of how he'll react to others. The genre of the segment, as well as the context of the story gave away his motives before his true power was realized.
An example of imagery used in the background is Cadaver. A post apocalyptic movie where focus is placed on certain paintings and images in the background. The images in the film pretty much tell the story within the first 15 mins. You might not necessarily be able to predict what's going to happen to who, but you have a good idea of how events might unfold.
UNDERSTANDING THE CHARACTERS
This may sound a little sinister (a wild laugh) - but I have a tendency to study people. If I've been around a person long enough and I care enough take the time to try to figure them out - I pay close attention to the types of things they talk about, what things they react to and HOW they react to things they're reacting to.
This skill has allowed me to do the same with movies. I want to learn about the character, and who they are. Can I get to know them - or is their story too shallow? If I can get to know the character and I understand the context their operating in - I can predict what they'll do next based on what they've already done.
In a series like nightmare on elm street for example - we know Freddy Kruger and we know some of his background story, how he reacts and what is more than likely to happen to the characters in the films. We don't know exactly how he's going to carry out his terror, but we know that whatever he does, it'll be dished out in a comical way.
DOES IT MAKE SENSE?
There's no way to logically figure out a story, if the story doesn't make sense.
In a movie like 365 for example, we see what the plot is supposed to be, but does it make sense? (me in the background "maybe") Me - "to who" - Yes, I'm so excited that you removed me from everything I've known to bring me to a foreign land and commence to berate me for my lack of interest in your sexual advances. I'm not worthy...I know that's not the accent, but it's the best I can do.
This film is a great example of a movie that is kinda predictable...sorta. The only reason it's not completely predictable is because it's just not realistic - it's like a soap opera on steroids where the character that was once dead, is now alive after being stranded on a deserted island for the last 5 years...
"Only" is another film that falls on the negative side of the realism spectrum. Though the situation itself has a possibility of happening, the actions of the Eva character made absolutely no sense to me....I didn't understand her motives or why she made the decisions she made. In some off-handed way, maybe she represented eve because her name is Eva and maybe her husband Will represented Adam, like free will and maybe her willingness to destroy herself has to do with genesis in some way?...I don't know, moving on...The moral of the story was completely lost on me and there would of been no way for me to predict the outcome based on the previous events of the film.
Stories that would never take place in reality are more difficult to predict, simply because the logic isn't there. If the film is realistically illogical and doesn't give symbols or images for clues, there's no easy way to decipher the actual message that's being presented. With films like this, more often than not, you'll leave feeling unsatisfied and probably pretty annoyed.
CONTEXT | LITERAL VS METAPHORICAL
Understanding the context of the film is important...is it literal, is it symbolic, is there sarcasm - etc.
If it's metaphorical, the majority of the moral in the story is within the images - for more literal pieces, the moral of the story is in the dialogue or mostly based on the interaction between the characters
The context of the character as well as the movie itself, will help to point out how the character plays a role in the overall picture -which helps in understanding the outcome.
In contrast to the last tip, some films are more metaphor than reality. In a movie like The Bad Batch (which I'm currently working on) centered around rejects in a post apocalyptic world - The surface of the film really makes no sense. The characters speak in riddles and the progression of the story is really slow. But in context, the film is more than a series of random images with dialogue - it's an actual puzzle that has to be solved using the clues throughout the movie to understand the full message.
On the more literal end of the spectrum, the African movie "His House" about a couple that have to deal with the demons of choices they've made.... comes off as a metaphorical film, but it tells you exactly what's going on and explains all the representations for you, leaving no room for your own interpretation.
The viewer is kinda tricked into thinking that there's a deep dark mystery, but this film takes a semi-metaphorical approach on a common situation where people have to face the rewards of what they've done in life - whether it's a negative reward or a positive one. A film like this is usually simple, may have a sprinkle of imagery, but the symbolism tied to it is no deeper than the actual image itself. The metaphors used are expressed in dialogue literally - the message is spelled out for you, making it very easy to predict the ending pretty early in the film.
These skills can be used separately or together to predict a good majority of the movies that are out today. Not all movies can be figured out easily, as some have twists at the end - but using these tools can help to dazzle your friends or annoy the crap out of them - either way I think you'll have fun doing it.
If any of this gave you value, or even if you thought this was boring - please leave a comment - I really want to make content that's informative and something that people will enjoy watching.
On that note- have an awesome day - be good to yourself and good to others...peace.