Where does your ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ stop?

Look, overall, I just try and immerse myself into whatever fantasy is being written - but, like most here, at least make it consistent. Particularly when the ‘fantastic’ elements are integral to the plot (Harry Potter is particularly bad here).

But I also get taken out of the zone when a major twist is revealed by something that would have happened literally hundreds of times in the course of just normal living (eg: Wizard of Oz - no one ever thought to look behind the curtain while this strange little man was taking over the Emerald City?)

Yeah, it’s weird, but to be honest, the whole idea of suspension of disbelief at all is weird

One bit that took me out of an L&O scene: they’re playing the 911 call from the night of the murder, and, sure, maybe you’d suspect the person who found the body and called it in — only they play the recording, and, well, “nobody’s that good an actor.”

…what? Somebody is that good an actor; he’s just barely a good enough actor to land a one-episode L&O role.

If you want to relay a pronouncement about a keycard or ammo, fine, sure, I’m trying to forget that I’m watching actors; but if you highlight a piece of acting that’s exactly what a guy who’ll someday rack up IMDB credits ranging from ‘Client #1’ to ‘Guy In Bar’ just did — shucks, I can’t help but think “well, of course he is.”

Weird, certainly, but pretty much necessary to tell a story. We can accept that Superman can see through walls but somehow stop himself from using that same power to see through clothing. We accept that spaceships will explode in space and lazer canons will make a pew pew sound even though there’s no atmosphere in space to make this happen. We accept that the hunter-killer terminator from the first film is now one of the good guys who helps Sarah and John Connor. More likely is that Arnold just didn’t want to play bad guys anymore, Mr. Freeze notwithstanding. Amazing what we can accept in order for them to tell their story.

I know what you mean! I see that a lot. (Goren! An ACTOR is saying that!) I actually wonder if an actor committs murder what real cops would do. (The Unblinking Eye, Season 4. Very meta :slight_smile: * )

* You know the scene where we see the disaster of a screen test, where the one guy is the bellhop, “Here’s your room, Mr Damon.” “I had this whole thing for that scene”? I saw a Columbo a couple weeks ago that had that EXACT scene. It was…weird. I kept expecting the actor to say “Here’s your room, Mr. Neilsen.”

I lose all suspension of disbelief with lazy writing - writing that is there to move the plot that makes no sense. Like others have pointed out, as long as there is internal consistency and maybe an explanation that could make sense if you don’t think about it too hard then I will buy into it. But take for example The Force Awakens. Rey has to be able to fly a ship and does so flawlessly. How can she fly a ship so well? She doesn’t know. She’s never flown a ship before. Riiiiiigggghhht. I call it lazy writing because anyone could take 30 seconds and do something better with it like she’s been hired to repair the ship and she has taken it out for test-flights. Doesn’t mean she’s a great pilot but she knows THAT ship inside and out. There ya go. Or like Finn can hold his own in a lightsaber duel with Kylo. Tell ya what. If you have never fenced before, go out and duel a trained fencer, even one that has injured his ribs, and see how long you last. Let’s have Finn instead with a laser pistol kiting Kylo. I’d believe that more.

The other non-suspension of belief is when characters act completely out-of-character in order to have a key plot point develop - and usually this means someone smart in general or an expert in their field turns idiot for that one moment. Robert Langdon in DaVinci Code not knowing Sophia means “wisdom” or bulldog jounalist Mikael Blomkvist not following up on a theory in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because another character said, “Nah that’s not it.” I get that humans sometimes act differently or have brain-farts, but I can’t believe that a character that acts one way 100% of the time suddenly does one thing differently and that is key for the plot to develop.

Not to turn this into another Star Wars thread, but why are you assuming that Rey never piloted a ship, or that Finn never trained in melee weapons? Rey was a tech scavenger raised by a guy who owns a used starship lot, and Finn was impressed into the military as a child and spent his entire life learning how to fight. Those backgrounds are both more than sufficient to explain the skills they show on screen.

Rey grew up as some sort of indentured laborer making a living from scrap. I could maybe see her picking up enough piloting skills to re-park or transport vehicles around the lot under close supervision, but I don’t really buy her employer giving her the freedom to just go hot-dogging across the galaxy, or zooming through canyons.

Finn says he works in “sanitation” . While perhaps this is just punishment, or maybe all stormtroopers have second jobs because the First Order can’t afford contract laborers, it still doesn’t lend itself towards having a lot of extensive training in melee combat as a shock trooper.

Could that have been a euphemism like “collateral damage”? Most sanitation workers I know don’t have bloody hand prints on their faces.

Instead of further hijacking this thread, let’s continue this over in the Star Wars sequels thread that’s currently active.

Every time a police or detective procedural has a suspect who’s an actor, they feel obliged to add a line to the effect of “actors lie for a living”.

Tony Soprano worked in waste management or something to that effect.


ETA: Following Miller’s post to not continue hijack

Ehh… I gotta push back on this one a bit:
(1) The question is not “is no one that good an actor”, it’s “Would a cop reasonably believe that on one was that good an actor”, and thus, say that line

(2) Also, there’s the question of “is anyone that good an actor while being interviewed by real life cops in a genuinely life and death stressful situation while having to improvise an alibi” vs “is anyone that good an actor after rehearsing prewritten lines in a familiar professional working environment, etc.”

(3) Also, “no one is that good an actor” is pretty clearly shorthand for “my years of instinct of being a cop makes me believe that guy”, not “I find it literally 100% metaphysically impossible that not a single human being on earth could have given a dishonest performance there that would deceive me”. Or, alternatively, “few enough people are that good actors that the odds of one of those few people also being a murderer are sufficiently trivial that I am willing to dismiss that possibility”.

Again, though: it was the recording of a call to 911, which means it could’ve been prewritten and rehearsed before getting delivered by someone who wasn’t improvising while zero real-life cops were around. (Which, if we’re talking about the not-terribly-successful actor instead of the character, is of course what actually happened.)

Not given the gullibility of the people of Oz and their lack of understanding of technology. These are the people who, in the book, were tricked into wearing green sunglasses all the time, which is why the Emerald City appeared green to them. And then there are the Wizard’s gifts, which no one questioned in the books or the movie–even after knowing he’s not a wizard.

It took having someone like Toto who didn’t understand the charade to just explore and find him, either behind a curtain or tripping over a screen.

Plus it’s not like real life doesn’t have tons of con men with followers who we would think would be obvious frauds.

Sure, but the show isn’t saying “it’s impossible/implausible that someone could be this good an actor”. The show is saying “this fictional character, a cop, believes it to be impossible/implausible that someone could be this good an actor, (implied) in this context”.

There’s probably also a bit of, “The best actor we could get to fill this role isn’t as convincing as the character is supposed to be. Please play along,” mixed in as well.

Thinking some more on this, there are a few things going on - I accept that human actors have to be cast in the roles of extraterrestrial aliens because (at least until CGI got good), there were few other alternatives (traditional animation or puppetry I guess, but those are styles in their own right, as much as methods), but also because casting humans in the role of alien characters in a movie makes them relatable - we can engage with the character’s experience intuitively.

OTOH, if you leave exposed Phillips head screws in a set that is supposed to be alien technology, that feels more like evidence of just not trying very hard.

Somewhere in the middle actually, are some of the design choices in the Star Wars movies - Dex’s Diner on Coruscant in episode 2, the cantina at Mos Eisley in episode 4, the pod racing commentators in Episode 1 - the casino, and the 1920s-style Master Codebreaker, and the teacup in Episode 8 - these are details probably thrown in as a sort of shared joke with the audience, so I think they’re forgivable, but the intrusion of the shared joke can shake me out of the story sometimes.