A Big Concept Needs an Emotional Foundation So We Care

Watch any bad movie and you’ll almost always find that it had an intriguing idea. “The Layover,” which has a rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is about two women who fall in love with the same man when their flight is delayed overnight. That’s actually an interesting idea as the two women, who are friends, both try to win the affection of the same man.

Where “The Layover” falls apart is that it completely lacks any emotional foundation to make us care about either woman so we can understand their motivations and their conflict between wanting a man and wanting to be friends with each other. Instead, “The Layover” strives for cheap laughs with a woman falling into a toilet and a food fight in a hotel dining area. By the end of the story, we still fail to care about either woman as unique people.

The latest big concept that failed is “The 355,” which is an action thriller involving multiple spies from different countries who have to team up and work together. The unique twist isn hat each of these spies is a woman.

Unfortunately, that unique idea is about the only thing unique about this movie. Once again, the lack of caring about any of the woman as people with emotions, desires, and dreams takes a back seat to special effects, gunfire, and explosions. In other words, the movie just relies on mindless action instead of telling a compelling story.

Every screenplay needs a great concept to grab someone’s attention, but then it must back up that great concept with an equally great emotional story.

Pick a great movie like “Back to the Future.” The concept is intriguing about a teenager who accidentally gets sent into the past and has to bring his mother and father together or else he’ll never be born. What made “Back to the Future” interesting is that it’s also about the hero learning to stand up for himself and gina confidence. In the process of struggling to achieve his goal of getting his parents together and getting back home to his own time, he has lots of amusing adventures, but those adventures exist as stepping stones to his goal.

On the other hand, movies like “The 355” use action just for the sake of action. There’s little intrigue and even less need for so much pointless action that doesn’t help move the story forward.

When study both good and bad movies, notice that they all have potentially great concepts. It’s the execution that falls flat. A great concept alone can’t carry a story. You always need a compelling emotional story to go along with a great concept or else you’ll wind up with yet another failed movie like “The Layover” or “The 355.”

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