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Series Makes Watching For Film Flubs An Entertaining Pursuit

Wed., Feb. 15, 1995

Have you ever watched a movie and noticed the collar of an actor is miraculously buttoned in one cut and then unbuttoned without him ever touching it in another?

Or when an individual runs down a hallway barefooted, the pitterpatter on the soundtrack could only be produced from feet wearing shoes?

Well, then you deserve a special place among the intrepid and determined band of “flubmeisters” who basically watch a film not to savor the plot but instead to indulge in the discovery of movie mistakes strewn about even some of the most noteworthy films of all time.

If you’re one of these individuals, Bill Given’s “Film Flub” series will make you extremely pleased. This raucous collection consists of “Film Flubs,” “Son of Film Flubs,” and “Film Flubs: The Sequel.”

Besides having the most complete and uproarious record of legendary film flubs, Givens also delves into films that provide colorful inside jokes for the sharper viewer and an enlightening glossary of film terms.

Some of the examples aren’t exactly blockbusters: in Tim Burton’s “Batman,” you can’t help but notice it’s British made when the bottle that the Joker is holding up during his tasteless commercial spells the word “moisturizing” with the English “S.”

And you might not count it a severe cinematic fallacy to note that Katharine Ross goes from sitting on the crossbars of Paul Newman’s bicycle in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and then moves to the handlebars.

On the whole though, Given’s injects some mistakes of such conspicuous proportions that they’ll probably reduce you to slamming your head against the wall in view of their stupidity.

Some of the standouts include: Harrison Ford falling in front of a hooded cobra in “Raiders of the Lost Arc,” only to have the viewers insurmountable fear diminished when a light reflects off the glass partition that separates our fearless protagonist from the deadly serpent; in “Star Wars” when a band of stormtroopers burst into a chamber where C3PO and R2D2 are hiding, the guard on the far right bumps his head on the upper portion of the retracting door; in John Wayne’s odious Vietnam War excursion, “The Green Berets,” the sun incredibly sets in the east; and as Bruce Willis is supposedly waiting for his wife in the Dulles Airport in Washington D.C., yet when he picks up a phone it inexplicably reads Pacific Bell.

Of all the “Film Flub” installments, probably the best is “Son of Film Flubs.” With the added inducement of a more expanded and enlightening glossary, and an introduction that explores with insight the various facts of why these mishaps occurred, “Son” gives new meaning to the expression “By Gad!”

If there is one underlying flaw that is evident in each of these installments, it’s that they’re almost over before you know it. That’s ultimately due to the fact that (with the exception of Given’s shrewd prologue in “Flub Two”) there’s barely an inkling of perceptiveness or biting commentary that would have truly given this trilogy verve and an air of satirical flamboyance and panache.

It seems that Given’s only intention was for his collection to be nothing more than protracted leaflets, or “quick reads,” that are so prominent on commercial airlines. That’s fine and dandy, but considering Given’s is trying to encompass the history of filmmaking fallacies into roughly 460 pages (total), you’d expect a little more.

But even with its often sparse approach, “Film Flubs” are nevertheless inexorable delights. Givens may not have the slightest clue as to how to develop and transcend a surefire subject, but with such an endless assortment of fascinating material at his disposal, he has displayed to us that to miss the mark completely would be very repugnant.



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