21 Comments

Sorry the discussion on LIES is ridiculous about a movie. Did you say the same for Killers of the Flower Moon? It has more inaccuracies, because Scorsese was communicating the feelings and horror of what happened. Scott wasn't lying or being dishonest. Ask Kubrick about truth in cinema. Sonny is right about Ridley Scott's passion and art. Yes, ART.

You want to know about Napoleon, read a g-d damn book!!

This is a MOVIE, entertainment not true history

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I'm in agreement with Sonny. One of my favorite movies is "Kingdom of Heaven" (another Ridley Scott film). And yeah, it's not super accurate to the historical events that inspired it. But it's a movie that does get at "the truth" of the attitudes that were prevalent during the Crusades in how it portrays the motivations of the characters. So, it's not a great primer for learning the factual details of history. But it does help understand the time period it's based on.

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Nov 22, 2023Liked by Sonny Bunch

Firmly in the "shut up, nerd," camp when it comes to this debate. It's a movie, not a documentary — and even the latter are often inaccurate.

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Nov 22, 2023Liked by Sonny Bunch

Issue is most people do not know history and they think the movie was a real life documentary. Happy Thanksgiving to the crew.

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Nov 22, 2023Liked by Sonny Bunch

"Movies are movies. History is history." Reminds me how the aliens in "Galaxy Quest" called television shows "historical documents." Sigourney Weaver asks them if they believe "Gilligan's Island," and they respond mournfully, "Those poor people..."

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If you are going to portray yourself as history, as something that is supposed to represent reality, then you need to be accurate to the people and events. It doesn't mean that every nitpicky detail needs to be correct or that you cannot spin a different interpretation--but major events should not be out of order (or ignored, even if mentioned only in passing) or that the characters should not act/behave in ways that we know they did not.

If you are doing Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure kind of stuff, then anything goes--because you aren't pretending to actually be historical.

A big part of it is what are setting people up to expect.

OTOH, dwarves without beards (be they male or female) in a movie set in Tolkien's Middle-Earth are just WRONG, LOL.

If you are nitpicky about historical accuracy, I strongly recommend that you do not watch much (or even any) "historical fiction."

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by Sonny Bunch

I was fully expecting you to suggest that Ridley Scott just answer,"Are you not entertained?" to reporters. Ethan Hunt and the Butlerian jihad? I am looking forward to your discussions on Dune Part 2. Have a good Thanksgiving!

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HIstory in general has a Rashomon quality to it-- no matter how you convey what occured, there is a perspective to it that will always rub people in different ways.

When it comes to films generally, if you want as close to historical accuracy you can get, watch a documentary; preferably one with as little commentary as possible like Apollo 11.

Otherwise, what you are watching is a dramatic representation that should not be taken 100% literally accurate. Neil DeGrasse Tyson irritates me when he points out scientific inaccuracies in films because he can't suspend disbelief enough, historians do the same with historical movies to me.

However, if the inaccuracy is completely glaring. Something that is so fundamentally inaccurate to the point it is essentially fraudulent (to the character, to the events, to the raison d'etre of everything on screen) or tongue in cheek, or played for other reasons than fact, that's where a line is drawn, and then it should no longer be considered "historical fiction" and should just then be "fiction." Socrates in Bill and Ted's Adventure didn't cite the tagline to Days of our Lives. Abraham Lincoln wasn't a Vampire Hunter. Marty McFly didn't actually give Chuck Berry his signature sound. When you see it, you know what I am talking about.

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As a historian I see it too often twisted the other way: if history doesn't match what I know from watching a movie (or something on TV, or now, on social media) than the history books must be wrong.

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by Sonny Bunch

I guess the problem is this -- who the hell thinks movies are anything but half bs? still the endless re-writing of history in film and tv series that i've been exposed to "fit the times" (or make it actually entertaining, etc...) is ... either just part of the deal and wink everyone should know it, or a dark plot to make us dumber. well i guess that's working then.

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by Sonny Bunch

Happy Thanksgiving, gang. I hope your foods of choice are excellent, your family experiences rewarding and your cocktails of choice refreshing.

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