Is it Right to Nitpick?

When do the little problems become big problems? When is it right to nitpick?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. I never thought about that angle before. But I can see that now, it is more frustration with the situation than it is the actual movie. It is akin to when a book or comic you really enjoy is released as a movie. The book or comic that sucked you into that world left a lasting impression on you. The author took you to a place outside of your existence and you felt a part of something that mattered to you. When it is translated to the big screen you are hoping and praying that certain things might become clearer acted out. You hope to get dragged in just like in the written medium. You want to see characters as living breathing people. You want to see the worlds come to life. So when a movie is an epic fail when it does not follow the book well or if at all, it is not so much that the movie sucked on the contrary it failed at sucking, failed at sucking you in. It reminded you that it was just a movie. The characters were not really alive they were actors trying their best or in some cases phoning it in. You see sets that really do not mesh with the theme of the book. You see that illustrations do not always translate well to flesh. So when you enter a movie, no matter how much hype it has had or how close it might be it the real event or the book, you have to come at it with an open mind. You have to realize a movie is its own entity. You can’t compare it to another media because it really is like comparing apples to oranges.

    • You bring up an interesting point considering movie adaptations of books. Interestingly enough, the metaphor that comes to mind for me to try and describe why movie adaptations get more nitpicked than a standalone film is music. You can make the same argument about songs as Doug made about movies, that if you’re noticing small mistakes, the song isn’t really sucking you in enough. After all, a musician is just as human as a director so mistakes are bound to be made. The problem with an adaptation is that it’s like playing two songs at once, one you’ve already heard and something new based off the old. In that context, every difference is clearly audible and it becomes much harder to disguise a mistake than if you heard the new song by itself because you now have a set standard to compare it to. Sometimes that’s even a good thing for the new song as you can see it improve upon the old song, but oftentimes, it fails to improve and the fact that you liked and knew the old song so well distorts your opinion of the new’s failings.

      • It’s a decent analogy, but it only stretches so far. Often, the reason you dislike a work is because of differences, not ‘mistakes’. The problem with a lot of adaptations of books is that that form of storytelling doesn’t mesh well with visual forms. Most people love Jurassic Park, but would be amazed to hear that most people who have read the book, say it’s better. Why? It had room, depth and time to do what it wanted without the constraints of a visual medium. The film excises whole parts of the story, removes some characters and changes the motivation or characterisation of other characters. Overall, the book captures the feel of the situation a lot more than Spielberg’s family-friendly version. The film loses too much in the translation to the visual medium and as such can’t be better than the source material.

        If we stick with the song analogy, an adaptation is like hearing a song you’ve heard many times on the album through your headphones, but played by a different band. You have the version you know and love…but then this person or people are re-interpreting that according to how THEY would do it. This often doesn’t work, and leads to people simply wishing they were hearing the original. Sometimes though, the adaptation works and you end up with something as good as or even better than the original. A good example of this is the novel Jaws – a pretty good novel, but the adaptation took it in a slightly different and overall better received direction.

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