When a story falls flat

I would like to apologize if this post is full of mistakes. I came down with food poisoning Sunday morning. If any of you have experienced such a thing you know the feeling. For those who haven’t, may I suggest other forms of entertainment.

Personally I would welcome salty vinegar on an open wound in replace of what I experienced that day.

By Monday I was no longer sick but I was exhausted. Apparently the best remedy for the after effects of food poisoning is to lay on the couch, watch a movie, nap, repeat process.

 And the best part: Zero Guilt.

When the movie selection rolled around I choose one of my favorites – Ocean’s Eleven.

I’m sure many of you have seen it and for those who haven’t, in a nutshell it’s a heist movie of thieves stealing the loot out of a Las Vegas Casino.

What’s not to love?

After the movie ended I curled up on the couch and took a two hour nap. Waking somewhat refreshed I decided it was time for movie number two.

There were sequels to Ocean’s Eleven but they never lived up to the original. Suddenly I remembered a movie that came out recently of an all-female cast called Ocean’s Eight.

Curious I tried it on for size.

When the movie ended I could tell something was lacking. Not knowing what that could be I took another two hour nap and woke with the answer.


 Ocean’s Eleven wasn’t just a heist film it was a connection between two people who were still in love even though their relationship ended. This side of the story worked because of the stars chemistry and it had a lot to do with the success of the movie.

George Clooney and Julia Roberts nailed it and because of that the audience rooted for them.

Ocean’s Eight lacked that element. It was all about the heist and revenge but there was nothing to root for and nothing to relate to.

How many of you have successfully robbed a Las Vegas casino? For those who said yes, call me. For those who haven’t it’s hard for us to relate to and if that’s all the story has to offer it kind of leaves the viewer empty.

If the writers would have given Sandra Bullock, the lead character, a need that the audience could relate to you would have had an audience that cared.

The characters that we write have to want something that our readers can relate to. By doing so a connection is made between audience and character but in Oceans Eight I saw none.  

We related to Ocean’s Eleven. In many ways it was about regret of a past love more than it was about a heist. We all have something that we regret and that single element created a connection thus creating a successful story.

This is something to keep in mind for all of us when we write. The more we connect with our audience the more our characters come alive.

I hope I didn’t ramble too much in this post. As you can see there are no pictures. I think my picture mind is turned off for the day. Thankfully I am on the mend.

Eat healthy everyone and I’ll see you in better health.


47 thoughts on “When a story falls flat

  1. Glad to hear you’re on the mend, Bryan. Sorry to hear you had to spend recovery time watching Oceans 8. That movie had such potential, and Anne Hathaway was great in it. Like you said, however, there was just “something” about it that failed to reach the heights of the great Oceans Eleven.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I forgot to mention Anne Hathaway. She was great. It was puzzling at first. All of the actors were top notch but the story fell flat. Clearly two hour naps without the guilt does the trick.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Now I want salt and vinegar chips!!! I don’t think Oceans 8 would be worth watching hence why I haven’t lol. It took a while to even watch the Ghostbusters all-female cast one so yeah lol. Oceans 11 is good, The Italian Job is better. Good to see you are getting better buddy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Where have you been, stranger? Thanks. I am much better. I haven’t seen the Italian Job in years. I believe there was an original and a remake. I think? Now I’ll have to check. Good to hear from you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Out of interest, have you seen the 60s original, with Sinatra and pals? Now that there are Ocean’s films for every finger of each hand, I was wondering how the original stands up…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my gosh, I’m glad your sense of humor is back!
    I had Food Poisoning once and I wouldn’t wish it on my 2nd Worst Enemy. Maybe the 1st..I mean, they are ‘Worst Enemies’ for a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If my humor can match yours that means I am way past the mending stage. 🙂

      You have a point. Worst enemies are rated that high for a reason and I was only down for a day. I get it.


    1. Movies and books are all the same when it comes to taste. Ocean’s Eleven might be a favorite with you like it is for me or it could be a bomb. For me it was my kind of movie. It connected in that feel good way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear you had food poisoning Bryan. I’ve never had it before. I stopped eating romaine lettuce three major recalls ago, just because I don’t want to end up with food poisoning or whatever else comes along with eating it. Hope romaine lettuce was not the culprit for you. Here in Michigan we have a severe Hepatitis A outbreak – it is so bad, that the tourism bureaus for Ohio and Indiana suggest their residents have a Hep A vaccine before venturing into the Mitten State. Yikes! It is being found in every kind of restaurant, from mom and pop diners to franchise restaurants, even at the annual Renaissance Festival. Over 900 people in Michigan have gotten Hep A since August 2016. I no longer eat out (not that my cooking won’t make me sick). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too read about the romaine lettuce outbreak. I eat romaine but I haven’t had it in a while. Hep A is a serious problem. I wonder if they have cornered the problem to one single cause?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here in Michigan, the Hep A outbreak is caused by poor hygiene more than drug users sharing needles, etc. I wonder if restaurants still require a food-handlers card for new employees? I know I had to get one and I got a piece of paper or a card that said I was cleared to work handling food – no TB, hepatitis, etc. These cases are people who have Hep A and handle/serve food and people are eating it. They either don’t know they are carrying the virus or don’t divulge the info to their employer. At the Renaissance Festival the breaking news alert said that people who even went to the festival over Labor Weekend and merely touched anything, even if they did not eat or drink while attending the festival, needed to be checked out before 14 days’ time. If you get the two-part Hep A shots, you can ward it off – I think it is $110.00 for each part, not covered by insurance. I just choose not to eat out or eat anything recently touched by anyone (like baked goods at the grocery store).

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my friend, I am so sorry you got food poisoning. Ocean’s Eleven is definitely a good remedy for recovering from the perils of food poisoning. Please take care! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes. The Clooney Cure. A must have for those on a slow death.

    I felt so lousy last Sunday I would have confessed to the Lincoln assassination. Not exactly sure how I could have pulled that off but I’m sure a story would have evolved.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Me! Food Poisoning is the WORST! I’ve only had it once in my life and that was enough! It was the day I joined the Army. After I was done for the day, they put me up in a hotel room. I ate that evening in the hotel restaurant then went upstairs and watched a bit of TV then went to bed. At some point in the night I awoke sick. So sick in fact that I ended up having to crawl on the floor a few feet, rest, crawl, rest, and so on until I could get to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and held the waste basket to my face. This pathetic scene continued all night.

    Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of recovering on the couch or even in bed the next day. That morning I had to check out of the hotel and board a very long flight to Hawaii. Though I did not have any accidents/incidents along the way, I did feel like death warmed over! I hope I never have to face this horrid affliction ever again, and I certainly you don’t either!

    As for your assessment of the movies, I found it very interesting to get a man’s perspective on the overall subject of romance. I have never actually seen any of these movies, but now I will have to see Ocean’s Eleven (both the remake and the original) and Ocean’s Eight. I have always felt that action movies have been overwhelmingly popular with men, because they involve a lot of cool special effects like blowing things up, chase scenes, fight scenes, shoot outs, and things like that. When women are involved, I never really considered it for the romance aspect so much as the sex aspect. And on the same note, I always felt that romances drew more female audiences.

    But, I think you seem to be different from a lot of men. I think you understand there is more to life than just blowing things up. You understand that emotions are an important part of life. And maybe that is what makes you a good writer? When you can realize that humans do indeed have emotions – not just anger – and need to connect to other humans in a deeper more meaningful way, the storyline becomes more real, more true, more relateable. I think you “hit the nail on the head.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Finally getting around to these past replies. Forgive me for taking so long. It’s been that kind of month. First of all I am so sorry to hear of your experience. That was a mess. Yes, I did have a bit of a luxury in terms of crashing on the couch. You are stronger than me. There is no way I could have boarded a plane. Well done.

      As for the movie and the compliment, I thank you. I always try to look deep inside a movie, make a connection and see what really matters. Most of us want to connect with another person and even in heist films a connection with someone special is important. In terms of writing it allows the audience to connect and when we’re creating that’s what it’s all about. Connecting with your audience.

      Again, I apologize for the long delay. I always make it a habit to respond the day I receive it. It’s been a crazy month.

      Talk to you soon. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! The compliment on my strength was well received.

        I enjoyed your perspective!

        No worries on the late reply. Life happens. I was not hurt or offended! Lol! But I do appreciate you writing back!

        I think this post intrigued me on your writing and I hope to see more stories/posts like this.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry you got so I’ll, food poisoning is so awful and just leaves you wrung out. Glad you took it easy. I’ve not seen ocean’s eight, but ocean’s eleven was excellent and you are right, the subplot between George and Julia was an important necessity

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely read! Great film review.

    If you would like (and this is totally optional) I was going to link to your blog in my next Mystery Blogger Award, as a way of linking new readers together a little easier. There’s no need to do the 5-question quiz if you’d prefer not to, but would you like your blog mentioned so new readers might check it out?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Tim!

    That would be great. Thank you. Please link away. I am always happy when new readers come my way. Thank you for stopping. I really appreciate it.


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