There is a grand tradition of movies using parties – be they wedding, birthday parties, or just a party-for-the-sake-of-having-a-party – as a key plot event. As a result, movie parties are quite unlike genuine parties; and they all bear a striking similarity to one another.
To examine the movie party in more detail, below, we’ve put together a list of events that you’ll see in (almost) every movie party. How many do you recognize?
1 – The unexpected guest
If there’s a big party planned in a movie, there will be an unexpected guest. A former lover, a jealous friend, a returning parent – or all three. Guest lists mean nothing in movies, and you can always rely on the unexpected guest for plenty of plot advancement too.
2 – Extravagant music performances
If you’re planning a party in real life and choose to hire a local band or see more information here in regards to obtaining a DJ, it’s fair to say it’s a big party – a significant party, like a wedding reception. Yet for some reason, if you were transported into a movie, you’d hire the same band or a DJ for a basic house party; despite the completely impossible logistics required to fit all the equipment required for this kind of performance into a suburban house.
Movies tend to use musical performances or DJs as a way to shoehorn in a band they want to promote or feature a cameo. While this makes sense for big events, for smaller house parties, it’s utterly unfeasible – but you’ll see it happen, time and again, in movie after movie.
3 – The big argument that silences everyone
Another reason movies need elaborate musical performances is so they can silence them when two key characters have a disagreement. It’s a cliche, but an effective one: the sudden absence of sound draws attention and emphasizes the argument. Is it unrealistic that all music would cease just so two characters can argue while everyone stands and stares? Sure, but from a plot point of view, it works.
4 – Elaborate decorations
As with the music choices, elaborate decorations sometimes make sense – weddings and big events do tend to be elaborately decorated. However, for basic house parties, how often do you see elaborate, expensive decorations in real life? Almost never, yet in movies, people go all out for the most basic of bashes.
This tendency is particularly noteworthy for Halloween parties; while in real life people content themselves with a few DIY decorations and a skeleton or two, in movies, a Halloween house party means essentially transforming your home into a complete haunted house that rivals anything Disneyland has ever created.
5 – Someone will drink to excess
This happens in real life, of course, but in movies, it’s guaranteed. A character will get incredibly drunk, possibly experience a serious case of in vino veritas, and – at least – trip over something.
The way that movies rely on parties to tell their story is understandable: characters can be grouped together, alcohol can fuel truths, and there’s a chaotic feel to a party that is hard to replicate with any other scene. While we have all seen the elements as described above time and time again, there’s no denying they make for an effective set-piece that can advance a plot unlike anything else!