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Good Films Bad Films and all the Opinions Inbetween

9 August 2009
Thumbs Up-Down?

Thumbs Up or Down? You decide!

I was recently reading an old friend’s quick thoughts on that new G.I. Joe movie and his ideas about what makes a good film to him.  It got me to thinking:

As with all art, movie opinions are highly subjective.  Even the most “objective critic” has to admit (if he is honest with himself) that his or her opinions of a film, unless based solely on technical merit (which is RARE) are very much influenced by his subjective tastes, and are often informed greatly by his moods and own life experiences.  As I mentioned when I was discussing Away We Go, the type of people who see that film and like it aren’t necessarily people who wouldn’t want to see Terminator Salvation–but, of course, Away We Go is a completely different movie-going experience than is Terminator Salvation.  Aaron and I both want to see G.I. Joe for the same reason we wanted to see Transformers and other pop culture phenom’s from our childhood that have been made into big blockbuster movie experiences.  And, as with Transformers (which we hated, incidentally) I’ve been hearing mixed things from movie-goers and critics, alike.  More often than not, I’ve read a not-so-favorable opinion.  Still, as with almost all films that pique our interest, we’ll reserve final judgment until we see it for ourselves. 🙂

Some people, like the friend I mentioned above, abhor critics and their opinions because the movies they end up loving don’t receive the same amount of love and attention from critics.  No “Oscars” for them.  Oh well.  Not everyone can win one, right (though apparently The Academy thinks that 10 is the magic number for Best Picture Nominees.  Whatever that’s about!  It just cheapens it, for me.  Why not 50 or 100?)?  But the best Oscar Nominee might receive a big fat ZERO in MTV Movie nods.  If movies nominated for that awards show are more your “cup o’ tea” then you watch them and ignore the Oscars.  It doesn’t apply to you.  And that… again… is OKAY!

You know, I like to read critiques of films by talented and thoughtful writers because sometimes they help me see something I missed or provide me with valuable insight that helps me get a little more from the movie (meaning-wise) that I might otherwise have missed out on.  That said, sometimes even I get really disappointed with the elitist attitude of some critics (like some of my good friends do).

I like some BAD movies, people.  Hella bad.  Dirty Dancing-bad.  Joe Versus the Volcano-bad.  Yes, it’s true.  Bad acting, bad scripts, poor direction and cinematography.  Yep.  I like films that can come up on some critics “worst of the year” (or “all time”!) lists.  So that should tell you that I do NOT have an elitist attitude about movies.  I call these my favorite awesomely-bad movies.  While all that is true, I don’t, however, feel that good storytelling and character development should be sacrificed for the sake of special effects and action-packed-ness.  The two most dreaded words in a description of a film are, for me, “Michael Bay“.

A person who hears that I hated Transformers, Elektra, Spiderman, and Catwoman might just think I hate superhero movies.  On the contrary, among others, I LOVED Iron Man and Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  To me, these are superhero movies that take it to the next level.  Aaron and I loved the story and characters in Iron Man and hated the lack of said development in Transformers, etc. even though they may have been big successes in terms of the all mighty dollar (actually, I’m not sure what Catwoman or Elektra grossed, but you get the idea).  As said previously, I like more story and character development and less on the *BOOM-BANG-POW* action.  Give me a movie with more going on “under the surface!”  The Dark Knight, in particular, had some themes that transfer into the political and moral realm that I think were lost on some movie-goers (or those who went to the film out of some morbid curiosity regarding seeing Heath Ledger’s performance postmortem), whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, you can be the judge.

Some of those movies listed on the highest grossing films of all time list are, to me, absurdly bad.  Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (I do own this one, just to keep with the continuity), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Transformers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (forgive me Jordan, I know you love it!), War of the Worlds, etc.  In MY opinion, these are some BAD movies, people.  Big money makers, sure, but not on my list of good movies.  Or on my list of films I will EVER see again.  Perhaps some are even on my list of the worst movies… ever.  But someone liked them.  A lot of someones, apparently.  And my point is that that’s perfectly okay!

Bottom line here: I think there’s room in the entertainment world for movies of all types, shapes, sizes, and genres because there is a wide variety of tastes out there, my friends.  And big box office receipts do not necessarily a good movie make… sometimes smaller films that don’t have the money to spend on effects, big names, and advertising end up being some of the best out there (Little Miss Sunshine, Away We Go, Garden State spring to mind). If you love the big blockbusters, more power to ya’.  I won’t disparage you, but I share my opinion of, “I hated that one!”  But something to consider: you might be doing yourself as much a disservice by ruling out the smaller films as the movie “snobs” do by ruling out the blockbuster movies, don’t ya’ think?
ASAP, my friends!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. christine permalink
    11 August 2009 8:46 am

    Hey Jessie, I am here….sorry, not used to you blogging only here and not Myspace.
    I sometimes like superhero movies, it depends. Dark Knight was amazing, of course, and GI Joe actually seems like it could be interesting. But the blockbusters are usually not my favorites, I like the low budget films like you said above, Little Miss Sunshine is one of my all time favs. and Garden State! amazing! Juno! Those kinds are my favorite. Also I am thinking American Beauty, Magnolia…good stuff!
    I cannot wait, Dexter season 3 coming soon!!! I am still watching Six feet under, and totally loving it!!

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