But is it good?

So I’m sitting here trying to figure out what is a good movie. The Avengers came out this past weekend, and it seems like I may be the only person in the world that isn’t running out to the theatre to stand in line for a ticket. Just to then sit in an overly crowed movie house, listening to people talk too loud and hearing teenagers answering their cell phones during the show.Image

All this for what? A movie that will be full of crazy special effects, one liners, and so many explosions and close calls that I will lose count by the third act. Yet, will there be a story in there someplace?

Look, I’m sure the movie will be entertaining. For a budget high enough to feed a small village for a generation, it better at least be entertaining. But is it a good movie? What does it mean for a film to be a good movie?

When the first Transformers movie came out a few years back, I can remember someone telling me at the time that it was a good movie and I should go see it. Now I’ve yet to see any of the Transformers movies, however I can tell you that there is no way in hell I would consider them good movies. They weren’t even good toys. (yes I’m old enough to remember the toys.)

I’m not trying to be a movie snob here. Really, I’m not. A movie doesn’t need to be some weird art film with French subtitles for me to like it. I like all kinds of films, even blockbusters. I’m really just asking one question; what is a good movie? Is it possible to start putting movies in more then two categories. Good and not good. I’m sure there isn’t a good formula for this, because it’s all opinion anyway. But at the end of the day, should The Avengers really be in the same category of movie as say, The Descendants?

My biggest problem with a movie like The Avengers is, my gut tells me that they won’t even try to have any real surprises or originality in it. Why would they, people are already lining up to see it, and it just came out. There is just so much hype for a movie like this, no one waits to see what people are saying about it, they just go. So why would the studio waste time putting together a real story? And so many damn super heroes in one movie, who has time for a story. I know some people may be reading this thinking “dude, shut up if you haven’t seen the movie”. And you’re right, I should just shut up. I mean, who the hell am I anyway? Well, I’m a guy that has been tricked by the hype machine one too many times.

I guess it just boils down to personal choice. And since I don’t get to the theatre as much as I’d like, I want to make sure I pick my movies wisely. And for me, I don’t want to just be entertained. I get enough entertainment from my 3 and 6 year old kids. I want a movie to take me someplace I’ve never been before. Drop me off in someone else’s life for a while, and make me feel something. And then send me home asking questions about what I just saw.

That’s a good movie, and it’s entertaining. Now maybe it’s just the wine talking here, but I’m pretty sure that can be done without a big green guy and some explosions.

4 thoughts on “But is it good?

  1. Excellent post, Fred. I actually did go to see it, but my experience was far more enjoyable than the scene you presented. (Not to say that yours is not an entirely realistic expectation, as well.) I went on Saturday night. We are very deliberate about creating memories for our kids. (“Makin’ memories!” is a common phrase heard around the Conover household (borrowed from a friend)) As such, I took my 10-year old son, Gabe…and Zak…and Luke…and Cody…and David…and a friend of mine with his two sons and one of their friends. But, guess what? We are huge fans of a semi-local drive-in theater (almost exactly an hour from our house), and we make a few trips every season. All eight boys ran around in bare feet playing football, playing tag, and just rolling around in general until the movie started. Then, they all laid out their sleeping bags on the grass, and lay on the ground while the movie started.

    In my personal (not so humble opinion), the movie extremely entertaining. It had a ton of action, some very funny lines, and several of the obligatory town-destroying fight scenes. Was it a ‘good’ movie? Probably not. Was it a ‘great’ night out? Without question.

  2. Perhaps the question to ask is, “What is a movie?” I don’t think we can give the same definition today as we could 25 years ago. The media landscape has changed too much. For movies to be profitable today, producers have to set the common denominator too low. They need a built-in audience, or people won’t power down their iPhones long enough to sit through them.

    Most people who complain about the deteriorating quality of cinema (myself included) rarely go to the cinema anymore, so it’s kind of like complaining about the president when you don’t vote.

    Meanwhile, as we speak, I’ll bet some development exec is pitching a remake of The Outsiders with Topher Grace as Ponyboy and James Franco as Dally.

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