Lately I realized that a lot of people out there don’t agree with my movie reviews. Especially folks who know me IRL seem to be somewhat baffled by the amount of venom I spew out on their favorite flicks. I wanted to use this post to address some of the recurring comments I get from people who are unhappy with my reviews.
Luke, you seem to hate all movies. Are there even any movies you like?
Of course. I like good movies. For example, I loved Moon, Memento, Donnie Darko and Primer. All excellent films that are well worth watching. Then again all these films fall into certain spectrum that I call “thought provoking” and most other people call “confusing” or “boring as hell”. So let me list some other moves that do not fall into this category.
One of my favorite movies of all time is The Firth Element. I never wrote a review for it, but I probably should just because it is my example for what an action SF comedy type film should be. It’s campy, it’s funny, it is action packed, has great, memorable characters, awesome quotable moments – and above all, it is masterfully shot and directed. I loved Zombieland for similar reasons – fun, well executed, quotable and memorable. Neither of these films can be considered thought provoking or ground breaking – but I love them nevertheless.
I also loved The Watchmen and Lord of the Rings because they were good adaptations of source material that I already liked. And when I say good adaptation, I mean a movie that is close to the source with minimum amount of executive meddling. Hell, I even wrote positive reviews for movies like The Butterfly Effect and Hostel.
Contrary to popular belief I am not some movie snob that only likes foreign experimental films with subtitles. That’s not true at all. I simply like movies that are good. If I watch a movie that is not good, I have no choice but to write a bad review. It’s that simple.
I would love to see you make a movie that is better than _____
I would love that too. Seriously. I am confident I could do a much better job shooting Transformers than Michael Bay did, or make a much better prequel trilogy than George Lucas. You know why? Because these movies were horrible, and nothing could possibly make them even worse – so any changes would only be for the better.
Do you know how I would go about it though? I would hire directors who can direct and actors who can act. So no Michael Bay, no Hayden Christensen and no Meghan Fox. I would hire real writers to write and re-write the script, then have a team of 20 or more people read, review and give feedback on it, searching for plot holes, and stupidity. I would work at it until it was great. I would find a director with a vision, passion and sense of style and composition – not someone who thinks that putting as much moving CGI into the frame as can possibly fit is a great idea.
Seriously, I do understand that film makers often work under pressure from producers and film studios. I understand that sometimes you get stuck with a team that is less than perfect and a budget that severely constrains the amount of time you can spend shooting or editing the movie. Still, so far most of the pictures I really complained about were insanely expensive sequels to blockbuster movies. They were essentially guaranteed success from day one, and could easily afford to gather a dream team of film makers and spend extra time polishing the final product. They didn’t. The movies are atrocious, visually over the top (good composition and editing triumphs over poorly rendered, busy CGI applied over shaking and rolling camera work), poorly acted and full of plot holes and nonsense situations. Bad movies are just that – bad.
But it is mindless entertainment. Its supposed to be about explosions and car chases.
No it is not. Movies are not supposed to be mindless string of explosions and action scenes. I choose to believe that movie making is a form of art. That movies are supposed to contain characters that we can relate to and tell stories that can affect us in some way. We are supposed to identify with the characters, accompany them on their journey and experience the ups and downs with them. The suspense and drama stems from the attachment we feel to these characters. If they are plastic, shallow and poorly acted it is extremely difficult to care for them, or to take their defeats and victories seriously.
If you just want mindless entertainment, then Ow My Balls should be the ultimate movie – and ideal that all filmmakers should aspire to. Seriously people, would you really enjoy watching two hours of that? Actually, don’t answer that question.
And again, neither The Fifth Element nor Zombie Land can really be called deep or thought provoking. They are fast paced, action packed and silly – but unlike many of the movies I complain about they do have some great entertainment value: well designed characters, clever scripts, memorable quotes, well paced jokes, suspense and great execution. Zombieland for example has one of the best executed random cameos of all time. Transformers 2 has a robot with a gold tooth that talks like a black guy. I think this illustrates my point quite clearly. One of these movies was made by people who were passionate about it, other was a hack job haphazardly put together so that it would appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Here is a question for the readers: I just told you about bunch of movies that I liked. What are your all time favorite movies?
Yep, this whole post was an elaborate ploy to solicit good movie recommendations. Go!