Thinking About Movies

When I’ve had slow times, I end up watching a lot of movies.  I don’t often see a movie in the theater, because I generally live in areas where the theaters are too far away to easily get to.   I’ve come to lump movies into four categories.  Great movies are few and far between.  They’re the ones I buy the DVD for, simply because I want to be able to watch it again, or re-run parts of it.  Good movies are the ones I’ll watch once or twice a year as a rental or if it happens to be on television.  “Indifferent” is something I saw once, and while it wasn’t in the “bad” category, it wasn’t something I’ll willingly see again.  The “Bad” though, make me wish I could get a refund.

I  draw a difference between “bad” and “so bad it’s good.”   Rocky Horror Picture Show and any of the Toho monster flicks fall into that category.  Yes, objectively speaking, they’re not very good.  But a high cheese factor, lots of camp, and a bit of tongue in cheek make them entertaining.   Godzilla the Hollywood production was a movie I classify as “indifferent.”   Right after that, Godzilla 2000 from Toho was released, and it was fun.  Hollywood tried to make their version “realistic,” used lots of CGI special effects, and it just was … annoying.  Toho went right with the guy in the rubber suit, crushing a lot of Tokyo miniatures, badly translated dialogue, and it was enjoyable watching.

What makes a movie truly “Bad” in my book?  I have a rule of thumb.  If I start rooting for the “bad guys” in a movie, I know it sucks.  The best example of this was War of the Worlds.   I was really rooting for the aliens!  I desperately wanted Dakota Fanning’s character to be alien chow, and wouldn’t have shed a tear if Tom Cruise’s character had bit the dust, either.  The ending had a beyond-belief sappy scene.  Usually, if I see Steven Spielberg’s name as the director, I know I’m going to see a good – and more often, great- movie.  Not that one, it was a real clinker.  Not bad special effects, the alien war machines and the aliens were really interesting to see, but story and character-wise, this movie sucked.

This is where you get suckered into watching a bad movie.  It doesn’t have the normal clues that it is going to bite big time.  Things like “Directed by Uwe Boll,”   starring someone from the WWE, or an adaptation of a videogame.  Those are normally big clues to “Run away!  Run away!” The ones that sucker you into watching them have a top director, top stars,  a big budget, and some decent reviews by critics you’ve heard of.  “Well,  this should be good!” you think.   Instead, it sucks so bad you wonder what drugs they were doing when they agreed to do it, or just how much money they were offered to do it.

It looks like we’re going to have a blizzard starting tomorrow, so I’ll probably be watching a lot of movies over the next few days… and I hope I avoid the bad ones.

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