Today I want to talk about a single thing – what makes one movie a GOOD movie I’ll try to follow it up with examples of good and bad movies (according to me, the all-knowing movie viewer …) to strengthen my arguments. The idea just came to me so you’ll probably disagree since I didn’t do any fucking research but who the fuck cares. Let’s begin.
The first thing I always look for in the movies are the characters. For me characters are the backbone of EVERYTHING. Yeah, Aristotle said long ago that it’s the plot, but he was a fucking moron and couldn’t have been any more wrong in … well, every single thing he ever wrote. He also called philosophy the noblest of arts. *Insert laughter here*
So, why characters? Characters give life to the story of the movie or whatever the fuck is on the screen. Characters help us connect to the story and understand it better. If characters didn’t matter, all cast would consist of babies since you don’t have to pay those annoying sons of bitches. Hell, you could CGI them and then robotize all their voices. Actually, that’ll probably happen soon in the future. And it’ll be a sad fucking day.
Characters breathe life into the story, or lack thereof actually. Look at the “Before Sunset” and “Before Sunrise” for example. We can all agree neither of them has an actual story. Yet, both are great. Why? Because of the characters. They are life and we fall in love with them and want to tie them up and put them in our basement and rape them till the end of times. No? So … it’s just me? Well … this is awkward. Khm, anyway … as I was saying, it’s the characters are the flames that burn brightly. The same goes with “Game of Thrones” for instance. Some may argue that it’s an epic story but, let’s be honest here, it’s just a bunch of houses bitching for more power. It’s the characters that make us root for one or the other house and that make all these things mash up in a mind-like and compelling way. Imagine if every character was like Joffrey. Nobody would watch that crap.
The story, for me, comes only after the characters. It’s there to support them. I’d rather base an entire story around a strong and relatable character I’ve created than base characters according to the story. I want to look at the “Star Wars” prequels. In theory, story actually sounds great – how a great Jedi prodigy falls down to the dark side due to his inability to saved a beloved one. Yeah, it’s cramped with political nonsense, but the base story sounds like something you can work with, right? Well, if it had any decent and memorable characters it might have. None of the characters help us relate to the story and make us feel for then, resulting in an insulting piece of shit and destroying any possibility of a good story. Yeah, here’s a hint for future writers: if you fuck your main character so much that everybody hates him from the first scene he’s in, then you fucked up badly man. Real bad.
The story in itself can be as good as any but if it doesn’t have proper characters to live through it, it will never reach heights it otherwise could. However, stories and their aspects diverge in fiction and non-fiction. Most of the fiction is seldom based on a certain epic story with a character we can relate to, but not the actual story or events taking place within that world, while in the non-fiction both the characters and events should resemble life-like situations. Of course, you can go batshit what the fuck and make “Titanic” and have millions of girls moan on their boyfriends for not dying for them although the situation never required a boyfriend to die. So … what makes these movies sway the audience so much? In “Titanic’s” case, you could say that it’s that epic feeling of tragedy and sacrifice that dude took (unnecessary sacrifice but sacrifice nonetheless), while others (well, majority of romantic comedies or dramatic romances) bank on the events of one party in the relationship doing something completely not lifelike in order to prove his/hers love. You have “Easy A” for example. In the end, he fulfills chick’s dream of a guy waiting her beneath her window with a huge rockin’ CD player or something and rocking her favorite song. And people buy that. It’s just the mentality and a way to escape the reality where that shit never happens.
However, when it comes to fiction, you can’t tell your boyfriend “why can’t you give me the undead army like a motherfucking Aragon did”. It doesn’t work that way. Fiction relies upon audience relating to the certain character because of its human characteristics rather than the events he’s placed into. Look at the movie “Eragon” and note why it was a biggest piece of shit ever. Because the best and most relatable character was a voice of a motherfucking Dragon. You have two main human dudes and you relate to the fucking Dragon. Doesn’t make sense bro. In that sense though, look at the original “Star Wars”. Luke is a human – like you and I – and is given fantastical (as in fantasy) opportunity to explore the life he never thought existed. It is not the fact that he wields a motherfucking saber that relates him to us, but his less epic and more humane side. He’s young, curious, asks question we’d ask, etc.
So, what comes after the story? Everything else I’d say. It’s hard to give a ranking to other aspects that come into movie because they are relatable to each more in a lot more ways than one. Direction, for instance, is important. But it is also related to the scenery and choice of scenery (or the scale of the fucking green screen). Then there’s a soundtrack because, let’s be honest, the only reason you watched “Frozen” was because of that motherfucking song that gets stuck in your head for the eternity. And, if you look at the last ten minutes of “The Fountain”, if you mute it, it won’t feel half as epic as it otherwise is. All these aspects come together in a coherent matter to create a sensual combustion of awesomeness or, in most cases, pile of shit that should have never existed. However, sometimes, someone decides to take it too far … a tidy bit too far …
That’s the case with “Saw II” and onwards for instance. Writers tried so hard to connect all the fucking movies with something that they ended up creating a pile of retarded, disjointed, extremely confusing shit. I dare you – watch all of the Saw’s movies and try to remember the overall plot and who’s who and what the fuck actually happened to the puppet master. Seriously. It’s impossible.
There’s also a movie called “The Cell”. I’ve watched it only recently and I’ve gotta say … what the actual fuck? I get that the director (or writer?) was trying to go for heavy symbolism, but most of the scenes were over the top disgusting and didn’t even allow me to look into symbolism. It felt as if someone in production didn’t think “Jee, this looks a lot like some sick-minded porn than anything else”. Because that’s the only thing I could think of. The idea of going into a serial killer’s mind is great and all, but if you only show some disgusting monsters torturing random, naked women in the most BSMD ways possible, well … I’m speechless.
Another aspect that especially appears in thriller/mystery/horror movies is that motherfucking twist. I guess it became a norm after a “Psycho” that you gotta have one or two or three of three billion of those bad boys in your movie in order to call it thriller/mystery/horror. I don’t see the point of this. It’s great when you manage to fool the audience, but in most of the movies it’s noticeable that they literally forced the fuck out of that twist although it made no sense. Like, in “Star Wars” twist worked because no one fucking expected it (well, ‘xcept from me, because I first watched prequels …). And a moment before you had them fighting till death. Come fucking “The Happening” and … fuck.
There are a lot of things which go into making a good movie. Twists are just a part of the story but I had to briefly mention them since I mentioned “The Cell”. Symbolism is also part of the story – most of the time – but it is often simply part of the directing. Depending on the genre and the sub of those, there are different things which make a movie great. Still, for me, the bottom of it are the characters and the story. Now, this may be a talk of someone who grew up reading the books rather than watching the movies, but I’ll firmly stand by it. Cinema has produced some amazing movies over its course but, let’s face it, at least 80% of it is a complete and utter bullshit – and repetitive bullshit at that. My last post is about a TV movies and theatrical releases aren’t that much of a difference. Look at the “Indiana Jones” and “The Phantom”. The scenes were literally copied. Look at the motherfucking “Transformers” and “Indiana Jones” – same shit. Look at the fucking “Blade” and the “Underworld”. And it’s fine that the movies are taking things from one another because it’s no longer a norm that you gotta be original to be successful, but that which is distasteful is that no one even tries to make its own spin on it – and I mean a major spin.
Like, in romantic comedies, why isn’t there ever a twist when the main girl or a guy suddenly die because an airplane hit them across the head? And I mean romantic comedies, not dramas. Because it’s a norm that once you establish the tone, you have to stick to it. Bullshit. The greatest twists are those that are hinted on but never expected. Have a normal love story between two people in a teenage fiction – they meet in high school, he or she asks the other one out, they talk to each other, kiss, develop the relationship, something supernatural happens to one of them and one or even both eventually die. You don’t see that. Things have become stale and writers and directors seem to be afraid to take a leap of faith and diverge from the substance of today’s movies. Yeah, it might turn out to be awful, but … would it be any better otherwise? Shake it up a bit. Imagine if Harry actually died in the “Goblet of Fire”. And imagine just how different the story would be – how unpredictable the rest of the story would be. Yeah, I know.
Until next time.