How I watch movies.
I love movies.
Good ones, bad ones, serious ones, funny ones, irreverent ones, formula ones. I break down movies into 3 major viewing categories, with subsets in each category. I’m going to only cover the 3 major categories in this post and I’ll try to give good examples of each. Knowing which category of movie I’m going to watch provides that extra entertainment value.
Mindless Movies is the first category. Movies in this category would include such titles as “Transformers,” “Die Hard,” and “Sin City.” These movies provide a great escape and are easy to digest and spit out. They don’t require a lot of thought, carry no subtext worth focusing on and invariably cause us to hold our breath without realizing it.
Believability is one of the first things to go out of the window when you press play on one othese gems, but that’s one of the reasons to watch. Usually these movies are more throughly enjoyed if they contain actors we really like, or play to a normal fish (us) out of water (the unbelievable situation) story. The spectacle created usually doesn’t allow time for the plot flaws to shine because it’s moving towards the next explosion, car chase, or special effect and the cycle keeps repeating.
Thinking movies fall into the second category. Movies in this category would include “The Royal Tannenbaums,” “Apocalypse Now,” and “No Country for Old Men.” The movies are full of subtext that adds more to the story than the composition of the scene and acting do. If you watched “NCFOM” and didn’t pick up on the subtext it’s a very different movie than intended. Without subtext it’s a story about a crazy hitman killing people. With subtext it’s a study of our times and the unseen spector of death acting on chance and the perception of the environment from different aged perspectives…awesome stuff.
These movies are best watched more than once because if they’re done well the invoke thought and some of the subtextural twists are often discovered in retrospect. I love when the story is spot on and each of the subtle nuances present themselves to add layers of complexity to the relationship and circumstances played out on the screen.
Bust On Movies are the last category. Movies like “Twister,” “Hackers,” and any SciFi Channel original movie. Typically these movies follow formulas a little too closely, have poor continuity or are so poorly acted they cry out for attention. “Twister” is a great example of all the faults mentioned. Each member of the ‘team’ has a nickname like “Preacher,”Rabbit” and “Dusty,” and they’re van is named ” The lead is played by Helen Hunt who’s father was killed by a tornado when she was a kid, so now she’s an expert storm chaser. Her ex-husband (and ex-tornado chaser turned TV weatherman) just happens to show up with his unsympathetic fiance the same time a Fujitzu scale 5 tornado is about to hit…so of course he leaves his fiance standing there and reluctantly joins the team because they need him. There’s also a corporate backed bad guy team driving blacked out SUV’s competing with our protagonist team. Everything happens just as it should, including the two leads realizing that they’re meant for each other.
Silly “Wizard of Oz” reference are played out constantly as the good guys battle the bad guys AND the tornado. Forget the dialog which shines with lines like “THAT’S SO EXTREME!” and “We’re in the suck zone!” Scene continuity is non existant with windshields breaking and then being whole, full glasses then empty glasses, and other delightful and noticeable errors. These movies make for great fun when you attempt to point out and criticize all these flaws…it’s almost a fun contest. Fun stuff.
Keep in mind these are GENERAL categories and there are, of course, movies that don’t always fit into these molds. I like those too. =)