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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just reading a review about Star Trek: Into Darkness and while it wasn't a bad review by any stretch, the comment was made that in general it was "no worse written" than the first installment and that it relies on spfx and character chemistry. After reading a bunch of disconcerted views on Iron Man 3 and recalling many other similar conversations about other movies it made me ask the question...What do people want?


This question isn't so much about liking scifi versus romantic comedies nor is it so much about more dialogue and less special effects. This is more about (I think) the line between a solid script and screenplay, however that's defined, and the ability to appeal to the masses with a big dollar blockbuster. I know there is no absolute right or wrong here but I'm having a difficult time understanding much of the critical aspects that some might have.


Do you go to the movies to think? Or be entertained? How do you perceive value in either? How do flaws factor in? I'm not sure the direction this topic with take (if any at all) but one direction I hope it doesn't take is a personal one where we start telling the other they're wrong or dumb because of liking a particular movie.


To the point of the Star Trek Into Darkness article and it's comment about the first movie, I thought the first movie was great and not poorly written at all. The only reason I say that is because I never had to stop and think about the story or what was going on beyond that which I was supposed to question from a suspense standpoint. It moved briskly, the characters were engaging, which I attribute to good acting and the effects were top notch. What am I missing?
 

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I go to a movie with a simple expectation: to be "satisfied", or "pleased" if you want. Whether it makes me think or it is entertaining, or both, depends on the movie itself - and since I never go to a movie blindly, I always know what to expect anyway. To me a movie is a whole, it's not just a story, it's not just the actors, the directing, the cinematography, the music, the visual effects, the editing, etc - it's all of these together. If some aspects are weaker than others, that doesn't mean the movie is a failure either. I would say though that the most important part is probably how the story is told, how the world that I see on the screen is tangible within its own reality, because all movies are fictional to a degree since they're a representation of a reality that doesn't actually exists. Sometimes a rather thin storyline is reinforced by strong and amazing performances, sometimes the "spectacle" is the strongest part. It's very hard, I think, to determine exactly what makes a movie "bad" or "good". But if I'm bored while I'm watching, something's wrong and it's probably more bad than good then. The directing is also one of the most important things, since this is after all the person who decides which take was good or not... But even directors are influenced by others, their editors, their sound editors, their producers...


Take Cloud Atlas for example... Nobody saw it, and yet it should be at least aknowledged that it's a daring film, an honest (I think) attempt at telling an ambitious, impossible story... Was it too long? was it too complex? I thought it was fascinating and one of my favorite films last year. Maybe most people prefer pure "entertainment" which is fine, after all I often do as well.
 

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When it comes to summer blockbusters like this, all I want is for the movie to not be egregiously, insultingly stupid. Sadly, far too many of them fail that standard.


Even the previous Star Trek movie, which I liked quite a bit overall, had a number of painfully stupid scenes that served no purpose whatsoever: Kirk's goofy allergic reaction, the snow monsters, Scotty stuck in a pipe, etc. There was no need for any of those scenes, they didn't add anything to the story, and the movie would have been much better without them.


Yet I'm willing to forgive the movie those mistakes, because on balance more of it worked than didn't work. On the flip side of that are movies like The Dark Knight Rises, in which the stupidity far outweighs any positive merits. And then you have anything Michael Bay makes, which is all stupid all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For me, movies simply represent an escapism. A means to unplug for a couple of hours and be entertained or even at time distracted. I never go in with the expectation of a life changing event. Some movies have provoked thought, some have inspired and some were kind of a non event. I agree that it's more the sum of it's parts; however, while I agree that some movies have "stupid" parts, I rarely give any acknowledgement beyond that particular part. I think that's because I try to look at it not so much from my perspective of what I would do or how I think it should be, reality or otherwise, but how the director is trying to tell the story. I guess another way of saying it is I know what I would say or do in a situation. What would someone else do is what I want to see. Kind of like a concert. I simply can't stand seeing a live performance that mimics the cd. If I wanted to hear the cd I would have saved my money, stayed home and plug in my ipod.


The only movie I can think of that I had a strong reaction to was When a Man Love's a Woman. The whole time I was sitting there, while walking out and even to this day I kept asking myself, What is the point of this story being told? So to use your example Josh, this was my "This is stupid" moment. So I guess overall, I want to be entertained to some degree but I can be quite forgiving of flaws but the purpose of the story and it's portrayal overall carry far more importance to me.
 

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Elements That I Want In A Movie (or that would tend to make me like a movie)

Patriotism - If Americans are kicking ass on evildoers, I can forgive a multitude of other sins.

Appeal To Protective Parental Instinct - i.e. Taken, The Man From Nowhere, Gone Baby Gone, and Pan's Labyrinth

A Great Cause - Battle against unfair institutional or societal problems i.e. Django Unchained, Roots, Schindler's List, and Erin Brokovich

Great Acting - Obvious, but certainly key to the suspension of disbelief, and able to carry otherwise unworkable material.

Tragic and / or Triumphant - i.e. Forrest Gump, My Name Is Khan, Kick-Ass, The Fall, and The Shawshank Redemption

Personally Relevant - Related to my life and experiences in some way i.e. Napoleon Dynamite and American Beauty

Intellectually Stimulating - Yes, it does help if the movie makes me think, educates me, or opens my eyes to new information i.e. Hotel Rwanda, The Pianist, and Traffic


The only element other than sheer insipidity that will surely turn me off of a movie is the celebration or humoring of illicit drug use. Having not used any myself I can't identify with the frivolity, especially considering I have had to deal with the wreckage of family members who have been destroyed by same.
 

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What I also want is images of the movie stuck in my mind when I leave the theater. It's usually a sign it was good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do any of you find that "good" movies also translate into owning it (which I would include rewatchability more than, say, twice a year)? For example, I think Titanic was a good movie. And upon it's rerelease I went to see it again with my wife. But I don't own it and don't plan to mainly because I don't see watching it more than twice a year, which is my own standard that I base justification on purchasing any movie.
 

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Same here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morpheo  /t/1472841/what-do-you-want-in-a-movie#post_23318758


I go to a movie with a simple expectation: to be "satisfied", or "pleased" if you want.


I often go into the movie without researching the movie or reading reviews. What I like to do is watch the movie and then read the director's commentary to see if I got what he/she intended. If the movie is good, in my opinion, then I leave pleased. If what I got out of it matches the intention then I am very satisfied.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Closet Geek  /t/1472841/what-do-you-want-in-a-movie#post_23320077


Do any of you find that "good" movies also translate into owning it (which I would include rewatchability more than, say, twice a year)? For example, I think Titanic was a good movie. And upon it's rerelease I went to see it again with my wife. But I don't own it and don't plan to mainly because I don't see watching it more than twice a year, which is my own standard that I base justification on purchasing any movie.

With the exception of the Naked Gun series, I rarely watch movies more than two times but I will purchase it just to have. It may seem like a waste of money but there is something about being able to watch a movie you like on your terms whenever you want.


I primarily watch comedies and action movies. If you can ham it up in the comedy or not be as cheesy as an 80's action movie you are half way to a good movie in my opinion.
 

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Like Ebert often said, I want a movie to follow its own rules.


I like a lot of different types of movies, and they may each give me something different (laughs, emotion, education, good character narrative, clever dialogue, etc...).


But as long as it delivers on what it's setting up to be, then I can go with it. This means that my expectations after 20 minutes of Battleship are different than after the first 20 minutes of The American. The latter is probably a superior movie in objective terms, but I felt like I got more of what I was expecting or wanting out of the former.


Surprises are great, too. In fact if I look at my all-time favorite list, many of them include twist endings. But they still surprise in a way that's faithful to their own rules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLefty  /t/1472841/what-do-you-want-in-a-movie#post_23322919


Like Ebert often said, I want a movie to follow its own rules.


I like a lot of different types of movies, and they may each give me something different (laughs, emotion, education, good character narrative, clever dialogue, etc...).


But as long as it delivers on what it's setting up to be, then I can go with it. This means that my expectations after 20 minutes of Battleship are different than after the first 20 minutes of The American. The latter is probably a superior movie in objective terms, but I felt like I got more of what I was expecting or wanting out of the former.


Surprises are great, too. In fact if I look at my all-time favorite list, many of them include twist endings. But they still surprise in a way that's faithful to their own rules.

That's a good Ebert quote, one that I've never heard. And you certainly make a great point. I purposefully didn't go see Battleship at the theater based on what I thought it was. I waited for the HBO broadcast and recorded it, which a movie like this is the highest and best value of a DVR IMO, so I didn't go out of my way to block time to watch it. When I had time, I watched it, again with a limited idea of what to expect going in and allowing the movie time to set up "what it is" I wasn't "disappointed" because I got what I expected.
 

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Lately I am damned impressed if a movie delivers a stimulating and satisfying Third/Final Act. Accomplishing that usually means it met a multitude of standards along the way like following its own rules, developing empathy or identification for the characters and so on even if it didn't seem obvious to me during the first two Acts or I had been resisting it for some reason. If it manages to draw me in and keep me entertained during those first two Acts PLUS deliver a stimulating and satisfying Third/Final Act then we are really in heady territory and I might be compelled to stand at attention and salute from my theater seat. Very rare these days. IMO, Third/Final Acts have been routinely falling apart for quite some time now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by hitchfan  /t/1472841/what-do-you-want-in-a-movie#post_23325452


IMO, Third/Final Acts have been routinely falling apart for quite some time now.

I think a lot of this is due to the sequelization (totally made that word up) of movies. Many productions are banking on a sequel if not three-quel these days even if there isn't a justifiable storyline in place like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
 

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Not to sure what I want but I know what I don't want in a movie.


I don't want to have use my head.

I don't want to fill in any gaps in a plot.

I don't want any unanswered questions.

I don't want to suspend any belief.

I don't want to have any fun or joking.

I don't want a trailer to leave any secrets.

I don't want to read positive comments on things I don't like.

I don't want anybody except Joss Whedon to make any movies.

I don't want any movie to have less than 87.6 percent CGI effect sequences.

I don't want any movie that is less than 90% at Rotten Tomatoes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by darthrsg  /t/1472841/what-do-you-want-in-a-movie/0_60#post_23326419


Not to sure what I want but I know what I don't want in a movie.


I don't want to have use my head.

I don't want to fill in any gaps in a plot.

I don't want any unanswered questions.

I don't want to suspend any belief.

I don't want to have any fun or joking.

I don't want a trailer to leave any secrets.

I don't want to read positive comments on things I don't like.

I don't want anybody except Joss Whedon to make any movies.

I don't want any movie to have less than 87.6 percent CGI effect sequences.

I don't want any movie that is less than 90% at Rotten Tomatoes.
If I was you, I would take out a copyright on this....well done sir.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sog35  /t/1472841/what-do-you-want-in-a-movie#post_23326575


I want to say 'that was a great movie' after watching it.


There really is no secret formula. If there was then we would have hundreds of great movies every year like Dark Knight Rises.


 
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