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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Popcorn And Plot

Do you watch movies or films?

This might seem like a semantic question. It sort of is, but not quite in the way it looks.

So you know when you watch something and it is pure popcorn but you love it anyway? Like, so much of it is cheese and fun and action scenes for no reason other than action? Ridiculous martial arts films, stuff like Top Gun or Rocky (specifically one of the sequels, the first one is brilliance). We know that logically there's no greater point to this, nothing done to push the capabilities of cinematic excellence, but - I mean, who doesn't like watching giant robots beating up giant monsters? Pacific Rim isn't an Oscar candidate and it's not going to win writing awards but it isn't FOR that - it's for showing you something that you just enjoy watching.

Then there's the stuff we watch that does have far more depth and greatness to it. Classics. Films with intelligence, superior writing and cinematography, that challenge us with their themes and their messages. Blade Runner, Citizen Kane, that infinitely cool short you saw on Channel 4 the other night - they're stuff that you watch when you want to engage yourself.

And there you have it, right? Blade Runner is a film - Pacific Rim is a movie.

The line does break down in the middle obviously. There's some big dumb martial arts movies that are actually heavily artistic, showing technical and thematic excellence at every turn. There's some films that aim for brilliance and fall very short, on both sides of the equation - but it's far easier to make a shoddy horror movie that is entertaining to watch than it is to make a shoddy examination of the nature of time and self in the way that Donnie Darko does.

Which is better?

Well that depends what you want. Somewhat. I mean there are films that are ACTUALLY bad, and then there are films that are only bad at providing you with the cinematic experience you are currently seeking.

I do not often want to watch something that is twee or cute or whatever. That's rarely a thing I am into. That doesn't make the film bad, and I have to admit that. There's a difference between "I dislike this" and "This is terrible". I like some objectively terrible films. Plan Nine From Outer Space, anyone?

If I want to think about what just happen, I can have that. If I want something soul-searing (or soul-searching) I can have that. If I need shooting, John Woo made a bunch of films in Hong Kong before the American movies he made, of which there is one that isn't just pure shite. (And that's Face/Off, before you ask.)

Where am I going with this? Not sure, really. Only in the general direction of loving both ends of the scale, from glossy sci-fi shooter, to fifteen-minute duologue about working class people in the eighties. It just depends what mood I am in.

I'm just...never in the mood for Bayformers.

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