Monday, December 7, 2009

The Good, The Bad, And the Awesome Crap

After my review of "Ninja Assassin" I was asked a decent question. What do I consider a "good" movie. As like I said I consider movies like Tom Yum Goong or Ong Bak to be under the category of "Awesome Crap" even though those are 2 of my favorite movies. See to me there are 3 types of Good movies. There are Films, Good movies, and Awesome Crap.

I tried to put a handle on what exactly "Awesome Crap" was in my review of Ninja Assassin but lets see if I can articulate it a little better. Awesome Crap can be different things to different people but we all have our Awesome Crap movies. Mine are usually in the Martial Arts Action genre but for some it may be horror. An Awesome Crap movie is a movie that has no real point to it other than to get a visceral reaction from the audience. You watch it for the experience of being able to yell "FUCK YEAH" at the screen when something bad ass happens. These are the movies that aren't going to be winning any of the big Academy Awards (technical categories excluded). While good movies will draw someone in with a story and character development Awesome Crap pulls you in with the promise of being bad ass and EXTREEEEEEEEEME. Nobody sat through Kiss of the Dragon wondering if Bridget Fonda was going to get her kid back, people saw that to watch Jet Li wreck some people. In the case of horror fans, Awesome Crap would be basically any Slasher movie or movie in which you watch it to see how creatively people will die (Final Destination, Friday the 13th, Saw etc)

These movies are some good examples of Awesome Crap:
  • Ong Bak
  • Unleashed
  • 300
  • Wanted
  • Forbidden Kingdom
Good movies on the otherhand like I said draw you in with a compelling story, an experience that leaves you feeling like you've been on a journey along side the main characters. Unlike Awesome Crap which you just watch to get that fix of adrenaline, Good movies are just watched to be enjoyed as an experience. You care about the characters you want to see them succeed and you are hurt if they fail. These are the movies that can tug at your heart strings if they try and just bring you along for the ride. They can be epic or they can be short lived but they are a journey. Good movies are all about taste and can be VERY different to different people. For example after my review of Land of the Lost (which I just didn't like) Erika was a little upset with me as I went to see that with her and she really enjoyed it. I don't hold anyone's taste in movies against them I just didn't happen to like it. Another example would be my friend Blake, he really enjoyed New Moon and from what I have seen I just know I won't like it though I intend to see it all later with my other friend Alex if only just to Riff on it. What I'm saying is you know what you like and if my opinion fits yours then I suppose my reviews aren't for nothing.

Then there are Films. Films are pretty universal and they aren't necesarilly always the most compelling things. Where as good movies are meant to be an enjoyable experience a film is a piece of art. Not so much meant to be enjoyed as it is to be appreciated. Not that they can't be enjoyed but when you are watching a film, you know you are watching a film. I try not to be a pompous cinephile about this fact, for that matter I don't own very many movies I would actually put in this category but I do enjoy them and see what they have to offer. Some people don't like them, I know for a fact Vegeta 3986 hates many of them outside of certain Hitchcock films. Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Ben-Hur, Pulp Fiction, Film is a category for me that defies genre as long as it is for the art of cinema. These are movies that become timeless even if they are dated, once a good film is made it is remembered by history. Movies like Star Trek (2009), and The Hangover maybe good but I wouldn't consider them a Film.

On the other end there are Bad movies... now there are many types of bad movies too. There are the forgetable, the stupid, and those that leave you feeling unclean. The latter I reserve almost specifically for Eli Roth films. We all know a bad movie when we see it. It feels like a waste of time and energy to watch it. It's boring, it leaves no emotional effect and you couldn't care less about anything about it. Probably the worst of all the bad movies are the forgetable ones. The movies that you saw in theaters but only remember when you brush past it playing on FX or the Sy Fy chanel or maybe when you're writing a blog on forgetable movies. It's only just now that I'm remembering seeing The Perfect Getaway and 9 each of which I saw less than 6 months ago.

Anyway that's basically how I categorize movies in my mind, that isn't to say that there aren't some crossing of categories it's just one giant venn diagram up there in my head. To finish this off I'll list off a few of my favorite movies as I was also asked about that.

  • Rainman
  • Ong Bak
  • Up
  • Clerks
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Kiss of the Dragon
  • Tom Yum Goong
  • Rocky I - IV
  • 300
  • Paranormal Activity
  • The Dark Knight
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Singing in the Rain
  • Batman
  • The Incredibles
  • The Godfather
  • Oldboy
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Animal House
  • Kill Bill Vol 1 + 2
  • Grindhouse (the theatrical experience with all the fake trailers on DVD it's pretty blah)
  • Blade 2
  • Casino Royale
  • Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

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  1. Hey Lani.... I was wondering what your personal view on the Twilight series is... seeing as you used "" on New Moon...

  2. Lani my buddy of the net who I never meet.

    One movie that is in the Good and Awesome crap
    is the first and now the second Boondock Saints.
    Its got that blow shit up and kill but the characters draw in the crowd.


  3. Oldboy and Pulp Fiction aren't awesome crap they're awesome awesome!

  4. I didn't lable those awesome crap those are just favorite movies in general if you noticed I labled Pulp Fiction under "Film"

  5. personally I think 300 is not awesome crap
    I think it haves a pretty good story and I like the caracters and the grafic novel
    but I do like ya opinion on movies it the same has mine xD

    and lani maybe u could do video games reviews 2

  6. Ello, ello Lani!

    Don't worry I'm not British..anyways! I greatly appreciate some of your movies titled under, good, aewsome, etc (I say some because I have not seen a great deal of them--I know it's pathetic). And I wanted to give you some suggestions for movies:
    Awesome Crap:
    Crank 2 (I had no idea what the fuck was going on, but it made me so happy)
    Cats Don't Dance (What can I say I'm a kid at heart, but after watching this movie again, you know when I wasn't like 8, I can actually say it is just plain good)

    Now there is also a movie I have just discovered about an hour ago, and, due to my procrastonation, still have not finished, but so far it seems like an amazing classic. You may or may not be a Gene Wilde fan, but I suggest looking up "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother"
    That's all and have a good new year!

    P.S- As a fun side note for your "FUCK YEAH" comment on the awesome crap: I actually stood up in the theater at one point and yelled that..and to my surprise I was applauded.

    P.S.S- I would also love to see a blog sometime of your theory and thoughts of "2001: A Space Oddessy"

    P.S.S.S--I just wanted to go to this length ^^;