Thinkpiece – What Makes A Good Movie?

What makes a good movie? This is a question every film maker and critic has thought about, in some way or another. Many may argue that a good movie is a perfect plot, no plot holes, no mistakes, perfect dialogue, witty one liners at just the right time, and at least one dramatic death scene.

I argue this is not true. A good movie is really quite subjective. A good movie to you, may be a terrible movie to me. And vice versa. Hear me out.

There are movies, such as Bill and Ted that are by pure film critic standards not a good movie, but its actually an absolutely fantastic movie. Why? Because it has an underrated plot? Fantastic acting? No, it really doesn’t. What it DOES have, is fun. Which is exactly the intention of the movie. It was never meant to be a cinematic masterpiece, it was just meant to let people have fun as they watch it.

And that friends, is exactly what makes a movie ‘good’ not how perfect a plot is, not how serious it is, not whether it made you cry. What makes a good movie is if it did what it intended, and found the audience it meant to find.

Movies that lose sight of this, that try hard to be a cash grab ultimately makes itself soulless, they take themselves too seriously in their attempt to make their art, these are the movies that are ‘bad’ they’ve lost sight of what film is supposed to do, and that is where they fail.

“Well, what is film supposed to do Rev?” You might be asking. Well it’s simple, film is supposed to make you feel something. “But Rev, you just said a good movie isn’t defined by whether it made you cry!” And you’re right, it isn’t. But emotion doesn’t have to be just tears or laughter. Movies like Bill and Ted aren’t successful for being incredibly emotional or compelling. No, they’re popular for being entertaining. By making the audience laugh, feel at ease. By making them connect to these two silly yet endearing characters. You want to see them succeed.

That, right there. Is the secret to film making. Create a story with characters that are endearing in some way, even if its in a way of endearing you to hate them, and then add enough plot to make someone care about what happens to those characters. The audience will laugh with them, cry with them, and rage with them.

Movie franchises like the marvel cinematic universe are not compelling because of its ridiculous plot twists, or it’s extreme secrecy over spoilers. And those movies lost something when they lost sight of that fact. Those movies had two things that connected everyone to them. And that was compelling characters, people you WANTED to see develop and become better, or sometimes even worse people. They were people you could laugh with, and cry with. THAT was what made them truly good. THAT was what people connected with. The second thing being, they had fun! Each movie was an adventure, and people watched them because they had a wonderful balance of fun, heart, and sometimes even heartbreak. These movies created a connection.

Because ultimately that’s what film actually is. A way for us to feel connected. Sometimes that means an inspirational film, sometimes that means something dark and gritty that just let’s you know you’re not alone in the darkness. And sometimes, it’s just getting to watch a hero, who could easily be just like you, save the day. Everyone needs a different story, so everyone connects to stories differently. What matters is that film continues to tell these stories with heart, and not with dollar signs in their eyes. Because something told with heart, will always connect better, than something made just for pure profit.

Now normally I’d end it here, but I have something I’d like to say to anyone reading this. Please, please, for the love of God support small creators and studios. Film today is facing an issue. Big companies are crushing all competition, and only give rise to ideas they KNOW will turn a profit. Hence the thousands of remakes being created.

Anyone reading this, I’m not saying to stop watching your favourite Disney movie, but maybe consider watching a smaller studios animated films, try finding shorts on YouTube. Support creativity over output. Or soon enough I fear creativity will stop being rewarded entirely. Remakes aren’t being made because no one has ideas. They’re being made because no ones new ideas are given a chance. I ask you to please give those ideas a chance.

Thank you, and this is Rev the analyzer, signing off.

7 comments

  1. I like your analysis of movies. I watch very few but the ones I do see are because I like the characters enough to overlook any plot holes. And because they intrigue me enough to keep watching them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that is completely valid and frankly how most people enjoy movies! I don’t know why it suddenly became uncool to like movies even if it isn’t the best written thing ever. Movies are for everyone to connect with and enjoy for whatever reason. Not just cause they have a perfectly written plot! Anyways thanks for reading im glad you enjoyed!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m from the Southern region of India – I don’t know whether you are aware that India has more than one vibrant movie industries. Well anyway, I come from a state that is cinema crazed and our stars are larger than life and our worship of them is over the top. Ours is the biggest industry in India after the main “Bollywood”. Anyway, our industry clearly delineated the “mass” and “class” movies. “Mass” movies are complete entertainers which include drama, action, emotion, song and dance and sometimes ridiculous flights of fancy into one major value-for-money entertainer. These movies, as the name indicates, are made for the masses. The “class” movies are those which attempt cinematic excellence and indie fare. The “mass” stars keep the box office ringing. As movie aficionados, we have no problem having two different sensibilities and standards for these movies. In fact, there are times only a mass entertainer would do and we would be disappointed if the movie had anything less than 6 songs. 😀 That’s a long way to say that I agree with your point – movies work if they connect.

    Like

    1. I am aware actually! All of my friends are Indian or part Indian. I’ve unfortunately not gotten to watch many Indian movies however, though hopefully that changes in the future. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your comment. Mass films can absolutely connect with people. The problem lies when those industries stop caring about connection and only money. Which becomes incredibly and increasingly evident in most Hollywood hits. It’s disheartening to see as a film student and hopefully soon a film maker like I am. I’m glad you agree! I think its undeniable, film remains so prominent because everyone connects to it so strongly. I personally think it is a beautiful thing. But alas that’s another rant for another day. Thanks again for taking the time to read my post!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s