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Bad Films vs. Films You Don't Like


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#1 Izo

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:52 PM

Can you make the distinction? Is there a distinction?

My brief conversation with Togo about Shohei Imamura's Vengeance is Mine inspired this topic. As I said in that thread, I do not like that film despite it's critical reputation and two very grueling viewing experiences. I found it mind-numbingly dull, even though I could fully see the appeal for others and would never in a million years call it a "bad film". The problem is mine, not Imamura's. He made the film he set out to make, it simply doesn't meet my tastes.

Similarly, I feel the same about Orson Welles' Citizen Kane which, by default, is the most overrated film of all time. I find The Greatest Movie Ever Made to be beautifully shot in gorgeous black and white deep-focus photography - though hardly as much as many other Gregg Toland-shot films, one need only look at John Ford's The Long Voyage Home, made one year prior, to see it's equal - and emotionally shallow. Sure, the performances are all great, especially by Welles himself, and whether by Toland or Welles the film is visually inventive, but it does absolutely nothing for me. I can't bring myself, again, to call the film bad.

I could go on and on and mention The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, along with Welles, being among the most fetishized directors by auteurists), The Exorcist, 8 1/2...I'm sure everyone has their fair share of sacred cows that just don't attract them. I have my own reasons for being ambivalent about each one, just as you will have yours.

Alternatively, I quite like many a bad movie, even while I wouldn't call them great or even good. Prime example that most here will recognize is Equinox. The film literally has next to nothing going for it, except it's insistence on using grandiose special effects on a budget that appears to be in the negative numbers. And yet, despite it all, I love the film for it's goofy ambition and quite impressive stop-motion and forced perspective effects. To each their own, right?

Do you agree with me that you don't have to like every great (or even good) film you see and you don't have to dislike every bad one? If you like a film, does that mean that it is a "good" movie to you? Obviously, all this is subjective so please don't bog down the conversation with semantics. My question is twofold: what are your unloved sacred cows and can you differentiate between something that is "good" and something you enjoy?

#2 Casey

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 07:43 PM

I really like "Escape from the Planet of the Apes." I don't know if it's considered a bad movie, but it's certainly not on any critics 'best of" lists. I don't like any of the other Apes movies but I saw this one a while back and thought it really captured the "doomsday paranoia" very well, (in a light hearted and humorous way too.) I should probably elaborate for the sake of the conversation, but I may have to revisit the film first.

#3 sexy rancheros

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 08:58 PM

I don't think there's a distinction because you can't assess a film's quality based on some objective criteria. I understand what you're saying in regards to something like Kane since there's elements in the film that impress you on a technical level, but why would you care about how "great" Welles's performance is if it makes you feel nothing? If a film works, it works. It doesn't matter if any of the elements don't work by themselves, what matters is that it works as a whole. Lately, I've actually been enjoying "flawed" films probably more than more "refined" and "perfect" ones. The problematic elements of a film can actually be their best asset because the film will nag at you and keep rolling in your mind afterward.

For a sacred cow I've seen recently, The Godfather is pretty great, but I couldn't care less about "Michael's decline." I think filmmakers have a tendency to depend too much on the fact that a group of characters are a family for dramatic mileage and not do enough to establish the bonds for the audience. I think The Godfather has that problem and a majority of the drama comes from the blood bond between the characters. The "family" never come across as anything other than a construct of the filmmakers for me so the drama did not work in some spots. The Silence(another sacred cow I guess) is probably a better example of this problem just because their sisters doesn't make their incessant nastiness towards each other automatically compelling.
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#4 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:45 AM

I do think we can look at aspects of film in an objective quality. Quality in itself is a difficult concept (it made the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence go mad), but we can always assign attributes to elements of film and consider them sagacious or dross. Whether we are right or not is another question. But after thousands of films watched, hundreds of books read on film, classes taken, discussion with everyone from film students to your grocers, you get a feel for performance, cinematography, mise-en-scene and "quality" dealing with cinema. Of course you may be warped as a human being, but I digress.

Citizen Kane by default has no possibility of being underrated since it is always in the top spot. It is in my top 100 films (Izo you should do a top 100 for our 100 Blows thread and, of course, look at mine :)), but not in my top 10. I don't really feel like it is that overrated though since I think it is an excellent movie, beautfully shot, great dialogue and has always kept me interested even after several watches. I have gone over the film in a few classes though, scene-by-scene discussion so like Hamlet it is ingrained in me. I also love both The Wild Bunch and 8˝.

Sexy: "The problematic elements of a film can actually be their best asset because the film will nag at you and keep rolling in your mind afterward. "

I remember an Ebert quote where he stated that quirks of a film we love can become endearing (or else we just ignore them). Or else they can hurt an otherwise good film or made a mediocre film feel worse. Unnecessary animal deaths always bug me, especially if they are real like in Forbidden Games. But even fake ones like in Boondock Saints bugged me for the rest of the movie.

Film does not have to work as a whole for it to work. Many cult films are forged around this and especially martial art movies. I love Flash Point, but it is the last half of the film that is excellent and makes you forgive the languid and typical first half. The bizarre change in tone in From Beijing With Love is annoying, doesn't work, but is forgiven. I saw Blood Sport many, many times for the fights, but after awhile forwarded the superfluous scenes (everything else except for OK USA). How many times have you like a performance, found the film lackluster, but you could easily watch that performance again?

Now there are films like The Pink Panther Strikes Again which has a cult following but not a critic one, that I absolutely adore and reference it and lend it to as many people as I can. I think it is one of the funniest films I have seen and I have viewed it easily over 30 times.

I, like everyone else, dislike some "sacred" films. Izo, your statement reminded me of Ebert in a recent blog (I could find this quote) "There's no doubt in my mind Kiarostami is a serious artist with a fierce dedication, and whether he connects with me is not his problem, it's mine." I tend to take this attitude as well. Especially with Godard. Other unloved sacred cows would include Faces, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Brief Encounter and The Silence ;).
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#5 Izo

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:58 PM

I, like everyone else, dislike some "sacred" films. Izo, your statement reminded me of Ebert in a recent blog


That line is what inspired this thread, I fully cop to stealing it.

I've been thinking about doing a 100 films...but it seems so daunting.

#6 littlefuzzy

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 03:52 PM

Firstly, I'm not necessarily a fan of a lot of dramatic or artsy films (which seem to be the vast majority that get tagged with the "Great" label.)

I am a bigger fan of films that would usually be called "genre" films, and many of those often get dismissed by critics and the general audience. Cult films are often pulled from these genres, and I really like a lot of cult movies and "B" movies even if they have less than stellar acting, directing, and special effects.

Maybe there is an element of "having fun" present in these lesser films that is missing from the bigger films. Those bigger films may be striving for perfection in every moment that they overlook the unplannable "fun" moments.

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Of course, I may not be the best person to talk about stuff like this, I even enjoy Leonard Part 6! B)

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#7 Godard Fan 39

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:21 PM

Of course, I may not be the best person to talk about stuff like this, I even enjoy Leonard Part 6! B)


Any movie where the villains are vegetarians and can be attacked by sparkling meat products is okay in my book.
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#8 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 10:10 PM

Firstly, I'm not necessarily a fan of a lot of dramatic or artsy films (which seem to be the vast majority that get tagged with the "Great" label.)

I am a bigger fan of films that would usually be called "genre" films, and many of those often get dismissed by critics and the general audience. Cult films are often pulled from these genres, and I really like a lot of cult movies and "B" movies even if they have less than stellar acting, directing, and special effects.

Maybe there is an element of "having fun" present in these lesser films that is missing from the bigger films. Those bigger films may be striving for perfection in every moment that they overlook the unplannable "fun" moments.

EDIT:

Of course, I may not be the best person to talk about stuff like this, I even enjoy Leonard Part 6! B)



Any movie where the villains are vegetarians and can be attacked by sparkling meat products is okay in my book.


I get the feeling I should watch that film.

Is it bad if I like art, drama, cult, "B", martial arts and pretty much most genres (with some exceptions like softcore, pinku, bomba).
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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
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Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

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#9 redbill

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:54 AM

Leonard part 6 does not belong in this thread. It is neither a bad film, nor a film people should not like. Can a mod move those posts to "Great films everyone loves" thread. thx

#10 littlefuzzy

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:00 PM

Wow, never before have I seen others who like Leonard Part 6...

Masterofoneinchpunch, it has such oddities as:
Bill Cosby in a tutu
a Porsche with a frikkin' tank turret on it
The aforementioned militant vegetarians who are defeated by meat products.

Bill Cosby hates it now.

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Criterions: (Red = 1st printing/OOP - blue = new remastered version/Special Edition)
2 (1st), 3 (1st), 4 (SE), 13, 14, 17 (SE), 20, 21, 23, 30 (1st), 37, 40, 41, 55, 56, 57 (1st), 75, 78, 79, 98, 100, 108, 112 (SE), 120, 135, 136, 137, 149, 157, 163, 164, 173, 175, 179, 180, 181, 182, 184, 196, 216, 234, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 260, 266, 271, 300 (2-disc), 309, 316, 389

#11 redbill

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:39 PM

ostrich riding.

'nuf sed

#12 Godard Fan 39

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:16 PM

ostrich riding.

'nuf sed


I was about to mention that.
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