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 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 6:55 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I'm talking about my dismay that good silly entertainment is doing less well than bad silly entertainment!

Although we would always prefer things to be as good as possible, I think there's a definite need for "bad" blockbuster fodder too. Even if it's idiotic, it provides a certain form of entertainment, whether through visuals, individual setpieces or whatever. It's a release valve in many ways.

Why in the world would we have a need for bad escapism when we have good escapism? The good summer spectacle offers visuals and setpieces and release and escape too. There's no reason a transformers movie couldn't also be a good movie. There's no reason this latest X-Men had to be a bad movie instead of a good one. It's no more expensive to film a comprehensible script than an incomprehensible script.

 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 7:22 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

There's no reason a transformers movie couldn't also be a good movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 7:22 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

July 25 is the US premiere. Then probably an early August nationwide release. Here's the trailer at a site you may find useful:

http://www.woodyallenpages.com/2014/05/magic-in-the-moonlight-trailer-the-new-woody-allen-film/



Thanks for this info. Honestly, I did not even know the name of Allen's next film, much less what it was about. This trailer was the first I'd seen or heard of the film. I am probably the ONLY person on this board who is looking forward to a film with...Eileen Atkins in it!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I'm talking about my dismay that good silly entertainment is doing less well than bad silly entertainment!

Although we would always prefer things to be as good as possible, I think there's a definite need for "bad" blockbuster fodder too. Even if it's idiotic, it provides a certain form of entertainment, whether through visuals, individual setpieces or whatever. It's a release valve in many ways.

Why in the world would we have a need for bad escapism when we have good escapism? The good summer spectacle offers visuals and setpieces and release and escape too. There's no reason a transformers movie couldn't also be a good movie. There's no reason this latest X-Men had to be a bad movie instead of a good one. It's no more expensive to film a comprehensible script than an incomprehensible script.


Well, 'good' and 'bad' is always in the eye of the beholder. No one sets out to make a bad movie. Quite often, I see movies that get badmouthed for certain reasons, yet other redeeming factors are totally overlooked. We all see different values in different things.

Pauline Kael once said it wonderfully:

"...perhaps the single most intense pleasure of movie-going is [the] non-aesthetic one of escaping from the responsibilities of having the proper responses required of us in our official (school) culture” /.../ The pleasures of this kind of trash are not intellectually defensible. But why should pleasure need justification?” (Kael 1970: 126).

 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 9:16 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Well, 'good' and 'bad' is always in the eye of the beholder. No one sets out to make a bad movie. Quite often, I see movies that get badmouthed for certain reasons, yet other redeeming factors are totally overlooked. We all see different values in different things.

Pauline Kael once said it wonderfully:

"...perhaps the single most intense pleasure of movie-going is [the] non-aesthetic one of escaping from the responsibilities of having the proper responses required of us in our official (school) culture” /.../ The pleasures of this kind of trash are not intellectually defensible. But why should pleasure need justification?” (Kael 1970: 126).


Whether you like something or not is of course pretty subjective, but quality is, if not objective, at least intersubjective. Obviously Michael Bay films have certain qualities: they are deliberately brash and loud and huge and full of pretty explosions and intricate effects. But a poor, senseless script can be objectively bad, even if it's part of a movie you enjoy. The blocking of an action sequence can be poorly handled, regardless of whether some people enjoy that particular assault on the senses and sensibilities. And of course different people will have different lines when it comes to the particular infelicities they're willing to endure.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 9:53 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I agree with that, but it always depends on what the project of the filmmaker is and/or what you as the viewer decide to focus on. A film can have lousy or indifferent plot, but instead channel all its energy on ways to combine audio and visuals to make symbols, tableaux, you name it. So if a person goes into that kind of film with most or all of his criteria centering around plot, he'll be disappointed and call it "bad". For someone who sees beyond that, though -- whether it's the director's intentions or not -- may find other things that are just as valuable. PROMETHEUS and AVATAR are two such examples.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 1:01 PM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

. double post

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 30, 2014 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)


I was inculcated at university in the genre/structural/semiotic schools of film criticism -- where subjective concepts of good or bad are put aside. By and large, I agree with this approach -- that examination comes first -- with value judgements arrived at as a potential target way down the line.

This approach, of course, does have a whole set of "values" as underlying principles. And it may be that the human brain cannot really examine topics without making value judgements -- we're sort of wired that way.

Many of these films do connect with me on an emotional level (I blathered on about "Pacific Rim" in another thread) -- but what I find fascinating are the dozens and dozens of both thunderously huge -- and indie-small -- apocalyptic films. Not that I know what to make of this phenomenon -- but it is really striking how many films there are about "the end of days."

Susan Sontag wrote a terrific essay many years ago called, "The Imagination of Disaster" which still seems very pertinent. This is a link to the complete essay:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-imagination-of-disaster/

This is her conclusion to the essay: "What I am suggesting is that the imagery of disaster in science fiction films is above all the emblem of an inadequate response. I do not mean to bear down on the films for this. They themselves are only a sampling, stripped of sophistication, of the inadequacy of most people's response to the unassimilable terrors that infect their consciousness. The interest of the films, aside from their considerable amount of cinematic charm, consists in this intersection between a naively and largely debased commercial art product and the most profound dilemmas of the contemporary situation."

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2014 - 6:28 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Too bad fisch doesn't report the upcoming films in international, non-Hollywood cinema.

There's just waaaaay too many sequels, prequels, robots, and super-hero garbage out there, but since 98% of this board--and moviegoers in general--absorb the stuff like they would life-giving nutrients, I don't see it changing anytime soon.


Do they really? I was under the impression the greater part of this forum's readership would much rather take great pains to make sure everyone else here knows how much they don't care for such stuff...

 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2014 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Glad you found time to reply to my post, Joe. I know how busy we both are: you with defending stuff like the Star Wars prequels and me with pointing out the garbage they are.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2014 - 11:00 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Glad you found time to reply to my post, Joe. I know how busy we both are: you with defending stuff like the Star Wars prequels and me with pointing out the garbage they are.

Wait, what? I'm defending the Star Wars prequels? When did this happen?

I've defended George Lucas himself in our exchanges, true, but that's not quite the same thing as defending the actual prequel movies. As much as it truly pains me to say, I have issues with those movies like everyone else.

(I also have seen only the first of the contemporary Transformers movies, and that just once, which was more than enough. And the last movie I saw in a theater was Chef.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2014 - 12:46 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

And the last movie I saw in a theater was Chef.)

Just caught that with my wife and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2014 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

My fiancée, her mom and I very much enjoyed it as well.

The thing is, we do also enjoy lots of comics-based escapist fare full of action and effects. Such movies aren't necessarily inherently bad just because they are what they are. There are good, clever popcorn blockbusters just as there are good, clever art-house films, and there are also poorer examples of both.

I will say I find the immense success of Michael Bay's Transformers movies (despite their apparent lack of quality) bothersome, but since I haven't actually seen any of them except the first, I can't actually talk about how terrible they are, though they certainly appear to be, to me.

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 3:56 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

"The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained."

~Roger Ebert on "Armageddon" (1998)

Yeah, but kids of the 1990s friggin' LOVED it. roll eyes

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 4:30 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Yeah, but kids of the 1990s friggin' LOVED it. roll eyes

You can't just blame the kids. Grown-ups like Michael Bay too. Maybe not so much Transformers, but Armageddon and Pearl Harbor for sure. American heartlanders, blue collar folk, service people and veterans -- those movies had a very broad target demographic and were not just aimed at kids.

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 4:37 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Sure, the kids badger the parents and suddenly the whole family is there watching those heroic astronauts train, right there along with Liv Tyler (I almost wrote 'Ullmann"!).

BTW, Armageddon mirrors almost exactly a 1993-94 G.I. Joe comic (note then-trendy putrid 1990s artwork) :

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/05/24/comic-book-legends-revealed-420/

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 4:49 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I think you're giving grown-ups way too much credit! You know how every few weeks you get one of those annoying decline-of-culture pieces in one of the rags because too many adults are reading YA fiction instead of "real literature" or whatnot? Same thing. The main market for these things was vast sectors of adulthood, not kids dragging the parents along.

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 4:53 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I think you're giving grown-ups way too much credit! You know how every few weeks you get one of those annoying decline-of-culture pieces in one of the rags because too many adults are reading YA fiction instead of "real literature" or whatnot? Same thing. The main market for these things was vast sectors of adulthood, not kids dragging the parents along.

You must be "in the biz", so I'll take your word for it.

However, I thought the hallowed teen-to-thirty-five demographic was who was targeted for the latest manufactured movie craze which is, I suppose, many on this board, too.

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 5:51 AM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

I'm talking about my dismay that good silly entertainment is doing less well than bad silly entertainment!

Who was it that said a long time ago that "You'll never go broke underestimating the taste of the American people." or something to that affect?

I'm less bothered by the dumb fantasy entertainment than by the industry's continued, incessant, moronic endorsement, despite the label of "being controlled by liberals," of over-the-top gun violence and the gleeful embrace of war and human slaughter as "fun, family entertainment."

Hell, we might as well just bring back the Colosseum and the circuses already and end this modern hypocrisy.

 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2014 - 7:08 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I agree with that, but it always depends on what the project of the filmmaker is and/or what you as the viewer decide to focus on. A film can have lousy or indifferent plot, but instead channel all its energy on ways to combine audio and visuals to make symbols, tableaux, you name it. So if a person goes into that kind of film with most or all of his criteria centering around plot, he'll be disappointed and call it "bad". For someone who sees beyond that, though -- whether it's the director's intentions or not -- may find other things that are just as valuable. PROMETHEUS and AVATAR are two such examples.

A movie without a good plot, or character development is kinda like a gynecological exam. You can admire all the parts, but can you really get into it?

 
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