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Since when does quality filmmaking not include popcorn movies?


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#1 of 117 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted July 24 2003 - 02:16 AM

Okay, after reading through various discussion threads (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Bad Boys II, etc.), I felt the need to chime in on something that's been bothering me of late. Frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of people making excuses for subpar films by dismissing them as "popcorn movies" or "rollercoaster rides." I'm sorry, but that's a line of reasoning I just don't understand. A film may be intended as an entertaining diversion, but that is NO reason for it to pander to its audience. Nor is it an excuse for shoddy and lazy filmmaking. There is absolutely NO reason that a film meant solely to entertain can't be well-executed. Now I don't expect every summer film to be as good as Robocop, Superman, The Matrix, or Raiders of the Lost Ark (to name a few), but is putting forth a modicum of effort that friggin' difficult?

Here's to the day when Michael Bay and others of his ilk hang it up for good. Stop crapping on us you hacks!

#2 of 117 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted July 24 2003 - 03:38 AM

Quote:
Here's to the day when Michael Bay and others of his ilk hang it up for good. Stop crapping on us you hacks!


Actually, Michael Bay has done one film that I thought was well executed: The Rock. Too bad he hasn't done anything nearly as good since.

I also think there is one summer film that has been well executed, and that's "Pirates Of The Carribean", probably one of the best summer films in years.

The thing is, the people who mostly spend their money on these films, kids, generally don't care. They want to see "sh1t blow up real good", and don't care so much about stuff like plot and acting. It is all just backround for hanging with their friends anyways. And the thing is: Hollywood knows this.

Jason

#3 of 117 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted July 24 2003 - 03:52 AM

Quote:
Actually, Michael Bay has done one film that I thought was well executed: The Rock.

I thought it was okay, nothing special. Posted Image

Quote:
It is all just backround for hanging with their friends anyways. And the thing is: Hollywood knows this.

That's probably true and I find that cynicism distressing. For one thing, there is a great deal of money being spent on these films and yet so many of them are terrible. Do the people making these films take no pride in their work? It's hard to watch a movie like Armageddon and believe that Michael Bay could actually think it's a good film let alone be proud of it. Now Bay may actually have talent, but as far as I can tell, he's completely subjugated it in favor of crass marketing tactics.

I know it seems like I'm singling out Michael Bay, but he is representative of this trend. I loathe Armageddon - a film I had to FORCE myself to sit through - with every fiber of my being.

#4 of 117 OFFLINE   Zen Butler

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Posted July 24 2003 - 03:55 AM

Steve, I am so with you. I dislike the term popcorn movie. As you can see on my worst list, I also despise this popcorn genre.

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#5 of 117 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted July 24 2003 - 04:03 AM

I don't care much for the term either. However, that doesn't mean I'm opposed to the idea of movies made solely as entertainment - not every film has to be a heady treatise on the meaning of life. Posted Image

#6 of 117 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted July 24 2003 - 04:08 AM

Quote:
"sh1t blow up real good", and don't care so much about stuff like plot and acting.

No see if that were true, Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn't be nearly as popular as it has been, and Hulk and T3 would be stomping all over it at the BO.

Despite the extreme hatred and classism on HTF towards the so-called joe-six-pack class, these people want and love a good movie as much as we do. However their definition of a good movie is a Pirates of the Caribbean or Sixth Sense type of movie, or like Lord of the Rings. Movies with smart scripts that have well developed characters that you can easily empathize with and root for. They also need to have a coherent plot that makes sense without becoming too convoluted. Lord of the Rings pushes this to the limit. This audience, however, DOES NOT think that movies like Shakespeare in Love, American Beauty, The English Patient are good movies. In fact most are offended by American Beauty, though many couldn't articulate how that movie makes them furious because it perpetuates the Hollywood lie that the average suburban community is just as depraved as the Hollywood lifestyle: everyone sleeps with whomever they like, everyone does drugs, no marraige is happy, people actively try to destroy their marraiges and lives (instead of trying their damndest to keep them together). On top of this the political correctness of that movie is astounding: only the homosexual couple is shown to be normal and stable (that's irony for you Posted Image). That's not the suburban world I live in, and practically everyone I know dislikes those three movies, they see them arty pretentious crap. Or just flat out boring beyond belief (only movie my brother has ever walked out of is Shakespeare in Love, and he likes Shakespeare).

Non-cineaste people desire good movies just as much as we do. And when a Spider-man, Shrek, or Pixar movie comes out, they turn out in droves for them, and they keep returning in the following weeks and tell their friends to see them.

But when they get something like League or Bad Boys 2, they're just as annoyed as us, and the massive dropoffs of second weekends is not just theatre count saturation, but also audience fatigue of too many movies in which--instead of trying to respect and court them--Hollywood actively insults them, and their intelligence: Hollywood treats them the way they're spoken of at HTF, as unworthy of equal (or any) consideration.

Adam
 

#7 of 117 OFFLINE   Dennis Pagoulatos

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Posted July 24 2003 - 04:35 AM

Hulk is anything but a summer popcorn film. That's why it's not doing as well. POTC is more of a summer popcorn film, but it's very fun and that's what audiences want in a summer film. If Michael Bay had made Hulk in his "style" instead of Ang Lee's meditative take on the green guy, I guarantee it would be making ridiculous amounts of money this summer. HULK SMASH? No, they made "HULK ponder MEANING OF LIFE..." instead and that never sells tickets! Posted Image

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#8 of 117 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted July 24 2003 - 04:55 AM

I also hate the term popcorn movie. I, for one, eat popcorn while watching The Seventh Seal. Does that make it a popcorn movie?

If popcorn movie is code for summer blockbuster with lots of action, I'll just say that:

Both great and horrible movies come out in summer, winter, spring & fall

Both great and horrible movies have been blockbusters, theatrical flops, cost lots of money and cost very little to make

Both great and horrible movies have had lots of action and things blowing up, as well as little or no action.

If you want to bemoan specific bad films (like Armageddon) I'll agree. Then again, Cries & Whispers is hardly a popcorn movie, but it IMO (don't read this Brook)
sucks
even worse than Armageddon. Posted Image
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#9 of 117 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 24 2003 - 04:57 AM

While I don't think you should mark points off from a summer blockbuster for not having the dramatics of a Citizen Kane, I also don't think it should get a free ride from the critics and the audiences just because it aimed low and acheived it. No matter what level you judge LXG on, for instance, it's a piece of shit.

#10 of 117 OFFLINE   Stephen_L

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Posted July 24 2003 - 05:44 AM

I don't consider myself a film snob; I enjoy films in every genre from period pieces to foreign films to action adventure. However, whatever the genre I expect the film to be well made, to tell an interesting story with intriguing characters. There are many Hollywood blockbusters that fit that bill including Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Terminator films, Blade Runner, Alien, Aliens, and more recently The Sixth Sense and the Pixar films. There is never a good excuse for a film to be predictable, trite, or present wooden uninteresting characters.
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#11 of 117 OFFLINE   Mikel_Cooperman

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Posted July 24 2003 - 05:48 AM

I am sick of those excuses as well.

There are such things as Good Popcorn movies but they are few and far between. Most of them these days are high on Explosions at the expense of character development.

The only person I can think of at the moment is James Cameron who does Great Popcorn movies.


I too am tired of movies Bay and Brucheimer put out. The exception as mentioned by someone below is The Rock

#12 of 117 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted July 24 2003 - 06:29 AM

Quote:
...Hollywood actively insults them, and their intelligence: Hollywood treats them the way they're spoken of at HTF, as unworthy of equal (or any) consideration.

I'm sure there are a few film snobs here on the HTF, but I don't think there's a real bias against those that prefer lighter fare. Most of us enjoy all types of films (check out my DVDs for instance). No, it's those who make excuses for shameless and bloated Hollywood fodder like Bad Boys II that many find so irksome.


Quote:
Hulk is anything but a summer popcorn film. That's why it's not doing as well.

I don't think that's the problem with Hulk...

#13 of 117 OFFLINE   Matthew_Millheiser

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Posted July 24 2003 - 06:58 AM

I like Armageddon. I think it's a good movie. It ain't high art, but its enjoyable as hell. Don't believe me? I'll break you with my bare hands!!! Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image




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#14 of 117 OFFLINE   Aaron Reynolds

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Posted July 24 2003 - 07:12 AM

Quote:
I, for one, eat popcorn while watching The Seventh Seal.

I thought I was the only one. What's a movie without yummy snacks? Posted Image

Of course, I made sushi the other day and ate it at a baseball game, so maybe I'm just opposite man.

(By the way, I agree that there's such a thing as a good piece of popular entertainment and that the quality of blockbusters of the past summers continues to drop. I thought that Pirates of the Carribean was okay but not a knockout...but then again, I'm holding it up against the ultimate "popcorn" film: The Sea Hawk. That and Raiders of the Lost Ark are pretty hard to top.)

#15 of 117 ONLINE   Tino

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Posted July 24 2003 - 07:17 AM

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No matter what level you judge LXG on for instance, it's a piece of shit.

I disagree. I thought The League was very entertaining and IMO undeserving of the roasting it has received. I thought the level it reached was fine and dandy.Posted Image

I also don't like the term "popcorn movie" but it is an easy tag to assign to certain films.
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#16 of 117 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted July 24 2003 - 07:20 AM

Quote:
I don't think there's a real bias against those that prefer lighter fare.


You're right, most people here don't have a bias, but I happened to get set off by the impression Jason gave that Hollywood was merely supplying what people want. The derogatory way the term Joe-six-pack is often thrown around (mostly in the software forum) as the reason for all the terrible things in the world (of dvds) annoys me every time I see people unfairly being derided for having 'unacceptable' opinions about something like widescreen. This thread just happened to set me off on that unpleasant rant, apologies all around to anyone that may have been offended.

Armageddon may not be great cinema, but it's fun and lighthearted. It has its emotional moments but those are forced and manipulative. It's predictable and full of nonsense science. But then again, I'll always like lines like: "You ever heard of Evil Knieval?"
"No, I never saw Star Wars"

There's better stuff out there than the bay bruckheimer actioner. I've no desire to rewatch Armageddon, but I like watching the original Die Hard around Christmas/new Years time. Posted Image

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#17 of 117 OFFLINE   Stephen_Dar

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Posted July 24 2003 - 08:03 AM

Just want to agree, I'm disappointed at how frequently in this forum I see people giving movies a free-ride by saying something like "It had all kinds of problems, but as a popcorn movie it was pretty good."

Actually, I for one would vote for just lowering the level of political correctness on this forum. The problem seems to be that people don't feel free to express an opinion anymore. I can't count the times I've read on this forum (and in published reviews written by journalists) a review that goes something like: Well, the movie had problem X and Y, and then there was Z that really bugged me. I also thought A and B were disappointing based on what I expected from the previews. But, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie, I just didn't think it was all it could be," or some such blather. In the case of the professionals, I understand they may be forced to soft pedal their reviews to avoid offending sponsors (not that I like it), but in here I'm really disappointed by this trend. If ya didn't like a movie, just say so and leave it at that! Don't be afraid of hurting the feelings of those who toiled to make the movie, they didn't do it for charity! My 2 cents.

#18 of 117 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted July 24 2003 - 08:23 AM

Adam,

I'm sorry if you think my post made me come off as "Elitist Bastard" (which I am, in a way, but not always.), but from what I've seen at movie theaters in the summer, it seems to be the truth as far as teens go. They are there to see a "type" of movie, that they might have fun with, but they are doing with their friends. It may be good, it may be crap. They don't care.

Quote:
No see if that were true, Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn't be nearly as popular as it has been, and Hulk and T3 would be stomping all over it at the BO.


As mentioned above, Hulk isn't really summer fare, like AI wasn't before it. Anyways, it isn't any of those movies I'm railing against, more like Bad Boys II, which is what I described and was the number 1 movie last week.

Quote:
This audience, however, DOES NOT think that movies like Shakespeare in Love, American Beauty, The English Patient are good movies.


I don't think SiL should be in that group, since it would also be in the same crowd that would enjoy "4 Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill". It is just that it happens to be more litterate than that. Other than that, I agree with you. (And I don't think "The Engish Patient" is a good movie either...)

Quote:
But when they get something like League or Bad Boys 2, they're just as annoyed as us, and the massive dropoffs of second weekends is not just theatre count saturation, but also audience fatigue of too many movies in which--instead of trying to respect and court them--Hollywood actively insults them, and their intelligence: Hollywood treats them the way they're spoken of at HTF, as unworthy of equal (or any) consideration.


Unfortunatly, it isn't in the nature of the movie business to have ANY movie run for a length of time. It used to be big event films could run for a year, but now, they basically hope for a week or two and then move on to the next "event" film. Too many films and too much crap.

Jason

#19 of 117 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted July 24 2003 - 10:10 AM

i like jerry bruckheimer - so there, i said it. Posted Image

okay, well, i sorta like his popcorn flicks. i'm sure i don't need to go into his filmography, but it reads like a who's who of fun movies.

sometimes it's nice to just go into a theater and see stuff blow'd up real good. sometimes it's nice to just go into a theater and simply check out for a while.

also, don't forget this quite important fact. most of us here are not your *average* movie-goer. we take movies more seriously. we're more critical and demanding.
 

#20 of 117 OFFLINE   Joseph Young

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Posted July 24 2003 - 10:18 AM

I am also tired of the term 'popcorn flick' as a dig for praise for a filmmaking effort that clearly doesn't hit the mark. I would love it if filmmakers were could re-adopt a variation on the old Powell/Pressberger archery sequence at the beginning of their films.

Although I disliked Michael Bay efforts like Armageddon, Gone in 60 Seconds, Pearl Harbor, et al., I really enjoyed The Rock. It made fun of the 'swinging dick' genre by making the main protagonist an analytical nerd who completely deconstructed the cliches of action movies. 'The Rock' was both parody and an excellent, thrilling example of the genre. A lot of the other Michael Bay films, however, resemble those 'Like a Rock' truck commercials, all sweat, grime, cigarette-stained bleating and testosterone.

Popcorn flicks should be movies that are, above all else fun, but are fun because they appeal to all of our sensibilities in equally successful ways. Romance, action, thrills, wit, pacing... if these elements all succeed equally well, they make a good 'popcorn movie.' If a film stumbles consistantly but makes a few good attempts here and there, it's simply not enough to make it a good movie.

Pirates, although clearly spawned from the same idea factory, succeeds totally because every relevant aspect of the film is infused with enough care, detail, and intelligence that the plot/character motivation flaws can be overlooked. You leave the theater feeling that no one aspect of the film sags so much that it drags the rest of the film down with it. coughcoughravesequencecoughcough

~j


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