How I pick ‘um
I love movies… Hollywood movies, New York movies, international movies, big-budget movies, independents, comedies, dramas, suspense-thrillers, documentaries and more. Actually, it might be easier to name the kinds of movies I don’t generally seek out. Those would include sci-fi, horror, kids movies, special-effects extravaganzas and teen movies. But that said… I don’t rule out any genre.
I look for a good story and good script, above all. While a great movie is a collaborative effort, all the best cinematography, acting and special effects can never make up for a story that doesn’t work. I want to be consumed by the story. I want to be transported to a place inside the story. I don’t want to keep telling myself, “stick with it… it’ll probably go somewhere.” I don’t want to be repeatedly jolted by story details that don’t work right. When the story works, I’ll be on board.
I like to mix it up. If I see a movie with social importance one week, I’ll probably be up for a fluffy comedy the next. I have a special passion for good thrillers. Sadly, most don’t work as well as they should. But hope springs eternal! And here are some more thoughts...
Movies based on true stories have the added benefit of introducing us to an historical event. But I never assume the movie version can be taken for fact. In fact, if I find the information in the movie to be interesting, I may look for a book on the topic. More often than not, the movie isn’t an accurate representation of facts. Facts are messy. If a movie is to be effective, it needs to hang together… with a beginning, middle and end… act I, act II, act III.
I could say the same thing about movies based on novels. I don’t care if the movie accurately depicts the novel. I only care if it’s a good movie. I don’t watch a movie expecting it to substitute for reading the book. Books and movies are different animals. They have different capabilities and different limitations.
In choosing movies, I may read/skim reviews and I check out the trailers… misleading as they may be. I pay attention to word of mouth. I can’t see everything, so I need to make choices. But once I’m watching a movie, I’m there to enjoy it. I’m not looking to pick it apart or to find fault. (Obviously some faults are hard to overlook.) When I write up a movie, I try to write it up from the point of view of someone who enjoys that genre of movie. Finding the right genre is half the battle.