What makes a movie great?

in #movies3 years ago (edited)
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Yesterday, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed (yeah, Facebook still exists) while watching The Oscars and one of my friends posted the following:

I don't doubt the movie about the gays is good, in fact I want to watch it. The thing is that if it wins Best Picture it's going to be because it's a gay movie, and not because is good. 

Now of course, although people who refer to gay people as 'the gays' instantly make their argument lose a lot of weight, once I got over the condescendance of the comment, the whole thing made me ruminate for a while about what makes a movie great, worthy of being called The Best Picture of the year.

First of all, an Oscar does not guarantee that a movie is great, it just means that among the members of The Academy picked as voters that year it was the most popular one, and we all know how 'objective' popularity is...I mean after all we are on Steemit, right?

A great example of this is how classics like Citizen Kane (1941), Taxi Driver (1976), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), 12 Angry Man (1957), among others did not win Best Picture, Breathless (1960) for example, was not even nominated!

Of course, I did not pick my examples lightly. Those 5 movies I just mentioned are not just good movies, they all have what's called: Cinematic Influence, this is the capacity to have an effect on the industry itself. On how movies are made.

And now don't get me wrong, cinematic influence is VERY important and can even be considered as criteria to define if a movie is great or not...a technical criteria. Common people who call a movie 'great' do not know the technicallities that make it have this kind of influence. People don't normally know about the worth of depth, blocking, visual power dynamics or camera movements...they just say its great because they liked it.

Another aspect worth considering is the social psyche: how much controversy it brings, what does the popularity (or lack thereof) of certain film says about us as a society. A movie can be called great just because of how much change it caused. With that in mind, then Call me by your name indeed would have won Best Picture because it was a movies about "the gays".

Get Out would have won because is a movie about black people.

Lady Bird would have won because it was directed by a woman.

The Phantom Thread because it was Daniel Day Lewis last movie.

Dunkirk because americans love movies about war.

And so on so forth until the list ends. Movies that win or that become popular do say a lot about our concerns and needs as a society. I mean it was about freaking time a movie where two guys fall in love wasn't about aids or how they're banned from their social circles and scorned forever because they want to be together. But just a movie that was just about their love.

Social psyche is not enough to make us say we love a movie though. What's needed -in my opinion- is empathy. At the end of the day movies are just stories, so their success depends on how seamlessly it made you fall into their world, and put you in their shoes. Did the story made YOU learn something about YOUR life or reminded you of something? That's it for me. That's why I feel that the more we love a movie, the harder is to explain why or what it is that makes it so amazing to us.

Funnily enough, The Shape of Water won Best Picture. No idea how my Facebook friend would have justified that, probably a communist interracial conspiracy, honestly WTFK, but I loved that movie...that's probably because I'm a latina, right?


-Bárbara.

 


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Great post! My favorite point of yours is:

"Social psyche is not enough to make us say we love a movie though. What's needed -in my opinion- is empathy. At the end of the day movies are just stories, so their success depends on how seamlessly it made you fall into their world, and put you in their shoes."

The disconnect from the ACADEMY+critics and general audiences continues to grow every year and lately it's seemingly more obvious than ever imo.

As much as I've enjoyed Guillermo's films in the past, I'm split on whether I want to watch The Shape of Water. But that's probably because I'm only half Mexican right? Lol.

hahahaha exactly! You should still hear the half of you that wants to watch though, I know I said I loved it...but I must admit I exaggerated a bit. Still is worth watching! Not often you get such beautifuly crafted whimsical tales.
And about the disconnect from the critics...I think that is slowly changing. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that most of the business is controlled by people who has been part of it for a very, very long time, leaving no room for fresh new perspectives more in line with today's world.

First of all, an Oscar does not guarantee that a movie is great, it just means that among the members of The Academy picked as voters that year it was the most popular one, and we all know how 'objective' popularity is...I mean after all we are on Steemit, right?

The Academy is a lot better than Steemit. Imagine the Academy selling their awards to the highest bidder. Or, imagine if on Steemit only those skilled and knowledgeable about the topic at hand were allowed to curate; rather than how much stake they owned. It is clear one leads to a superior, though elitist, selection than the other. Of course, the other leads to a very flawed but more inclusive selection.

This is true, seems like some 'wars' on Steemit is still ongoing... hence the current trending tag 'abuse.' But i see you have a point there. Truthfully, it's kinda tough to 'win' a war on Steemit. We can keep fighting but the plot will never end- very much like the Avengers series. There has to be someone for us to keep fighting LOL @liberosist

@liberosist I agree with you, I was just trying to um...make a joke. You know, just throwing some good ol' dicto simpliciter up in here. No worries :)

Sorry if I interrupt your convenience,

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@purplevision, I like how you organized your thoughts well. And this statement got me thinking...

Common people who call a movie 'great' do not know the technicallities that make it have this kind of influence.

It's true though. Which make some people hate psychological thriller, while others would probably nominate a chick flick if they could. But for me, a great movie would be one where got me thinking deep about morality, humanity and life issues (not 'cause I can't understand but rather the movie hits a nerve so well, it's something I can resonate with) Then again, like you said, what one would agree 'good' might not be good to others. Well written post again. I'd like to read more of your deep analysis of movies- near future.

This amazing post was nominated to, and upvoted by @curie. Support what we do by voting Curie as a witness

Exactly, resonance! It's a very personal thing. Sometimes one can even admit that the film is lacking in many aspects, but because it made us remember something or just think deeply about a concept, we like it!
Thank you so much for the upvote♥♥ You have no idea how much it means to me.

The Shawshank Redemption is an almost perfect movie. The only criticisms I hear about it are 1) about some rough/terrifying scenes, and 2) the length. I've tried to see if there is a minute here or there I would cut from the film, but I can't do it. Every bit of it contributes to the story.

All of this year's nominees were worthy of a nomination, I think. There were a few I was pulling for and a few I was hoping would not win, but they were all good movies - some great.

Shawshank is great, composed of little amazing moments rightly scattered throughout the film. However to realise this -I feel- there has to be this certain awareness when watching it.