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January 17, 2005

Ways to tell a movie is bad

So I saw Elektra this weekend. I wasn't expecting much, and I got what I expected. I won't bore you with a review of the movie, but I will use it as a jumping off point for very easy ways you can tell that a movie is bad.

1) Characters say stuff early in the movie and then say the same thing later in the movie.

Example: Elektra and some stupid guy kiss. "Sorry," he says. "Oh yeah," she banters back. "I hated that." At the end of the movie they kiss again and they say the same stupid lines with the roles reversed.

The point of this is to make us think that these characters have come full circle in some way. Nine times out of ten though, the characters haven't come full circle so they're just recycling bad dialogue to make us think of other movies where repeating lines of dialogue actually makes sense.

2) Good vs Evil

Now, I know, there are a lot of good movies that have been made about the never ending battle between good and evil. But let's be honest. Evil people need motivations just as much as good people do. If you're evil and you don't really have a reason for being evil, you're basically Cobra Commander. And listen, I like Cobra Commander. He's enough of a nut to pull it off. But if you're just some boring dude with a sword and a bunch lame no-name henchman, your desire to "be evil" just doesn't cut it.

3) Lame music

I know they have to sell a soundtrack and everything, because the millions of dollars they make at the box office aren't enough, but bad rap-rock/techno/whatever sucky genre is popular now is really starting to make it impossible for me to enjoy movies.

I am positive that the people making these movies don't get home after a hard day and put on Linkin Park. They just don't. No one over say, twenty-five, listens to the terrible music they put into movies. They do this, like I said before, to sell a soundtrack, but also because they think that kids will like the movie more if they put in contemporary music.

But you know what kids like? They like Star Wars. You know, the movie that has the orchestral score that doesn't seem to bother kids and is palatable to adults as well? My solution, make one of those albums of music "inspired by" the movie (i.e., an expensive mix tape) and put in a score that doesn't make me feel like a grandparent.

The rest of these don't pertain to Elektra, but I wouldn't be surprised if they slipped them into the director's cut.

4) I see dead people

In real life, when you miss a dead person, you don't see them and talk to them and resolve your issues with them. Yet this happens in pretty much every movie where someone dies. It's become movie shorthand for "This person misses this person." From now on, if someone sees a dead person, the character should either commit themselves to a mental hospital, or the movie should be Ghostbusters 3.

5) Blind people are blind.

This is a minor qualm, and it's only happened in two movies that I can think of, Elektra's predecessor Daredevil, and the comically overrated House of Flying Daggers.

Blind people are very capable. They can get around and are very independent. But if you have a kung fu fight with a blind person and they do all right for themselves, you can assume one of two things: Either they got superpowers from the radioactive stuff that made them blind and they fight crime at night, or THEY ARE NOT BLIND.

There's plenty of bad things in Elektra to talk about, but I think my mind has put a defense mechanism in place so that I won't have to think about all of them. So that's all for now. More as it comes.

Posted by Will at January 17, 2005 8:00 PM


So when does the next AMS come out?

Posted by: misuba at January 17, 2005 10:34 PM

The only comment I have would be to denounce the idea that blind people are incapable of all the things that those of vision are capable of.
To say that a blind person doing "okay for themselves" in an area of martial arts is grounds for the assumption that they aren't blind is not only ignorant and biased, it's stupid.
The two best martial artists I know personally happen to be blind. They were friends in a class together for the visually impared and joined one of the local classes to prove to others that they were capable of more than just getting around and reading these neat little pages with bumps all over them.
And they were not only able to perform while blind, they did outstandingly well. They are the top two in the class and because of them the instructor is encouraging the teaching of martial arts while blindfolded to enhance the ability to sense surroundings and perform in any circumstance. Something, I might add, that most martial arts disciplines teach on a regular basis, so that the students know that sight isn't the only sense that is important in a fight..or, in fact, in life.

The only other comment I might add has to deal with your gripe against contemporary music in contemporary films. I don't legitimize this comment though, because I know that taste in music is singular and that someone might enjoy Star Wars (to take your example) with contemporary music more than with the symphonic arrangements that were scored in the film. I also know that the opposite holds true for say, Elektra..why not put classical pieces in there?
I am a fan of all music and all genres, so I base my decisions on good music for a film on whether the music enhances the feel of the film, doesn't take anything away, and appeals to the target audience. Star Wars was meant to appeal to the masses and did a good job at that, while Elektra was meant to appeal more towards 20 somethings and younger. Plus, the direction the comic book and the movie go in make the rock and contemporary style of the music fit very well.

But as I said, that is subjective and totally dependant on the individual. Feel free to email me with any comments to anything I've said.

Posted by: Brian at November 1, 2005 10:55 AM

ei please do make the part 3 of started with a kiss..please..from philippines..pleasee

Posted by: glenda at November 15, 2008 1:21 AM