In search of a good movie

I am trying to unlearn the habit of complaining about things, but sometimes I cannot help it. Living in Canada, I usually watch movies and TV series on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or iTunes. And I want to complain about the small amount of really good, thought-provoking movies available on these platforms and being produced every year. I know that a concept “a good movie” is extremely subjective: everyone has their own movie preferences. However, we can probably agree that during a lifetime there is usually a dozen of movies that have affected us, changed our perception, and occupied a permanent place in our hearts and memories. I am talking about this kind of movies, and I feel we are not really exposed to them enough.

Nobody in Hollywood ever sets out to make a bad movie ever but about 99% of the time, that’s what happens.

Thomas Lennon

What is a bad movie for me? I have thought about it for a long time and come to single out a few common traits:

  • A bad movie (at least for me) is a movie the ending of which you can tell either from the very start (which is worse) or mid-way.
  • A bad movie is a movie with bad acting.
  • A bad movie is a movie with cliched, stereotypical, flat, uninteresting, conventional characters.
  • A bad movie is a movie that feels like a waste of time after 2 hours of watching it.
  • A bad movie is the one during which you start thinking about your errands, to-do lists, personal problems, emails, conversations you’ve had this day – pretty much anything unrelated to what’s happening on screen.
  • A bad movie is the one that does not evoke any complex emotion in you.
  • A bad movie is a movie seeing which you cannot relate to any single character, thought, idea, issue, situation.
  • A bad movie is the one that perpetuates problematic societal values or norms.
  • A bad movie is the one after which you have nothing to say, discuss, argue about, think about, recommend to a friend, make a post about on social media, dream about at night.
  • A bad movie is a movie that does not change even a tiny bit of you.
  • A bad movie is a movie that tastes like a chewing gum which you want to spit out 20 minutes later.

By definition, a good movie is a movie that embraces all the elements not mentioned above.

A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

Orson Welles

Recently, I got a recommendation to watch a TV show called “It’s a Sin” on Amazon Prime. With Amazon Prime, I have love-hate relationships: I either find the most absurd and ridiculous movies there OR the hidden gems – exceptionally scripted and directed series that leave me speechless for days. It is really hit or miss with this platform. The mini series “It’s a Sin” created by Russell T Davies has become this much needed breath of fresh air for me. It is an absolutely stunning show about the rise of AIDS in Britain in the 80s. I don’t know how talented one has to be to make a movie/show where every single line, every body movement, gaze, every gesture, piece of clothing, intonation, background detail, trait, every scene, each emotion, any moment, every character – is all so thought out and intentionally chosen that you have no questions – every puzzle adds to the picture. It is complete. It is complex. It is relatable.

This show makes me believe in art, in emotional power, beauty of people and poetry of life. And I want more movies like that. It is exhausting to dig through hundreds of average meh-films and series to finally stumble upon one worthy piece of art. I will keep digging though because every new revelation is like a nourishment – you feed your soul and mind with something beautiful and eternally meaningful. A good movie is a movie you want to re-watch with your best friend or favourite family member – you want to nourish their soul the same way this movie did for you. I am always in search of a good movie. Are you?

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