Sometimes I wonder what makes a good movie good.  Or at least question why the movies I know aren’t great (like Clue, or another link for Clue in the negative, and yet another link for Clue…stop judging…) are still some of my favorite movies that I will never tire of watching.  But I’m not going to let my bad taste get in the way of enjoying a movie, or understanding the flaws of a movie.

Movie Philosophy #1: I hate movies that try and sustain themselves with a “trick.”  This is like the Kill Bills, Breathless, There Will Be Blood… There are the movies where you know they were made because the director wanted to make a ___________ film. (Fill in the blank as it applies.)  Those movies to me are boring. They do not sustain themselves on good story-telling, but on the idea of good film-making.  The two are not synonymous.

This rule does NOT apply to movies like Metropolis, or Grand Hotel, or old school movies of that nature where it can be boring to watching them.  That’s just the nature of the modern world.  I was brought up on modern day movies, and those movies demand less of an attention span than older movies do.  Those movies are still engaging, and still incredible to watch.  I’m always amazed by the great shift change scene in Metropolis.  Don’t get me wrong, Metropolis can be boring to watch.  It moves really slow.  But it’s interesting to watch because it was never intended to be anything more than a good story.  It’s movies that try to rise of above the reality of what a movie is that are the reason why people hate film elitists.  The point of a movie is to tell a story, and tell it visually.  Nothing less, although that can include something more.

When I watch a movie like there will be blood, I know I’m watching a good movie.  I know I like Paul Thomas Anderson, and I know that the story he’s telling is pretty awesome.  The moment (pictured left) when the oil catches on fire, and you’re supposed to understand that hell has indeed been unleashed into the land of humans, is an awesome moment.  But I still can’t help the fact that while I watched There Will Be Blood, I was bored.  I was really bored.  I loved the images, and I loved the way the camera moved with the patience of a careful observer rather than with the choppy editing of an anxious five-year-old, but after and hour, I was over it.  After two hours, I still appreciated it, but I was still underwhelmed (word or not?  you figure it out…) with the way the story engaged.  By the third hour, I was still appreciative, still bored, anxious for the climax, and bored with the fact that the beautiful pictures and intriguing story were backed up by characters that had no dimensionality.

I know, I know.  You’re going to fire back that THAT WAS THE POINT!  I know it’s the point.  But, like watching all Tarantino films, the fact that there’s a point to making the movie, rather than a point to the movie itself, it’s bothersome to not be engaged on multiple mental levels.  It’s boring to know after the first five minutes that the point of a movie is to show the type of uncensored violence that exists in the world and that people know about and show it without fetters or shock still does not mean the movie will be more interesting.  It is not more interesting because it will be the same scene over and over again.  Thus, my bother with There Will Be Blood.  A movie I like.  A movie I know I should love.  But a movie I will never allow to be ranked higher than a 4 on a 5 point scale.   I need more to a movie than a trick.

This is why I do not like Godard.

I’m not sorry I said that, either.  I’d say it to his face.  In fact, Godard, if you’re reading this: I think you’re overrated.