Good Movies vs. Good Films

I love movies. Am I like most other people in that respect? Yes. Am I like other people in every way? No! I’m a unique little snowflake, damn it! My mom told me so when I was little. Anyway, back to movies, I’ve watched a lot of movies in my 21+ years. I’ve loved a lot and not loved just as many. Do I think Casablanca is a great film? Absolutely! Am I going to continue asking rhetorical questions to my 5 readers? Nah, this is probably the last time. (It’s getting overused).

Casablanca, The Godfather, and Citizen Kane, are arguably, the three best films of all time. The acting, directing, suspense, costumes, scenery… everything down to Marlon Brando’s Richard Nixon-esque jowls make those movies great. Now, do I also love to watch Beverly Hills Cop, Spacejam, or Ted? (last question, I promise) Yes I do, and am proud of it. My point is, every movie you watch doesn’t have to be a cinematic masterpiece that has Roger Ebert giving you a big ‘thumbs up’ from the afterlife. (Too soon?)

It’s definitely good to know and appreciate some of the classics, give them their time of day, but if you had a long day, I suggest sitting back and turn on Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and watch Ben Stiller slip deeper and deeper into obscurity (don’t worry he has a nice pile of money to land on). The real reason is, who cares what you watch, pick any Rob Schneider movie, go for it! It’s okay to like “bad movies.” For me, and for most people, the whole point is to feel something, to be entertained, to be scared, to just get a big ol’ cry out after a breakup. If the 90’s Batman movies really get you going, enjoy ‘em!

A ‘good film,’ is a lot more objective than a good movie. I think The Avengers was a great movie and Apocalypse Now was a great film. Now these aren’t mutually exclusive, Apocalypse Now, was both a great film and a great movie, while The Avengers was a good movie, but not a great film. If you’re still reading, I apologize for the confusion and convolutedness of this paragraph. I like to think of the square-rectangle paradox, where all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.


Can good films be bad movies? ….. My head is starting to hurt.


The distinction between a good movie and a good film is quite different. Although all are (obviously) subjective opinions, some films are just simply better, for lack of another expression. The way I judge if a movie is good, is if I walk out of the theater, my living room, or let’s face it, get out of bed, and my gut reaction is that it was good. I have a huge belief in first impressions, so I rarely change my opinion on a movie upon a second viewing. A good film is about so much more than whether it was good or not, it’s about the message it sent, how the actors performed, how it was cast, if there was a great twist. All of these questions and hundreds more are taken into consideration in my judgment of a movie. No two movies are great for the same reason; on top of having all the important, more obvious qualities, like good editing and acting, there is something new that it brings to the table. The reason sequels often perform so poorly is their heavy reliance on what made the first one great, while failing to create something ‘new.’ A successful sequel will bring back the charm and familiarity of the first one, while appropriately distancing itself in a new direction.

As I close this post, I realize how aptly named my blog is. A few thoughts to leave you with…. a TL: DR if you will… Don’t be embarrassed about that movie you love that everyone hates, good films can be boring, and good movies can suck.p


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