The Academy Awards

hat is wrong with these people? Didn't anyone voting for Oscars in 1999 go to the movies? What are they thinking about?

Clearly, beyond doubt, the only serious candidate for best movie of 1999 was, should be, and is, absolutely ...


I just rented "The Sixth Sense" (an actual candidate for best movie) ... and ... it pretty much sucked. This is the third time I've rented a movie where the main character turns out to be dead. I didn't like any of them. Who relates to the dead? What a turnoff! And ... any picture needs action. For all talking, let's all go to a Shakespear play. Endless talk doesn't make it on the big screen.

OK, then ... what does?

Here's what a great movie needs ...

  1. Intelligent dialogue. Someone has to "think" about what the characters are to say ... not just make it up on the fly. They should say things in a way which is different from what we hear each and every day. It doesn't have to be terribly profound ... just different. I pay money for this. I expect to get something in return.
    Example of terrible dialogue: Independence Day "Take that, you alien m__f____s". I feel insulted (not by profanity) but by the obvious attempt to pass off common bilge as new and thoughtful or avant-garde. Don't they realize by now the value of purposeful, integrated, meaningful, crisp dialogue? Do they know that you can spend 50 million pesos on special effects and lose the whole movie with bad dialogue?
    Example of good dialogue: The General's Daughter ... The repartee between James Woods and the sweat hog. Too bad the movie didn't support the dialogue a little better.
  2. Take me somewhere I haven't been before. Can you imagine a movie that takes place in a single room? How about your living room? How'd you like to go to the movies and get transported right back into your own house? That would suck wouldn't it?
    A great movie will take you somewhere else ... preferably to several interesting venues. Like ... hmmmm ... the plot moves from desert to arctic to jungle to city ... get it? It goes places I don't normally go to.
  3. Action. Without action, the best movies fail to hold the interest of the audience. (I can get into a Shakespear movie where the dialogue and plot is challenging ... many can't). But the action cannot overrun the story. The focus of attention cannot be fixed on car chases alone. The action is an integral part of the story ... but not the dominant part.
  4. Drama. (by its defacto definition) The best movies are not comedies. Rather, the best movie reflects back to us a vision of ourselves as meaningful, goal-directed, and important. I expect to leave the theater with a sense that human life is the most important thing going. Especially human life under stress and depicting its resolution to a positive conclusion.
    This doesn't mean that comedies are worthless ... they're just the setup for more important movies. I do enjoy a good comedy but they will never be numero uno with me.
  5. Special Effects. Nowadays you can't compete with showing people something new without excellent effects. Sure, they're worthless on their own. But, properly integrated with the story ... they rock. No doubt about it.
  6. Lastly, The Story. No story = no movie. You can't make something out of nothing. Without an A#1 idea for a movie you're still in dry dock. With a good story ... an original idea ... all the rest can be considered. The story is the foundation. No foundation ... house gonna' fall.
The above are rules for men's movies.

There are great women's movies too. They focus on "relationships". I don't care for them as much as the above but I can enjoy them to a degree. Something like "You've got mail". That's a nice women's movie. Relationships in place of action.

The best movies will never be number one at the box office. These will be good kids movies or movies that the parents can take their kids to. Obviously, if you take your kid to the movie that's an extra ticket ... and ... you can take the whole family and get lots of tickets. You're never going to take your whole family to "Matrix" are you? But you will to see ... hmmmm ... "Toy Story II".

Get it?

Here is a list of some the best movies ever made. It is not meant to be all inclusive ... just to show the type which I think is good.
(Some are dated so best status means in relation to their time)

  • the old King Kong, the new Godzilla
  • Terminator II, Aliens, 2001, The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Spartacus, Jurassic Park
  • Matrix, The Exorcist, Forbidden Planet
  • I used to enjoy a picture like "The Miracle Worker" (Anne Bancroft). But now I don't want to learn anything or be instructed on moral principles (because I already know everything except a few things which are known to none) ... I just want to be entertained.
  • Well, you get the picture

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