Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What Makes A Good Movie?

Yesterday The Screenwriter’s League got into a bit of an interesting discussion about what it meant to make a good movie. Here’s our convo…

Question. Would you rather people cramming to get inside, eager to see your movie and having a great time. The movie is panned by critics, but makes a ton of money. Or would you rather win an oscar, but hardly anybody goes to the movie and it doesn't stick with viewers. Trying to think of a comparable movie. I guess something like The Reader, even though I've never seen it.

I'd rather entertain the audience

Same, I think the general crowd liking the movie is more important...not that Oscar winning films AREN'T good, it's just not what people want to pay money to see on a Friday night...the thing is, do you think film companies are more likely to rehire you if your movie did well in the box office, or if the movie got great reviews?

Blades on the Brain:
But would you rather your script mutilated by producers but enjoyed by millions, or a work of art that not everyone 'gets'

Cake Man:
Writers who can either: win a company awards, or make a company a ton of money will get hired.

Yeah, no kidding. The writer and director (of Fast and Furious), talented or not, definitely solidified their careers. Every studio in Hollywood is gonna want a piece of their magic.

F&F5 got greenlit BEFORE the opening. It's going to take place in Europe. Lovely.

"Hangover Sequel" the sequel to "Hangover" (opening June 5) has already been picked up. Guess someone's expecting that to do well, too.

I'm still hung up on how we can define a "bad" movie. There's really no argument with something like Battlefield Earth. It was a bad movie and it made no money, one of the companies that backed it went under. It was just bad. But if a movie does it's job and entertains the masses and makes 300 million dollars for the company, can it really be called a bad movie?

Blades on the Brain:
We are a culture that defines a good movie by monetary gain since what is 'good and bad' is subjective. But money is objective! That's super interesting/depressing.

Cake Man:
But I think the question of a "good" movie or not is more simple. A good movie is one that entertains (perhaps) and works, technically. A successful movie entertains (probbaly) and makes a lot of money (or gets awards).

OK, that wasn't so simple. But I think there's a distinction between good and successful.

I'm not sure if the question is good vs. successful. I think the question is, does successful mean it's good.

This is where our conversation ended! Alas, it is incomplete. What does everyone else think???