Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sell Me Your Movie!

I have been really impatient with slow-moving movies lately. Normally, movies that take their time interest me more, but I just finished "watching" Last Chance Harvey, for instance, and I just couldn't focus in on it. I kept getting distracted and playing Solitaire. I could try blaming the movie, but I blame myself more so; I just didn't have the patience to watch Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson dance around each other. It felt so much longer than an hour and a half to get through.

But reasonably trying to focus in on the movie itself, it was a cute little ride with good performances from both of the veteran actors. Overall, however, I think that I can't take all the credit for being easily distracted. In my experience, movies have to give me a reason to be interested and quickly. It's fine to go slow, but you have to grab me first and make me willing to take my time. Whether it is with a stunning transformation of space and time (this is how I don't mind at all how long Lord of the Rings is; I just feel so transported and engrossed in the story) or with a smashbang start (I admit, I like movies that start in the middle of some action or some story) or even just with a few witty lines and already well-developed characters... in some way or another, something needs to convince me why I should be watching it, not assume that some Awesome Cast or some Famous Previous Works or some Based On A True Story will actually keep me interested. It'll keep me from leaving the theatre or turning off the movie, sure, but that's because I almost always finish what I start (save the first time I tried to watch The Notebook; turned it off half an hour in due to boredom).

Not that Last Chance Harvey was hardly an example of a poor movie or a movie without the ability to grab me. This is where I fault my impatience. But other movies (i.e. Public Enemies, for instance) lack the conviction that convinces me I should be watching this. Why yes, Johnny Depp does look fabulous in 1930s garb, why yes Christian Bale's character is a smooth copper, why yes Marion Cotillard is purdy, but why the hell should I care about any of this? Oh right, you told me that John Dillinger was an awesometastic criminal. Why don't I believe you? Oh right, because you haven't really shown me why. Yawn, yawn, in the words of one of the fellow movie-goers leaving the theatre "let's go get wasted." It would be more action-packed at least.

But alas, my criticism of Public Enemies rears it's ugly head once again. I do need to see that film again to get a fully rounded opinion of it, but the first time was enough to tell me that it didn't win me over and I doubt it would the second time (although kudos to the cast and the excellent costumes and art direction for their effort).

Anyway, my point is simply that, especially in this era of instant gratification of internet, I need more conviction. At least In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, for being one of the worst movies I've ever seen, somehow believes deep down that it is awesome and deserves to be watched. It's wrong, but at least it tries to convince me. Prove your movie is worth my time! But then again, why should they have to, after all? Considering that people pay money to see a lot of shitty movies, I can't say I blame Hollywood for skimming on the conviction.

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