Saturday, January 23, 2010

"How Do You Avoid Crappy Movies?"

I've worked in several stores that sell DVDs and Blu Rays and even VHS, and there's one thing I learned: There's a lot of crap out there.

I'm not saying that movies are crap, but I am saying that word of mouth has a powerful affect. Avoid movie reviews. Reviews tend to be read as fact, and that is wrong. Reviews are opinions and everyone has one. Allow yourself to have one too.

I've been known by my friends to avoid movie trailers like they're the plague. Trailers really do have a negative affect when it comes to raising or lowering expectations.

Adaptations are also something to look out for whether it to be from stage to screen, or book to screen.

So how do I pick a movie to watch with all of these things to avoid, and look out for? In this day and age where everyone seems to be struggling with money, you can't just blindly go into a movie, but you also can't trust everyone's opinion, or trust the marketers who make the trailers, or watch a movie based off expectations because you loved the book or musical it's based off of.

Most people start to decide on whether or not to watch a movie by reading a review, or listening to what they're friends have to say about it (whether that friend has watched the movie or not.) First, recognize that everyone's a critic. Everyone is going to have a different experience in watching a movie. Just because Matt hates a movie doesn't mean Zach is going to hate it. Zach might love the movie. Why? Because he is an individual. We are all individuals. Allow yourself to view the movie as an individual.  try this as an experiment: Pick a favorite movie of yours, go to and type that movie in a search engine. Then scroll through the movie reviews of that favorite movie of your picking and take note of how many opinions there are of that one movie. Some agree with you, some don't. Bottom line: Opinion is not fact.

The people that are in charge of marketing movies to the masses usually target to the lowest common denominator. It's not hard to believe that trailers misrepresent the movies they're supposed to be advertising. It used to be that the worst a trailer could do was show the best parts of the movie. Nowadays it's gotten to the point where trailers are misguided entirely. Some might even lower or heightened expectations. Avoid trailers all together, it will help you in the long run. Instead try seeing who's in the movie. Is it an actor who makes wise choices? Or go look to see who the director or writer is.  Do you trust that director or writer? Don't let the marketers fool you. Follow your instincts, then when you watch your film, lay back and just watch it. No expectations. It's kind of like a blind date huh?

Adaptations are tricky. Books, Stage and Film. All of these are different forms of art. Why do audiences seem to forget that? How often have I heard "the book was better than the movie" or "the movie version sucks?" I am so tired of hearing statements like these. Adaptations have been around for years, but every time one comes out, it's the same statements and arguments over and over, and these people think they're being original when it's really just plain ignorance. Books, Stage and Film show stories in different ways, so such statements don't make sense. It's like saying you didn't like that movie because you couldn't turn the page fast enough or stay on one page long enough.

A popular example would be the recent Harry Potter movies. I have never read the books, nor do I plan to, and why should I? I love the movies. Pot heads call me a poser and say the books are more in depth. Well duh. Books are allowed to be in depth. Film is a different medium. Different medium. Film is about moving images telling the story as opposed to words in a book. Motion Picture. Get it?

I sense a similiar passion with fans of The Twilight Books, but it's a different type of scary. Maybe it's because there's only four books in that series as opposed to the massive 7 books of the Potter books.

Adaptations, are just  that, adaptations. If you expect the book or musical to be exactly how you dreamed it on the screen, then maybe you should stop whining and be a film maker. If you think  a movie version of your favorite book or musical is a bad idea, then you obviously shouldn't watch it. When going into an adaptation, remember three words: Let it go! And if you can't, then you won't get your money's worth.

So, when watching a movie, follow our instincts. If you think you'll enjoy it, go watch it. If you want to avoid it like the plague, go right on ahead. If you go in with certain expectations and they're not met, then you're not watching the movie, you're watching yourself.


  1. I like what you say about adaptations, but I think you should expand on this idea of the lowest common denomenator. I think "300" is a good film as an example of something that appeals to the lowest common denomenator.


  2. I get the sense that it's not about avoiding crappy movies, but to follow your own instincts. We all have different tastes and it may or may not match reviews we read, from what others (friends, etc.) say about a movie, the trailers, etc. "Opinion is not fact" I appreciated. I see you've defended adaptations for a good portion of your guide, which I appreciated. I think you can probably make another article and expand on it with many other examples (that I would look forward to). I think, like you, I see a movie as a movie not as a book to a movie. It's a different medium. I enjoyed your article.


Please leave some comments