50 down, 316 to go.
If you're reading this it's probably because I told you on my twitter/facebook that I wrote it and you didn't have anything better to do. Some of you may listen to the podcast and went to the website to find this and started reading. Either way, my name is Kirk, and I co-host a podcast called Apathetic Gentlemen with my buds Zach and Ben. I also foolishly challenged myself to watching 366 Movies for every 366 Days of 2016 as a part of the DLM Challenge. I did this for a couple reasons-some big, some small. The main reason is that I love movies but haven't seen enough of them.
The DLM Challenge is from the podcast Doug Loves Movies, where Doug Benson talks about movies and plays themed games with guests. The rules are simple; watch a film you haven't seen for every day of the year. Last year, Doug conquered 365 and then extended the challenge to his listeners this year. If you enjoy movies, talking about movies, movie games, and funny people who are sometimes in movies I recommend you subscribe to Doug Loves Movies... movies. If you want to know exactly what I'm watching when I'm watching it you check that on my twitter you stalker. Anyway, This blog entry isn't to run them down- I already do that on the podcast and on the tweets.
We all have our opinions on what makes a flick good or bad. That's a complicated thing because some movies could be 'so bad its good' (Check out How Did This Get Made?). Others can be considered classics by some while others have never even heard of it. Ben and Zach had never seen Back to the Future... I reported their parents for child abuse but I was told the statute of limitations had run out. I'm not a film critic, so I am not going to give reviews. I'm just going to write what I like and don't like about talkies. If I'm going to watch this much cinema, I'm at least going to learn something.
Good Movies Have Flawed Protagonists
During the first 50 films of this challenge I watched some all time Classics: Godfather, Godfather Part II, Jaws, Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, The Terminator. I have also watched some solid stuff: Trainwreck, Groundhog Day, Inside Out, Requiem for a Dream. Know what all those, and other good movies have? Flawed protagonists. It makes them relatable and easier to project ourselves onto. I've watched just Die Hard and Live Free or Die Hard in the cannon of Die Hard. If there's some free space in the 316 I may get to the others. From what I remember of those two (and what I've heard about the others) John McClain used to be a regular cop from New York, and is now the Super-est Super Cop of Super Cops from the Super U S of A. That is one of the reasons Die Hard ruled and Live Free or Die Hard did not rule.
Bad Movies Have Flawless Protagonists
See above for that analysis of Die Hard for starts. That's one solid point if I do say so myself. Anyway, I watched some real garbage in the first fifty: Dirty Grandpa, The Apple, Cobra, Dirty Harry series. One thing that set them apart as bad movies is their un-flawed protagonists. No matter how the character seems to be they will always been shown to be the best persons in the story. "Dirty" Harry Callahan is a perfect example. Even after you strip away the context of the era and adjust for generational inflation (Racism/Sexism/Police Brutality), the character is too good at everything. Every decision he makes is the right one, and every instinct he as is correct no matter how insane it is. Robert De Niro in Dirty Grandpa is painted as a raging blowhard and a bigot. However, you slowly find out that he's a bad ass, war hero, who loves everybody (if they want to party). Effron goes from a young hotshot lawyer engaged to Julianne Hough to a brilliant photographic artist hooking up with some attractive non-blonde. Protagonists can't be gods because they're no fun to watch.
Good Movies Are Timeless
Requiem for a Dream and Rain Man are very different. One is about the nature of addiction for a small group of people in Los Angeles. The other is about a selfish brother trying to get an inheritance from his mentally challenged brother but learns to love him on a road trip. They were made twelve years apart but both could take place at the same time-or any time for that matter. Requiem is actually based on a book that was released twenty-two years earlier, and the story was not changed much for the film adaptation. Rain Man takes place in the 80's and the technology or trends don't take away from the heart of the story at all. You will be so transfixed by the performances you will think it could have been made today. Good movies could be placed in any time and hold up regardless of the technology or references used. Other features that fit that bill: Safety Not Guaranteed, The Firm, Goodnight Mommy, Die Hard, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Groundhog Day, Planet of the Apes, Jaws.
Bad Movies Are Not Timeless
One thing bad flicks tend to do that make no sense is date the material. The Apple (A horrible 80's rock opera & Adam and Eve allegory) mentions that the year is 1994 so much you cant help but compare how wrong they got 1994. It also makes the claim of being set in 1994 while looking as 80's as possible. Cobra is a bad film for many reasons, but it doesn't help that the soundtrack and costuming is just as 80's as hell. Maybe I just have a problem with the 80's... I don't have a lot of examples in the films I've seen so far, but I'm sure i will later in the year.
Creativity is Paramount in Good Movies
You know why I will defend the original Planet of the Apes films and I've only seen them once? They bleed creativity and originality. The first one was co-written by Rod Serling, the dude ran and wrote The Twilight Zone. If you haven't seen them get on Netflix or Amazon Prime and fix that. With the bedrock of a truly creative genius, this series has things to say about: Religion, Science, Racism, Bigotry, Censorship, etc. Through a sci-fi narrative involving: Time Travel, Space Travel, Evolution, and war. It's a struggle between Humanity and super intelligent Apes over five movies, and it did that with great ideas. Inside Out is one of the best animated/Pixar/existing films I've ever seen. It is processing the idea of growing up with anthropomorphized emotions and thoughts in a little girl's head with extremely complex characters played by perfect voices. Seriously, just go see Inside Out if you haven't- and check out the Planet of the Apes Series for sure.
Selfishness is Paramount in Bad Movies
Maximum Overdrive is Stephen King trying to prove that he can direct a motion picture like any of the other schmoes that adapted his work. The problem is Stephen King was headlong into a cocaine addiction and you can tell while watching this gem. It's awesome to watch but it is no way a good movie. Cobra is a poor attempt at another Stallone action flick and isn't enjoyable at all to watch. I have no real clue of the work that goes into making cinema. However, we can all agree that it is a collaborative effort. You got writers, producers, actors, directors (and now corporations) with differing ideas of the film they're making. The quickest route to a bad movie is when someone in the production is selfish enough to push his or her agenda above everyone else. It could be a writer that is hell bent on getting their political points on the screen. It could be an actor who is clearly not interested in playing their character that day. Like a group assignment, if you have people who try to run the whole thing themselves or people that couldn't give a single shit, the project suffers and the grade is bad
I've got 316 more movies to go and I expect to write more randomness. I'll also be talking about them on the podcasts Apathetic Gentlemen or Asher Brothers Podcast and tweeting about them. No, I don't have a social life. Why do you ask?
Thanks for Reading
PS These are all my opinion and in no way means that your favorite movie is a bad. Therefore, there is no reason for anyone to tell me why Dirty Harry is good and Planet of the Apes is bad. Also, watch Deadpool and Point Break. I started writing this without knowing what my last two movies would be in the Fifty and it ended up being these two. Both of them are awesome. I'm thinking of seeing Deadpool again in the theater and now know why a reboot of Point Break is sacrilege...