A Marxist (Oh Wait, Wrong Century) Movie Manifesto
My purpose for this entire blog is to critique movies. When I say movies, I mean all kinds: from black and white Chaplin nickelodeons to just released blockbusters. From annoying musicals to aneurism popping Bruce Willis sequels. From heart-warming happy endings to slit your wrist Lars von Trier films. I’m talking everything. Well, almost everything. No scary movies, because one of my quirky charms includes the fact that I am the easiest scared human being alive. Just ask my roommates who had to deal with the fallout of their decision to hide a bunch of rubber cockroaches in my room last October (I’m still finding them by the way).
So why write a blog about this? A very valid question considering this is probably not the most original of topics when it comes to blogs. But I am not going for innovative, exactly. If I were my blog would probably be closer to some new age account of how my daily emotions correspond to colors, entitled Color me Tickle. Sadly, I do not have the money for the drugs needed for such an endeavor. Anyway, I digress. I am writing my blog about movies because over the years I have become pissed-off. I am angry that there seem to be so few provocative, challenging, artistic movies being made, whereas ten movies that have explosions more developed than characters seem to come out each month.
What I consider to make a movie good is very simple: It is essential for a good movie to have an interesting, well thought out, creative story. It is essential for a good movie to have deeply developed, convincing characters. It is essential for good movies to have riveting acting, the kind of acting that makes you forget for a small amount of time that James Barry is not actually James Barry and is indeed an unusually well groomed Johnny Depp.
Some of the top grossing movies in recent years match none of these qualifications. For some reason, it is easy to imagine film executives as Christopher Walken shouting “More CG! We need more CG!” Graphics only do so much. Don’t get me wrong. Special effects and computer graphics can be great tools in movies. Many amazing films have these elements within them. But there are other great movies that don’t have any special effects at all. There are absolutely no great movies which only have computer graphics and special effects holding them together. Yes, Michael Bay, I’m talking to you. Without a story, without quality characters, and without good acting, movies fall flat. They fall under the category of escapism. Now, I do not mind an escapist film every now and then (I have to admit I own The Ugly Truth). However, with that said, I don’t think any escapist film can ever be considered great. Great films are the ones that make us think, force us to face things we rather would not, make us consider things we never would have otherwise. They challenge us, which is the entire point of art. The only way Michael Bay challenges me is by testing my endurance: how long can I sit through this movie before I try to figure out a way to kill myself with a bucket of popcorn?
Oh, and it has come to my attention that some of you are probably wondering why this blog is so squidcentric. Don’t worry, I have no weird squid fetishes. I don’t even particularly like them all that much, although I must admit calamari is pretty damn good. But anyway, just wanted to say the whole squid thing happened quite randomly. When I was trying to come up with a name for this blog, I knew I wanted to sort of do a twist on a very famous movie line, so I quickly came up with the well known Casablanca line “Here’s lookin’ at you kid.” But I didn’t know what to do with it, so my very good friend, Sara Mosier (who happens to have her own awesome blog on wordpress called Shit my Cake Says) just started calling out words that rhyme with kid, and when she said squid I just really liked it. That is how the squid nature of this blog was born. Thanks Sara!