How to Pre-Judge a Film

One of my great passions in life is film. “Film” is an artistic form that combines many other forms and so lends itself to a multiplicity of layers of meaning and communication. Film is perhaps the most dominate art form (in terms of popularity) in our culture today. And because it is such a great good, it can (and has) been twisted for great evil.

Often times people will say to me that “such and such a film was really good.” My response is: “what is a ‘good’ film”? Most people cannot answer that question, yet still insist that some film is “good”. They are what Plato called “Lovers of Sights and Sounds”.

In future posts I hope to explore the nature of film and move toward answer that fundamental question: “what is a ‘good’ film”? In the meantime I’ve put together a short list of clues to help you avoid ‘bad’ films by “pre-judging” them. If you’ve ever thought, “I wish the producers of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ series would point their camera’s at a good film,” these little clues will help you identify secret messages from filmmakers who are trying to tell you: “This Movie Stinks!”

If any of the following appears in the ‘description’ of the film or on a poster, avoid it:

“A dance-filled romp”
“A remake of the beloved classic…”
“An MTV Movie Awards Winner”
“Based on the best-selling teen-novel…”
“From the producers of ‘You Got Served’”
“Fun for the whole family”
Anything “Part 2, 3, etc.”
Anything in the “Musical” and/or “Romanic Comedy” Genre
Anything starring:

Cameron Diaz
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Jean Claude Van Dame
Jessica Simpson
John Wayne
Justin Timberlake
Chuck Norris
Paris Hilton
Steven Seagal
Vin Diesel

From the Writer & Director, “M. Night Shyamalan” (at one point in his career Shyamalan was a great story-teller, the next Alfred Hitchcock; now, I’m convinced he could not make a good film even if he got someone else to write and direct it!)

Following these simple warnings will help you avoid cinematic maleficence.


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