5 Jun 2011

Ten Monkeys

To be clear I am putting my academic neck out a bit with this blog. But in all my time studying the aspects of national and international cinema, mainstream and independent film, it’s like any art, purely subjective.  Various people can go to the same movie and come out with different reactions of varying degree. Some people like different genres of film, or type or content.  It’s like literature, where some people love comics (sorry graphic novels) or Hunter S. Thompson; others enjoy Jean Paul Sartre, Graeme Green or Jane Austin. 

Face to face if people want a recommendation from me regarding a specific movie the first thing I ask them is “what are some of your favourite movies?” that way I can try and gauge their taste and try and ascertain whether they would like a film or not. In saying that I occasionally enjoy pushing my friend’s boundaries and try to expose them to less mainstream films.

So I have a one to ten rating system which is greater than your typical ‘5 star’ system. I find a rating of one to five to limiting, and lumps films together too easily.  So here are some examples of what constitutes a good film, or something starring Rob Schneider.

10 Monkeys

Obviously the highest rating, and to be fair a very subjective rating in some respects, any criticism is of course. This relates to movies that I consider the best in all regards; plot, story, acting, cinematography, music, enjoyment and the film’s ability to be revisited.  Examples of what I would rate a ten would be; The Professional and The Shawshank Redemption. Those films that even if you do not personally consider them a ten out of ten, you will still recognize their excellence.

Eight to Nine Monkeys

Excellent movies that still rate very highly over all in most regards. A lot of classics fall into this category for me, and I believe that there is a whole generation that would really enjoy films such as Rear Window, The Maltese Falcon and Spartacus.  This also covers movies that maybe not “excellent” per say, but for what they are highly enjoyable or personal favourites. Fun movies that although maybe not cinematic brilliance, are highly entertaining stories.  The 13th Warrior for its entertainment value, ability to be watched over and over, and possibly one of the only two decent films about Vikings ever made.

5-7 Monkeys

Basically an average film, and when I say that, probably enjoyable with good highlights, but not what I would consider a great movie. For me a good example is Madagascar The Penguins and the Lemurs were great, really very funny, and the rest was, fine. Another film would be The Fountain. I really enjoyed this film, interesting, compelling and thoughtful. Hard on my friend that sat through it with me as it was very art house.  A good film, but certainly not for everybody.  Other examples would be Oceans 11 (both the original and the remake), The Thomas crown Affair (both the original and the remake).  This category also includes my guilty pleasures of bad monster movies. I like a bad movie now and again, they can be hilarious.  So this category covers a range of sins.

Three to four Monkeys

Oh dear. Well this category falls under disappointing or just missed the mark. Basically I walked away unsatisfied or wanting to enjoy it because of one aspect such as a good cast, but realistically didn’t. Not awful, but there is a world out there so you should probably be doing something else, like the vacuuming. I imagine there will be some subjective choices here too as I generally dislike remakes, with some notable exceptions as above. Here are some examples: The Contract, this has two of my favourite actors in it, Morgan Freeman and John Cusack. But the story was severely lacking.  Hancock, This started off with a good cast and great concept, but quickly went downhill into dire. And Cloverfield. Enough said about that.

One – two Monkeys

Shite! Movies that make me angry for whatever reason, or are just plain arse. The sort of bad Kung Fu spin off’s with sad plots ripped off blockbusters from the 80’s and transposed into a shocking cliché with TV has beens.  Or just suck! In this I would personally class most movies with Steven Segal, any movie produced, written and or directed by the Wayans brothers, any movie with a notable exception anything with IV after it. There can be movies with some elements of good but are basically shocking. A Knights tale is an example. I know that as a student and lover of history I am biased, but except for the marvellous co-stars (including Alan Tudyk) I found it an awful film. If anyone ever gave this to me as a joke I would snap it in half. 

No Monkeys!

This category is for the worst movies.  I am not referring to bad but funny, or what is commonly known as a B movie, but actually utter and unredeemable effluent in my mind. A movie that I would walk out on or simply turn off. A good example is any movie that graphically depicts any sort of sexual assault or torture for pure spectacle or for the disturbed pleasure of the creators. Call me conservative if you will but you can set tension or a plot device without any explicit vileness. It also just includes films that are completely shite with no redeeming features. My examples are Massacre in dinosaur valley (yes I was fooled by the title) The zombie Diaries (I confused this for Diary of the dead) and also Man bites dog.

Ok so there you go. Oh why monkeys?
Well I like monkeys. I like saying monkey. And I own one.

Thanks for reading.

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