|Posted by Ratin8tor on July 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM|
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
We all have our favourite movies. Whether they are guilty pleasures or well-regarded classics, we all have films we hold in high regards. But how do we choose what films are our all-time favourites? If we do, can we say for certain we're not being influenced by outside events? Is a film good just because we say it is? Well join me as I analyse this idea.
There are four elements in play when it comes to what we dub as our 'favourite movies'. The first one (and perhaps the most important one): Remembering that we've actually seen the movie. For example, Back to the Future would frequently be in my top 10 list of greatest movies of all time and greatest trilogies of all time (the second list being capped by the Toy Story trilogy). It would... if I remembered I saw it. Now that's not to say that the movie is bad or anything, far from it. But the problem with trying to compose such a list is that you have to try and remember every film you've ever seen and judge it on that. Right now strong contenders in my list would be The Avengers and Chronicle (the second and first greatest film I've seen this year), but that's only because they're fresh in my mind. When I think about it there are plenty of other, lesser known films that would be in there. The Fall, for example, is a really good film. But most people that have seen it probably forget they've seen it. So when you're making a favourite movies list, first thing you've got to do is try and remember every film you've seen before you make a judgement call on what the best are.
Secondly comes the infamous Subjective vs Objective debate. Is a film good because you like it, or because it's technically impressive. Take Avatar for example. It is an undeniable fact that the film has some of the best CGI to ever be seen. However I think it's one of the worst movies ever made because no matter how pretty a film is, it's pointless if I've either fallen asleep or walked out of it. In fact Avatar, despite the praise it has gotten, has been one of the few films I've ever wanted to walk out of. But I digress. I loathe Avatar, but I can't deny the film looks nice. Objectively it's well-made, subjectively it's terribly told. But on top of that there are other films that are objectively bad, but subjectively enjoyed. For example, Batman Begins is a better film then Batman and Robin. It is better made, better written, better acted etc. One film is clearly superior to the other in an objective, measurable way. However I prefer Batman and Robin over Batman Begins because I find the movie more enjoyable. This is just my opinion, but does that give my Favourite Movies List any weight? If I were to put Batman and Robin on it, would the rest of the list be taken as seriously? Or would it be dismissed because I like an objectively bad movie? So when making your list you need to decide whether you're doing it subjectively or objectively.
Now when it comes to my favourite movie, well, that makes it a bit more difficult. Toy Story 3 is my favourite movie. As is the The Avengers. But how can someone have two favourite movies? Well film doesn't just come in one genre. When making the list you have to decide how you're going to sort it out. Are you going to go by movies in general, or are you going to do it by general like? Well then it becomes the problem of whether the Avengers is better then Toy Story 3 or the Fall. I cried in the latter two, but not the former. Does that make the latter two better? So lets say you divide it up by genre. The Avengers is my favourite superhero film (it isn't, but for the sake of the paragraph it is), Toy Story 3 is my favourite animated film, the Fall my favourite fantasy. But what about film like Wall-E and Chronicle? Wall-E is far more of a romance film then an animated one. Why should animated be its own genre? We don't class movies based if they're on film or HD, or if they're black and white or colour. Is Citizen Kane a different class of film because it's black and white? Would that make sense? As for Chronicle, I don't know how to class it. Sure it's a superhero film, but it doesn't follow the traditional norms since it has one of the leads be a villain (and making it my second favourite film of all time). It uses video cameras so it could be under the 'found footage' genre, except once again it subverts that by using multiple cameras and isn't presented as 'found footage' (besides, Marble Hornets beats them in that regard). So where do you class a nigh-unclassable film?
The final component is context of how you viewed the films. Do I like Avengers because it's a good film, or because it successfully pays off the five films that came before it? Would I have been affected by Toy Story 3 so much if I hadn't grown up with the first two films, being the exact right age that Andy is at? Would I be able to class the Fall as amazing when it was the fact I was viewing it with a love one whilst sleep deprived, allowing me to be more emotionally affected due to who I was viewing it with? All these things play a big part on when it comes to making the list. The Fall isn't a perfect movie. In fact it has quite a few flaws. However because of when and where I was watching it (plus who I was watching it with), it had more of an emotional impact on me and thus became my 'favourite' film. So can you rightly judge a film's quality if you are influenced about how you saw it?
So at the end of that, do I have a favourite movies list? Well, no. I kinda proved how incredibly difficult it was. But I do have a favourite movie, or at least a fall-back one that won't ever leave my love. And the film...
Batman the Movie, the 1966 Masterpiece starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Now this film objectively bad. It starts off with Batman having a shark bite his leg while he's on the bat-ladder coming from the bat-copter, getting Robin to hand him down the Bat Shark Repellent Spray (next to the Bat Whale Repellent Spray), the shark exploding when it hits the water. That one sentence should paint the absurdity of the movie, as should the famous quote: “There's just some days where you can't get rid of a bomb”. It is silly, campy, not all that well-made and makes very little sense.
But I love it. Oh how I love it. It is one of the funniest, campiest and funist movies ever made. It's so much fun to watch. Sure most people would forget they see it. Sure it's objectively bad. Sure it can barely be classed in league with The Dark Knight or The Avengers, even though they're both superheroes. Sure I was a big fan of the show when I was a kid and still wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch the show again. It breaks ever rule on my list, but I still love it regardless.
Because at the end of the day, these Favourite Movies List are going to be subjective. There's nothing you can do to avoid them. All you got to do is stand by the choices you made (and remembered that they existed) and have fun with it. There's nothing more you can do than that.
So there you have it. A look at why Favourite Movie Lists tend to be unreliable, with my own favourite movie proudly displayed as a birthday present to myself (since it is my birthday today after all). If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.
Categories: In Too Deep