The great thing about film criticism is that everyone has a voice to share. I've always found it amazing that two people can watch the same exact film and get a completely different reaction out of it. I give you Hostel Part 2 as an example. It's safe to say that people either loved Hostel Part 2 or hated it. In my group of friends, the reaction was quite diverse. Half of my friends hated the film and called it trash. The other half thought it was a lot of fun and enjoyed it quite a bit. Don't you find that interesting? All of us watched the same exact film with the same exact actors and the same exact story. Why was the reaction so diverse? First and foremost, we all bring something unique to the table when we watch movies. We bring our life experiences and our memories to the film. We can't hide the past. Every film touches us in a different way. It might force us to cry. It might force us to get angry. We might even be confused by the film. Nevertheless, we are reacting to the film. If we aren't reacting to the film, it's not doing its job.
HOSTEL PART 2
With this column, I'm going to ask the question: "What's a good movie to you?"
Great movies don't even feel like a "movie." They feel like real life. You stop thinking of them as "characters" in a movie. You start to think of them as "friends." You smile when they do well. You get angry at them when they mess up. You cry when they die. You are really invested in them and their well-being. The perfect example of this is Midnight Cowboy. Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight created characters that were memorable and interesting. Jon Voight is amazing as Joe Buck. He's naive, friendly, and easy-going. We all enter the world as Joe Buck. We think the world is a great place and full of great people. As time goes on, we turn into Ratso Rizzo, who's played by Dustin Hoffman. We become angry, depressed, and beaten down by life. We still do our best, but we become a little wiser and a little smarter. We need characters that are real and human. If not, we can't get into their story. We feel left out and confused. Why are we watching the movie if we don't care
about the characters? Why bother with them?
I also like movies that can make me feel something that I wouldn't normally feel. That's the appeal behind the Hostel films. You get to see situations that you wouldn't normally see. The good news is that it's only a movie. After the movie is over, you can go home and be safe. Films like Hostel allow you to be scared and terrified for two hours. You also get to put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if someone was trying to torture you? What would you do if you were tied up and had nowhere to go? How would you handle it? It's quite scary to think about it. Films like Hostel explore the dark side of the world. Thankfully, we are able to experience it without having to get chopped up! Movies allow us to be scared and frightened. It's a rush. You can yell, scream, cry, and get worked up during a movie like Hostel. It's the same with David Lynch's Blue Velvet. It's dark, creepy, and very scary. He creates a world that we've only heard about on the news. He allows us to watch that world on the silver screen.
I'm also a big fan of films like Rocky and Cinderella Man. Films that show us characters that are down-on-their-luck. If you live long enough, you're going to go through a lot of highs and lows. You'll have a lot of good days in your life. You'll also have a lot of bad days. How will you respond to it all? Will it make you or will it break you? Rocky Balboa is probably one of the most lovable characters in the history of cinema. He's old, poor, and lonely. He's often told that he'll be nothing but a bum. Nevertheless, he puts one foot in front of the other and challenges Apollo Creed for the championship. First of all, you need a lot of luck. Second of all, you must give it your all. How many times have you been told that you're crazy for pursuing your dreams? Do your parents think you're nuts? Do your friends think you're wasting your time? With films like Rocky and Cinderella Man, you feel like you're not alone. They inspire you to keep on pursuing your dreams. If it worked for Rocky, it can work for you.
You also need a story
that's engaging and fascinating. You need to take us away from our own world. Most people go to the movies to escape reality. Movies create a world that is larger than life. We love watching mobsters in Goodfellas and The Godfather. Their world seems so alien to us. We get to see how it all works and how it unfolds. We watch with a keen eye and observe the inner workings of their world. It's the same with Westerns. John Ford would paint wonderful pictures with films like The Searchers, The Quiet Man, and They Were Expendable. You would watch his films and just be amazed by them. John Ford was an artist. If you haven't seen The Searchers, you need to watch it right now. It's gorgeous! The Searchers was filmed in Monument Valley, Utah, which is the perfect backdrop for a Western. John Wayne was also fantastic in The Searchers. Ford and Wayne created BIG movies. You were sucked right into them. You never wanted them to end. Yes, I can go from films like Hostel Part 2 to Rocky to The Searchers to Goodfellas. I FREAKING LOVE MOVIES!
What kind of movies do you enjoy? What kind of movies make you smile? Why do you enjoy them? I've always been interested in movie theory. I truly believe that everything does happen for a reason. Why did you like a certain movie? Why did you hate a certain movie? I truly believe that it all depends on the person. I also believe that it depends on your background and situation. Everyone brings something unique to the table. I've always been fascinated by films such as Ordinary People. Family drama interests me to no end. Why do fathers have a tough time communicating with their children? Why do teenagers always rebel against their parents? Blue Velvet is a film that always gets me thinking. It also scares the hell out of me. What is wrong with certain people? Why do people like Frank Booth exist? Film is a great medium to ask questions. We can discover a lot about the world around us. Films like Rocky are also interesting because they bring out the best in us. In the end, I hope this column has encouraged you to think outside the box. Never stop asking questions! Never!
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Expect the unexpected from Tony as he'll give you his columns on the way movies used to be, the way movies are, and the way they should be.
Tony is an Oak Lawn, IL based film reviewer and columnist looking to have fun and share his unique views on film with everyone. Tony also has an unhealthy obsession with Vanessa Lengies, but that is neither here nor there.|
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