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Adapting: How to Be True to an Audience

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Adaptations and reboots are huge right now. There’s no arguing it, and they’re here to stay. Studios are always looking to tap into the fan base of some existing franchise by bringing it back to the limelight. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it establishes an entirely new fan base while alienating the original. Therein lies the trick: establishing a new audience while keeping the original audience satisfied.

These are a few examples of films that did just that.

Star Trek (2009)

While some fans discount the new film, overall the reboot of the Star Trek franchise was a smashing success. Earning over $75 million on it’s opening weekend, Star Trek guaranteed at least a sequel and possibly a new TV series as well.

But how did they do it? Star Trek couldn’t have been such a hit if it hadn’t been for the original fan base coming out and supporting the film. A fan base that has supported five television series and ten feature films already. With the middling support of Enterprise (2001-2005), you have to be sure that the fan base was leery of another prequel. So how did they do it? One name: Leonard Nimoy.

The writer’s were well versed enough in Trek mythos that they understood the complexity of multiple universes. They also understood the basis of Trek science. If we know X is why we can’t do Y, then to do Y in Star Trek we need to have an X inhibitor. Basically they cheated. By sending Leonard Nimoy’s Spock back in time, they created an alternate universe. They weren’t rebooting the original Star Trek (1966-1969), they were creating an entirely new chapter in the franchise moving forward. That means all the effort that fans have put into previous incarnations has not been wasted, and doesn’t fundamentally change their understanding of the franchise.

Charlie’s Angels (2000)

A lot of rebooting a franchise has to do with timing. We’ve seen numerous reboots fail, not because of poor production but because of modern tastes. No matter how well you create a film, if it doesn’t mesh with the audiences conscience it won’t fly. A unique example in this article is the case of Charlie’s Angels.

When Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu got together to make this film, the timing couldn’t have been more right. We were in the heart of the modern feminist movement. Women were becoming more and more powerful everywhere, and they weren’t afraid to show it. We got shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) from this era, and we can’t forget the massive cultural concert series Lilith Fair (1997-1999). Women were kicking butt, figuratively and literally, at this time.

That’s what went into the film. It kept the traditional empowerment motif of the original, but modernized the sensibilities. The film was tongue in cheek, both a nod and a slap to the face of classic seventies exploitation. Over $40 million on the opening weekend confirmed the film was a hit.

What’s interesting about the case of Charlie’s Angels is that it has landed on both sides of the reboot coin. In 2011, a rebooted TV series was released. Drew Barrymore was still at the helm, but the moment had passed. Seventies nostalgia has moved on, and so has modern sensibilities. Much like a failed attempt at rebooting Lilith Fair in 2010, Charlie’s Angels was the wrong show at the wrong time and was cancelled early in its run.

The Muppets (2011)

It’s hard to characterize The Muppets as a reboot. The film fits with existing continuity, and carries on with all the familiar characters from the franchise. However, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller had to shake the dust off the legendary Jim Henson’s franchise to get it up and running again.

Sadly, this franchise didn’t fall off from simple disuse. It fell to the side from misuse, as evidenced by less than stellar reviews for more recent Muppet-fair. Thanks to this, the team putting together The Muppets had an uphill climb, an audience that was owed a strong showing, and a lot of hard decisions to make in regards to the movie. Would they continue in the tradition of previous Muppet movies by placing the Muppets in a real world adventure, or would they go back to the roots of The Muppet Show (1976-1981)? Over the years the Muppets have accrued a large cast of characters, how would they pay their dues to all of them?

What made this movie successful was the decision to ultimately prey on sentimentality. They ignored the more recent history of works like Muppets Tonight (1996-1998) and Muppets from Space (1999), and focused on the original Muppet Show. This struck perfectly. Adults who grew up with The Muppet Show can find all their traditional humor embedded in the film without the distraction of more recent characters, for the most part. Those adults bring their kids, who don’t know that they should wonder what happened to Bean Bunny and Clifford. Disney chose to focus The Muppets on the heart of the franchise, not the sum of its parts. From this, they have a hit and a revitalized franchise.

Those are just three successful movie franchise reboots, there are always more than could be talked about in one article. There are also plenty of failed attempts at reboots, we can look at how The Avengers (2012) will include our third incarnation of The Hulk. So what are your favorites on both sides of the coin, the good and the bad? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Also, I would be remiss to write an entire article on reboots and not include the opening credits from the classic kids show ReBoot (1994-2002). Enjoy.

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Box office numbers courtesy of Boxofficemojo.com

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Categories: Movies

Podcasts: Shows that Can Help Your Filmmaking

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Podcasts have become a pretty big part of the mobile entertainment generation. Instead of being pinned to radio stations, we can now listen to shows on a subject of our choosing. This, of course, includes the world of filmmaking.

There are several podcasts that are worth listening to, but these are the select few that I never miss to keep me up on the filmmaking world.

The Business Side

A weekly breakdown of what’s new in the world of entertainment, Showbiz Sandbox covers everything from film to broadway. Check this one out for some interesting insights into the most up-to-date entertainment information.

http://www.showbizsandbox.com/

Writing

The official podcast of screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin, Scriptnotes offers a fantastic insight into the business of screenwriting. Not only that, it offers practical advice on how to write, and how to work inside the Hollywood system. This is a must listen for writers.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/scriptnotespodcast

General Filmmaking

There is probably no more comprehensive filmmaking podcast than the Digital Filmmakers Podcast. Featuring interviews with professionals from the industry, the podcast teaches editing, storytelling, cinematography, and every other aspect of the industry. Best of all, it hails from FilmmakingWebinars.com, home of great free webinars for filmmakers.

http://www.filmmakingwebinars.com/digital-filmmakers-podcast/

Movie Reviews

Sometimes you just want to hear people review some of the biggest movies in Hollywood. For this, look no further than Now Playing, the movie review podcast. The fun repor makes this an entertaining podcast regardless of if you’ve seen the movie or not.

http://nowplayingpodcast.com/

Honorable Mention

While Scriptnotes may be the most relevant business oriented podcast for writers, there is no more intriguing than The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith. Goldsmith is the former editor of Creative Screenwriting Magazine, and has interviewed some of the most legendary writers in film. Check out his back catalogue for several episodes you won’t want to miss.

http://www.theqandapodcast.com/

What are some of your favorite filmmaking podcasts that I may have missed? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments! In another article I’ll cover some of the best podcasts overall you should be listening to.

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Served with a Twist: Great Twists in Film History

September 13, 2011 2 comments

One of the most popular things to do for a student filmmaker is come up with a great twist ending for their film. While this technique can work, I’ve always been  a proponent of building a solid story to begin with. If a twist grows naturally from that, then so be it. We’ve seen a large number of student films and indie films that try to pigeon-hole a twist into a story that doesn’t need it, though. An unnecessary twist can serve to disorient or even upset an audience, and that isn’t what you want.

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the great twists in film history and see how the filmmakers behind them implemented them without upsetting or disorienting an audience.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The hallmark of a great twist is one that changes, but does not detract from, subsequent viewings of the film. A twist that ruins repeated viewings is a twist that may be worth rethinking.

Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense

I thought it made sense to start with the film that ushered in the modern era of film twists, M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. This film was the first one for my generation that left you wanting to revisit and see if you can pick up the clues leading to the twist. In the film Bruce Willis plays Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist who is recruited to help a young child, Cole Sear, played by Haley Joel Osment. The issue plaguing Sear? He sees dead people.

Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense

An exciting and intriguing film ensues, leading to the startling conclusion that Dr. Malcolm Crowe himself is actually dead, having been killed in the opening scene of the film. The twist alone is excellent and adds a new layer to the film, but the rule that the film establishes makes the film worth revisiting. In any scene where a ghost is present, the color red is also present. Any scenes where there are no ghosts, the color red does not appear. This simple rule allowed viewers to revisit the film to try and catch where the color red appeared in the film.

Psycho (1960)

It would figure that the original master of suspense would own one of the original great twists. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was a thriller for the ages for a number of reasons. The moral ambiguity of its first kill (many people seem to forget that Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane had just stolen $40,000), and the frightening nature of Anthony Perkin’s Norman Bates are just two of the reasons this film stands the test of time. The reveal of the, at the time, terrifying twist leaves an indelible mark on the viewer.

Norman's Mother in Psycho

Throughout the entire film we assume that Norman Bates, owner of the Bates Motel, is an innocent trying to keep his insane mother at bay. While his mother is never clearly seen, the audience is treated to her outline in windows and silhouettes, and several instances of her voice talking with Norman. It isn’t until the climactic chase, when Lila Crane (Vera Miles) enters Norman’s home, that we discover his mother has been dead for years. Instead of his mother in the window, we discover his mother’s skeleton dressed as if she was still alive.

Anthony Perkins in Psycho

It turns out Norman has developed a schizophrenia and is living both the life of Norman, and the life of his mother for her. Every time we hear mother’s voice, it is actually Norman calling out. By the end of the film, Norman is lost as his mother takes over Norman’s body.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Say what you will about the recent Blu-Ray release, or the prequel trilogy, but there is no denying that The Empire Strikes Back is a fine example of moviemaking. It leaves you with a positive outlook for the rebels, but further recollection leaves you realizing the good guys got their butts handed to them for the entire film.

Mark Hammill from Empire Strikes Back

It is also home to one of the most famous twists of all time, a twist that has embedded itself into the fabric of pop culture. People who have never seen a single Star Wars film know this twist well.

This is one of the most important twists in film history. Not only did it change this film on subsequent viewings, it changed the entire Star Wars series. The original film could never be watched in the same way again, and it added a new dimension to the following four films. In fact, thanks to this one moment, George Lucas was able to make the prequel trilogy to focus on Anakin Skywalker, effectively shifting the franchise focus from Luke to Vader.

Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back

These examples show us an excellent use of twists, ones that grew organically from the story. I doubt Hitchcock started with the twist and built Psycho out from there. It all comes back to basics, know your story. If your story involves a twist, then that’s great. If it doesn’t, don’t try to force one in. It hurts your story, and can make you look like you built an entire film around one twist. What are some of your favorite twists? What are some of the ones that are so terrible you can’t help but love them? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Movies, Writing

Hook them Early: The Importance of an Opening Scene

August 2, 2011 2 comments

One of the most important moments in film is the opening scene. Ending scenes, plot twists and other elements all leave the lasting impression, but you only get one opportunity to hook an audience. If you don’t grab them with your opening scene, then you’ll be fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way.

But it’s important to make sure that the opening is dynamic as well. If this scene is only a hook, then the audience doesn’t become engaged with the characters or story and you’re starting from square one the instant the scene ends.

Poster for Bridesmaids (2011)

By looking at Bridesmaids (2011), we can see a fantastic execution of an opening scene. I will try to avoid spoilers, but by choosing this style of scene to open the film, Bridesmaids tells us several things about the film itself. We learn Annie (Kristen Wiig) never seems to get what she wants. We learn the most important man in her life is a self-obsessed misogynist. We learn that the type of humor in this film will not appeal only to women, much to the delight of the men in the audience. All of this comes to us while still hooking the audience with a hilarious opening scene.

Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm in Bridesmaids

If you want to look back further, we can find several examples of excellent opening scenes.

A lot of people forget what began the recent trend of superhero movies. Early films like X-Men (2000) generally get the credit, but you can trace it back further to the success of a little Marvel film called Blade (1998). Blade was also home to an excellent opening scene.

By watching this scene we learn the entire premise of the film. There is a vampire menace, and they are luring humans to their deaths. The only person that can protect the humans is Blade (Wesley Snipes). It also sets up the action style coming in this film. While the intro isn’t an in depth character study as in Bridesmaids, the opening from Blade sets up the actioner nicely.

One of the most famous examples of an opening scene is possibly the least informative as to the nature of the film. When Quentin Tarantino broke onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs (1992), he introduced Hollywood and the world to a new style of dialogue. Instead of traditional exposition, Tarantino had his characters discuss a completely unrelated issue in the opening scene. What resulted is a film conversation still remembered to this day.

[NOTE: I am aware the above video is having trouble playing on iOS devices, unfortunately it is the best version of the opening I was able to find.]

Tarantino’s opening offers a glimpse not into the lives of the characters, but into the psyche. The conversation about Madonna’s Like A Virgin (1984) shows us the characters varying ways of interpreting the world. When Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) refuses to tip the waitress, we learn that he is a selfish man who is not afraid to put his well-being ahead of others. This theme plays out when Mr. Pink runs out with the diamonds at the end of the film, a last ditch effort to save himself.

What are some of your favorite opening scenes? What scenes fell flat, despite being attached to good movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Editing, Movies

Lovable Losers: How to Create A Sympathetic Protagonist

July 8, 2011 Leave a comment

While I was in Chicago last weekend, I was able to take in my first Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The entire place was ripe with history, and the lack of a scoreboard let you know that this park was meant for baseball. Not spectacle, not show, but baseball, the American pastime.

Wrigley Field

Of course, while thinking about that history it’s hard to not remember that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. But that legacy didn’t seem to put a damper on the fans at all, as everyone showed up to root on the Cubs against the hated cross-town rival White Sox. Naturally, this translates perfectly to film.

Chicago Cubs Logo

As an audience we all want to cheer on the underdog, the lovable loser. All successful protagonists have been a loser of some kind, whether they be a loser in love, business, or any other facet of life. When creating a protagonist, it is essential to set up that they are the underdog in some respect and have something they need to change in their lives. Otherwise, why would we cheer them on?

R.P. McMurphy

Jack Nicholson as R.P. McMurphy

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), R.P. McMurphy is the quintessential loser. To avoid a jail sentence for battery and gambling, he decides to take the ‘lesser’ sentence by feigning insanity and ending up in a mental institution. However, the plan backfires as he ends up under the care of the brutal Nurse Ratched, and begins to sympathize with the fellow patients.

Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched

A classic arc, we can clearly see the growth of the character of R.P. McMurphy. He begins as a loser for being completely narcissistic and working only for his benefit. We root for him to grow and change because we can see the persecution and terrible conditions the patients are living in. McMurphy’s growth is complete when he performs the selfless act of sacrificing himself for the others, ending up in electroshock therapy. The R.P. McMurphy we knew is gone, literally.

Butch and Sundance

Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

There is perhaps no greater overthinkers in film history than Butch and Sundance from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Legendary for their ability to rob banks and trains, they are losers not because of themselves, but because of the world around them. Times change, and they are having a hard time keeping up. As the law gets closer and closer Butch hatches his final plan: leave America for the greener pastures of Bolivia. Even significant other Etta Place realizes this is a bad idea and leaves Bolivia, stranding Butch and Sundance. In a final act of desperation, Butch and Sundance take on the entire army of Bolivia.

The Final Shootout

The case of Butch Cassidy is an example of a character with a need to evolve and change, but the complete inability to. Where R.P. McMurphy evolved to his sacrifice, Butch fights right until the end. We root for Butch for nostalgic reasons, cheering for a simpler time. We root right alongside him, but we know he cannot win. Nothing can stop the tides of progress, and Butch and Sundance pay the price for that.

Jake and Elwood Blues

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in The Blues Brothers

I would be hard pressed to not end a Chicago inspired blog without using the example of two of their native sons. From The Blues Brothers (1980), Jake and Elwood are struggling to pull their lives back together after Jake ended up in jail. The characters already know they need to change their lives, but they’re not sure how. Instead of getting on the right side of the law, they end up staying right where they were, but on a ‘mission from God’ instead. In an increasingly rare twist in modern film, Jake and Elwood find religion in their own quirky way, and they take to their new task the same as they used to take to crime. They get the band back together and lead us on one of the wildest road trips to ever hit film. In the end their faith ends them right back where they started, Joliet prison.

Car Chase through a Mall in The Blues Brothers

Another example of characters fighting against changing times, Jake and Elwood embody a bygone era. The rhythm and blues days are gone, but that is all Jake and Elwood know, so they keep ploughing forward, even getting their friends to buy into their illusion. The charade keeps up despite stolen bookings, and an increasingly large hoard of police on their tails. This lack of a change, however, is a change. Unlike in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jake and Elwood have a reason not to change. They need money to save an orphanage, and this gives us cause to root for them through the entire film. It also gives us and the characters cause to accept their arrest at the end of the film, with their mission having been completed.

All in all, we always cheer for the underdog. The term ‘loser’ may be harsh, and may not apply to all characters, but the rule holds true. Characters need to have something to change internally before they can be sympathetic to an audience.

How do you craft a sympathetic ‘loser’ protagonist? What are some of your favorites? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Movies, Writing

Outside the D-Box Thinking: Technology and Movies

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

First of all, I appreciate everyone coming to the site lately and making the ‘Film vs. Movies’ blog a huge success. The site has been a little inactive lately on my end as some large projects have gone out the door, but now I’m back and the regular updates will resume!

During my brief time off from the blog, I took in my first ever D-Box experience. It was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and the integration blew me away. Combining the 3D experience with the moving seats brought me into the film far more than I could have imagined. This was an interactive experience closer to the Disneyland ride on which the films are based, than the 2D predecessors of this film.

That’s not to comment at all on the movie, but simply the experience in the theatre. It did get me thinking, however, about the recent technological innovations and how they are impacting the motion picture art form.

Let’s assume that 3D was the innovation that started it all. Not the new-fangled stereoscopic 3D, but the original red/blue lenses 3D. How did that affect cinema? It was a massive craze that eventually died as the hype ran out. Films like Jaws 3D (1983) and Amityville 3D (1983) were released, but it never made it into a mainstream film audience.

The Poster for Jaws 3-D (1983)

Fast forward about forty years when people started experimenting with Stereo 3D. My first experience with this was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007). The 3D was only implemented uncertain scenes, but something had changed. Instead of using 3D to have something jump at the audience, the 3D was implemented to increase the depth of the location. Instead of a jarring experience, I became more immersed in the film.

Avatar (2009)

Moving forward further came the 3D epic Avatar (2009). Years in development gave us a fantasy film with 3D cameras made specifically for this movie. Many will argue that this is the most impressive usage of 3D yet.

But what about Tron: Legacy (2010) the following year? Another excellent implementation of 3D, but drastically different. Instead of shooting the entire movie in 3D, Tron: Legacy shot all the scenes in the normal world in 2D. Once the film transitions into the digital universe, the 3D is implemented to bring the audience even further into the film.

3D was only implemented inside the grid in Tron: Legacy (2010)

That, more or less, brings us up to the D-Box era. Now, in addition to 3D, films will be programmed with seats that jump and move with every motion in the film. The question becomes where is the limit for these innovations? As fantastic as they are, not every film is in need of 3D or D-Box.

Films coming out now will have to face the question of which of these innovations to implement, if any. Audiences will have to vote with their dollars on if it’s worth seeing films in 3D or D-Box. But it doesn’t stop there.

We are seeing several films now being re-released in 3D. Disney is getting set to premiere one of their all-time classics, The Lion King (1994), in 3D. With this trend, the rerelease of films in D-Box can’t be far behind either. Films like Desperado (1995) and The Terminator (1984) may offer a great opportunity for retrograding, but is it necessary for films like Bull Durham (1988) or Midnight Cowboy (1969)?

Can you imagine this scene in 3D?

I don’t mean to demean the technology, I am in favor of creating the most immersive movie experience possible. All I am pointing out is that sometimes the most immersive experience doesn’t include the new bells and whistles.

In the end it comes down to story and pre-production. Develop a film with 3D in mind and you are far better off than deciding in a later stage to post-process to the format. Know your movie, and make that movie. Don’t force your movie to be something it’s not.

And, please, no 3D or D-Box re-releases for Casablanca (1942) please.

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.

Categories: Movies, Technology

Film vs. Movie: Should There Be A Difference?

May 1, 2011 5 comments

I was talking with an artist in New York recently, and she told me one of the reasons New York is such a great city.

“New York is a great movie city. No. New York is a great film city.”

The Poster for Blue Velvet

We all know the inherent difference in the term. A film is a piece of art, something that is considered to work on many levels and not pander to the lowest common denominator. Think Blue Velvet (1986), the brilliant David Lynch film serving as a social commentary. On top of the layers of meaning to the film, we have tremendous performances from the likes of Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper.

Hopper and Rossellini in Blue Velvet

A movie, on the other hand, is everything a film is not. It is not meant to be intellectual or layered. Instead of aiming for a higher plane of moviemaking, a movie settles on trying to please the largest possible audience. This is the realm of the summer blockbuster. A movie like Star Trek (2009) fits into this category, placing fun and adventure for an audience above forcing the audience to think through literal issues.

The Cast of 2009's Star Trek

Having established the definition of these terms, my question is: why is there such a negative stigma to movies, while films are considered to be the realm of the elite and superior to movies. Simply because movies and films target different audiences doesn’t mean one should be immediately considered superior to the other. Instead, we should judge based on how well a film achieves its end goal, and how the target audience enjoyed it.

Let’s start by looking at Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). By all accounts this motion picture by Michel Gondry can be considered a film. It is a high concept film, asking what viewers would do if they could systematically eliminate people from their memory. As we go Joel (Jim Carrey) struggles to hold onto the memories he has of Clementine, realizing she is as much a part of him now as he is. The film did well and hit its target audience, remaining a favorite among film students everywhere to this day. Everything about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind points towards film.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Now, let’s look at a movie. Take away the high concept of film, and enter the realm of basic storytelling. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) is a perfect example of a successful movie. Following in the same serial drama format as its predecessor, Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back is a fun and fantastical film aimed to please a large audience.

The Poster for Empire Strikes Back

The target demographic, however, didn’t hold Empire back from some of the finest storytelling we’ve seen on screen. Who can forget arguably the most famous plot twist in history? The revelation of Darth Vader as Luke Skywalker’s father still resonates today. Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a ‘feel-good,’ blockbuster movie, the only reason the audience has to feel good at the end is because the rebels escaped. They did not win, they were decidedly defeated. Luke loses his hand, Han is captured and held by Boba Fett, and we still aren’t entirely sure we can trust Lando. For all these reasons, it’s hard to keep Empire Strikes Back off of a list of the greatest motion pictures of all time.

The Defining Moment from Empire Strikes Back

How about comedies? Comedies are normally entirely left off the film list, and relegated to movie territory. Look back at, in my opinion, the greatest comedy ever made: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Directed by film favorite Stanley Kubrick, and starring the extremely talented Peter Sellers, Strangelove has all the elements of a film. It’s a social commentary on Cold War politics, not to mention the commentary on capitalist culture.

But, because of the laughs, Strangelove is rarely thought of in the film world. It doesn’t take itself seriously enough to be considered a film.

The Poster for The Adjustment Bureau

Take a look at many of the films in theatres right now: the predictable, yet enjoyable, The Adjustment Bureau (2011) comes in with a rating of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of the release of this article), while the also predictable, yet enjoyable, Just Go With It (2011) is rated at 18%. For the purpose of this article, I chose to look at two mass marketed motion pictures with a wide appeal. This left out the likes of Incendies (2011), Hall Pass (2011), and Your Highness (2011).

The Poster for Just Go With It

When I look back at how much I enjoyed The Adjustment Bureau and Just Go With It, I would rate both equally. Both were entertaining and engaging, but neither blew me away and took me to the next level. Yet, the film of this pair is obviously The Adjustment Bureau based solely on the subject matter, while the lowly movie is the comedic Just Go With It. I would hardly say that these two deserve the 53 point difference on the Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

What are your thoughts? Is there a difference between film and movie? Does it even matter? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Zac Hogle is a writer/director who has worked on several nationally broadcast series and documentaries. You can follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/zhogle.

All images and videos are the copyright and property of their respective holders. No infringement is intended.


Categories: Movies
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