Monday, May 16, 2011

30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 1

            I decided to do the 30 day movie challenge as a blog series as it ties into my blog activities rather easily and I am once again not blogging my usual series with regularity in spite of saying that I would.
            Day 1 is supposed to be "My Favorite Movie", and I actually think that a lot of people would be surprised to learn what that is.  Let me break down what I generally like in movies.

            1) Dark Humor.  This does not mean dead baby jokes which are only funny because they have the words 'Dead' and 'Baby' acting on each other in a shocking fashion.  Dark humor is instead humor that draws on something that shouldn't be funny but you have to laugh because you can either commiserate, or worse yet, you can't at all commiserate.  Like in the Bare Naked Ladies' song 'One Week' in which the line, "I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral.  Don't know what I mean?  Well you soon will."  That is a death threat in an up beat pop-rock song.  That is funny.

            2) Action.  Not gore, not explosions (though they can help), but action.  Action is the sense of moving forward through activities that happen on scene in dramatic fashion.  Action can be entirely dialogue driven, like the end scene in "A Few Good Men" or it can involve the literal beating of one person by another through physical violence, like Batman beating the hell out of cops, crooks, dogs, and a clown in "Dark Knight".

The Truth is a Thing that which you Can Not HANDLE!
            3) Aesthetics.  And I don't mean that everything has to look pretty, just that it should look interesting.  Asgard in the recent "Thor" movie is arguably the prettiest thing I have seen presented on film with costumes, sets, and props that were elegant and regal to the point of evoking divinity.  But "Saw" shouldn't be pretty, "Cloverfield" shouldn't be pretty, it has to have a look that gets you in the mood of the movie, in "Saw" it was the literal grit hanging off of every solitary space on the walls, the only thing in that movie that really worked, in "Cloverfield" it was the awesome scenes of destruction with buildings and monuments deserted or destroyed.

Believe it or not, "Tangled" was perhaps the prettiest thing I had scene prior to "Thor".  I was agape at both screenings.
            4) Words.  I love dialogue with a capital D.  Nothing takes a good movie into a great movie territory like a clever sounding protagonist or a truly wise sage figure.  This is why Aaron Sorkin is so beloved by me in that his writing is fast, full of quips, and also full of information, the ideas and the pathos behind them comes quickly and I like it, look at "Charlie Wilson's War".

Most of the Pauses in this Trailer are inserted by the editor of the trailer, the actual movie has its own super quick pace with words.
              5) Politics and Philosophy.  Presenting a clever idea makes films not only entertaining to watch, but worth watching.  My second favorite movie of all time is "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" about a good guy who is getting crushed by the corruption of the system he was chosen to serve in, ultimately his belief in the better angels and the justice that the system is supposed to serve persevere because he had the strength of character to argue for them (another movie where the action is a really long speech).

"I guess this is just another lost cause... They're the only causes worth fighting for"

             All that in mind, my favorite movie has Dark Humor in spades, lots of both literal and figurative action, aesthetics that always support the mood of the scene, lots of words including narration, and a lot of philosophy and politics, hell the movie is about domestic terrorists fighting against dehumanizing commercialism.  My favorite movie is "Fight Club".
Wait... This is the Suicide Girls version of "Fight Club"... Which has its own merits I imagine

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