The Factors Which Determine A Great Movie...
Day 1 Home Video Purchase
The asking price on Day 1 of release is absolutely ludicrous. A Blu-ray hits the shelves priced at $30. Fast forward a few months, and all of a sudden the disc goes on special, and the asking price is far more reasonable. But some films demand a Day 1 purchase regardless of price, because you genuinely WANT the film in your collection ASAP.
2031 7.8 7.81. Drive (2011)
I saw a lot of movies in 2011 which I loved. However, as much as I adored the likes of X-Men: First Class and Trust, I don't feel inclined to add them to my Blu-ray collection until the asking price is more reasonable.
4172 7.3 7.52. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Stre... (2007)
This movie possessed all the earmarks of a great movie, with Tim Burton at the helm, Johnny Depp in the lead, an interesting story, top-notch technical contributors, etc. It did not disappoint. It instantly broke its way into my all-time Top 10. Movies like that need to be in my collection, so I was literally counting down the days till its release. And I pre-ordered it. And when I got the call one day at school that the DVD was in, I couldn't concentrate.
Can Watch Again & Again
One of the most important thing about a movie is its replay value. If I don't want to watch a movie again anytime soon, it goes down a few notches in my books. I should want to watch the movie on a constant basis regardless of its length and content. There are some exceptions, but I consider this a golden rule.
8326 7 7.73. Titanic (1997)
Titanic runs a mammoth 190 minutes, yet not a frame feels inessential. There is not a moment in the movie that doesn't engage or enthrall me; from start to finish, I'm under Mr. Cameron's spell. When it's over, I wonder where the past three hours have gone.
1163 6.4 7.14. Rambo (2008)
While Titanic is a LONG movie I can watch repeatedly, Rambo is a case of an almost sickeningly graphic movie that I can watch again & again despite its graphic content.
You Don't Want It To End
Movies should immerse us into its own unique universe and introduce us to character we want to continue being in the company of. If a movie is great, we don't want it to end - we want to remain in this universe and in the company of this ensemble of characters.
1593 7.3 7.75. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is lightning in a bottle. Shane Black's script is full of witty dialogue, Black's direction is well-judged and demonstrates impeccable comic timing, and the selection of actors (including Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan) were born to play their characters. Everything comes together marvellously.
4541 7.2 7.96. Avatar (2009)
I don't want to hear any childish whinging or moaning about Avatar being too long as it is, or just being a film about blue monkeys... Fuck off and grow up.
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
It's doubtful any movie is completely faultless from a technical perspective. Whether it's dated visual effects or small continuity errors. These things can exacerbate the flaws of a terrible movie. But in a great movie, you won't care about such imperfections because you love everything else about it.
1814 8.2 8.77. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
There are two or three noticeable instances in It's a Wonderful Life where a long shot doesn't match a close-up, or there's a jarring piece of editing (there's a rather baffling cut while Uncle Billy talks to Potter at the bank).
4596 7.3 8.18. The Terminator (1984)
The Terminator was made on a small budget in the 1980s. Some of the effects, therefore, look dated, including an obvious mechanical head during Arnie's impromptu surgery in a bathroom. And the stop-motion effects bringing the T-800 skeleton to life are very obvious.
Never Feels Like A Chore
The art of perfect pacing is one that not many filmmakers can master. The majority of movies lag at one time or another, leading to boring patches where you'll look at your watch or pause the movie to take a break. People call Gone with the Wind a great movie, but sorry...it feels like a chore to get through with its four-hour runtime.
1959 7.6 89. The Blues Brothers (1980)
The Blues Brothers clocks in at around 140 minutes (though it depends on which version you watch). There's not a frame in it that I don't enjoy. It's full of memorable dialogue, hilarious scenes and enjoyable car chases. It moves from one great set-piece to another. It's never a chore to get through. Never.
4569 8 8.610. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ar... (1981)
This is the perfect action-adventure movie. It's packed with exciting action and an enthralling sense of adventure, while at the same time inserting interesting character development and keeping interest high through witty character banter. I never get bored watching this amazing motion picture.
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings
You have to pay a fucking premium to see a movie in the cinema these days. But some movies NEED to be seen on the big screen again and again. A great movie will convince you to see it in a cinema multiple times. If you only see it once and think it's enough, it's not genuinely great. Credit to my good friend The Giraffe for the idea.
7939 8.2 8.911. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kin... (2003)
I saw Return of the King a whopping 14 times in the cinema, and therefore it's the film that I've seen the most times on the big screen. This includes two cinema marathons and once at the drive-in. By the end of the film's theatrical run, I was seeing it just for the hell of seeing it again.
1585 6.1 6.512. The Expendables (2010)
I'll probably get flack for including this movie on this list, but I don't care because The Expendables illustrates the multiple cinema viewings principal very well in my case. I saw the movie in the cinema a total of 8 times, including 3 full sessions on opening day (saw the first 2 sessions of the day back-to-back, too).
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