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Added by PvtCaboose91

on 20 Dec 2011 10:31

55
4662 Views 13 Comments

The Factors Which Determine A Great Movie...

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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.

People who added this item 2055  Average listal rating (1404 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 7.8 
1. 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.

It recently dawned on me that these days I don't do Day 1 purchases, because I can easily pick up the disc in a sale a couple months down the line. Then I realised how much I want to own Drive. Regardless of its RRP or if it lacks special features, I will buy this movie on its first day of release.

I want this film in my collection. I want to be able to experience it in crisp high definition on a constant basis. I haven't done a Day 1 purchase in years. This shows how great Drive is.

Drive also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
Never Feels Like A Chore
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings
(Saw it twice)
PvtCaboose91's rating:

People who added this item 4193  Average listal rating (2597 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.5 
2. 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.
If that's not the sign of a great movie, I don't know what is.

Sweeney Todd also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
Never Feels Like A Chore
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(the music is at times too loud for the vocals)
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (Saw it multiple times)
PvtCaboose91's rating:


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.

People who added this item 8347  Average listal rating (5305 ratings) 7  IMDB Rating 7.7 
3. 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.

I've watched this film in its entirety more times than I care to remember. And I continue to watch it a lot. It's definitely the hallmark of a great movie if I want to watch it again right after it ends.

Titanic also applies to:
You Don't Want It To End
Never Feels Like A Chore
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(technical farts here & there)
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (I saw it during its 3-D re-release. Many times)
PvtCaboose91's rating:

People who added this item 1172  Average listal rating (788 ratings) 6.4  IMDB Rating 7.1 
4. 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.
Stallone pulled no punches in portraying the atrocities unfolding in Burma, but his movie is not just a cheap exercise in "bleak and uncomfortable means a movie is excellent". Nay, Stallone's movie also tells a very human story about an interesting character, and the film ends with an insane action sequence.

Thus, Rambo is both a hard-hitting war movie and an amazing action movie. Surprisingly, the two styles mesh extraordinarily well.

Rambo also applies to:
Day 1 Home Video Purchase
You Don't Want It To End
Never Feels Like A Chore
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(CGI is a bit rickety at times)
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (I was lucky to get into just one cinema showing, as it was R-rated and I had to sneak in... Didn't really want to try again in case I got caught...)
PvtCaboose91's rating:


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.

People who added this item 1602  Average listal rating (957 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.7 
5. 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.
As a result, you could be forgiven for wanting to see more back & forth between Harry and Perry, or more of Harry getting in over his head. The film is as brilliant as it is because it's so tight and well-paced, but I still would love to see more of these characters...

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang also applies to:
Day 1 Home Video Purchase
Can Watch Again & Again
Never Feels Like A Chore

Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (Alas I missed its theatrical run as I had no idea about this movie, but I would've seen it many times if it was on my radar)
PvtCaboose91's rating:

People who added this item 4582  Average listal rating (3088 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.9 
6. 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.
Avatar allows you to immerse yourself into the world of Pandora. I loved seeing all of the different animals, landscapes, and the possibilities for these characters. I didn't want it to end, and you bet I'll be in line to see the sequels on opening day.

Avatar also applies to:
Day 1 Home Video Purchase
Can Watch Again & Again
Never Feels Like A Chore

Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (Saw it 5 times, all in 3-D)
PvtCaboose91's rating:


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.

People who added this item 1826  Average listal rating (1130 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.7 
7. 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).
I can easily overlook these minor faults, though, because they do not matter in the long run. Apart from these tiny imperfections, this is a wonderfully-acted, uplifting movie.

It's a Wonderful Life also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
Never Feels Like A Chore

Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (I've seen this in cinemas, for a special screening...even though I own the movie on DVD and had seen it many times prior)
PvtCaboose91's rating:

People who added this item 4614  Average listal rating (3146 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 8.1 
8. 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.
But Cameron did not rely solely on flawed visual effects to see his movie through. With a focus on pacing and building momentum & excitement, The Terminator easily overcomes its technical imperfections.

The Terminator also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
Never Feels Like A Chore

Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (I'd love to see this on the big screen)
PvtCaboose91's rating:


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.
People who added this item 1974  Average listal rating (1268 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating
9. 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.

The Blues Brothers also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(some of the framing is a little off, which the filmmakers themselves have lamented in the past)
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (I wish I was alive when it was showing theatrically...)
PvtCaboose91's rating:

People who added this item 4587  Average listal rating (3091 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating 8.6 
10. 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.

Raiders of the Lost Ark also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(the special effects are dated, and there are obvious technical goofs)
Worth Paying For Multiple Cinema Viewings (I wasn't alive during its theatrical run, but if it was in cinemas these days I'd DEFINITELY watch it a few times)
PvtCaboose91's rating:


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.
People who added this item 7978  Average listal rating (5097 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.9 
11. 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.

Do you think I'd see a bad movie in the cinema that many times? Do you think I'd go see Disaster Movie in a cinema on 14 occasions? Fuck no. ROTK is a GREAT movie, a modern masterpiece. It's long but not overlong. It's extremely epic. It's exciting. It's emotive. It's my favourite movie of all time, period.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(Some of the CGI hasn't held up as much, few patches of direction are a tiny bit weak)
Never Feels Like A Chore

(I would have purchased it on day 1, but my brother beat me to it. Since we're in the same household, I didn't see any reason to buy it at that stage.)
PvtCaboose91's rating:

People who added this item 1600  Average listal rating (1085 ratings) 6.1  IMDB Rating 6.5 
12. 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).

So yeah, I find this to be a great action flick, with good comedy, heart (Tool's scenes are loaded with heart) and a boatload of terrific action.

The Expendables also applies to:
Can Watch Again & Again
You Don't Want It To End
You Can Overlook Small Imperfections
(shaky-cam, CGI blood, not enough character development)
Never Feels Like A Chore
PvtCaboose91's rating:


 

My philosophies regarding the factors which determine if a movie is truly great. Suggestions welcome.

And please bear in mind the movies I use to illustrate each criterion apply to said criterion/criteria in my opinion. Withholding a vote just because you don't agree with Avatar on this list makes you a stubborn child :P

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Comments

Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Dec 21 15:52
Awesome! And great message to all the immature people who base their votes exclusively on whether they agree with all the items listed, rather than on the substantive content of the list and the notes that explain why the listmaker feels the way he/she feels about a movie. I was surprised by the greatness of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's script. Really like the inclusion of all the other categories that apply to these films you consider to be great.
Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago
Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Dec 23 6:20
^What he said!

Also like your comment on Gone with the Wind...the run-time is the main reason I've never watched it because it feels like a chore going into it, like a homework assignment. That & from what I know about it it simply doesn't seem like my kinda flick.

Thanks for yet another reminder I need to watch Drive & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. ;)
Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Dec 23 15:24
"ROTK is a GREAT movie, a modern masterpiece. It's long but not overlong. It's extremely epic. It's exciting. It's emotive. It's my favourite movie of all time, period."

^ Probably the truest thing ever said. :)

Hmm, the only other thing that occurs to me is... are there any movies that you own already, but then when there's a new or extended or remastered version, you just HAVE to get it, despite already owning the title? I mean, it definitely happened to me with the three LOTR extended editions, as I imagine it did with you, too.
Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Dec 23 17:46
You saw ROTK 14 times at the cinema? Wow. I though I liked LOTR.

Fantastic list. I agree on almost all points. I can't wait to get my hands on the Drive blu-ray either.
Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Dec 24 8:40
Glad I could add to your list! Damn, ROTK beats out my 8 times seeing Pulp Fiction in the theatre (which is my personal record & the only film I've seen that many times on the big screen).
Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Dec 24 12:35
Hmm, the only other thing that occurs to me is... are there any movies that you own already, but then when there's a new or extended or remastered version, you just HAVE to get it, despite already owning the title?

It's a decent enough suggestion, but it's too dependent on the consumer. Some folks don't give a shit about special features or don't take the time to notice the differences in an extended cut. They just want the movie and nothing else. Hence such sets are called "Collector's Editions".
Posted: 2 years, 2 months ago at Jun 22 14:52
nicely done list - shame about the choices of films
Posted: 2 years, 2 months ago at Jun 22 21:29
nicely done list - shame about the choices of films

http://tinyurl.com/cx7mwd4
Posted: 1 year, 10 months ago at Oct 23 9:47
Predator
Posted: 1 year, 10 months ago at Oct 23 15:25
One of the best lists ever!
Avatar
Posted: 1 year, 4 months ago at Apr 6 10:46
This list gets my vote because of the RoTK re-watch factor. I've watched it as many times as you have. I remember a friend and I watched it three times in one day. Talk about numb butt :)
Posted: 11 months, 2 weeks ago at Sep 14 15:01
I appreciate the time you took to write out all of your well-thought-out opinions. Beautiful list!

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