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Added by PvtCaboose91 on 9 Apr 2012 01:18
2368 Views 14 Comments

Good Movies With Terrible Legacies

Sort by: Showing 13 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 2884 Average listal rating (1854 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
The Trend? "Shaky-cam"

Paul Greengrass first unleashed the shaky-cam technique in The Bourne Supremacy, but he showed it was here to stay with Ultimatum, polishing the technique tenfold. And the style worked for this series, as it did what it was supposed to do: amplify tension and excitement.

Unfortunately, everyone else realised how easy the technique is, but failed to take heed of the proper requirements before using it...

The Damage? Awful.

It destroyed James Bond again with Quantum of Solace, and now every action movie lazily follows the shaky-cam style without taking note of WHY Greengrass invented the technique in the first place. It just became the hip thing to do.

Now summer blockbusters are a mess of abominable shaky-cam. What happened to being able to see what's happening...?
PvtCaboose91's rating:
The Trend? "Found footage"

A lot of people will say that Cannibal Holocaust started this craze, but it was Blair Witch that popularised it for the 2000s.

Blair Witch ain't great, but its found footage approach was pure genius. So was the marketing campaign. As a result, the filmmakers turned barely any money into a huge stockpile of cash. The guys who made the film can use hundred dollar bills as toilet paper for the rest of their lives.

So everyone else clambered for a piece of the pie. But nothing has come close to the Blair Witch phenomenon exactly because of this...

The Damage? Significant.

Now we have a whole "found footage" subgenre, in which lazy filmmakers just need to use a well-worn premise and give it a "found footage" spin, completely forgetting about the ingenuity which made Blair Witch such a phenomenon.

Now claims that a found footage movie is real feel half-hearted and perfunctory. And it falls on deaf ears because everyone knows better by now. You can't fool us again. There's no point bothering with found footage movies anymore, because everyone has lost interest in the subgenre as they despise its limitations and know it's not real. It's a shame, because there are good found footage movies out there, and they have been tarnished by poor imitators.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 5544 Average listal rating (3888 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.9
The Trend? 3-D

James Cameron is the 3-D format's biggest advocate. When Avatar was due for release, he started begging theatres to upgrade to 3-D screens and stated that the format was here to stay this time.

When studios and filmmakers realised the push in profits that 3-D has the potential to generate, they boarded the 3-D bandwagon without a second thought. And we all suffered.

The Damage? Abominable.

3-D was the "in" thing for about 6 months. But after the badly-converted Clash of the Titans and other subpar 3-D titles cheapened the format, people started rebelling against the surcharge and just stopped caring about the gimmick.

Now look where we are. 3-D is no longer a selling point, and audiences demand a 2-D option or else they'll refuse to see movies altogether. It's a shame, too -- good 3-D titles will not receive the push in profits they could've received if other filmmakers/studios were smarter.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 2594 Average listal rating (1708 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
The Trend? Colour correction

The Coen Brothers were among the first to scan footage from a high-profile release into a digital format during a post-production, and thus embrace the possibilities of colour correction. It worked extremely well for this quirky masterpiece, but it soon became the biggest post-production trick for every movie yearning for a "unique" digital look.

The Damage? Pretty bad.

Movies in the '80s and '90s have a gorgeous filmic texture generated by choice of film stock and the lighting designer. Red looks like red. Green looks like green. Flesh-tones look like skin. Things just look better.

Now we have the ubiquitous "orange and teal" phenomenon. It's the easiest and laziest colour timing scheme out there, yet it looks disgusting. Read: theabyssgazes.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/teal-and-orange-hollywood-please-stop.html
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 7838 Average listal rating (5654 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 9
The Trend? "Gritty realism"

The term "Nolanizing" has become pretty common over the years. It stems from films like The Dark Knight, which jettisoned a more fantastical approach in favour of a "gritty and grim" tone. The Dark Knight is not a masterpiece nor does the approach entirely suit the movie, but the trend deserves a mention on this list because of how fucking awful its damage has been on movies.

The Damage? Insurmountable.

Now every summer blockbuster and action movie has to be "dark", consisting of humourless characters standing around delivering serious dialogue with serious faces. Every trailer for a summer blockbuster has to have loud booming music to make us think it'll be dark, gritty and tense.

Give me Burton's vision of Batman any day. Nolan is sapping the fun out of modern cinema.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 8093 Average listal rating (5899 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 8.2
The Trend? Digitally-created creatures

When Jurassic Park entered cinemas in 1993, its mix of skilful puppetry, animatronics and phenomenal visual effects truly stunned movie-goers. At last, animals like dinosaurs could be convincingly created for the big screen thanks to ILM's boundary-pushing innovation. Sure, we'd seen CGI before, but this was CGI's debutante ball, showing that it really did have the potential to be the way of the future.

And now here we are in 2012, and barely any annual releases can come close to Jurassic Park's photorealism.

The Damage? Absolutely horrible.

Once CGI was tested by Jurassic Park, it started being used more often. But those filmmakers forgot that JP was so stunning due to the way it merged puppetry, animatronics and CGI. Strip these other elements out of the equation, and CGI simply does not look as good - it looks too artificial by itself.

So while films like The Lost World and Deep Blue Sea clung to live-action elements as much as possible, films like Godzilla gave the middle finger to them. And now we're left with the blockbusters of today, wherein performers play against green screens before being placed on entirely digital sets alongside digital combatants.

PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 2132 Average listal rating (1441 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Trend? Comedy with horror.

Horror films preceding The Evil Dead were entirely concerned with scaring you or making you cling to cinema arm-rests for dear life. But then along came Sam Raimi's little masterpiece, which dished up requisite chills and scares but also wanted you to laugh along the way.

After that, horror filmmakers started dropping the need for mood and tension, realising they could follow Raimi's example. And the consequences have irreversibly damaged modern cinema.

The Damage? Oh dear God...

Perhaps the worst thing that has come as a result of comedy-horror is that straight horror films can no longer be taken as straight. Now every time you go to a (supposedly) scary movie, you'll have snobby audience members who just laugh rather than being scared. In other words, even the best contemporary horror movies can no longer scare anyone because of how jaded they have become.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 2073 Average listal rating (1442 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
Airplane! (1980)
The Trend? Spoof movies.

Yes, there have been LOTS of spoof movies over the years, but Airplane! is the holy grail of spoofs. It also mainstreamed the concept of stealing plots/scenes wholesale from serious movies and destroying them with comedic circumstances. Sure, Mel Brooks did something similar, but Airplane! did it in a unique way.

Because the men behind Airplane! were actually, ya know, funny, their jokes always landed. They had a LARGE array of jokes in their arsenal; a fact that's lost on everyone else who set out to make spoof movies.

The Damage? Biblical.

As excellent as Airplane! is, it's still to blame for Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, Vampires Suck, etc, etc. Now we get a lot of spoof movies precisely because they're perceived as easy to achieve whereas, in reality, all the best spoof movies are anything but easy.

The art of spoofing is lost on this generation of filmmakers.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 10041 Average listal rating (7417 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.7
The Matrix (1999)
The Trend? Slo-mo "bullet time".

This technique was invented for a reason. In the scene in question, Neo dodges bullets with superhuman speed, and the slow motion was to convey this speed. Without the slow motion, the shot of Neo dodging bullets would've been fast and uninteresting, and it would barely register that Neo is actually dodging the bullets.

But the technique became rather popular due to its use in The Matrix. Filmmakers forgot the purpose of the technique, and just figured it'd be "cool" and "hip" to see bullets in slow motion. Now the technique is one of the most dreaded things in blockbusters.

The Damage? Woeful.

Michael Bay's slow motion fetish was likely jump-started by bullet time, and now every summer blockbuster needs to have a slow motion shot of a bullet travelling through the air. Now a reviewer just needs to mention the bullet time technique and it's a criticism.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 4679 Average listal rating (3168 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
The Trend? Summer blockbusters.

Jaws is widely regarded as the first summer blockbuster; the film which gave birth to what we now know as the summer movie season. When Jaws was released, it scored so much money at the box office. People kept flocking to it in droves. The word-of-mouth was unbelievable. Wasn't long before studio execs and filmmakers realised that action sells, and summer is a good place to put all of the action tentpoles.

But here's the thing: Jaws packed more than effects and shark action. Here is a film with good acting, strong characters, lots of tension and superlative storytelling. Its "less is more" approach is what allowed it to emerge as something truly special. Now look where we are...

The Damage? Almost unforgivable.

Jaws indirectly begat films like Transformers 2...
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 5313 Average listal rating (3789 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
300 (2007)
The Trend? CGI blood

300's use of CGI blood makes sense. An adaptation of Frank Miller's comic, Zach Snyder set out to do something similar to Sin City and create a digital look & feel reminiscent of the graphic novel.

With a hyper-real digital world, practical blood squibs weren't just impractical but impossible; we see bare flesh get cut open, and the flow of liquid is too unpredictable for the type of shots Snyder was aiming for.

So while it worked for 300, it didn't work for a lot of other movies which followed in its wake. Filmmakers just got lazy when they realised they could just shove cheapo blood effects into an action movie for some visceral impact.

The Damage? Arrrrrrgh!!

I like a lot of modern action movies, but it's undeniable that squib work would improve them dramatically. Some of the digital effects are better than others, but it still doesn't have the practical, real look that good old-fashioned squib work can bestow on a project.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
People who added this item 402 Average listal rating (287 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
Red Dawn (1984)
The Trend? PG-13.

In the early '80s, it became clear that a rating between PG and R was necessary, as movies like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came very close to getting an R rating despite their target audience mostly being children.

The early days of PG-13 were actually pretty damn good. Red Dawn remains a pretty violent movie, and other early PG-13s like Big Trouble in Little China and Licence to Kill were pretty freaking awesome.

However, crucially, content was not initially watered down to the detriment of the material. Yes, even PG movies like Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark needed to be trimmed and changed to avoid an R, but the coherence of scenes were never compromised. But then PG-13 ratings became the next big "in" thing, and movies with R-rated content are being neutered beyond comprehension for the sake of profits, hurting a production's integrity.

The Damage? Kill me now.

People have said that PG-13 movies get away with a lot more these days, which is utter bollocks. Red Dawn has more blood than every PG-13 action movie of the last five years, combined. For Christ's sakes, The Avengers had trouble getting a PG-13 because a character was speared and there was a bit of blood. The PG Jaws graphically showed a man being consumed by a shark with blood all over the place.

The PG-13 craze has led to movies like The Expendables 3, Terminator Salvation, Live Free or Die Hard, Alien vs Predator, and many more titles that should be for adults, but are instead specifically manufactured for the goddamn PG-13 rating so teeny-boppers can go see it.
PvtCaboose91's rating:
The Trend? Digital photography.

Let me just say that Attack of the Clones is not a good movie by any stretch, but its legacy deserves to be discussed on this list.

The movie started a push in Hollywood towards digital filmmaking, as it's a cheaper and easier alternative which can potentially yield some fantastic visuals.

But filmmakers just kinda lost sight of the fact that there's a time and a place for digital, and sometimes shooting a motion picture on film stock looks better and suits the material.

The Damage? *bangs head against the wall*

Look, David Fincher can create some amazing motion pictures with digital cameras. I've seen a number of digitally-shot movies which look sensational, including Sin City. I'm not saying digital as a whole is bad; I'm saying that some movies would benefit from a cinematic look and texture afforded by film stock.

Films are called fucking FILMS because they are composed on film stock. Cutting out 35mm or even 65mm shooting options is dangerous. Digital can look like vomit if applied to the wrong project, not to mention it looks cheaper (cause it is).

Movies shot on 35mm look generally more polished and professional. Because film stock is more expensive, every shot has to count, hence shots are carefully planned out and composed. Digital movies can be shot quicker and thus often lack that sort of professional look. So while 80s comedies such as Stripes look like real movies made by real filmmakers, today's comedies like The Heat look like movies made by a bunch of friends who think they're funnier than they actually are. Digital allows filmmakers to keep the camera rolling for as long as they want, and capture extended moments of improv. But discipline can oftentimes result in a stronger, tighter, more satisfying movie.
PvtCaboose91's rating:

A lot of trends in movies tend to really annoy movie-goers if they are overused. As a result, several trends are widely hated even though they are often started or made popular in good, sometimes great movies.

Suggestions welcome.

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