Feature:What’s Entertainment?

Son of a motherless goat. That’s genius. You fucking secretary. You’re a cantaloupe. These are just some of the things my closest friends would yell at me when expressing an opinion about a movie. Isn’t taste subjective? Isn’t my opinion as legitimate as yours you arrogant bunch of cocksuckers? Clearly, with this much emotion involved, most people believe that there are some sort of objective standards of entertainment. But then I look at movies like Meet the Fockers, Shrek The Third and The Da Vinci Code all grossing well over $500 million at the box office; I at least hope that someone is being entertained by this despite the fact that all three of these movies lack any hints of entertainment to me. Where are your standards now? Why do people watch this shit? Is entertainment actually more subjective? Entertainment can’t just be objectively on the screen, nor can it be totally subjective in the individual. It must be somewhere in between. Like a good old-fashioned buddy movie, it’s the relationship between the two that counts.

What makes a good movie, good? Movies are complex. Sight and sound, story and setting, action and emotion. Part of the critics’ role is to break this down. Into plot, cinematography, acting, editing, directing, soundtrack. So is there a tick list to what makes a good movie? Great movies are greater than the sum of its parts. There’s elegance, finesse, harmony to the overall composition. It is the critics’ job to make these recommendations, so that the viewer may have the same good experience. All you have to do is find a critic whose taste is closest to yours; whose passions, reactions and pleasures are nearest to yours. But you’re never gonna be the same person you are right now. And every experience that is similar to a previous one becomes increasingly, well, dull. We forever strive for difference, complexity, variation. Better entertainment, hidden references, insightful details, subtle revelations.

Bad movies? They provide the same shit on a different day. Like sand, it’s coarse, rough and irritating; and it gets everywhere. If you enjoy some these bad movies you only have two options as to why. Firstly, it could be some sort of social aspect, talking with people about it; experiencing the movie with other people. But good movies are worthy of more than that. More time, labour, attention and money. In return it will reward us. We might learn something about others and about ourselves. The only other excuse is ignorance. The truth is, to you, these movies are original, and entertaining. These movies have engaged you, helped you to empathise, helped you to escape, because you don’t know any better. You are, for want of a better word, ignorant. Or maybe you suffer from space dementia.

So what’s the problem? Too many movies, especially from Hollywood, are given some sort of diplomatic immunity and are allowed to pass under the radar of “entertainment”. Your diplomatic immunity has just been revoked. Ignorance might be bliss but it is still ignorance. You can always look back, and see any hidden references, insightful details or subtle revelations at a later date so why worry your simple mind about it now.

Doesn’t it depend on the type of movie you want to watch? In the end it boils down to what you want, doesn’t it? So what do you want? Scary movies, dramatic movies, funny movies; funny like a clown? There to amuse you? Unfortunately, you’re probably more predictable than that. All you want is to empathise and to escape. Every movie has to give you enough to empathise with but be original enough to escape into. Anyone who truly likes movies will remember a great movie that changed them. The movie which amazed them and opened there eyes to how good movies can be. A good movie can make you feel like you’re the king of the world. You learn that movies can do this. Sometimes I feel like there’s so much beauty in the world. I feel like I can’t take it. And at that moment I truly believe that I’m the dude; and if I can change, you can change. Too much? Everybody can change.

So what do I want? All I want is a movie that will repeat this experience; to help me realise that this shit just got real and to be, well, entertained.

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