Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Protected Child - Movies We Defend

Having spent the last week going through each Harry Potter film from beginning up until now, it got me reflecting on movies that people like to bash that I often feel as if I spend more time defending than I do enjoying. Movies like Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, who through the 'alright' direction of Chris Columbus have become the go to stomping stone for anyone in need of a quick slide at the Potter series. I for one enjoy the movies and think they capture the wonder and awe of the magical world J.K. Rowling created in their accompanying novels. Sure, they aren't exactly masterpieces in their own right, but they are what they needed to be. A draw, charming and enticing that lured in readers and set them up for the tale to come. The same could be said of the films.

I've always hated the notion of defending a movie, but I do understand its place. There is a line between disagreeing about someone with a movie and believing they're approaching it from the wrong direction. Perhaps it's because you feel their expectations are blinding them from the quality of the film, or that they are misinterpreting key aspects of the plot. So, it has on more than one occasion come to pass that I find myself 'defending' - in my own way - these early Potter journeys when people get riled up and hop on the bash machine (run ride if you've never been). Another such film in the series is Deathly Hallows Part 1. But these aren't the only ones.

At points in my life I took up the cause of the second and third Matrix films, the 2005 version of King Kong, and the pre-Drunken Angel works of Kurosawa (nothing but love). Other films have come and gone from this level of protection, depending on my passion for them vs my desire to get caught up unnecessary arguments.

So, I ask - what movies (whether you love them or just enjoy them) do you find yourself defending and why?

10 better thoughts:

Will said...

Harry Potter, particularly Goblet of Fire. I don't know why many of my friends consider it as the weakest HP film. (I find Prisoner substandard, actually)

Then there's Slumdog Millionaire and Inception.

Ruth said...

I kinda find myself defending the Australian version of Macbeth. I know it's no masterpiece, and I point out my own problems with it when I do, but I honestly don't think its a bad film!
On a slightly related topic, my friend is a Jane Austen basher (books and any related film/tv series) and I always get riled up and try to defend (but I fail, she's very stubborn. If she doesn't enjoy Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, I don't know what to do, haha)

John said...

I'm a staunch defender of "Hot Fuzz". Between the cult followings for both "Scott Pilgrim" and "Shaun of the Dead", you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks that "Hot Fuzz" was the best of Edgar Wright's trio of films. But I am that person. The comedy in it is just so pitch-perfect, with one set-up and gag after another rising to a perfect comic crescendo in the final 20 minutes. I think it was the best of a very good trio of movies. That said, I'm not sure that's the kind of thing you're looking for. I don't think anyone disliked "Hot Fuzz" so much as they see it as Wright's lesser film.

It's become vogue to rail on Kevin Smith (with good reason in a lot of cases) but I'll always defend "Clerks" as a film that resonated perfectly with the times.

Scorsese's "Shutter Island" is another film that I'll defend. I find that a lot of viewers and critics alike are so eager to rail against the flaws that they overlook all the things that it does so very well.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I recently saw The Tourist and wondered why critics had bashed it so hard - I found it enjoyable. And everyone hated Tron: Legacy, while I thought it was fun and a visual treat. I mean really - go back and watch the first Tron. Now that sucked!

"Yojimbo_5" said...

There is no accounting for taste; things hit us individually and we need to remember (well...I need to remember) that we all bring our collective garbage to a theater or a living room when we sit to watch. But, no one can be completely objective. I like the early Potter films (and especially Prisoner of Azkaban) because thjey had more of a sense of magic to them. No, I didn't read all the books (I stopped with Sorcerer's Stone), so I don't know how the movies relate to the collective details of the film (nor do I care), I look at the films as individual chapters, and whether they tell a story coherently and passionately. Sure, the kids might be a little rusty at the beginning, and their performances have made gazelle-like leaps film to film, but I like Columbus' business with all sorts of little details in the frame—the sense of floating candles and inhabited paintings being commonplace to not make a big deal about them. And Cuaron had a great sense of pace and emotion, which the latter films (I feel) lack. I'll always defend Kubrick to the nay-sayers. I'll defend John Wayne performances (when he's good). I have yet to see the "Judo Club" films (although i have them), but I'm looking forward to seeing Baby Akira in action. :D

Aditya said...

I had to sometimes defend two movies in particular , coz the directors according to many had other exemplary work to show.

The Prestige is one, more so after two great movies by Mr. Nolan that followed it "The Dark Knight" & "Inception". I still believe that The Prestige had everything that should put it among the great ones. It had the heart and the art that makes a great movie.

"Unbreakable" by Shyamalan. Sixth Sense was an amazing piece but I believe he brought something of his own with Unbreakable. Its an amazing story with more emotions and feelings.

Nikhat said...

The amount I defended Social Network last year...oh my good lord! People are such phony emotional douches. That film was brilliance!

And ofcourse Harry Potter. I also defend Scott Pilgrim, POC and good Bollywood films a lot. Yes many of them are terrible, but the good ones need to be applauded.

Andrew K. said...

I can't believe Nickhart has to defend SCOTT PILGRIM. How can someone not like that movie. Heh.

Defending is so problematic because it implies that the movie you're defending can't stand on its own...something's awry and it needs to be defended, but as you said - sometimes it's necessary. I've spent a great deal of time defending THE ENGLISH PATIENT.

Simon said...

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Boat That Rocked, Southland Tales (until I saw the Nines and realized just how horrible Richard Kelly was at conveying apocalyptic chaos). On the opposite end, fuck the first two Harry Potters. I didn't even like them when I was supposed to, they were the reason I didn't start reading the books until I was, like, 11.

Dylan said...

Haha - I'm with Simon on Southland Tales. James Ewing and I will gladly talk up that flick (all the while recognizing how flawed it is).

Though what first came to mind for me was Point Break. Now, a lot of people like this movie...but I feel like I'm one of the few that doesn't look at it as some guilty pleasure to be ashamed of. And sure, I can laugh at it along with the guys from Hot Fuzz, but it's unabashedly one of my favorite action films. People give Reeves a lot of shit, but if he can't and doesn't succeed in playing a straight arrow cop-turned-surfer, then just WTF is he good for? (Which is to say that I think he's a perfect fit for the material.) The action is taut, within-the-realm-of-believable, and, well, the movie's just damn cool!

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