cool recommendation, “into peripheral vision:”… thanks for bein a dude
For me to think a film is great it has to do one thing exceptionally well.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Before Sunset has exceptional dialog, Kill Bill has exceptional action, Satantango has exceptional mood and photography, Best Of Youth has exceptional characters, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has exceptional jokes.
I prefer a film that does one thing really well and everything else badly to a film that does everything just decently.
plot is least
interesting casting or behind scenes talent is most, I view each film as a continuation of an actor, writer or directors previous work and how it fits or doesnt into a whole
Interesting, convincing characters that I can get engrossed in (I don’t have to actually like or relate to them) are most important to me. Second is the film’s ability to create a complete world of its own, no matter how big or small.
@Machiko — I am relieved to hear someone else shares my distaste for Me You. Was starting to think I was the only one. Miranda July annoys the crap out of me.
Narrative! Narrative! Narrative! All other technical and stylistic choices either add or detract depending on how well it advances the story.
I would like to think there’s more to what may be termed narrative arts than the narrative! If you asked most great film artists and novelists, they would probably refuse to accept that every stylistic choice made was implemented to advance the story. In fact, most of what makes film and novels interesting is what isn’t advancing the story.
Most important film ‘components’: aural, visual, temporal
Most important: framing.
Least important: living up to critical standards.
Oh, and for the record, re: Me, You, and Everyone We Know:
The issue of every character having Miranda July’s voice is spot on. But furthermore, the problem of that voice is that it’s sooooooooooOOOOOOooooOOOOOOOO fucking naive. July could be twelve for all her worldview relates to reality.
At first I thought it was just me, and then I saw another short film of hers, and visited her website. Yeah, homegirl’s creative, but strikes me as the type that would giggle uncontrollably if you had to eat your cereal with a fork.
I’m only occasionally bothered by what people call bad acting. It’s not so much that acting is unimportant to me, but that I find a pretty wide range of acting styles plausible. I think it’s easy to make the mistake of judging acting relative to other acting as opposed to comparing to the vast range of how people actually behave in real life. In the same vein, I’m also rarely bothered by films where characters behave stupidly, because well, that’s how people often are. The same again for what people often call plot contrivances.
I am almost completely uninterested in story. Actually on second thought that’s not accurate. What I am uninterested in are the details of the story you find in a plot summary. Films that are just a run through of those details feel like wastes of time to me. Quite a few critically adored films have, aside from a few moments of interest, felt flat to me for this reason. The Godfather and A City of Sadness for example.
Intellectual depth does not effect my opinion of a film. If, on reflection, I can understand the film with reference to some academic concept, or find symbolism in a use of a particular colour system, or show that the film is an analogy for something, then this is intellectually interesting, but it doesn’t have any relevance to my opinion on the aesthetic value of a film. This way of relating to films as if they are puzzles that one has to solve only gets in the way of aesthetic appreciation.
What I find important in a film is two things – the state of mind it puts me in, and whether it contains moments of transcendence. The state of mind I am put in by a film can make feel either positively or negatively about it, but moments of transcendence are always a good thing. These two components are, in my experience, usually the result of the way that sound, cinematography and editing complement one another, as well as the tone of the dialogue.
Forget to mention in my earlier post, the importance of potent atmosphere and/or nostalgia. Gets me every time.
Nonhomogeneous, Superb post! Lots of insights I hadn’t fully thought of or through, especially the last paragraph.
Least important: actors’ and directors’ politics and/or personal flaws in real life.
That may place me in a minority.
I like Jane Fonda (almost always) and I like Mel Gibson (sometimes).
I like John Wayne and I like Martin Sheen.
And I love Elia Kazan.
I normally don’t care about the so called bad acting either (actually I don’t know what’s bad acting if that makes sense). Except in extreme cases (for instance student films where acting is strange or Keanu Reeves) I usually “incorporate” to the character all what the actor does.
Since cinematography is my thing that’s what I focus on. It is subjective of course. I enjoy interesting choices as much as beautiful, “knockout” photography.
Dialog is also very important. A film with stilted, unbelievable dialog is almost unbearable(House Of Mirth/ The Golden Bowl).
I don’t really know what would bother me the least because if anything in a film is done bad enough it will ruin the whole thing.