For a change of pace, today, I wanted to talk Film.  A movie, in my opinion, is pure entertainment and not much more.  Lots of fun.  Probably well written, but nothing really redeeming about it.  Sullivan’s Travels (a tremendous film) explains how these movies hold an important place.  I sure love a good movie!

But I’m talking about something else, today.  A film touches you in many ways. I don’t know if there’s a film out there which has all the characteristics I’m going to point out.  But it must have at least a few of them to be considered a “Film.”

Obviously, and foremost, it needs to be well written.  In my opinion, that’s the single most important factor.  I may be a bit prejudiced here, but I think it’s true.  A movie may have some of the other factors,  but if it’s not well written, if the story isn’t engaging, wanders around or leaves you scratching your head, it’s just not a film. It could have attractive actors, flashy special effects, but without the story it’s just another movie.

Another important characteristic is being well acted. I have chosen to watch a film just on the strength of its actors.  Doesn’t always work, but it helps if you have talent. I have found time and again that a good performance can save an otherwise waste of time.  Johnny Depp in everything (even movies or films I would normally show no interest in) makes it a joy. I’m of the belief that even a great actor can’t make bad material work, but I could be wrong.  Fine acting should definitely be a part of the honor of Film.

The cinematography also ranks high for me.  It is, after all, a visual medium.  Special effects are fun, can enhance scenes, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Cinematography is about light and shadow, camera angles and lenses.  Very technical stuff.  But oh so much about art, too.  It has to do with how a film looks, which in turn, evokes emotion.

I’m often in tune with the soundtrack of a film.  Sometimes just having great music can raise a movie’s rankings, for me.  1996’s Kingpin, though still probably a movie, has a bit more status because of the excellent soundtrack.

For me, though, the deciding factor rests in how the film leaves me feeling.  Do I remember images days after watching it? David Lynch is especially good at that.  Perhaps there were profound lines that I carry with me. It’s crucial that a film have some kind of message.  Or maybe if it shows a character’s growth into being a kinder, more loving person.  This kind of “purpose” will do nicely.  If the film has lifted my spirits, I will certainly put it in the running for Film.