Movies are a massive part of our society. We see, critique, talk about and dream about being in movies. There is a basic "checklist" that movies seem to follow to get great ratings. It goes: love triangle, action, funny one-liners and explosions. Many movies have profited from this, such as "The Avengers," "Hunger Games," "Star Wars" and the "Bourne" series. For this reason, many movies, such as indie or documentaries, are ignored. I do not believe that this is fair, because two of the most influential movies that I have ever seen have not meet all of these requirements.
My parents take me to many movies, and I am always skeptical if I have never heard of them or seen trailers. I go online to see the trailer first, and usually I am just convinced enough to go see it. After I see it, I am always amazed at how that good the movie is, despite the fact that it did not get more publicity.
I remember about two years ago my parents told me we were going to see a movie. I naturally got really excited and we got ready to go. We walked down to about 60th street and stood in front of a small theatre I didn't recognize. I stopped walking and asked, "I thought we were going to go see a movie?" To this, my parents simply laughed, because I had only been exposed to highly commercial movies, not indie movies. We walked in and I was in a clearly sour mood, feeling as though I had been tricked. I immediately took my phone out and started playing Angry Birds. There was no popcorn, soda or candy. I kept thinking, "This was going to be the worst movie."
The lights went down, and the movie started immediately without ads. The name came on screen; it was called "Man on Wire." It was a thrilling documentary about the tightrope walker Phillip Petit. Phillip planned for six years the greatest tightrope-walking stunt ever. It was massively illegal, dangerous and stupid, but amazing to learn about. He planned to put a metal wire between the tops of the Twin Towers and walk across them in broad daylight for everyone to see.
The movie was amazing. It was invigorating to watch him and his friends plan and create fake identities to get into the buildings, shoot the arrow with the wire from one building to the other, and many other moments. It was one of the greatest movies I had ever seen, and I expressed it vividly. I constantly talked about it and wanted to go see it again.
The second example was during the fall of 2012 when my parents took me to a little more obvious theatre. We saw another fantastic indie movie. This movie was subtly great. It was called "Robot and Frank." In "Robot and Frank," Frank was an elderly man who needed the assistance of the maid equivalent of a robot. Frank then finds a way to use it to his advantage. It was such a great movie that deserved so much more publicity. The funny thing was that Robot and Frank didn't have explosions, it didn't have action every single moment and it had a moral to the story. So why did I find it so great?
I believe that movies like "Robot and Frank" and "Man on Wire" aren't meant to keep you entertained. I believe they are meant to tell a story. When I watched "Man on Wire," I didn't think, "I am so bored, this movie needs more action right now." Instead, I thought, "How could I have never heard of a movie this good?" I now know the answer.
Our collective likes and dislikes in movies have crafted a stiff regiment for what makes a "good" movie. I mentioned my list of guidelines earlier in this blog and most massively successful movies have followed it. I believe that to find truly amazing movies, we have to step out of our comfort zone and try the unexpected.