03 November 2008

It Was All Right


A few movies are classics, some are excellent, many are good, some are bad and a few really, really stink. But there are also quite a few that are just okay.

What is it that makes them mediocre? Some are essentially weak films that benefit from strong performances or dazzling special effects or a toe-tapping musical score. Some are stronger overall films marred by plot holes or unsatisfying endings or one dimensional characters. Some simply fail to live up to months of build up and anticipation. Still others are comedy or action films that are fun but instantly forgettable.

We are less tolerant of mediocrity if we've shelled out full price at the theater. Indeed the missus and I often identify some films in advance as future rentals not worthy of current cinema prices.

Another variable is a movie's length. A two and half hour average film becomes a bomb, while an investment of only 90 minutes may elevate an ordinary work. I'd wager that most average films are of an average length.

Couple of days ago I watched an extremely mediocre film, Moliere (2007). A French film about...well guess who. There was much to recommend it. Some fine performances including Romain Duris in the title role, Laura Morante as the lovely "older woman" love interest and the sumptuous Ludivine Sagnier. Therein was one of the problems, Ms. Sagnier is a huge asset to any film and in this one such was vastly under-utilized. Much of the story revolved around an older man's infatuation with her and yet she was hardly on screen. Good films take advantage of their talent.

Moliere had a few chuckles in it, but not enough. The sets and costumes were grand, but then in such a film if they're not you're dealing with a real stinker. The story posited and its overall execution was just fine but rather conventional. Honestly I don't think I yawned or day dreamed throughout but neither was I inspired.

A really good movie about Moliere would have had me much interested in the man and his works. Didn't happen. I was amused but not moved. Actually one need not make a case for why a movie was okay. If you're going to say a movie was great or horrible than I believe it incumbent to explain yourself.

I suppose what an individual would consider bad films vastly out number ones we'd really like. However most of us are clever enough to avoid films we wouldn't like. Thus we rarely see what we'll ultimately consider a bad movie. Mediocrity is in huge supply and we're running across it all the time. Lunch was okay. We had an okay day. The game was okay. The song was okay. In fact, in reading over this post, I'd have to say it was just okay.

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