Ok I have a confession to make, I like to read movie reviews on the internet . . . lots of them. While there are a handful of reviewers I feel are informative and genuinely helpful in deciding what movies to watch (my favorite being MaryAnn Johanson at flickfilosopher.com), I have to say the majority are crap. The problem with most reviewers is they place themselves and their opinions above the movie going experience, as if they are an official arbiter of what a 'good' movie is. They feel a need to be 'objective' and 'journalistic' in their approach, meanwhile suppressing their actual reaction to a movie in favor of their estimation of what the general public will like. The resulting reviews are dull, scared, and trite. Sorry but I don't need a complete stranger to tell me what he or she thinks I will like. Just tell me if what you like and why, and I'll decide if I trust you.
Well as you've probably surmised by now, we here at Guiltless Pleasures © are all about honest responses to a piece of entertainment. I don't pretend to be anything other than a flawed human being with honest reactions to pretty lights and sounds. I have my own biases which will not coincide with everyone else's. However, do not fear that this will become the home of meandering word salads gushing about my favorite things, the scientist in me won't let that happen. Instead, my meandering will be tightly structured into the Guiltless Format.
So what's the guiltless format? Glad you asked. Another failing of mainstream movie critics is they spend most of their time talking about the filmakers: actors and directors mostly, but also cinematographers, composers, producers, writers, and so on. There's nothing wrong with giving great performers their due, but I've always looked at the people involved in the process as a means to an end. In the end, the purpose of a piece of entertainment is to elicit a reaction from those that see or hear it. When experiencing a movie and attempting to express my response to it, my first thought is always about how it made me feel rather than "so & so was great in it." Granted different types of movies aim to elicit different reactions from the audience, and likewise, I'll enjoy different movies for different reasons. While it's probably impossible to quantify how much I liked something, I'm gonna try anyway by rating things I see in each of 9 categories, nine reasons I may like or dislike something. Without further ado, the Guiltless Format:
1.) Laughs: This is the easiest to explain, but one of the hardest to elicit. Laughs make life good. If something I see makes me laugh, its worth something, period. Sense of humor is a very peculiar, personal thing, which is why its one of the hardest things for film reviewers to write about (and to predict from your own reaction to something) but I'm gonna try anyway.
2.) Tears & Lumps: In the throat, that is. Another one easy to explain. Movies that make you sad are worth something too. Granted, I'm less often in the mood to cry at something than to laugh, but it's still an honest reaction and something to consider when evaluating a work.
3.) Awe: Most often manifested as chills down your spine. A feeling of awe from movies is rare but the effect is devastating. If something makes me feel awe, I can almost never dislike it.
4.) Thrills: The adrenaline rush of the guiltless format. Thrills usually come from action scenes. Rarely are they good enough to elicit genuine thrills.
5.) Dread: It's a very worthy goal for a movie to elicit dread in my opinion. Like thrills, genuine dread is elusive and noteworthy.
6.) Investment: One of the harder categories to define; investment occurs when a movie successfully makes you feel for the characters and and universe that are presented. You can tell if your invested if you look forward to seeing what happens next. Usually to generate most of the other responses I've described, some investment is neccessary.
7.) Twists: Unexpected plot twists are hard to come by. When they happen they're typically welcome.
8.) Bizareness: Being weird usually doesn't hurt. The bizarre factor can make entertainment worthwhile even when other responses are lacking.
9.) Spectacle: Despite being overly relied on in the age of the blockbuster, sheer spectacle can still enhance a work when used properly (i.e. when it's not the only point).
For the most part these will be rated on a scale of 1-10, however, there will always be exceptions, some things just break the mold.
Looking forward to actually using this format.