Great Expectations

You just know when a movie is going to be good, right? You see that “coming soon” poster or watch the previews and you get that tingling sensation that says, “I have to see this movie!”

What if you don’t? What if you watch the 90 second trailer and think to yourself, “Not only do I not want to see that movie, I’m kind of upset that I had to watch the trailer.”?

Worse than that—what if you see the trailer, get excited about the film, but experience a huge let-down with the movie? All the good parts were in the 90 second preview.

Building up a movie for greatness can really hurt when the film is a stinker. I’m not just talking about differences in taste. There are plenty of movies that I like that other people don’t get, and vice-versa. I might love whodunits and not care for musicals. Another might enjoy dramas but not true crime. That’s not what I mean here. I’m talking bad story-telling.

There are movies out there that are made just because there was a contract for a sequel or the studio (or other entity) felt the overwhelming need to profit from a popular theme or timely event. Instead of investing in a quality story, they slapped together two hours of celluloid and called it a movie.

It might still have elements of other great motion pictures. Maybe there’s a guy and girl that get together at the end. Maybe there are fight scenes and a big chase sequence. Maybe there’s music or a funny scene with an awkward side-kick. But even with all of these pieces, if the movie doesn’t tell a clear story, I find myself disappointed.

Occasionally there’s a film that has a great basic story, but the resolution is so lack-luster that it leaves you in a haze of dissatisfaction. I recently watched a movie where the writer kept hinting at a major player as the villain, and then at the end, the bad guy turned out to be an incidental character. The film never gave him any real personality to despise. I spent most of the movie wondering if the heroine was even sane, and the rest of the characters were stereotypical and bland.

Don’t get me wrong; I love movies. I thoroughly enjoy motion picture story-telling. It has the potential to teach and move people like no other medium. It just has equal potential to fail as well.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

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