The movie filter

I’m on a roll here. Many blog updates in a row! Wow. Shame not many people read this anyway, but that’s alright…

Anyway I was talking to a friend at work about movies, and he mentioned that he’d recently seen Romeo Must Die. I said that never made my cut of movies to see, and then I had to explain how my movie filter works.

When I see a trailer for a movie, or even hear about a movie and who is in it, I will automatically place the title of that movie in a mental hierarchy, such as this:

1. See as soon as possible in the theater/cinema, preferably opening night – this covers good 3D movies like Avatar, action movies like Zombieland and Sherlock Holmes, epic movies like The Lord of the Rings, etc. Probably going on the DVD/Blu-Ray wish list as well.

2. See in the theater before it stops showing – this includes movies I’m sure I’ll like such as Coraline.

3. DVD wish list for future ownership, but not necessary to see on the big screen – movies like 40-Year Old Virgin, The Hangover, etc. Movies that aren’t ‘necessary’ to see on the big screen with full surround sound, and all the whiz-bang cinema stuff.

4. Borrow it from someone who will buy it. I don’t do this often (although I’m happy to lend out my copies…only one at a time so I know where everything goes!) but in the past this has included movies like Batman Begins, which turned into an eventual purchase.

5. Definite addition to the DVD rental list – this includes stuff like I am Legend, which I don’t think will be great but I want to see.

6. Look for it/record it on movie channel (HBO, Sky Movies, etc.) – at the moment I don’t have this ability anyway.

7. When the movie finally shows on cable, my ears will perk up and and I’ll look out for it, and record it if possible – reruns of Smokey and the Bandit and the like fall into this category. Of course this could be years down the line, possibly never, so something like Romeo Must Die and Don’t Mess with the Zohan will get shuffled into this category.

8. Perhaps controversially, the next-to-last level is to simply download the movie. Yes, I download stuff. I still  purchase plenty of movies (wanna see my Amazon wishlist?) and I rent loads as well (Lovefilm DVD rental FTW) but if I’m not sure about a movie and it’s been out a while I might download it and check it out. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few films (like Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto) and have had my suspicions confirmed by others (such as Steven Segal’s A Dangerous Man). So here’s what I do: if I liked the movie, I’ll add it to the future purchase list and spread the word it’s a good movie; if I didn’t like it I don’t buy it and probably keep my mouth shut, and it’s like nothing happened. See, everyone’s happy in the end.

9. And at the bottom-most level of my movie-watching list is the Never category. Into this falls all the instant shite movies like pretty much all RomComs (ROMantic COMedies, if you’re not down with the Hollywood lingo), anything with Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Steven Segal, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, Chuck Norris and a host of other deadbeats that should have given up their careers long ago.

So maybe that explains things. Maybe it doesn’t. But it’s a hell of a lot more info than I can squeeze into a Twitter comment!

Christmas movies and TV shows

I’m well into my movie-watching, as anyone who knows me can attest to, but when it comes to my holiday viewing pleasures I tend to stick with the tried-and-true stuff – movies I know I’ll like – rather than risk wasting time one something I’m not sure of.

In the US and the UK there’s a big emphasis on making the holiday programming easy for the various TV channels, and they set the computer to fill a day of programming with consecutive episodes of things like Bond movies, nature shows, documentary series and that sort of thing – kind of like how on Memorial/Remembrance Day the channels are stuffed full of WW2 documentaries.

I’m not really sure how Bond movies came to be a Christmas/Thanksgiving staple, but whatever – I think it’s because it’s the longest-running movie series the programmers can get the rights to.

I do like how the British TV shows have holiday specials…and I don’t mean a Christmas-themed episode of Friends or CSI – I mean it’s a common occurence to have the cast and writers from a long-defunct TV series get together to make a special show, long after the series ended. If you’re familiar with the The Office (UK) or The Royle Family, you know what I mean. Even less-popular shows I like such as Still Game (a Scottish show about two old Scotsmen) have a couple of holiday specials here and there. Every show doesn’t have a special, but sometimes when a TV series ends and the fans want to know ‘what happened next?’ and the creators of the show want to get together again, a really good follow-up holiday special gets made.

So anyway, here are the movies I like to watch every Christmas, in no particular order:

A Christmas Story (the one with the leg lamp and the kid who wants a BB gun)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (the animation is amazing, the songs are fun, the story is great)
Trading Places (an Eddie Murphy classic, and set around Christmas/New Year’s)
Elf (one of Will Ferrell’s greatest flicks)
…dammit I can’t think of any more! I’m going through my DVD set tonight to pick out movies to watch during the Christmas break, so I’ll add any more I find.