Movies versus Films

Right, these are my definitions and no one elses. If you want to use them feel free. Please do, in fact I'll feel proud if you do. Lots of pride! This is what I think in response to when people (mad people) ask me why people will go to see rubbish films at the cinema whilst disregarding good small budget films. Or why big business films invariably beat small films. The best example of this, I am told, is Vanilla Sky versus Open Your Eyes.

First I'll deal good vs bad. I think there are two types of things people see at the cinema; movies and films. Bear with me here a minute and I'll explain. Something can be both a movie and a film. Everything that comes out is a movie. Some are better movies than others. Some things that come out are films- these are artistic. Some examples...Planet of the Apes by Tim Burton is a movie. It looks and sounds great with great special effects. An audience will watch it and then leave the cinema none the wiser but suitably entertained (please don't have a go at me for Burton's not being as good as the original, at least it was a good movie...). The original Planet of the Apes was a great film but by todays standards, not such a great movie. It was a great film because it raised all sorts of good issues that made you think; such as human's treatment of animals and also each other. But it didn't look as good as Burton's. It was slower and more demanding. It was less entertaining for those wanting to catch a quick flick at the multiplex. Now there's no question which I'd rather see. But for the average person wanting a bit of fun I'd have to recommend Burton's remake. Do you see?

This is why movies can come out, like Mission Impossible, and do well. And they should do; they are great movies. People want a bit of entertainment. But I call upon the example of Spielberg's AI. Here was a great movie- it looked and sounded great. But it was also a great film, raising all sorts of moral questions. But it didn't do well at all in the cinema. Why? Were people put off by it looking a bit obscure? were people worried they'd have to think a bit too much about it? Now don't get me wrong, I'm as bad as the next guy. AI came out the same time as Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge wasn't strong as a film but it pushed new boundries for movies. You didn't have to think, you just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I chose Moulin Rouge over AI and saw it first. I enjoyed it more than AI. But it wasn't a better film.

Now lets have a ganders at Vanilla Sky and Open Your Eyes. They were both great films (both score the same as films, being identical in that respect), but Vanilla Sky was the better movie. Why. Simple fact is that it was funded by big business (Not a bad thing by any means, but I'll come to my gripe later). This meant it could afford to hire Time Square for an hour one morning to get that classic scene impossible for Open Your Eyes. It had Tom Cruise and Cameron Crowe behind it from the start (When something's got Cruise in it you know it will be a good movie- people are entertained by those good looks, not to mention Cruz and Diaz's). Crowe was able to use computers to create lush and gorgeous looking vanilla coloured skys over New York, and was able to buy the rights to use Radiohead in the opening few mintues. Say what you like about the details in difference in plot, essentailly they were the same film. This is why Open Your Eyes wouldn't do well if it was shown in all cinemas nationwide. People just wouldn't feel like they'd get enough entertainment from a Spanish film with unheard of actors and no special effects. As good a film it is, it isn't enough these days to attract everyone to go and see it. It needed something else. It needed what Vanilla Sky gave it. Simple as that...I think.

So there you have; people have become fussy and demanding, asking for what only Big Business can afford to give it. And this is my criticism. Invariably more and more movies are losing any sense of being artistic at the exspense of merely having the ability to pull in large revenues. If we continue to snub 'interesting' films than will all the interesting things that make up movies dry up? After all, admit it, we would never have heard of Open Your Eyes if it wasn't for Vanilla Sky and we wouldn't have ever seen Vanilla Sky if it wasnt for Open Your Eyes. Think about it...

I'm sorry if any of this is confusing or doesn't make sense. You know how it is, when you know something, you just can't adequately explain it to someone. Just someone please write something to agree or disagree with me. Preferably to agree.