I was going to talk about my 20 favorite films of all time but decided that this topic would probably be better. As you guys may or not be aware, I make movies. I have directed numerous short films and two feature films. At the time of this writing, I’m currently working on putting together a third feature. That means you can trust my opinion on movies. Yeah, I’m fully aware that I like Super Mario Bros and the third Matrix film but I’m also a huge fan of Akira Kurosawa, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Howard Hawkes, and have even dabbled in some Ingmar Bergman. If you have no idea who any of those directors are, this post is most likely not for you.
The thing I’m trying to point out is that, as a filmmaker, I need the crap just like I need the brilliant pieces of cinema. The average person does not simply survive off of healthy food, because then they become snooty ass holes who look down upon everyone else. However, you also cannot survive off junk food alone. If I sat down and watched nothing but the Underworlds, the Shoot ‘Em Ups, and the Swordfishes I would get fat and lazy and not understand real films. However, if I sat down and watched nothing but the classics and art films, I’d become a douche bag who no one would enjoy working with.
What I’m trying to say is that if you want to be a filmmaker, you need to find a healthy balance of the junk food and healthy well-rounded meals. The junk food is what the movie going public mainly consumes, so you need to know what people like so they want to see your movie. However, if you want to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, you also need the well rounded meals so you can know what makes a good film.
It is very possible to make a junk food movie while still showing that you understand what makes a good film. This is why people love Quentin Tarantino; he knows what makes a good film but also knows how to cater to the movie going public. I’ve recently become annoyed by him only because so many people say he’s good because “the violence, the bad ass characters, the blah blah blah”. I do like QT, very much; Inglourious Basterds is easily one of my favorite films of all time. However, I wish people would notice all the homages he pays to great filmmakers like Howard Hawkes and Alfred Hitchcock and Kinji Fukasaku.
Sergio Leone was also a master of this craft. Upon release, the Man with No Name Trilogy was panned by critics by loved by the audience. He made gritty Westerns while paying homage to great directors like Akira Kurosawa (go see Yojimbo, it’s totally Fistful of Dollars, because Leone totally stole it) and John Ford.
That is why all people who want to make movies need to learn to balance the junk food with the well-rounded meals. You also have to be aware what’s what. If you sat down and ate a whole bag of candy and considered it a well-rounded meal, you would end up like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. That should be every aspiring filmmaker’s first goal, know the difference and go from there.
That’s all I really wanted to talk about today. I’ll work on putting together my top 20 next time.