Happy Belated New Year, btw. Sooner or later I'll post a 2007 recap and maybe some goals for 2008, but not today.
Instead, I feel like sharing with you a personal oddity regarding movies.
Behold, a list. And shortly, a meaning:
Live Free Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4)
The Big Hit
Shoot Em Up
Mission Impossible 2
Way of the Gun
Now, what I'm trying to sort through, is how and why I can enjoy some action movies that are noticeably tongue-in-cheek, while hating and being miserable about some other action movies, which are also seemingly tongue-in-cheek.
Bear with me a bit, because I still have a headcold, and so it may be muddling this already-muddled thing up, but the list above is an attempt to outline for you, dear and interested reader, a group of movies are generally action oriented (Space provided for you to disagree at the bottom), that contain movies that I both love and dislike.
For those of you who cannot pull yourselves away from this insightful post, let me dig a little deeper.
My friends universally, and sometimes angrily, disparage my critiquing of movies, you might even say that they critique my critiques of cinema. You see, I find myself in a tight spot. I am at a loss to explain how I can enjoy Shoot Em Up and Smokin' Aces and The Big Hit (The Big Hit especially), and yet hate Face/Off, and Mission Impossible 2, and Domino and Die Hard 4. See.. they seem to all fall into much the same genre. ACTION. Not much in the way of well conceived plot ("Oh no! someone hacked the internet to steal all the money!"). My first guess is dialog. I enjoy a movie with some wit and cleverness. While I admit that I sometimes enter into a movie with a preconceived notion, which renders me predisposed to find the movie preposterous. But I wanted to like the Die Hard 4 movie when I saw it. I knew it had some "wacky internet" stuff in it, but I sat down with the intention of enjoying it. And I admit that I didn't gouge my eyes out with forks. I enjoyed it, purely for a way to pass the time with friends. But to rate it, solely on its cinematic virtues, I'd give it low marks.
Tangentially, why did I include Way of the Gun and Departed in my list? Well, partly because I have a headcold, party because I enjoyed both movies, and partly too, to show that some ACTION movies can be tight, well written, well plotted, and make a little sense. Neither features hovering jet planes or motorcycles. (As an aside from my tangential point, the other morning, I lay in bed with an idea for a book in my head. Certain that I would spring from the bed and get to writing, I no sooner had the springing from the bed part down than I realized that the book I was going to write was pretty much the Way of the Gun. man, I love that movie.)
So, since I'm just rambling on here, and could probably continue to do so, since I like to hear/read myself, I'll attempt to wind down.
Those action-y movies (minus way of the gun and departed) all require you to turn your brain off to some extent, or to suspend your disbelief. I'm not sure why it is that in one movie, when the good guy shoots 50 bad guys without breaking a sweat, I chuckle and think "Hah awesome! how over the top and fun!", while when another movie does much the same thing, I think "Oh come on, give me a break, you can't be joe-nobody AND superman!". Is it just my hypocrisy hopping up and smacking me around a little?