So I'm going to see The King's Speech tomorrow and I'm still searching for a theater playing Rare Exports (short version, Santa meets The Thing, don't believe me, look it up, doubt I'll be able to find one though) and after that, I should have my top 10 films of the year soon after that. But that brought up a question in my mind; How much do you, my faithful readers, know about how I rate things.
By way of an example, if you were to ask me which Disney movie is my favorite, I would answer fairly quickly: Aladdin for reasons that are fairly obvious (I adore Robin Williams and it was the first movie I saw in theaters). On the other hand, if you were to ask me which of the Disney movies is best, again I would answer quickly: Beauty and the Beast, for a variety of reasons. So I figured it would be a good time to explain some of my thoughts on a film's quality (especially important since I refuse to quantify my opinions numerically).
The first I really consider is how much fun I had, which is ironic because a lot of times it's irrelevant. Let me explain. In my opinion the second best film of the last decade was No Country for Old Men and I did not enjoy it. At all. In fact, much of the time I felt oppressed or even brutalized by it (for more information just check on me after a viewing of A Clockwork Orange). But still, depending on the style of movie, if I enjoyed it, it can make up for a lot.
Another way is how successful it is at communicating it's ideas. This can be overridden if it forces you to think about the ideas, even if you don't get the idea across all the way on the first viewing. Terry Gilliam excels at this confusion, as does my personal idol, Stanley Kubrick (I've seen 2001:A Space Odyssey, IE my 4th favorite movie of all time, at LEAST a half dozen times and I'm still note entirely positive what it's on about). But if you can communicate your ideas well, then you'll often score a lot of points with me.
The downside of this is that I CAN be biased against certain ideas. Not inherently conservative or liberal ideas mind, but certain ideas. Twilight will always be working against bias because of how much I HATE it's themes.
Next up is technical details. Technical details are problamatic, especially cinematography because unless you do them INCREDIBLY (like in Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Shining or the CRIMINALLY underwatched Barry Lyndon) doing them well doesn't add a whole hell of a lot. On the other hand, if you fuck them up you can ruin the entire production (looking at you Michael Bay). Script, dialogue, etc are all important but that's obvious.
The final thing, of deceptive importance, is how original a movie is. This is twisty to explain. True Grit is, when you boil all the details away, a fairly simple story of a kid hiring 2 cowboys to hunt down her father's murders, and Black Swan is just about an artist throwing herself too far into her art and beginning to lose it. Neither of those are particularly unique storylines, but I'm a fan of Carl Jung (look him up) so most stories aren't going to be all that original. But by ramping up the details and infusing new life into it, you can make unoriginal stories FEEL original. This is important, because no matter what else, if your story feels unoriginal, than it'll cloud my judgement of it (Avatar and my up-and-down opinion of it, is the best example of this and no I'm not just referring to it's basic story).
So that has been a peek into how my mind works. Won't do it too often, don't want my readers to end up looking like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Arc.