Sunday, January 3, 2016

The 40/60 Split

It doesn't take much to entertain me, cinematically speaking.  I latch on to anything that strikes me as interesting, be it acting, plot, choreography, or effects. Sometimes just having a fascinating concept is enough (CLOUD ATLAS). I do have some standards.  I'll ditch a boring (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY) or uninspiring (THE GUEST) movie pretty quickly, and romantic comedies are my kryptonite (making Kate Hudson my Lex Luthor).  For all movies, however, I pay more attention to what I like than what I don't. I'll enjoy a movie for particular scenes, even if it doesn't satisfy as a whole.  I call it the 40/60 Split. As long as I dig 40% of the movie, it's worthwhile to me. 

The entertainment percentage isn't measured by the running time.  It's non-scientific and completely subjective.  Exceptional scenes earn higher scores. On a rare occasion, a single scene can constitute the full 40%. BOONDOCK SAINTS just barely hits the magic ratio based solely on Willem Dafoe's "There was a fire fight!" scene. I don't know if I'll ever suffer through the whole thing again, but I will champion the weirdness of that scene to anyone. 

It can swing the other way, too. I loved the first 72 minutes of HIGH TENSION, but hated the ending so much it almost sunk the entire thing under the threshold.  And well-made doesn't always mean entertaining.  A whole movie's worth of watchable but mediocre content won't cut it (cough, COLOMBIANA). I think Immortan Joe would agree.

Just because I have a nonstandard rating system doesn't mean I'm going easy on a film. It has to reach 60% for me to really like the movie.  Love is over 80%.  Only a handful of films have ever made it to 100% entertainment (ALIENS, FIGHT CLUB, FURY ROAD, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, to list a few). Forty percent only means you got my attention. Good hustle, kid. I may be inclined to give that director or actor another shot, hoping for better. I guess this makes me an optimist. 

It also makes me feel a bit out of place with the Internet, which can seem like an awfully cynical place sometimes. It's a pity, because I think it's healthier to focus on the positive and the potential rather than wallowing in the negative. Don't get me wrong, I can unleash an unholy fury on things that really rub me the wrong way. I'm sure I will do so here at least a few times. But railing against something endlessly without any constructive acknowledgements just drags you down after a while. It's exhausting and it doesn't get you anywhere. And yes, I do realize it actually does get some people really far, but I don't care for the place it takes them. 

So lighten up, Internet. There's some good shit out there, mixed in amongst the regular old shit. Would it kill you to be nice?

C Chaka

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