Hollywood to Bollywood: What makes a movie good?

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Hollywood to Bollywood: What makes a movie good?
In the past decade, the price of going to the movies has skyrocketed! At the close of
2012, average ticket prices had topped $8 a person (Lieberman). Unfortunately, this average is
somewhat skewed by discount deals; the actual cost per ticket for a first run movie during peak
hours is more like $10 to $12 dollars – more for 3-D. Armed with these startling figures, when I
set out to see a movie, I want to make sure that I am going to get the best deal for my money, but
how can I determine if the film is worth the price? What makes a movie good?
Ask ten people this question, and you will get ten different answers. Good directing,
believable acting, and a good script top many people’s list; however, it isn’t always as easy as
that. Critics have a lot of influence over what’s hot and what’s not, but even movie experts can’t
agree on what makes a box office hit. It has become an urban legend how advertising executives
of Mars Candy passed on using their M&M candies in a movie from a relatively unknown
writer/director. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial became not only a box office smash, but one of the
most loved films of a generation. Even George Lucas had trouble selling his ideas to studio
heads! But this really doesn’t answer the question of why Star Wars is now a multi-billion dollar
franchise while others movies are doomed to obscurity.
Today’s popular movies like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings are increasingly driven by
sophisticated computer graphics. Since the mid-70’s, studios have raced to see who could come
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up with the most outstanding special effects. “You’ll really believe a man can fly” was the tagline from 1978’s Superman. Forest Gump pushed the bounds of believability by putting an actor
into an historic piece of footage. It really looked like he was shaking hands with a dead
president! But what if special effects are not your thing? The question still lingers of what brings
people out to the movies?
One of the first places many people turn for a recommendation is their friends.
Unfortunately, my best friend is a horror film fanatic, but I refuse to even watch. My preference
is for movies that have been based on a book, and it is fun to see just how closely the director’s
vision comes to my own interpretation of the scenes and characters. To me there is nothing more
disappointing as seeing a novel-based movie and having it appear nothing like I had pictured.
Likewise, I don’t like movies that change major elements between the book and the movie. A
notable exception was the ending of The Horse Whisperer. For once, I liked the ending of the
movie better than the book, and for several reasons: the male lead doesn’t sleep with the leading
lady, she doesn’t leave her husband, and everyone lives to the end of the movie! In my mind at
least, Redford created a superior character with these changes.
When asked the question “What makes a good movie?”, other people’s answers included
rising and falling action, intriguing story lines, unique plots, and movies that didn’t just drag on
(Yahoo! Answers). Not every movie is going to appeal to everyone. I know I am no judge of a
good movie – I fell asleep in Chariots of Fire. Even a movie with a favorite actor is no guarantee
that I will like it. I usually like John Travolta movies, but I left Pulp Fiction with the thought,
“That’s two hours of my life I won’t be able to get back!” Perhaps good movies, like beauty, are
in the eye of the beholder.
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Works Cited
Lieberman, David. “Movie Ticket Prices Hit New High in 2012 with a Modest Increase Over
2011.” Deadline Hollywood. PMC, 11 Feb 2012. Web. 7 April 2013.
“POLL: what makes a good movie to you??” Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo! Inc., 8 April 2013. Web.
8 April 2012
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