The following is a blog (of sorts) where I discuss movie-related and site-related thoughts that I can't express within the confines of a normal review. Some of them may be responses to e-mail I've received, trailers I've seen, or just an overall theme not specific to a movie. Most of these writings are meant strictly for me, but I do consider them of potential interest to those of you that love movies or are just interested in the running of the site in general. I welcome any feedback you might have on any of the subjects listed in this (or any other) section of my site.
10/22/2006 -- If I can't do it, it must be a good movie!
I appreciate getting notes of encouragement from readers out there, and as long as I do, I find the energy to keep this site going. However, there's just something almost equally gratifying about getting an e-mail slamming me for a review of some stupid movie out there barely worth sticking up for. In the case of this next e-mail, that movie is the insipid gymnastics movie, Stick It, which is chock full of clichés, dumb characterizations, and barely perceptible plotting. Here it is in its entirety from someone named Laurie:"ur stick movie rating is a load of shit.....its a good movie specially for all the gymnasts out there.........like my self........nd how u said...the music video aspect of the film is about the only thing that merits interest from time to time...well u try doing stuff that they r doing...it is an interesting movie beacuse gymnastics is a hard sport and people dont undersatnd the commitment and trainingim not saying that you cant have our own opinion u can but alot of other people think that stick it is a great movie!!"
Laurie, I guess it's safe to say that we will disagree about whether or not Stick It is a good movie. If you enjoyed it, good for you. One of the first things you learn as a movie reviewer is that no one can possibly write a review that will be accepted by 100% of the people. All we can do is write based on how we feel about a film personally, and the people that read the reviews regularly do so because they generally agree with what we have to say, even if only 80% of the time.
That said, you can say that my review is a "load of shit", but I can tell you with certainty, that if I had called Stick It a good movie for the reasons you stated, I would get someone from the other opinion calling me an idiot for liking it. In my opinion, justifiably so.
Nowhere in my review do I state that gymnastics is easy to do. However, I don't think the difficulty by which feats within a movie are portrayed should ever be the predominant factor in assessing the overall quality of a fictional movie. While it is true that seeing a well-trained gymnast at the top of her (or his) game is a beauty to behold, I can watch the Olympics or any handful of other televised competitions in order to see it. At the very least, the feats witnessed there would be performed live, without multiple takes, CGI enhancement, or heavy editing in order to make it seem much more spectacular than it really is. Watching a basketball player shoot the winning shot for a real-life championship is certainly exciting, but seeing that within the course of a fictional movie just isn't the same, as we know that this shot probably took dozens of takes to get right. Either that or it was edited specifically to seem like it made it in, or, using today's technology, it was a completely computer-enhanced shot.
However, let's take the feats you see in Stick It at face value and say that all of the shots were done in one take by the actual actors without any enhancement whatsoever. Does the fact that we are watching something that is difficult to do alone make it a good movie? If one thinks about it, nearly all sports movies, and perhaps just movies in general, revolve around the fact that someone is doing something that most people could not do easily, whether it is about gymnastics, running for president, killing demons, busting criminals, or leading a small band of rebels to victory over a mighty empire. Performing any of these feats in and of themselves is not enough to make a good movie out of without giving us someone or something to believe in. This is why there is a story, characters, and plotting -- seeing that person we've grown to admire overcome whatever obstacles are in his or her way is the real a satisfaction in a film, and not just seeing a bunch of well-edited shots performed to a pop tune with no other rooting interest.
If you really are frustrated that people aren't understanding why gymnastics is a difficult sport, or how much commitment and training is involved in it, why in the world would you choose Stick It as an example? Wouldn't you rather have them sit and watch real gymnasts perform these moves without any cuts, takes, or slick enhancements? What makes gymnastics respected is that only years of hard work and constant practice can get you to be good at it, and even then, most that try end up failing to take it to the pinnacle of their profession. In the real world, only a select few can actually perform at that level. In the magical world of Hollywood movies, anyone can do it.
©2006 Vince Leo