Thursday, August 31, 2006

Movie Morals

Contrary to my preferences, my lady and I went to see THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (at the $1 theater), last night.

Truth be told, it was an enjoyable film, despite my concerns before and during the feature. Still, some of those concerns lingered well after the movie started and ended - specifically, the moral/message of various segments of the story seemed really flawed. I had a problem with the values (and sorry logic and reasoning) that the film seemed to promote. That affected my enjoyment of the film.

I kept thinking about it, though, and I found myself wondering if that was fair of me - to judge the movie by it's so-called "message."
I mean, if I made movies, I'd like for them to be unpredictable, among other things. That means that sometimes the "good guys" would win and sometimes they wouldn't. When the good guys lost, would that mean that I'm trying to send the message that having strong values and integrity are bad things?


It would simply mean I'm telling a story in which SOME characters feel that way and SOMETIMES, those characters GET their way.

Sounds just like life, to me.

So, should the morals and messages of movies (filtered through our respective interpretations) really factor into how we judge them?


Raiden said...

I don't think that the morals of a film prevent it from being a good film. How you judge it though is a matter of personal preference.

I like to live my life as a good honest guy but I enjoy films where villians win. My father thinks that good should always triumph and hates movies that go against the norm.

I try to look at things from an artistic point of view and enjoy the quality of the project not just the content. That said, there are still movies that I will not see for moral reasons. Brokeback Mountain being a prime example. I'm sure Ang Lee did a great job but I will never know becuase I'm not interested in seeing two cowboy on the D.L.

West said...

Mostly, it was the "message" about logic, that bothered me.

More than once, someone gave the main character grief for something that wasn't her fault... and the *apparent* message was that they were right and she was wrong.

I can't stand fucked-up logic. Can't stand it.

I guess that includes works of fiction that seem to reinforce f-ul.

Obviously, I disagree with you about Brokeback. It's good to know where you stand, though.

JoJo D. said...

Well, both yes and no. Movies need good, plausible, believable plots, morals, and messages. But then again, art imitates life, so what we see on screen is definitely what we see out in the world.

I thought you were going to visit me, LOL! That's okay; I understand if you're "busy", LOL! Have a good day, West. Hope to see you soon.

West said...

I hit you up, yesterday, jojo d.


Michael May said...

"...should the morals and messages of movies (filtered through our respective interpretations) really factor into how we judge them?"

Absolutely. What the story is trying to say (its message or theme) is just as important as how it says it (its plot).

That doesn't mean that Good always has to triumph over Evil. But if Evil wins, there should be a reason for it beyond just trying to be different. There should be a message about why Evil won in this particular case. The message doesn't necessarily have to be overtly spelled out, but it should be there if you're looking for it.

For that matter, there should be an equally strong reason if Good wins. In storytelling, everything that happens should somehow connect back to the story's message.

So, for sure you should judge a movie on whatever that message is.

Jaimie said...

When I see a movie, I personally do not like mindless entertainment as James does. I love movies with a message and significance. (By the way, I saw Idlewild and loved it!)

Also, anything with Meryl I'll usually watch.