What Is A “Good Movie”?

First: Thank you to the YouTuber “Say Goodnight Kevin” for inspiring me to write this post.

Now:

In a previous post, I said that I am done writing about Movieguide on this blog. The reason why is because I want this blog to ultimately be a place of positivity and empathy, and I feel like all my talk about Movieguide was dragging it down.

There’s one thing that bothers me about Movieguide that I haven’t talked about before though, and I’d like to talk about it now just to get it off my chest. It’s been on my mind ever since I read it two months ago. And it is:

These words, from Please Stop Attacking Christian Movies for the Wrong Reasons, by Ben Kayser:

If you’re a Christian, and you hate Christian movies, maybe it’s time to accept that many people do love them, and have laughed, cried and had emotional experiences because of them. Ultimately, regardless of how you feel about the message and the way the message is being delivered, those movies may actually be good movies because of all that.

The reason these words bother me is because you could say them about any kind of movie.

For example: I changed one word in that paragraph:

If you’re a Christian, and you hate porn movies, maybe it’s time to accept that many people do love them, and have laughed, cried and had emotional experiences because of them. Ultimately, regardless of how you feel about the message and the way the message is being delivered, those movies may actually be good movies because of all that.

There has to be a standard for what is considered a “good movie” other than “It made me laugh, cry, and have an emotional experience.”

Birdemic (2008) made me laugh, cry, and have an emotional experience. But I would never consider it truly “good.” The only good in the movie came from how bad it was.

If I judged a movie purely on how it made me feel — if I didn’t also think about the movie’s acting, directing, or writing — than I would be missing out on key aspects of the movie-making process. And I would be going against what the Bible says to do:

Be as shrewd as serpents. (Matthew 10:16)

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Test everything. Hold on to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

That’s what happened to me with King Kong (2005).

King Kong gave me an emotional experience, and I loved it for that. For example: I thought the Brontosaurus stampede was the greatest thing since sliced bread:

For a long time, King Kong was my favorite movie. But the more I read about the art of film criticism, eventually 1) the violence came across, to me, as gratuitous…

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…and 2) I realized I hated Ann (but, that’s a subject for another post):

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King Kong is one of my least favorite movies now.

My new favorite movie is Whisper of the Heart (1995).

Whisper of the Heart118

Ben Kayser:

I’m a sheep…

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…but I’m not a mindless sheep.

I’m not going to say, like you are saying, that “People laughed, cried, and had an emotional experience with a movie like God’s Not Dead 2, so it’s good.”

Why?

Because God created me with a brain and I’m going to use it, even though you don’t want me to.

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