Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Universal Question...Redux

...English Dave has a nice post about 'why does it work?' ... (it being a movie or tv show). It working can mean on a broad level, if it was a hit...or on an individual level - that it worked for you specifically. But it's good to ask why. To try to understand why.

Relating to the material - the characters and the situations/dilemma's they face and how they deal with them seems to be the most obvious answer. But it is never that simple. My 'Matrix' may be your 'Star Wars'. My 'Seinfeld' may be your 'Two And A Half Men'. My 'Old School' may be your 'Scary Movie pick a number'. And my 'Dexter' may be your 'Criminal Minds'. And there are so many intangibles. Not to mention your mood or frame of mind when you view a program can affect your opinion of it. And when it's scheduled. Yeesh - the's mindbending.

Taste is such a subjective thing, isn't it. No wonder it's so difficult to create a hit...a hit 'anything'. But it's still good to ask why, even if about something successful that doesn't necessarily appeal to you. The audience is a BIG audience out there. It's not just about you and your tastes, although I remember reading an interview with David Fincher after 'Alien 3' that said otherwise...

In response to the hellish shoot he apparently created, asking for take after take of dripping alien goo, or making actors run down corridors a hundred times, his response went something like: "I'm making this movie for me and my three friends to watch and enjoy - I really don't care about anybody else."

My first reaction was...what arrogance - he's sure lucky he made 'Se7en'. Oh yeah, and 'Fight Club'.



Good Dog said...

Like comedy, I guess it's all about timing. The films/shows appear at the right time to gain a favourable response. It is amazing that you can get so many people to like the same thing, producing a hit.

Odd that you mention Fincher's Alien 3. That's my favourite film of the series. Then again, one of my favourite Spielberg films is Always.

Caroline said...

Oooh, me too on Always. That sucker makes me cry like a baby. I don't know anyone else who has seen it, let alone liked it. Thanks, good dog!

I have always been of the opinion that being good and working can be two different things. It goes to the heart of my chickiness ... I know there are certain movies and tv shows that are just crap, but I still love them and they still move me.

Shawna said...

Ignored no longer! See? I show love (linked ya finally). ;-)

Pynchon said...

"Alien 3" is my favourite of that series, as well.

I thought I was the only one.

Systemaddict said...

Hits...are lost on me. I sorta like what Fincher said. I can relate, because I know what I like- I have no clue what others will like. But the audience being so BIG there is most certainly one or two others that'll like what I like as well.

AS for Alien 3- it was the only one that ended differently, looked different. Attribute that to Fincher. But- I've also read countless times that the studio made it known to him that he should 'count himself lucky' that they gave him work. I think he, for obvious reasons, was offended. And between the battle with the studio and keeping the set together- I'm amazed the movie was made at all.

The quadrilogy has some interesting interviews by cast and crew (Fincher not among them...hmmm, wonder why?)- and they all mention his ability to not let his studio banter bleed into life on the set. Anyway...


wcdixon said...

It's probably a bad sign when there are more comments on a comment on a post than on the post itself. 'Alien 3' and 'Always' --- guilty pleasures...or unheralded classics?

Good Dog said...


Sorry for sending the comments off in a different direction.

I think people have to be in the mindset of making it for themselves, to some extent, or they will go mad.

English Dave mentions Everyone Loves Raymond, which I've never been able to crack a smile watching, but then I'm not married with kids, so I don't see it in the same way.

I guess you have to make something and just hope there are people out there who can see a reflection of themselves in the material and make a connection with it.

On the whole there are way too many variables. Trying to beat the odds at Vegas seems easier.

Oh, and my real guilty please, one I turn to whenever I've had a particularly lousy day and need cheering up: Rocketeer

English Dave said...

Good dog On the Everybody Loves Raymond' thing. I don't belly laugh at it. But I come away with a good feeling. The feeling that someone has actually put some thought into the situation. Examined the emotions involved from all sides and given me comfort food in the form of dealing with them in an entertaining yet satisfying way way.

And yeah that might be a married with kids thing. We need comfort food! lol

Pynchon said...

"Rocketeer". Now that is an unheralded classic.

I always felt that they missed out somewhat in not casting Timothy Dalton as Robin Hood in "Prince Of Thieves".