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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Battle of the Bs

Recently, I was immersed in a discussion about the virtues of seeing a B-movie at the cinema.

Some flicks justify themselves by their very existence - Machete; a grand return to Mexploitation flicks. Kick-Ass - an exercise in comic book deconstructionism that got a B reception but was really an A+ movie.

The great thing about B films is that all you need is one good aspect or quality or even a scene for it work for you. Just one.

Helen Mirren with a machine gun - Red is awesome for that one reason above all others. And I defend that to all who want to argue about it.

The only time B movies become a challenge and a headache are when you go to the movies expecting to see an A movie but wind up with a B. It can be harrowing - case in point: The Tourist.

That flick exists solely for the purpose of watching Angie+Johnny pout and smile. While I admit that might be more than enough for a good B-movie, watching As going so B is like watching an accident in slow motion. It's painful and the crash is still coming. If the movie ran on mute, the people who love it would still love it and the others who don't, well, will imagine themselves getting a root canal.

Knight and Day - another B that should have been an A. It was saved by the fact that the action was all A all the time. And like I said, you just need one thing for a B movie to be good.

I guess my point is that I'm readjusting my theory about Bs having a free hand to be as bad as bad can be. If you're expecting a B, then most Bs will satisfy that cinema trip. However, if an A slides slowly, embarrassingly down to a B, the journey can seem like the path to Mount Doom.

Know your Bs, filmmakers, know your Bs. That's all I'm sayin'.