What Makes a Movie Good?
Watching movies is one of the great pleasures of life, but we all tend to pay attention to the latest Marvel blockbuster without recognizing that there is a world of cinema out there that sees itself as art, not just entertainment. Is an Avengers movie good in the same way that The Godfather or a low-budget indie film are, and are there objective standards of quality that are separate from popularity and ticket sales? Should movies from one country be thought of as distinct from movies in other countries? When does a movie begin and end, with the action or with the credits? What does it mean to look at a film philosophically, in the first place? This episode discusses these questions and more with an eye towards global cinema.
Jinhee Choi is a reader in Film Studies and the Head of the Film Studies Department at King’s College in London. She has two PhDs, one in Philosophy and one in Film Studies. She is currently working on a book about the portrayal of girls and their sensibilities horror, “chick flicks,” thrillers, and other genres in South Korean cinema.
Here are Jinhee’s lists of favorite movies per decade:
- 1920: Backward Bread [Kino Eye] (Vertov, 1924)
- 1930: The Gay Divorcee (Astaire/Rogers musical, RKO, 1934)
- 1940: LateSpring(Ozu,1949)
- 1950: (2 films in the 1960s instead)
- 1960: The Eclipse (Antonioni, 1962), 15/67 TV (Kren, 1967)
- 1970: Jeanne Dielman (Akerman, 1975)
- 1980: The Time to Live and The Time to Die (Hou,1985)
- 1990: Days of Being Wild (Wong, 1990)
- 2000: The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001)
- 2010: The Chambermaid (Aviles, 2018)
Post-War Korean Cinema
- 1950: A Female Boss (Han Hyeong-mo, 1959)
- 1960: The Devil’s Stairway (Lee Man-hui, 1964) / A Day Off (Lee Man-hui, 1968)
- 1970: Night Voyage (Kim Soo-yong, 1977)
- 1980: Gagman (Lee Myeong-se, 1989)
- 1990: Whispering Corridor 2: Memento Mori (Min + Kim, 1999)
- 2000: Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho, 2003)/A Bittersweet Life (Kim Jee-woon, 2005)
- 2010: Maggie (Lee Okseop, 2018)
- 2020: Tiny Light (Cho Min-je, 2020)
Weinstein, Jack Russell and Choi, Jinhee, "What Makes a Movie Good?" (2022). Why? Radio Podcast Archive. 158.