What makes a great movie? 

While having a good sip of my mid-day coffee, two women sat across the table on my left. It wasn’t my intention to pry on but I overheard them talking about how Game of Thrones’ season finale concluded with an inadvertently disappointing end like many other fans clamor on the same page of ‘not being able to deliver the ending they think they deserve’. The other woman also made her say about the thrilling and emotional conclusion of Avengers: Endgame that, as she said, delivered a poignant and powerful ending that lives up to the hype. She even made a point about how she was emotionally driven by the entire movie and has to watch it a second time because of how truly satisfying it was. I listened while they were immersed in giving critics and reviews to the movies they watched. Then there was a few minute pause until one of them cracked the silence by saying, “But those were actually on my top list of great movies.”

As I listened to their conversation, I come to be drawn in the subject matter: what makes a great movie? When can one decide that it fits the standard of being great? While one woman contends her disappointment of the movie, she nonetheless proclaimed it under the banner of greatness. Could this be a misfit judgement?

The answer is not one particular thing. Different elements come to play to work together— the plot, dialogue, and the actors’ performances to the cinematography, soundtrack, and directing. There is also the factor of the audience’s personal preferences. These elements all work together towards a common goal: the deep, resonant feeling that helps the movie say something about the world or human nature. That feeling is where we actually draw the line.

Today’s world is marinated in movies, and youthful filmmaking aspirations are as commonplace now as starting your own rock band was 30 years ago.  But even if the world is ever-changing, movie industries don’t show any signs of slowing down; only becoming very much alive than they were before. And what keeps us drawn into these imaginative and creative visual storytelling is the link that binds and connects us through it.

I’m pretty certain that anyone who has devoted a significant amount of their life to making, writing about, or intensively watching movies has the first-contact backstory somewhere in their childhood or early in their adulthood. But I’d like to think that we all have similar stories of how we feed our cinephilia. 

When choosing a movie, we don’t usually pick a movie we can’t relate to or something that’s far too disturbing to understand. This is where the drive comes from. There is what we call theme – a unifying central concern of the film – that brings all our human relatable factors in the table; be it love, death, politics, social issues, religion, etc. For the audience, the theme provides a universal way to engage with the film’s specific subject matter while for filmmakers, the theme is the main idea and a guide during the creative process. However it is presented, it always serves as the link between the real world and the artistic product of human intelligence or experience.

While we’re as devoted as ever to give bits of information about the month’s upcoming movies, Paperclips Magazine offers new appetites for this month’s issue which highlights the team’s desire to bring lots of movie scoops that deserve the spotlight. In this second half of the year, our team will start feeding off your cinephilia with much content than we ever delivered. We will start by putting in the spotlight the familiar stories that are now taking in a new flight – Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw, the Fallen trilogy and of course, taking us back to the fear that haunted us are the monsters in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

When some movies won’t recuperate your contentment, I must say that often the experience is better than the show itself. And it’s a whole lot different level of satisfaction.



Lara Kaye