Friday, January 14, 2011

Good vs. Evil. And Bad Movies!

First, a quick movie update.

I didn’t post last weekend because Season of the Witch received such abysmal reviews I decided to skip it. Green Hornet is faring better, but haven’t decided if I’ll see it yet. The lure of $30 for tickets, popcorn and drinks isn’t that strong. Maybe I’ll just take my wife to dinner instead.

Someone recently commented that he’s never seen a bad review here. True, I don’t write many. For one thing, I am very selective on which movies I see in the theater, so it’s not often I catch a dud. It does happen though! And if you don’t believe me, check out my reviews of Clash of the Titans and Legend of the Guardians.

I take more chances with NetFlix though. So, if I don’t catch Green Hornet this weekend, I have three mini movie reviews in the wing – all of which I’m glad I saved my money!

And if you want a really bad review, check out my play-by-play of Sharktopus! I need to do that again soon. I’m sure the SyFy Channel will oblige me with another bad movie…

Now, on to Good vs. Evil!

Today is another edition of Fantastic Friday Writers! I invite your to check out my Fantastic Friday Writers partners - Elizabeth Mueller, Anastasia V. Pergakis, J. D. Brown, and Deirdra Eden Coppel - for their take on this subject. I’m sure it’s better than mine!

Good vs. evil is a standard story formula. Sometimes it’s subjective, depending on the point of view and amount of grey area. Rather than attempt to define good vs. evil, I’ll just tell you what I prefer in a story.

Good must triumph over evil.

Now there’s some great stories that don’t end that way, but I like to see good come out on top. I like to see the good guys win! Feels hollow if evil wins. After investing time in book or movie, I feel cheated when evil triumphs. (Unless the good guys really suck, then I hope for their demise!)

Everyone has his or her own tastes. For me, good must prevail.

What about you?

68 comments:

Ted Cross said...

It would be too easy for me to say that I prefer to see good triumph, when in fact my favorite series these day (George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series) pretty much has good getting their you know what's kicked throughout. I pretty much expect that good will triumph to some degree by the very end of the series, but with Martin who really knows? Still, I love it.

Ellie said...

Aah . . .take your wife out for dinner. I'm sure she'll appreciate it!

I like to see evil triumph over bad, as long as it is done in a convincing way. Then of course there are the anti-heroes and sometimes you can't help but want the baddie to win!

Pk Hrezo said...

I don't think Green Hornet looks that good. I'm selective about what I see as well... unless the kid are picking. But Black Swan looks very intriguing...

Vicki Rocho said...

Save me daughterling wants to see Season of the Witch and I don't know if I can talk hubbers into taking her...

I like good to win over evil, for all the same reasons as you. Unless it's a dark comedy or something...I don't mind bad winning if it's funny!

Margo Benson said...

I love a happy ending where good triumphs eventually, although I think convincing setbacks are important in making a good villain.

I remember an episode of Babylon 5 where a whole species was suffering a plague and it was a race against time to find a cure. In Star Trek, they would have found one but here they were too late and everyone died. It was pretty powerful - however, being a series, one always knew that you weren't far away from another happy moment.

DEZMOND said...

what I hate is when writers present some bad people as good characters and make them triumph in the end even though they present bad role models to the readers. I usually feel hollow and pessimistic after such books.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I haven't seen these films over here yet in the cinemas so can't comment what others thought of them.

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ted, hopefully it does.

Ellie, I think I will!

Pk, at $10 a pop, one has to be selective.

Vicki, I hope he comes to your rescue!

Margo, that's true. Life doesn't always have a happy ending. But we prefer it.

Dezz, I agree!

Yvonne, you probably don't want to!

Karen Walker said...

Yes, I'm with you on this one. Good must prevail or I am dissatisfied.
Karen

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

I like the middle road - endings that hold both victory and defeat. Victory with consequences, perhaps.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a sucker for happy endings, so I'd have to say I want good to win, too.

Summer Ross said...

I tend to feel disappointed if good doesn't prevail. so I'm a good should win at the end type of gal. :)

Justine Dell said...

I agree. I'm a happily-ever-ending kind of girl and if I don't get that ... bad!

But what about the time when Good turns into evil and vice versa? Mixed feelings, here we come! LoL.

~JD

iZombie said...

same with my thoughts, i heard such bad things about season of the witch i too skipped it. not interested at all in green hornet... do not like the guy, he ruins it for anything he is in. green hornet was always cool, not funny... know kato, he saves this movie, not enough to see it. i like spending my cash on winners, not so-so big budget films. i think the next film i am looking forward to is pirates 4, sparrow is a solid entertainer.

but take your wife out on the town and celebrate her!

jeremy

Jules said...

There is that Sharkopus again :) Definitely good over evil. Sort of what I posted about today.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

PS and I hate it when neither wins and you are left feeling, "What?"

Carol Kilgore said...

I like good to win, too. And sometimes good comes dressed as a monster at first. Those are the ones I really like.

Dinner with your wife sounds like a plan. Enjoy.

Melissa Bradley said...

I'm torn. I love having good triumph over evil, but there are times when the twist of the good turning out evil and winning is so wicked cool. The film Primal Fear is a great example of this.

I have to say I'm not a fan of pure good heroes, even if they have some flaws. I don't like their pure hearts. That kind of good is not real except in children. I need a healthy dose of naughty and bad which is why I prefer anti-heroes. They are more human to me. Han Solo was my hero,not Luke Skywalker.

Sangu said...

I think I definitely like to see good prevail, wrongs righted, injustices repaid (or deliciously revenged) - but I also think a story becomes a million times better when you question who's good and who isn't. In Sin City, for example, most of the characters are violent, nasty, criminal types - but you know who the 'good' ones are and you root for them. I love a bit of ambiguity!

The Happy Whisk said...

That's a good question. For me, I don't mind who wins, just that it's an honest win. Nice blog, I enjoyed this question.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Good question. I'd like to say good wins, but things don't always work that way. Like Stephen Kings says, sometimes the monsters win.

Haleine said...

I love the SyFy original movies. Have you ever seen the one about the giant mosquitos? I forget what it was called, probably "Mosquito" or something clever like that, but OH! It was so unintentionally hilarious, I couldn't breathe.

And as for Good vs. Evil, I don't think I care which triumphs. I just want whatever makes the better story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bryan, that works as well.

Justine, you just complicated matters!

Jeremy, I'm skipping the movie and going out to dinner!

Jules - exactly! Where's the satisfaction in that.

Melissa, Solo is a great example. He just had to find his good. (And Primal Fear was a great movie, but oh such a twisted ending.)

Sangu, you found good guys in Sin City? Must've missed them...

Lindsay, sometimes they do! I guess I should've clairified that since i read to escape, I don't want cold, hard reality.

Kelly said...

Yes, I feel much better when good triumphs over evil. As it should be in real life (though unfortunately doesn't always happen).
Speaking of movies, I dreamt of storm troopers and Darth Vader the other night. And Darth was still evil.

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I do like it when the baddy messes with my mind!!! I pointed out in my comment to the gorgeous Elizabeth Mueller's blog in her bit for this series that something like "The Talented Mr Ripley" is creepily mesmerising!! Mr Ripley wins!! Oh dear!!!

Take care
x

gideon 86 said...

I'm with Alex,

Good needs to win out every time. However I really enjoy a really evil evil...

Michael

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

One of the reasons I loved the Harry Potter series was Voldemort wins -- in some way or another -- in almost every book. That's what makes the story so appealing, Harry's quest so much more important, and the last book so epic.

Happy Weekend, Alex!

Clarissa Draper said...

Good vs evil... that's a good question. I'm not sure I know the answer. I don't want it to be that cut and dry. I want both, in the same person.

CD

Tessa Conte said...

how fundamental a discussion, lol!

I rather like 'bad boy/girl' type characters...lots of flaws, but not really truly evil. Although a really evil MC can be fascinating, too, in a really awful way. I like Dexter from Jeff Lindsay's books (the one that's a TV series now). He's perfectly evil, and yet... even he has some sort of moral system, however contrived.

I think it all depends on how good a writer you are. If you're good enough to portray a really bad guy as fundamentally human, the reader can root for him, too. It's just so easy to fail....

What I really can't stand is bad endings. There has to be SOME triumpf at the end, or it's just depressing (as in, why did I bother to follow this character for 200-odd pages if he's just going to fail anyway and make no difference doing so?).

T.x

Charles Gramlich said...

I generally like good to win, but if I"m reading horror I'll be OK with evil winning.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i like things that are bittersweet, so either a nice bad guy or a flawed hero. Adds more depth

Lydia K said...

Call me old fashioned, but I always want the good guys to win!

Talli Roland said...

I'm with you - I like good to triumph! I get too creeped out if it doesn't!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

That's really the whole reason I like mysteries so much...the good guys always get their man!

Raquel Byrnes said...

You know, my French friend once snarked that Americans only like happy endings...I didn't realize that this was unusual?!? I want entertainment and a warm fuzzy feeling after investing so much time in a movie or book. Why cheer for the losing side? Was she right? Is it just an American thing? I hope not!
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Abby Minard said...

I don't think I've read a book or seen a movie in a long time where evil prevailed. Usually in YA fantasy good always wins, even if they sacrifice something to get there. I can think of a few stories where the MC gets crippled or whatever but still wins. I like those- they aren't flawless but they still win. That happens in my book I'm writing and I think it's needed.

But yeah I just get so disgusted if evil wins. I don't read a whole lot of "depressing" books so I can't even think of one where it's happened but I'm sure I've read a few.

Hart Johnson said...

I don't like eveil to prevail either, but I really love a book or movie where things aren't quite what you think at first and you have to reassess what IS good and evil. I like stories where circumstances change the characters and a bad guy is redeemed or a (too) good guy falls (and thereby learns his judgment may have been too harsh)--those are really my favorites.

Karen Peterson said...

I'm holding off on The Green Hornet, too. I like Seth Rogen and I'm always up for a superhero flick, but I plan on waiting either for this to explode at the box office and blow audiences away, or to catch it on Netflix.

As for the good and evil theme, I agree that good must triumph over evil in almost every case. However, that doesn't guarantee nor necessitate a happy ending. If, for example, someone good must sacrifice himself in order to triumph over evil, it can be satisfying without being happy. I think too many people expect every story to end happily.

M Pax said...

I guess most times I prefer to see evil win. With that said, I gravitate to liking darker tales beter. Ie, The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of Star Wars. I don't want to see good triumph easily. If there's some kernel of hope in there, it's OK if good doesn't win this time.

Nebular said...

I'm gonna see The Green Hornet for sure. I reckon you should see it too, Alex. It will be a great fun.

I don't think Legend of the Guardians deserves a bad review though. I actually liked it a lot :) Anyway, keep up with the reviews - positive or negative, they're always entertaining to read :)

By the way, I can't wait for the blogfest next Monday. I've decided to do a classic top 10 tunes and top 10 club tracks, so expect a 'double' chart from me :)

Matthew Rush said...

I remember that Crash of the Titans post. It was spot on.

The Golden Eagle said...

It depends, for me. Sometimes I like seeing evil win because of something the "good" characters said/did, even if there are other positive things about them. Other times I'm all for the good side.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kelly, channeling the Vader?

Thanks, Michael!

Clarissa, since most people are mix, that usually satisfies that craving.

Tessa, that's more how I feel.

Charles, twisted!

Raquel, good for you! That's what I want.

Abby, that's the defining word - depressing. I don't want to read a book and feel depressed!

Hart, back to those grey areas!

Karen, and those are good as well.

M Pax, you have an evil streak!

Nebular, that sounds great! And the owl review wasn't real bad. I was just disappointed.

Thank you, Matthew!

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I'm with you on having the good conquer evil. Maybe I should make my posts shorter and snappier? Love yours!

Have a great weekend, Alex!


~Elizabeth :)

AlexOngNYC said...

Even as a "superhero" Seth Rogan just looks like he's playing the same guy again that's he's played in every other movie he's been in.

Alex
Breakfast Every Hour

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I need good to prevail too, but not with absolute clarity. I need a realistic mix, with evil scoring some victories. The good forces/people probably win in the end, but it's clear it ain't going to be all roses. I don't like the Pollyanna thing.
Have a great Friday and weekend, Alex.
xoRobyn

Lynda Young said...

True good should win everytime. Bad should always have consequences.

Lisa said...

I don't mind a nice ambigious ending. I loved the ending of "Watchmen" (I'm talking more about the book than the movie). Evil kind of triumphed, but the heroes found out it wasn't as bad as they thought.

I really want to see Green Hornet. I'll go see anything with superheroes in it (as evidenced by my Watchmen answer) good or bad.

Do you watch Modern Family? This week two of the characters went to see a movie called Crocktopus!

Cheree said...

This is a hard question for me. I love it when good triumps over evil. But on the other hand, if the story's set up well and it's handled the right way, I don't mind when evil triumphs... as long as it makes sense.

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I think it's best if good triumphs over evil, but it needs to be a damn close call, and I like it if there's some doubt as to whether or not it's made things worse...

I've watched a few duds this year (Clash, Wolfman) so I'm going to try to be more selective with my viewings too.... or maybe just review the good ones and pretend I never saw the bad!

Emy Shin said...

I do like ambiguous endings when they work (and those are stories I tend to think about long afterward), but I definitely have a preference for good triumphs over evil!

Colene Murphy said...

I agree. Good must always win. I just love those twists where it turns out the bad guy was actually the good guy though! Ugh...just watched Clash of the Titans last weekend from Netflix! Blarg! I should have trusted your review...

Monti said...

Although I enjoy twists and turns as well as big surprises, I always want good to prevail. I probably won't like a story with evil the victor!

Monti
NotesAlongTheWay

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

I'm a sap for happy endings, so consequently I feel disappointed if good doesn't prevail.

Jai Joshi said...

I like a happy ending like most people but more important for me is what the story means. Sometimes a tragic ending is much more meaningful because it's saying something about life that is deep and true and worth learning from. Sometimes a tragic ending can be cathartic too, like the Greeks believed.

Jai

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I want the good guys to always win too though I like the evil ones to give them a rough time of it.

DiscConnected said...

Alex-

I just like to see stuff blow up....

I go to movies to forget the dismal reality that is our world, so I like to see good triumph for a change.

Re-Green Hornet-did we really need another superhero movie? What's next-a remake of "Howard The Duck?"

Melissa said...

I always root for the villain but I'm sad and disappointed if evil actually wins (weird, right?).

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, you mean shorter and lamer? Wouldn't recommend it!

Alex, I agree.

Robyn, that's the best kind of story - one that's full of dips but good wins in the end.

Lynda, amen!

Lisa - Crocktopus? Now that's funny!

Jamie - try an wipe the duds from your mind forever? It's tough!

Colene, you were warned!!

Good for you, Monti and Wendy!

Jai, I'll enjoy a movie like that now and then, but since I'm going for escape, I don't need a bummer life lesson.

Disc, you summed it up best! And your hero comment now has a Tina Turner song stuck in my head...

Melissa, weird and I'm sure you're proud of that fact!

Melissa Gill said...

In the stories I like have good triumphing over evil. There's enough of the other way around in real life.

I won't waste my time on Season of the Witch. The premise looks good, but I can't deal with Nicholas Cage.

Arlee Bird said...

I want to see good winning in the end, but I like an exciting fight. I also like a certain amount of ambiguity in that the characters go a little both ways. I don't want comic cutouts of stereotypical heros and villains, but I like flawed good guys and bad guys who have a little good in them.

Take your $30 and buy the DVD so you can watch the movie more then once. And take your wife to dinner as well.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Jemi Fraser said...

I get REALLY upset when things don't end well. I like my happy endings. In fact, my kids tend to stop me watching certain movies and shows because they know I'll get too stressed about the endings :)

Copyboy said...

I always like it when there's that added MacBethian quality in the mix.

Ellen aka Ella said...

Son went to see "Season of the Witch" haven't heard, I was reliving "Hitch" movie, daughter woke up looking like Will Smith, face so swollen, spent my day in the ER. She has a bad case of Sinusitis.

I'm into good, yes, we need some evil, we need the MC to overcome his, her fear,obstacles of life to come out in the end, wearing white and riding the horse into the sunset.
I don't go to many movies, I go to probably 3 a year. The good theatre is a drive away and it always includes, what you said and eating out. I'm a netflix, red box type.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Melissa, exactly! I don't want real life.

Lee, consider it done! Although I'll just rent the video through NetFlix.

Jemi, now that's funny!

Ella, sorry about your daughter! And yes, it gets expensive going to the movies.

DL Hammons said...

Absolutely, Good must prevail. A book or movie could be full of awesome (which many Stephen King books are), but if the bad guy wins you've lost one fan. An excellent example of this is Jeepers Creepers. I LOVED that entire movie, up to the last five minutes...so it therefore goes un recommended!

Summer Ross said...

I have something for you on my blog Alex! Oh and I watched True Grit with my manly man last night- I thought the movie was really good, I really liked matty and how strong she was.

Geof said...

Hornet looks awful from the previews, and while I will watch it on cable, I will not watch it in the theater by any means. Trailers have been deceiving before so who knows.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dl, yeah, the ending was a letdown.

Thank you, Summer!

Geof, that's why I'm a discriminating movie-goer.