Just Running Around in the Woods

I’m often a little picky about the movies I see in the theater. I figure if I’m going out and paying to see something, it should be something I’m really interested in that I’ll likely enjoy.

But when there’s a film festival things are a little different. Especially if I’ve gone and bought a full pass. Then I’ll go and see pretty much anything.

That’s the situation tonight. After watching the trailer for Valley of the Sasquatch, I’d have been hard pressed to decide to see it if I hadn’t already paid for the festival pass. I most certainly wouldn’t have tried to dig up anyone to go see it with me. Maybe I’d have caught it on Netflix, eventually. (I’ve been surprised by movies before that I didn’t think were going to be that good… notably, in this case, because they’re similarly premised films, is Wendigo.)

Needless to say, I didn’t care much for this film. Despite the fact that it’s won awards, it really didn’t work for me.

It lacks any sort of heart. It’s inconsistent. And, in my opinion, it misses the chance to make a number of statements about a number of things.

See, good writing naturally has themes that develop as the story plays out. Maybe it’s an environmental theme–how our destruction of natural habitats put us at odds with animals (or monsters) we don’t normally interact with. Or maybe it’s how the ties of family, memories of the good times, shared suffering, or some other really human aspect, help us get past some pretty serious problems. Perhaps it’s just the simple message of “Don’t be a dick” or “Poking at Bigfoot is a bad thing.”

You can create a story without a theme… you can just string scenes together, have characters doing what’s typical to do for their archetypes, not deviating from what’s expected. But that’s not good writing. That’s purely utilitarian writing. It’s passable, but, at best, it’s mediocre.

It’s just a walk in the woods… or just being chased by things in the woods. And that’s not anything really special.

Mediocre is worse than bad. At least with bad you stand a chance of becoming a cult classic by finding a viewership that loves poking fun at your film.

So, for all you creators out there, strive to be excellent… but go all out. As long as you go all out, you’ll either be awesome or awesomely bad. Don’t play it safe. Playing it safe is how you end up mediocre. And there’s really no winning like that.

Unless all your competition is on the down side of the mediocre plateau, I guess.

Tomorrow will be another movie at Spooky Fest, this time with a Q&A with the directors. I really hope the movie is awesome, one way or the other.

Anyway, here’s today’s vlog wherein I talk a bit about the problems with the movie.

Don’t forget that you have some say over what goes on for the next 100 days… click the big green button below here to get to the page where you can submit topic suggestions and questions (so I know what kinds of things you want to see go on in these videos).

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About Kier

I've been on the web since about 1994. I have a background in a lot of things, including a five year stint as a journalist and over a decade of helping people get their message out to the world.

I write on a number of subjects--everything from relationships to personal development to politics and every day life. I hope you get something worthwhile out of it.

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