Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Definitions and Differences of the Terms Film and Movie.

For my inaugural post I would like to define, in my own terms, the definitions and differences between what makes a film a film and what makes a movie a movie. For the context of modern day cinema the terms film and movie are used interchangeably when discussing single or multiple motion pictures. Because of my elitist outlook on life I see an exceptional problem with not using different terms to categorize different types of motion pictures. For the next few paragraphs I will explain the criteria of both terms along with why it is important to have two distinct terms for motion pictures as a whole.

What are the criteria for motion pictures? Well to answer that question we must first understand what two things a motion picture is composed of. For the sake of discussion I will make these two areas as broad as I possibly can. These two areas are story and the media that is cinema; a brief layout of what these two areas cover:

-Style and Tone
Your very basic high school English class layout.

The media that is cinema:
-Costume Design
-Visual Effects
-The Score
-Sound Quality
Things that make a motion picture simply just that.

The criteria for which classification a motion picture acquires is based on how well it does in both of these categories. There are also two sub-classifications for motion pictures that I would like to define. There are not just films and movies but good and bad films, and good and bad movies. The title good or bad will depend on where on the scale the motion picture places, in its respected classification.

Disclaimer: The terms film and movie, when relating to a motion picture, will change from person to person. I am only laying the outline of what is a film and what is a movie. One man's film is another man's movie.

A movie is the term given to a motion picture that overall, in both story and media that is cinema, does poorly. The majority of movies are either of the genre of action or horror. These movie are more than likely either straight to DVD or are in the theaters a fairly short amount of time and make very little in the box office.

As a movie relates to story it lacks an original or strong plot. The characters that are in the movie are weak and have one track minds, which makes then unbelievable and results in the audience not caring for them. The dialogue is often cliché and is usually just filler and does not move the story along in any sort of direction. The structure of the story is for the most part very basic, just a simple beginning, a middle with a lackluster conflict, and a disappointing end. Few if any scenes back story for the protagonist or any of the main characters. The style and tone are as well basic and non-original. The setting is typical and does not add anything special to the story. And finally, there seems to be no theme, underlining or elsewhere.

As a movie relates to media that is cinema it is not groundbreaking or at the very least tries something new in this field of media. The acting in the movie is of the lowest quality or close to it. The actors do a horrible job selling there character and just because of the lack of skill in actor make these character worst than they normally would be. The costume design is either basic or does not show the audience what the character is all about. Crappy editing and lack of effort towards cinematography makes a movie just what it is, a movie. A non-original score or just a soundtrack that makes no sense is usually found in movies along with horrible sound quality. Poor lightning and basic visual efforts also find a home in movies.

Movies usually make the majority of motion pictures in home cinema library of the uneducated and just plain unintelligent members of society. They appeal to those who wish to watch something that will take little to no brain power to understand or comprehend fully.

A film, on the other hand, is either a masterpiece or as close as one motion picture can come to. The majority of films are either dramas, suspense, or indie-films. That is not to say that any genre can not have a few films. Though it is rare, all genres of motion pictures do have films in them. Films are for those who wish to watch a motion picture and be able to have a conversation about it after viewing it. Films can be both blockbusters and award winners. Motion pictures that have emotional attachments to the audience are considered films.

As a film relates to story it is great, fresh and pretty original. You truly care for the protagonist and either hate the antagonist or have come to understand why that persons does what they do and feel for them as well. The dialogue is fresh and moves the story along beautifully. The structure of the story does not follow the basic formula and mixes it up somewhat. Flashbacks or just scenes that explain the background for the characters are throughout the film and explain why and what the reasoning the protagonist is during what they are doing. There is a underlining theme that in someway or other tells the story of life. There is a defiant style and tone of its own that most other motion pictures do not have.

As a film relates to media that is cinema is groundbreaking or at the very least takes a idea that has been done before and changes the hell out of it. The acting is spot on and the actors look like the characters that they are portraying. The costume design gives a good feel about what the characters are really about. Fantastic cinematography is need, it either being something new or just something that shows the beauty of the setting, characters, or landscape. A wonderful score or soundtrack that adds to the feel of the motion picture is required for it to be a film. And great sound quality along with perfect lightning that is used to created different types of moods when ever they are needed.

The most distant aspect about a film that makes it different than a movie is the emotional appeal and in some cases a different point of view on life. While viewing a film you begin to fell different things, view the world in a different way, and think differently too.

The propose of having two different terms to describe motion pictures is to simply be able to tell other people how you rank a motion picture by just using the one term. If you fellow motion picture watchers catch that you used this term to describe that motion picture well than that may lead to a conversation about why you feel that that motion picture deserve that title. And I do believe that is what this whole thing is about.


  1. You say there are good/bad subcategories for film/movie, but where is the cross-over from bad film to good movie? It seems to me like you can't have a bad film, because wouldn't that just make it a movie of whichever caliber you want to label it as? Under these guidelines (of which I agree with your overall premise but disagree with the specific qualifiers you set) it seems to me like Film is something reserved for the classics. The best of the best. Awards winners.

    Also, how does this relate to entertainment value? Because while... The Godfather is a film, in all honesty I can't watch it over and over. Meanwhile, Iron Man or Transformers or Harry Potter. Those I can watch multiple times in a short period. If we go off of this, though, where do, say, the Star Wars films/movies fall into this? Because Star Wars changed the game and has left its mark on not only cinema but society and culture. Yet, they are also extremely fun and could be watched one after another.

  2. Wow I don't remember ever seeing this. I just stumbled upon it.