There are a handful of words that, in the context of discussing movies, or art and pop culture in general, tend to be exceptionally gear-grinding, for me at least. “Unfunny” is one word that comes to mind, a term that may indicate that the described item lacks humor, but certainly demonstrates that the subject doing the describing lacks it altogether. The word “Unnecessary” though is one that might be at the top of my list of words that have virtually no meaning when it comes to labelling movies.
Evaluating the necessity of a medium that is essentially an industry of distraction is dubious indeed. For all its greatness and originality, how badly is a movie like Inception needed? After watching the excellent Cabin in the Woods for the gazillionth time, do any of us stop and appreciate it for being “necessary”? Entertainment and art function in similar ways: they both make life more interesting, enjoyable, and enriching. Life without them would be significantly crummier. Hyperbole aside, though, all movies are relatively inessential, a luxury, and as in the case of any other luxury, complaints about them are deeply boring.
Whenever I hear someone disparage a new movie as “unnecessary,” my internal response always seems to be: Of course it is. And so what?
Granted, the mere observation that there are exceptions to the perceived rule that “unnecessary” movies will turn out bad demonstrates nothing. What it does do, for me at least, is give a moment’s pause to the knee-jerk response that dismisses any film which sounds silly on paper. The outcome and quality of any movie, ultimately, comes down to the group of people making it far more than it does to its basic premise.
For an idea of what I’m talking about, here are 10 movies, deemed unnecessary before their release, which were defiantly superb.