What makes a movie great, instead of just good?

Quick apology: Posts stopped being regular for a bit due to a job change, family stuff, etc... 

Ok. This is totally an opinion piece, if you couldn't tell from the title. I feel the need to say it, because if I don't, there's bound to be someone, sometime, to think I was making an end-all argument and get TICKED about a particular paragraph or sentence. This post should be short and sweet, and ultimately, this method for me reaches far beyond just films, but to other forms of storytelling.

I was wondering the other day where I draw the line between a good movie, and a great movie. What actual criteria for me personally needs to be met? I'm not talking about determining classics, or calling anything a masterpiece. Just simply, what's good and what is great.

The pictures at the bottom of the post are movies that I thought were great over the last couple years. Not without problems, and not instant classics or masterpieces, but for me, were better than good.

Goggles on, here's how I draw a line between a good movie and a great one.

What makes a movie Good?

Generally, I ask these two core questions. If they clear both, I ask one more.

  • Was I entertained?
    • If I wasn't, was it because I didn't care for the content? If so, that means I wasn't the audience. If I wasn't the audience, the film can still be good. I just didn't like it.
  • What did this film set out to do and did they succeed?
    • Intention is important. Horror: Did it scare me? Comedy: Did I think it was funny? You get the picture.

All other questions pertaining to performance, cinematography, effects, blah, blah, blah... generally fall under those two questions for me.

But what makes a movie Great?

One question answers this for me. One question tells me if the movie — for me personally — was great.

Would I watch it again?

I am not the kind of person to rewatch ANYTHING, unless I loved it. If it can get a green light for rewatching from me, it made it into my list of 'great' movies.

Now what I call a classic and what a masterpiece is that's another topic.