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Rambo in a rainstorm

What makes a good movie? It’s a hard question to answer and one that will be different depending on the person being asked. Sylvester Stallone knows a thing or two about moviemaking; he’s been in the industry for decades as an actor, writer, director and producer and he has multiple Oscar nominations to his name. While talking about the making of his latest film, Rambo: Last Blood, Sylvester Stallone names his three essential components for a good movie. He says:

Only do what you know. I recommend, don't try to go into someone else's backyard and compete with the fella who -- that's his genre. He grew up on comic books, this one here grew up on that. Just write what about you know and write about the human condition. Heart, energy, and humor. Heart, energy, and humor. If you can have those three components going, I think you'll have a very successful career. If not, at least you tried.

Anyone who had their money on action, blood and biceps has to pay up. As he says in the video posted to his Twitter account, Sylvester Stallone views heart, energy and humor as the three essential components to making a good movie. In his opinion those are the three most critical elements and when you have those elements and they’re working, you stand the best chance of making a good movie and ultimately having a successful career.

Although those three components might not be the ones that first spring to mind when you think of a Sylvester Stallone movie, they actually make a lot of sense and fit with a large portion of the actor’s oeuvre. The Rocky films aren’t great because of their action, there have been plenty of rubbish boxing movies with killer fights, they’re great because of their heart, you care about Rocky Balboa and what happens to him.

Even though Sly isn’t known as a comedic actor, his action movies tend to have some humor in them, from Rocky’s bad jokes to the silly fun in The Expendables. And as an action star, Sylvester Stallone’s movies don’t usually lack for energy and fun. I think that’s the distillation of Sly’s recipe, make movies where the audience has fun and cares about the characters and even if it doesn’t work, at least you put your best foot forward.

You can hear Sly talking about what makes a good movie in the video below.

The other thing Sylvester Stallone talks about here is his belief that you should know what you’re good at and pursue it. He’s not necessarily saying that you have to stay in your lane and not try new things, but that not everyone will be as good at something as someone else is. Your experiences influence your artistic voice and if you don’t know about something, faking it and trying to compete might not be the best choice.

Sly makes the salient point that you should write about what you know and the human condition from your perspective. If you write about what you know it will be genuine and true. Everyone is going to know something a little bit different and bring different experiences to the table and that’s why hearing from different kinds of people has value in terms of the variety of stories being told. If you do that with those three essential components, you’re on the right track towards making a good movie.

Unfortunately, Rambo: Last Blood isn't a movie that critics have appreciated. The film has fared poorly on that front but audiences have seemed to really like Sylvester Stallone’s latest film. And when it comes down to it, that’s probably a truer measure of success.

Rambo: Last Blood is now playing. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all this fall’s biggest movies.

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