Movies versus Films

I recently heard an interesting distinction that provides a good framework for thinking about watching films/movies. A colleague of mine at work mentioned that when they say "films" they are referring to more artistic endeavors and when they say "movies" they are referring to entertainment-focused projects.

When I think of the purpose of a film/movie, I tend to unconsciously make this distinction myself, but I think the semantic distinction is helpful. Tony Scott does not make movies in the same way or necessarily for the same audience as Paul Thomas Anderson. And even in the overlap that does exist in audiences of these two directors, film-/movie-goers expect and desire different things from these directors. 

A film can be absolutely astonishing and life-changing, but not entertaining in the traditional sense (i.e. I'm not going to flip to it while watching cable). A good example of this might be There Will Be Blood. On the other hand, a movie can be a great film, but it's primary purpose is entertainment and there is a typically a high-level of re-watchability associated with it (think John Wick or Anchorman). Certain filmmakers (or films within a particular filmmaker's oeuvre) are both great films and movies. Think most of Martin Scorsese's films. Or even Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, a movie I think that has extraordinary artistic and entertainment value. 

Basically, the terminology isn't as important as the realization that even within the format of film, you have works that almost can be considered a completely different medium. It's important to recognize them as such and critique them on their own merits. I used to think it was necessary to compare all movies on the same plane; however, it is important to recognize intent and context with each piece of content. This definitely isn't a groundbreaking realization, but I think in a time in which television, art house, tentpoles, vlogging, and other types of content are consumed in similar ways, it's important to keep in mind the creator's intent and be mindful of that when reviewing each piece of work.