The five-minute movie test

I like to watch the first five minutes of randomly downloaded movies. Find ten movies I haven’t heard of, see the beginning of each, and usually one of them will be worth watching to the end. The discovery is more enjoyable for it being random, the movie becomes your own in a sense a “you have to see this!” movie never can. You also get to appreciate the movie on its own terms, not knowing any plot points in advance. I found Altered States this way, a real gem. Of course, most of these movies are shit, but even the bad ones are interesting as little glimpses into the backstreets of movie history. Today’s movie: Lawman (1971), which I did give up on after 5 minutes, (it opens with a generic Western brawl and a stranger riding into town, so I figured I could save myself some time and just imagine the rest), but then I found some positive reviews and decided to give it a second chance. Glad I did, it’s a fine western, just the way I like them. And now I have five more unknown movies to try out next. (Yes, I do buy the good ones.)

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