I’ve seen a lot of movies this summer. All types of genres: action, science fiction, drama, comedy... it’s been a plethora of movies. (And remember, you can only call something a plethora if you know what a plethora is. Steve Martin rules.)
However, it was while I was watching the remake of Olympus Has Fallen, the Jamie Foxx-Channing Tatum vehicle we’ve all been clamoring for, White House Down (which I gave a 3 out of 5... not a bad movie. Could have used more cool one liners and explosions), I started to realize that these genres just weren’t doing it for me. I mean, yes, White House Down is an “action comedy movie.” But it’s some much more. It ignores the fact that the movie starts off with a single person fighting against a bunch of bad guys, then teams up with a partner who just happens to be the President. (Unlike Gerard Butler, who didn’t need to team up with anyone to get the job done.)
So, I think it’s important to explore a more specific brand of genre so we can properly discuss movies. I mean, if you’re going to do something, you need to do it right.
Whedonesque: This is a film that’s similar to Joss Whedon’s work, and it’s characterized by making you fall in love with a character just in time to watch them meet a grisly demise. They do all this while making quipping comments. Joss Whedon managed to turn Much Ado About Nothing into something quite Whedonesque. Also, had Gilmore Girls killed off Dean in the fourth season, it probably would have been classified as Whedonesque. (Better than having him con Rory into having sex and cheating on his wife... sorry.. that’s another post.) The Fifth Element is sort of Whedonesque, although no one really dies except the bad guy. But It’s Gary Oldman, so you love him.
Die Hard in A....: This is probably the most prolific of unrecognized genres out there. I mean, we all know that Die Hard, in addition to being the best Christmas movie ever, is also one of the best action movies that was allowed to be blasted into our eyeballs. But a lot of people have tried to copy the formula by sticking one lone man who’s tight t-shirt or tank top makes him impervious to the thousands of bullets whizzing past his face while he makes witty comments and tries to make a catchphrase out of just about anything. Sometimes, they’re successful, like Olympus has Fallen. Sometimes they’re less successful, like White House Down. Sometimes they’re not successful, but time will vindicate them, like Lockout. (It was a prison. In Space. And he had to save the President’s Daughter. In Space. How do people not recognize this as the greatest movie ever?)
The Comeback: This one is great because it can encompass literally any genre, ever. But we know the story. An actor goes off the rails. We all eventually get tired of following the breakdown in US Weekly, so it comes time for them to come back with some spectacular piece of filmmaking that will win them tons of acclaim and we throw Oscars at them, and then they sell their tragic story to People. Then they probably go away for a little bit before having another Comeback. I kind of miss it, because we haven’t seen to many of these lately. I think we’re due, but Lindsay Lohan, the person most likely in need of a Comeback, hasn’t really produce a high profile, good movie in a while. Maybe Charlie Sheen will help us out in Machete Kills. Speaking of which...
The So Bad It’s Good: This is another one that I feel is well known, but at the same time is sort of mixed up with the Liking it Ironically genre. So Bad It’s Good, has a ton of intentional bad acting, bad editing, bad music choices, etc... so we can go in, recognize that a man’s head doesn’t explode when it’s hit like that, but we like it anyway. The Ironic genre is more a bunch of hipsters or “film buffs” deciding that they read a book on filmmaking once, and break apart rules they don’t themselves understand, but the e-book they illegally downloaded to their hipsterpad (that’s so much better than an iPad) told them that it was bad. So Bad it’s Good knows it’s not a good movie walking into it. No one is claiming otherwise, but it can be enjoyed on the merits of its badness.
I obviously have some issues to work out with hipsters.
The One that the Media Decided What it was going to be Three Months Ago: So, I’m not going to start on a rant of how much the media can manipulate storylines, because everyone has their opinion on it. But sometimes, they’ll pick a movie. For instance, let’s take one from this Summer: Man of Steel. Now, the Superman Shield on my right arm makes me more prone to enjoy this movie, but if you look at some of the news stories, as soon as the writer and the director were picked (Zack Snyder and David Goyer) they said, “ooooh... is it going to be dark, or is going to be bloody like 300?) Then they all threw in the “controversy” that wasn’t for the ending. They ignore all of the facts, and continue to press their genre. It’s noble in a way. Let’s also take Green Lantern. Somewhere along the line the media decided that a movie about a test pilot that became an intergalactic space cop with the help of a magic ring was going to suck. So surprise, when a movie about a test pilot that became an intergalactic space cop with the help of a magic ring came out, it somehow didn’t live up to their expectations despite the fact that is set every single expectation. I hate this genre.
The Nicolas Cage Movie: Any movie starring the man, Nicolas Cage. This also encompasses 3000 Miles to Graceland because Nicolas Cage should have starred in this one. But didn’t for some reason. (It was about Elvis Impersonators that robbed a casino, then double cross each other. The bad guy claims to be Elvis’ son. HOW WAS HE NOT IN THIS MOVIE?)
The Gritty Origin Reboot: I don’t mean the superhero genre of retelling the same origin story but using darker lenses to film it. I mean the Disney Star suddenly starring in a movie where he or she is drinking heavily, swearing, and having sex on film so we can now think of them as adults.