Niche sub-genres that have and haven’t taken off

27 Feb

Cross posted to Sarah’s blog

Genre is a useful tool for classifying films and a good way to attract certain audiences to certain films. Sub-genres and Hybrid-genres are a way for directors and writers to come up with new ideas and unique pieces of work. Sometimes then they accidently kick off a (usually short lived) trend:

Cowboy-Ninja Films

What’s cool? Cowboys are cool. What else is cool? Ninja. Therefore cool squared is personified by films like Bunraku (Guy Moshe, 2010) and The Warrior’s Way (Sngmoo Lee, 2010). Both genres share similar themes such as honour, revenge, redemption etc and in both these cases at least, makes for some striking visuals with The Warrior’s Way evoking a steampunk-esque aesthetic while Bunraku favouring a comic book/puppet theatre inspired look.

Terminal Illness Rom Coms

The perfect valentine’s date movie. Or not. 2010 and 2011 saw the release of Love and Other Drugs  (Edward Zwick, 2010) and A Little Bit of Heaven (Nicole Kassel, 2011). One starred Anne Hathaway and the other Kate Hudson and each played a woman who was dying from an awful terminal illness but found love. So that was nice.

For painfully obvious reason neither film was terribly well received though A Little Bit of Heaven got it far worse. Possibly because of the absence of Anne Hathaway.

Victorian Department Store Melodramas

Oh how the big wigs at ITV must have been kicking themselves when BBC broadcast The Paradise last year. Their own series Mr Selfridge looked like a rip off in comparison. Despite the fact that The Paradise is derived from a novel from Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart (albeit with all of Zola’s ideas on Hereditary personality deficiencies within a screwed up French family, the very thing the series was written to demonstrate, removed) novels and Mr Selfridge is based on the establishment of (guess where?) Selfridges department store on Oxford Street  the two share a staggering number of characters and plot devices. Eccentric, brilliant owner whose ideas are scoffed at but eventually proved right? CHECK. Young naïve sales girl with hidden talents for retail? CHECK. Men throwing themselves at her from all directions? CHECK. Rich bitch in fabulous hats skulking around and manipulating everyone? CHECK. Swooshing skirts. CHECK.

NOTE: I am aware that being set in 1906, Mr Selfridge should properly be termed an Edwardian Department Store Melodrama, but that aside, all the other glaring similarities between the two still stand.

Films based on board games

Battleship I’m looking at you. But it may surprise you to learn that another classic family favourite, Cluedo, was turned into a film in the 1980s. Clue (Johnathan Lynn, 1985) stars Tim Curry as butler who brings together a group of eccentric and chromatically themed characters in a case of blackmail and murder. It is wonderfully tacky and gloriously cheesy and comes complete with three different endings, only one of which makes sense but don’t think too hard about that. It was poorly received but has become a cult classic.

Horrifyingly it is being remade by Gore Verbinski.

About the Writer: Sarah is a filmmaker and writer with an obsession for luscious visuals and a distain for tomatoes (they are a sneaky and untrustworthy foodstuff). If she’s not blogging, she’ll be watching films or running around with her video camera.


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