do you take a narrow or broad view of genres?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by george kaplan, Sep 19, 2002.

  1. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I take a broad view, so much so that I seem to constantly be offending the genre purists. Some of my more egregious views:
    Westerns: Support Your Local Sheriff, Blazing Saddles
    Science Fiction: Star Wars, Back to the Future
    Musicals: Duck Soup, Jungle Book
    Horror: Alien, Young Frankenstein
    Mystery: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
    It's not that I don't understand the more narrow defintions, it's just that to me those are subgenres, not the genres themselves.
    I view Slasher films as a subgenre of Horror, not the definition of horror.
    I view dramatic westerns as a subgenre of westerns, etc., etc.
    So where do you fall. Are you a genre purist, or are you genre sacrilegious like me? [​IMG]
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Well, I'm definitely more of a genre purist - for one, I believe in the concept of hard science-fiction [​IMG] - but these days, what with all the crossbreeding of genres, being so anal is requiring more and more of an effort. [​IMG]
     
  3. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    A genre purist. In terms of taxonomy my belief, and nomenclature is as follows:
    genre - retains consistency within the parameters of the genre. May not have a specific focus, but works within the larger boundaries of the genre. Westerns such as The Big Country, or Red River for instance.
    sub-genre - explores one or more aspects of the genre in a very specific manner; and while it may subvert the genre, it uses that genre's conventions to do so. It does not extend the genre by introducing elements that are outside the province of the genre but rather narrows the focus of the genre. i.e Johnny Mneumonic confined itself to the sub-genre of cyberpunk SF.
    hybrid - combines or melds different genres in an amalgam; often described in hyphenated terms. Although this may not be a legitimate film term, that is how I think of those films ( Blazing Saddles Western-Comedy, Alien SF-Horror, etc. )
    BTW, Star Wars is fantasy-adventure, not friggin' SF. [​IMG]
    - Walter.
     
  4. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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    Genre lines are something I generally tend to ignore. I care less about what predetermined pigeonhole a film falls into than about its intrinsic qualities as a cinematic work.
     
  5. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    There are only 2 genres: Films I like and films I don't like.
    The ones I like, I buy. The ones I don't like, I don't buy.
    [​IMG]
    Seriously, I pretty much feel the same way as Agee.
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I hate the very idea of "genre", because central to that notion is "formula". To me, a genre is like a monopoly - bust that sucker up good!
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Overall I’m between George and Walter, leaning somewhat closer to Walter. This is probably because I tend to stretch the boundaries when I like a film and think that it should be included for discussion (e.g Bad Day at Black Rock as a Western) but don’t push the boundaries to include Marx Brother’s movies as musicals, though they certainly have music in them. Much as I love Duck Soup, I just can’t see it as a musical.

    And as to Star Wars, this kind of thing has been generally included in the loose definition of ‘Fantasy and Science Fiction’ ever since I can remember (and could read). Stories like this would have been included in most of the monthlies. True they would not have met the ‘Science Fiction’ test in the strict sense, but I can well understand why a good many will include anything with space ships as Science Fiction. I would, and do, though I concede the correctness of your point, Walter.
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  9. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    I'm a believer in basic video store categories: Comedy. Drama. Sci-Fi/Horror. Action. Maybe Western. Maybe War. Mature (or Adult, or "Special Interest"). Family (or Kids). Maybe Foreign. Music/Musicals. Documentaries. New Releases.

    If you can't find what you want, maybe they have "Employee Recommendations" or "Movies of the Month" or some such thing.

    If I was looking for Blazing Saddles, I'd try comedy, then western. Then maybe musicals or something. Aw hell, they probably don't have it...

    If I wanted Star Wars I'd go to sci-fi/horror. If it's not there then it's probably on a special display somewhere in the store...

    If I want Eraserhead I'll go to sci-fi/horror, then drama, then comedy. I might even check under foreign or musical. Who am I kidding, I know they don't have it...

    I guess my point is that I don't use these genre categories except to find where other people might have put a movie I want to see. If I don't take a broad view, I probably won't find what I am looking for.
     
  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Very broad.

    I have movies such as Big Trouble In Little China, UHF, and 3 MST3K episodes while I have City Lights, Citizen Kane, Fantasia, and 8 1/2.

    I love movies and will only avoid the truly stinky ones (an amusing bad movie is a lot better than a bland one.)
     
  11. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    The only real purpose of putting a movie into a certain Genre is to inform the potential viewer of what "type" of movie they are going to see. If people have a certain distaste for a particular genre, they can keep away from that type of movie, and vice-versa.
    BTW, a very interesting thing regarding DVD Profiler. I just downloaded version 2. Looking at my stats, I dont have a single movie that DVD Profiler considers to fit the Genre of "War". This is despite the fact that I own Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, Das Boot, Black Hawk Down and many other movies I would certainly classify as fitting the genre of "war". Most of these are classifed by DVD Profiler as "Action/Drama". Doesn't make much sense. [​IMG]
     
  12. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

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  13. David Dennison

    David Dennison Second Unit

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    I am a fan of broad genres. I went from complete alpha sorting my dvds to alpha within 5 main genres:

    Comedy - romantic, slapstick, etc. Possibly the most clear group.
    Drama - Includes war movies
    Action/Adventure/Suspense/Thriller
    SciFi/Fantasy/Horror
    Classic - ~1970s and back. Includes movies from all the above genres.


    and 3 mini genres (mainly because I have so few of these):

    Westerns
    Musicals
    Foreign Language
     
  14. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Agee: Well, Rain, I too don't really worry much about genres except when the topic comes up such as 'best musical of all time' and I mention Duck Soup and someone says "that's not a musical" [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    While I agree with Rich on a certain level, in the end I mostly disagree. To me, the problem is not the "genre" concept itself, but how it is used, mostly by the marketing ghouls, which then creates a type of "Caste System" in the minds of most of the general public.

    For me, most problems come from not understanding or not accepting mixed genres and not recognizing degree. To me, Star Wars has Sci-Fi elements, but is mostly Fantasy in a Sci-Fi wrapper. If I am forced to say which genre it most fully fits, it is Fantasy.

    To answer the question, sometimes I am a purist and sometimes I couldn't care less.
     
  16. Jan H

    Jan H Cinematographer

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    The concept of "genre" is indeed stale, but to label "Blazing Saddles" a Western, "Young Frankenstein" a Horror film, and "Roger Rabbit" a Mystery is, I think, taking an overly broad view of "broadness."
     
  17. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I only use genre when I'm trying to identify something for somebody else. But if I had to take a selection, I'll go for a broad genre definition. I'm not as dogmatic as some folks are. Good poll question, george kaplan.

    For the record, I believe that the Star Wars films are fantasy with a mix of science fiction. But it does beg the question though, considering I don't know the answer: what came first, the serialized sci-fi consisting of humans fighting alien monsters (e.g. Flash Gordon, Lost in Space), or the hardcore, serious sci-fi that seeks to deliberate science and man?
     
  18. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Well, if you asked me to choose the primary genre for those films I wouldn't use those particular labels. Certainly Blazing Saddles is more of a comedy than a western. However, that doesn't mean it's not also a western, and I wouldn't hesitate to throw it in on a discussion of such films (which is what upsets people [​IMG]).
    Frankly, sometimes I just sit out certain discussions, such as a current thread asking about best westerns, cause my honest opinions wouldn't be appreciated.
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I know sometimes people get militant about this subject, but on the other hand, can't you also understand someone not wanting to include Back to the Future in a "Hard SciFi" tournament? To use an actual example.
     
  20. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Actually there's a perfect example of where I vehemently disagree. I don't want to rehash the arguments, but I never understood the so-called 'hard sci-fi' definition. I'm sorry, but I consider myself a major sci-fi fan, literally since I was 3 or 4, and considering a film about time travel (my favorite sci-fi subgenre) as not being science fiction is something I will never understand.
     

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