September 13, 2005

genre vs. auteur?

So this weekend was a good one. Mowed the lawn. Nearly finished painting the front room.

Sarah worked most of the day on Saturday, so I took the time to watch a movie that I got at goodwill called "Kansas City Confidential". It's a crime drama of the film noir persuasion. I got to be a film geek and think about all of the conventions of this genre of film, all of which stems from my minor in film from Middle Tennessee State University. I won't go into the conventions of film noir at this time... perhaps at a later date (I seem to say that a lot on here, don't I?)

As I mowed the lawn, I got thinking about what draws people to watch certain films. KC-Confidential is a somewhat forgettable film, and it didn't do too well when it was released. Not even a very notable cast. But I ate it up. And I would watch any number of films similar to it. Why?

So here's my question: what draws you to see a certain film? Obviously, you see a film becuase you think you'll like it, or someone else has told you that you'd like it (a friend, a movie critic, a blog). Here are some possible sub-questions to clarify:
  • Is it because of the director's past work? (e.g. Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Cameron Crowe) this is related to autuer theory
  • Or possibly the lead actor's past work? (e.g. Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, John Cusack)
  • Is it because of the type of film that it is? (e.g. Chick Flick, Horror, Sci-Fi Hobbit Epic) this is related to genre theory
And the question that follows is by what standard do you critique if the film was good? I would hazard a guess in saying that part of your answer has to do with holding it up against your answer to the previous question. If you saw it because of a director/actor, you would compare it to what he/she has done in the past. If you saw it because of the type of film, you would compare it to other films that you have seen in that genre of film.

I realize that there are films that one sees without any predisposed notion about it's contents, but this is very rarely the case anymore, thanks to our mass market/mass media culture. So please humor me and tell me what you think about when you spend your $9 (in the theater), $4.50 (at blockbuster), mouse click (netflix... woot!), to see a movie. And try to use specific examples where ever possible to show films that surprised you or your were disappointed by. I'll even post a comment or two about what standard I see movies by.

Happy Typing!

1 comment:

Paul Swanson said...

I just saw "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" the other day. It was funny, but kinda crude and uncomfortable at times (it was rated R and I didn't know that until I got there). Anyways, when I first heard about it, I didn't really want to see it because of the name first of all and the ads on tv made it look stupid. Especially the commercials where he's getting his chest waxed. So after it came out, I heard great reviews everywhere about it, even Ebert and Roeper gave it two thumbs up, so I was like, maybe it isn't as dumb as I thought. So I went and saw it with friends, and thought it was great! Haha, shows how influenced I am by today's culture and society...but yeah, that's my story. :)