Thursday 10 May 2012

Speaking of Genres

May as well get the two questions about bad film and telly out of the way at the same time - Question 5: What is the naffest film genre?

To my mind, there are two principal contestants here.  But I'll come on to that in a minute.  For starters, I'd like to explain why I'm not choosing some of the ones I'm not choosing.

Unlike the other question, we're now dealing with whole genres in broad strokes, and some of them simply contain too many cool films to count as collectively naff.  Science fiction, for example, would include Logan's Run (which was a pile of incoherent drivel), the two Matrix sequels (which were sloppily written, and unnecessarily confusing even by the brain-warping standards of their parent film), and Star Trek movies I, V, X and XI; but on the other hand, it includes Star Wars, Star Trek II and IV, Jurassic Park, and the original Matrix, which means that the genre, considered collectively, is still very cool.

There are various other genres which have their fair share of creakingly awful movies, but a compensatory (sometimes more-than-compensatory) collection of really good ones:
  • the Action genre - cursed with all sorts of brainless dreck (I had so much fun reading the scathing reviews of Abduction earlier this year), but redeemed by a healthy enough clutch of other films.
  • the Comedy genre - there are several people out there who seem to think that 'comedy' consists of being crude and unpleasant, and the net result is (to me at least) very offputting.  But then there are other films which really are funny, from The Princess Bride to Galaxy Quest.
  • the Drama genre - some examples are really slow and boring, and To Kill a Mockingbird was dragged down by, of all things, the fact that its three child actors had quite literally the most infuriating accents I've ever heard coming out of the mouths of human beings.  But then you get the likes of 12 Angry Men - most of the film is about 12 men bickering in an office-ish room, but they're the jury on a murder trial and the whole thing is much more engaging than you might expect.
  • the Superhero genre - cursed with Superman III, Batman & Robin, X-Men: The Last Stand, and  Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; but redeemed by the likes of Nolan's Batman, X-Men 2, Thor and The Avengers.
Animation is not a genre.  Brad Bird (arguably one of the greatest animation directors of all time, what with having made The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille) has threatened dire consequences on anybody who says otherwise, and I really don't want to get dire consequenced by an angry version of Brad Bird.  But even if I was rash enough to risk Bird's wrath by calling animation a genre, I'd never dream of calling it "the naffest genre" - after all, it's got Brad Bird's work to bouy it up.

To me, the two naffest film genres are Horror, and Romance.
  • Horror, because I don't like watching people get stalked / dismembered / bled copiously / all that other gruesome stuff tht horror films trade on.  I don't see the point in going to see a film just to get scared, and my mean streak, although existent, is nowhere near wide enough for me to want to see a film which is primarily about people suffering.  Therefore, Horror is a bad genre.
  • Many films have a romantic subplot, but it's usually the most pointless and annoying aspect of the movie, and I can't think of many (if any at all) which were solely or principally about the wuv, which weren't atrocious.  I mentioned The Princess Bride above - yes, it's a fairy-tale love story, but it's equally a comedy, and the 50/50 blend works.  What doesn't work is a movie which is entirely about how s/he's so very cute, and... um, yeah, s/he's really cute.  That's not why cinema was invented.  Cinema was invented primarily for dramatic spectacle, and if soapy wuv stories have to exist at all, then they should be confined to the small screen.  Therefore, Romance is a bad genre.
Paradoxically, I'm told that certain films (e.g. Shaun of the Dead) have combined these two bad genres, infused with a sizeable dash of irony, and managed to turn up something good.  But I haven't seen one of those, so I can't comment.

I'm honestly not sure that I could say which of those two is actually naffer, but given a choice I'd take the wuv story over the splatter flick, mainly because it'd be less likely to induce grisly nightmares.  So if you insist on me distilling this down to a one-word answer, then Horror.

  • Last 10 for 17 status: 8 down, 2 to go
  • Latest book read: still The Kink and I
  • Latest film/TV watched: The Apprentice series 8 episode 8
  • Latest music listened to: Requiem by Karl Jenkins, currently on speakers
  • Latest edible item eaten: jambolaya
  • Programs and web pages currently running: Microsoft Office Outlook and Word 2007, Firefox (tabs: MatNav 6.1, twice; Blogspot Dashboard; Blogspot Create Post), Windows Media Player 11, Windows File Browser
  • Webcomics posted today: Cylinder and Miserable Episode 1476

- The Colclough


  1. I like FF:ROTSS, X-Men: TLS,

    Batman and Robin while bad can still be enjoyable. I agree with Hoor and Romance as Naff genres.

    A couple of things you forgot to mention in comedy that is good is The Naked Gun films, Hot Shots Part Deux and Airplane.

    1. i would agree that Batman & Robin is bad-but-enjoyable, i suppose, and i'd probably put ROTSS in the same category. i really didn't enjoy X-Men TLS though; i thought they killed off too many characters and it all got a bit depressing.

  2. 1 addition to Good Sci-fi - Independance Day

  3. I'm with you all the way on this one, Matt.