Death By Boring

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Death By Boring

MovieBob thinks a few specific types of film genres need to go the way of the Betamax.

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Erhrm. Right, why am I getting flashbacks to the top 50 most boring Nerd arguments? Oh right, because this is trying to come across as "witty" and ends up sounding exactly like it is: a rant about how horrible movies that Bob doesn't like remain popular.

Pray silence please for yet another round of...

"Bob is pointing out that he's been round the block a bit as a critic and as such is getting increasingly tired of some of the more grating cliches that he has to sit though again and again. This must mean he's telling me I'm wrong for liking anything to do with any of these things! PRETENSION, PRETENSION I SAY!"

Yeah, can we just not do that this time around? I mean, I know we will, but can we not?

Bob is pointing out that he's been round the block a bit as a critic and as such is getting increasingly tired of some of the more grating cliches that he has to sit though again and again. This must mean he's telling me I'm wrong for liking anything to do with any of these things! PRETENSION, PRETENSION I SAY!

But you know I would like to see a movie where the female executive has a boy toy, and the film WASN'T about their relationship.

Alright, look, I'm actually not big on the "First World Problems!" meme, aka the hipster version of "Finish your dinner, there are people starving in China!" Yes, thank you, I'm aware that I am part of a class/culture for whom the prospects of winding up genuinely destitute are overall pretty slim. That I would have to fall pretty far and then on downward through every crack in the social safety net to even approach the level of desperation that many poor souls throughout the world live every day. And y'know what? The (mutually acknowledged) fact that I can't possibly conceive of that level of suffering means that you pointing out that my problems aren't comparable isn't going to have any tangible effect on me. It's not going to make me feel better, it's not going to give me perspective, it's not going to shame me into joining the Peace Corps. The only thing it does is help you thread the impressive paradox of simultaneously feeling somehow morally righteous while snark-shaming someone who just told you they were in the midst of a problem

Bob, I'm going to steal this paragraph if I may and then pull it out whenever any of my friends or acquaintances try to make me feel worse about a problem I already feel bad about. Good ammunition against that kind of BS emotional warfare.

My list would build upon what you have mentioned and would also include:

Hip Hop Kung Fu movies
Movies about fast living and fast cars
Rob Schnieder is a______ (this was of course covered by a South Park episode and I haven't seen any since- Success!)
A sports movie in which the great lesson of all is learned off of the field. And there is a disadvantaged player who needs the game to survive. Also, they are underdogs. Also let's tie it to an historic sports event. Blerg.

Soviet Heavy:
Erhrm. Right, why am I getting flashbacks to the top 50 most boring Nerd arguments? Oh right, because this is trying to come across as "witty" and ends up sounding exactly like it is: a rant about how horrible movies that Bob doesn't like remain popular.

surprising that you read the whole thing then...

Here's one that's sorely missing:

Big City Hotshot Finds Small Town Life Charming and Preferable

Examples: Doc Hollywood, Sweet Home Alabama, Cars

The protagonist is a young, wealthy, beautiful (by Hollywood standards), and often famous professional with a jet set life in either New York or Los Angeles. Events conspire to force the protagonist to stay in Bumfuck Georgia, where the houses are rickety, the cars are ancient, herd mentality thrives, and nobody knows what's on television these days. The protagonist reacts in shock and dismay at their situation at first, but grows to love the small community and gives up their fabulous life to settle down as a simple (wo)man.

One of the uncomfortable aspects of this framework is how it propagates Bible Belt stereotypes. It assumes the audience to find ambition, talent, and drive to be bad traits that need to be ironed over with some Norman Rockwell-esque southern hospitality. What makes this framework outright paradoxical is that nobody ever got in a position to make this movie by following the moral it preaches. Basically, it's cynical pandering to an audience held in low esteem.

The absolute worst instance of this plot framework is Sweet Home Alabama, which sets the heroine up with a love triangle between an impossibly charming, wealthy, and good-hearted city man versus her abusive, neglectful, unambitious hometown husband she left behind... and has her throw away her professional life to move back in with the jerk. The movie doesn't even try to make her decision look good, with Mr. Charming even fully supportive of her decision to dump him for her old life.

I get the arguments made here, but I think there can be some merit if the offending genre is done well. I know you are making generalizations and I am about to nit-pick but in this case I think I have a good example.

Death at A Funeral

For those of you unfamiliar this movie was made and then remade within the span of about 14 months. The initial version is an English family dark comedy where everyone is very stiff and proper and dark hilarity ensues (a small part played by Alan Tudyk is a great piece of character acting). The family is disfunctional and supposedly proper while being very improper at the same time. Have we seen this before, sure. Is it done well to the point that it entertains here, absolutely.

Fast forward and Tyler Perry remakes the same movie, almost shot for shot except now we have loud black people. This is not a racist exageration on my part. The family has gone from stiff propper British to loud and crazy African American. Presumably to make them ore relatable to the Tyler Perry audience. But it adds nothing to the genere of "my crazy family". It isn't done particularly well and therefore it becomes less about entertainment and more about tkaing something that worked and litterally black washing it and putting it in a larger market (the original is considered an independent film) to make a bit more money.

This movie essentially supports and opposes Bob's statements on the genre. Anything done well and which is entertaining should be allowed to continue to be produced regardless of whether the story has been told before. However being lazy in order to make more money should not be tollerated by the mass movie going audiences.

Oh God yes, to the last one. I remember I kept seeing previews for that movie "How Does She Do It?" Or whatever the hell it was called, and kept having to ask my television, "But what is the movie ABOUT!?"

I typically agree with you Bob, and I agree with most of what you're saying here. But I agree more with your "anything can be a good movie" even tired, plodding, cliche genre flicks. It just depends on the film itself, first the script, then the direction. I feel like all those genre's have good examples as well as bad.

AlexanderPeregrine:
Here's one that's sorely missing:

Big City Hotshot Finds Small Town Life Charming and Preferable

Examples: Doc Hollywood, Sweet Home Alabama, Cars

The protagonist is a young, wealthy, beautiful (by Hollywood standards), and often famous professional with a jet set life in either New York or Los Angeles. Events conspire to force the protagonist to stay in Bumfuck Georgia, where the houses are rickety, the cars are ancient, herd mentality thrives, and nobody knows what's on television these days. The protagonist reacts in shock and dismay at their situation at first, but grows to love the small community and gives up their fabulous life to settle down as a simple (wo)man.

One of the uncomfortable aspects of this framework is how it propagates Bible Belt stereotypes. It assumes the audience to find ambition, talent, and drive to be bad traits that need to be ironed over with some Norman Rockwell-esque southern hospitality. What makes this framework outright paradoxical is that nobody ever got in a position to make this movie by following the moral it preaches. Basically, it's cynical pandering to an audience held in low esteem.

The absolute worst instance of this plot framework is Sweet Home Alabama, which sets the heroine up with a love triangle between an impossibly charming, wealthy, and good-hearted city man versus her abusive, neglectful, unambitious hometown husband she left behind... and has her throw away her professional life to move back in with the jerk. The movie doesn't even try to make her decision look good, with Mr. Charming even fully supportive of her decision to dump him for her old life.

Yes I suppose that's the Hollywood method. This is more common of the independent film/theater angle, but as someone who grew up in a small town I always get a kick out of how film makers portray small town life from a more negative angle. Whether they're glorifying it or minmimalizing it people born and raised in the city can have some weird perceptions about small town life.

sinsfire:
I get the arguments made here, but I think there can be some merit if the offending genre is done well. I know you are making generalizations and I am about to nit-pick but in this case I think I have a good example.

Death at A Funeral

For those of you unfamiliar this movie was made and then remade within the span of about 14 months. The initial version is an English family dark comedy where everyone is very stiff and proper and dark hilarity ensues (a small part played by Alan Tudyk is a great piece of character acting). The family is disfunctional and supposedly proper while being very improper at the same time. Have we seen this before, sure. Is it done well to the point that it entertains here, absolutely.

Fast forward and Tyler Perry remakes the same movie, almost shot for shot except now we have loud black people. This is not a racist exageration on my part. The family has gone from stiff propper British to loud and crazy African American. Presumably to make them ore relatable to the Tyler Perry audience. But it adds nothing to the genere of "my crazy family". It isn't done particularly well and therefore it becomes less about entertainment and more about tkaing something that worked and litterally black washing it and putting it in a larger market (the original is considered an independent film) to make a bit more money.

This movie essentially supports and opposes Bob's statements on the genre. Anything done well and which is entertaining should be allowed to continue to be produced regardless of whether the story has been told before. However being lazy in order to make more money should not be tollerated by the mass movie going audiences.

Thank you, I was just about to plug this movie and it's subsequent remake when I got to the "crazy extended family" part of Bob's article. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Alfie is a really, really good film and Michael Caine is really, really good in it. If you haven't seen it, you really should. Your Good Luck Chucks and their ilk are not only superficially sexist, they fail completely at providing deep and human male protagonists.

RandV80:

AlexanderPeregrine:
Here's one that's sorely missing:

Big City Hotshot Finds Small Town Life Charming and Preferable

Examples: Doc Hollywood, Sweet Home Alabama, Cars

The protagonist is a young, wealthy, beautiful (by Hollywood standards), and often famous professional with a jet set life in either New York or Los Angeles. Events conspire to force the protagonist to stay in Bumfuck Georgia, where the houses are rickety, the cars are ancient, herd mentality thrives, and nobody knows what's on television these days. The protagonist reacts in shock and dismay at their situation at first, but grows to love the small community and gives up their fabulous life to settle down as a simple (wo)man.

One of the uncomfortable aspects of this framework is how it propagates Bible Belt stereotypes. It assumes the audience to find ambition, talent, and drive to be bad traits that need to be ironed over with some Norman Rockwell-esque southern hospitality. What makes this framework outright paradoxical is that nobody ever got in a position to make this movie by following the moral it preaches. Basically, it's cynical pandering to an audience held in low esteem.

The absolute worst instance of this plot framework is Sweet Home Alabama, which sets the heroine up with a love triangle between an impossibly charming, wealthy, and good-hearted city man versus her abusive, neglectful, unambitious hometown husband she left behind... and has her throw away her professional life to move back in with the jerk. The movie doesn't even try to make her decision look good, with Mr. Charming even fully supportive of her decision to dump him for her old life.

Yes I suppose that's the Hollywood method. This is more common of the independent film/theater angle, but as someone who grew up in a small town I always get a kick out of how film makers portray small town life from a more negative angle. Whether they're glorifying it or minmimalizing it people born and raised in the city can have some weird perceptions about small town life.

This one really does need to die. In this modern age the only way hollywood can make the contrast work is if the family is either Amish (Been done, see "For Richer or Poorer") or the family has lucked out and, as Bob mentions, has fallen through every crack of the U.S. security net. These days even the poorest people have an Iphone or a laptop. So in order to find a depiction of rural life so lacking in modern conveniences that the contrast would stand out, where would one go, Harlan County from Justified?

I'm so sick of movies with, like, three acts. Like come on, I don't need to learn everything about the world and characters before the third act. And am I really expected to believe all of life's plot threads are just going to tie up after some decisive climax? Is it really a big deal if I have no clue what the movie is about by the 17-minute mark? Peaks and valleys my ass, I want a movie that is all action for 40 minutes, then 60 minutes of exposition and musical numbers. And what the hell is up with the credits always coming at the end? Lazy. It seems a capable director these days could break the mould and do something creative, like work them into the backround, or into the dialogue using secret codes. And why am I supposed to care so much about the protagonist? It really seems that the extras are doing all the heavy lifting anyway, they should get more screen-time and stunts. And why does the villain always have, like, dark sounding music? A little bebop would be a nice accompaniment to murder. Twist endings? How 'bout a twist beginning? I don't even...hey let go of me!

Damn, is that what Eat Pray Love is really about? No wonder people hate it so much.

rddj623:
I typically agree with you Bob, and I agree with most of what you're saying here. But I agree more with your "anything can be a good movie" even tired, plodding, cliche genre flicks. It just depends on the film itself, first the script, then the direction. I feel like all those genre's have good examples as well as bad.

That said, if you're making a movie in a genre that's generally considered to be tired and cliché, you're probably not doing it out of a desire to be original. And if you are, you're probably making a movie that deliberately deconstructs the genre and not just a "finally good" film that plays the premise straight.

Here a wild theory. Shite movies come out all the time and always have.

The only reason we look back on our movie collection and go "ahhhh! they don't make em like they used to!" is because we have one or two excellent movies per year but mentally class this large collection which spans back decades as "old movies" and whatever is currently in the cinema as "current movies".

I can almost garentee if you look at the majority of releases in any one year in any decade of cinema the MAJORITY of them would be utter shite which we have promptly forgot.

But, Bob, don't you realize that those wealthy elites in their mansions are suffering for us? After all, they are the job creators, and without them being constantly supplied with foie gras, designer dresses and luxury cars, the rest of us would be living in the gutter?

They have to endure living such empty, horrible lives, where everything they can think of is available on a whim, so the rest of us get to enjoy our 10-hour workdays and quaint down-to-earth struggles with family life and saving up to afford getting our cars fixed.

Kuredan:

My list would build upon what you have mentioned and would also include:

Hip Hop Kung Fu movies
...

What! How are Hip Hop Kung Fu movies an overused genre film?! Seriously I need like 10x more of those made yesterday.

"Seemingly Fabulous Upscale Career Woman Still Somehow Incomplete Without A Man"

This is the least likely to be abandoned because this kind of movie is so easy and always makes some amount of money from primarily female audience it's targeted to. Meg Ryan's career was built on that concept, and the money of annoyed boyfriends.

I can't stand any Romantic Comedy but I've learned to accept they will always have an audience. Probably harder for someone who sorta has to watch movies.

DVS BSTrD:
But you know I would like to see a movie where the female executive has a boy toy, and the film WASN'T about their relationship.

I dont get it. You mean that she casually has a boy in a Gymp suit and threats it like a toy? or that she LITERALY has a toy that a boy would use and where she plays with it?

Nurb:

"Seemingly Fabulous Upscale Career Woman Still Somehow Incomplete Without A Man"

This is the least likely to be abandoned because this kind of movie is so easy and always makes some amount of money from primarily female audience it's targeted to. Meg Ryan's career was built on that concept, and the money of annoyed boyfriends.

I can't stand any Romantic Comedy but I've learned to accept they will always have an audience. Probably harder for someone who sorta has to watch movies.

Not even the praised "Chasing Amy"?

I don't think Bob is saying that any of those frameworks can't be used for a genuinely good movie. But they have to actually aspire to be more than said framework. All the movies Bob pointed out are literally "do as little writing work as possible." See every Tyler Perry movie for example. There's 10,000 people and yet zero depth. And yet, if the story was actually compelling, characters were well written, or just something fucking happens that affects the audience (God forbid), then it would be fine. The movies he's pointing out, are literally just concept structures, and then 5 minutes of distinguishing fluff sprayed thinly on. Unfortunately, since we're living in a world where the majority of audiences don't want to be challenged in any way, they'll pay to see this same thing reinforce these same ideas ad nauseum.

DioWallachia:

Nurb:

"Seemingly Fabulous Upscale Career Woman Still Somehow Incomplete Without A Man"

This is the least likely to be abandoned because this kind of movie is so easy and always makes some amount of money from primarily female audience it's targeted to. Meg Ryan's career was built on that concept, and the money of annoyed boyfriends.

I can't stand any Romantic Comedy but I've learned to accept they will always have an audience. Probably harder for someone who sorta has to watch movies.

Not even the praised "Chasing Amy"?

I should have said "standard" romcom, but I did watch that movie and was disappointed, personally

Nurb:

DioWallachia:

Nurb:

This is the least likely to be abandoned because this kind of movie is so easy and always makes some amount of money from primarily female audience it's targeted to. Meg Ryan's career was built on that concept, and the money of annoyed boyfriends.

I can't stand any Romantic Comedy but I've learned to accept they will always have an audience. Probably harder for someone who sorta has to watch movies.

Not even the praised "Chasing Amy"?

I should have said "standard" romcom, but I did watch that movie and was disappointed, personally

What happened? what was missing? because i recall Bob saying that the movie was outdated and getting old already but never said why.

A sports movie in which the great lesson of all is learned off of the field. And there is a disadvantaged player who needs the game to survive. Also, they are underdogs. Also let's tie it to an historic sports event. Blerg.

I'm kind of sick of underdog stories period.

Frankly, I'd like to see a story about the "big team." The one with all the sponsors and statistically are expected to win, but the crowds boo them and demand they lose. How could that work?

Well:

1) Don't make the underdog team out to be "loveable goofs." Instead make them arrogant pricks, but of course still have them be the fan favorite. The ones everyone wants to win because they're underdogs after all.
2) Explore what it would be like to be on the team everyone hates. What it is like to be the team where the only ones truly on your side are numbers and statistics. What it feels like to have the "pressure to lose" just so the crowd can have their underdog story on their shoulders.

If you need a real-life event to base this on, look no further then the New England Patriot's near perfect season. The one where they were 16-0, won their playoff games, and then lost the Super Bowl. Just like (nearly) everyone who I heard talk about it wanted it.

Sci-Fi movies with a "twist" involving either it was Earth all along or the protagonist isn't what he thinks he is.

It's not so much it gets done badly so often, but both are such cultural phenomena that it's not really a twist any more; lets face it, if the twist of Avatar was that it was set on Earth and the Na'Vi were the ones pretending to be human and Sam Worthington was really a Na'Vi all along, but just 'forgot' after spending so long in the human chassis that he had to relearn their culture, would anybody have been surprised?

Well that and the fact both have been done so absolutely perfectly before now it's impossible to surpass them.

Well that and I'm partly still bitter about the film A.E. not being a live action remake of Titan A.E.

My personal favorite is Nice white lady teaches poor minorities how to learn.

There's also a sentence for movies like Akeelah and the Bee, but I can't really think of one at the moment.

yunabomb:
My personal favorite is Nice white lady teaches poor minorities how to learn.

There's also a sentence for movies like Akeelah and the Bee, but I can't really think of one at the moment.

Bob ranted about the "Ethnic Minority Achieves Greatness Through Whitey" framework in response to The Blind Side (twice) and The Help. The obvious issue with both is they take away independence and agency away from the minorities while also implying they can only become equal if whitey allows them.

I can't help but spot the irony of an article simultaneously bemoaning how dull films are when they are about the trivial problems of privileged individuals and also complaining his job as a film critic would be better if people stopped making tired films.

For example: Bruce Wayne is rich as hell, and if his biggest problems really were his multibillion dollar company not turning a hefty enough profit (as opposed to the senseless murder of his family, obvious psychological issues and multiple evil organizations looking to punch his ticket), nobody would want to watch movies about him.

This is a good point and is actually why I'm generally bored by/avoid almost all-things Batman related. I know "the backstory" is only a small fragment and isn't really why anyone really watches/reads Batman.

That said, it's always bothered me that Batman is essentially about an incredibly rich kid who loses his parents and reacts by never growing up and acting out perpetual hero and revenge fantasies. Couldn't he, I dunno, help the city/police force with those funds? Perhaps invest more in the public well-being as opposed to his personal superspy gadgets and bat-themed concept vehicles?

Hate to disappoint you Bob, but these movies will continue to get made. They are safe movies. They will make back their budgets and there will always be audiences for them.

Agree with all of these, but obviously there will always be exceptions to the rule. The Royal Tenenbaums would easily fall into both the "Our not-so-difficult life is surprisingly difficult" and "My huge family is sooooo funny!" but it is one of my favourite movies of all time. Actually now that I think about it, almost every Wes Anderson movie would fall into one or both of those categories, and he's one of my favourite film makers ever.

Your "First World Problems" problem seems a little hypocritcal to me. "I hate it when people worse off than me point out that my problems are pretty insignificant compared to theirs... but fuck the really rich people for being embroiled in relatively insignificant problems!"

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