Saturday, September 04, 2010

Oh. Now I Get It

I love movies. This is not a secret to anyone who knows me or has perused any of a number of my online presences.

I see a lot of movies that are based on a formula - boy meets girl, girl likes boy but has no idea that he is in love with her, he is in denial that he's in love with her, he figures it out when she hooks up with another guy, he waits until last moment to confess his love to her, confession causes rift, girl breaks up with other guy and forgives boy, boy gets girl... lather, rinse, repeat. There are, of course, many different formulas but I am to a point where I can recognize them and know what is going to happen. You would think that would take all of the fun out of it but it doesn't. Well, sometimes it does but why would it ruin it sometimes and not others?

After seeing The Switch this evening, recognizing the formula, and liking it anyway I finally figured it out. The reason I like movies that are based on well-established formulas can be summed up in a single word: Characters. The formula movies I don't like have little to no character development or simply do not have compelling characters. Case in point, I enjoyed Armageddon and could care less about Deep Impact. I just could not make myself care about the characters in Deep Impact because they were so flat. The characters in Armageddon had depth to them. The story was not about the meteor, it was about the people.

But aren't characters what make any movie or television series compelling? Star Wars was not about a giant planet-killing sphere of death, it was about a farm boy realizing his destiny. Die Hard was not about a terrorist hostage situation, it was about a washed-up police detective becoming a reluctant hero because nobody else was there to do it. I could go on but you get the idea.

So I am now like the USA Network: Characters welcome.

No comments: