Is This Just Me?

Is this just me, or does everybody secretly wish for an alien invasion? Or something of that ilk, the kind of situation where a person could credibly sacrifice himself against tremendous odds to save the world?

Where a man could carve a legend for himself simply by standing up to the powerful oppressors and saying no?

Where a population could rise up and unanimously tell the invaders "No more. I reject you. With a Molotov cocktail!"

No? Just me?

Yeah, I figured as much.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The curiousities of Film Taste (Alternatively: Yes I like Indie Romcoms, they're awesome)

In between Labwork, and Computing, and Presentations, and Problem Sheets (those bleeping problem sheets...) I quite often like to relax with a film. Now my tastes do run pretty broad, I'll watch most forms of sci-fi or horror or fantasy at least once, I'll watch documentary's or comedies, from Shakespeare adaptations all the way to Comic Book movies.

But there is one genre, just one, that transcends them all for me, one genre where I can watch it and feel nothing but happy afterwards.

I speak of course, of the Indie Romcom.

Now, I've never quite been able to pin down what it is about Indie romcoms that makes me love them so, that keeps me hooked in a state of near addiction to them. Part of it is definitely the soundtrack: a decent indie rock soundtrack can make all the difference in a romcom. Take Garden State, for example. The writing is good, the acting is above par and the storyline is beyond touching...but it's the soundtrack, packed with things like Let Go by Frou Frou, that really sells it, that makes it resonate so deeply with me.

Another thing is the fact that quite often, Indie Romcoms don't have to have the couple staying together to have a happy ending: just look at 500 Days of Summer, a film that I would characterise as one of the most positive ending films I know...and yet, right from the start, it's firmly established the lead couple are wrong for each other, and end up staying apart... the message is that love exists, but that doesn't mean you're neccesarily in it. In a world where corporations and mass media want to push this idea of a perfect, brilliant relationship, there are these films managing to put the radical idea out there that relationships are hard, that you can give a relationship everything you have and more, only to see it all come to nothing.

Ultimately, the more I write this, the thing that occurs to me is that all of these films manage to balance the romance and the comedy well by one important factor: the romances really are just that, romantic. They feature human characters showing their vulnerabilites and growing as characters. Big budget romcoms starring the likes of Reynolds or, god forbid, McConaughey, lack this, trading character for overly made up cutouts acting the motions of "girl and guy meet, fall in 'love' and the go through wacky hijinks."

The other thing that really defines Indie romcoms compared to other romcoms is the way storylines are treated. Without meaning to keep harping on about it, while Garden State focuses on the romance of the lead characters, it never loses sight of the story, it never forgets even for a moment the journey Braff's character is on outside of the romance. Starter for Ten makes the University Challenge competition the true focus of the film, where other films would have used it as little more then a framing device for the love story, Starter manages to integrate the romance into the plot, rather then conforming the plot to the romance.

Now I know not everyone has the same taste as I do, I get that. But I know, from the bottom of my heart, I'd rather watch Michael Cera and Kat Dennings bonding over night of music and coming to terms with their own faults then watch idiotic blonde female protagonist be won over by idiotic jerk male protagonist's poorly written lines or cheesy pseudoromantic gestures. I don't want an endless stream of sex jokes or stereotypes, I want to see two humans interacting in a romantic fashion.

And goddamnit, I want to listen to decent music while it happens.

Signing off,


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