' ' Cinema Romantico: What Film Genre Would I Want to Live In?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What Film Genre Would I Want to Live In?

On the year-end episode of Slate’s podcast the Political Gabfest, tri-hosts Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson and David Plotz answered listener-submitted conundrums with which they proceeded to wrestle in front of a live audience. Of the many conundrums, one stuck out, Plotz posing a hypothetical in which they were forced to select a literary or cinematic genre to live in. Dickerson, apparently a Tolkien junkie, went for Middle Earth, but, as you might suspect, the literary portion of the hypothetical interested me far less than the cinematic portion. This was also true of Bazelon, Plotz and special guest Simon Doonan. The first two offered the Musical Theater genre while Doonan selected film noir. What film genre, I wondered, as I absolutely had to (and you should too), would I want to live in?

Well, we can eliminate the Western right away. No way could I handle a Western. Unless it’s a better version of “Wagons East” where I realize mid-wagon train I’d be better off east of the Appalachians in Boston or New York, I’m out.

Action-Adventure is no good either. I’d have to be Marcus Brody, I suppose, and not the “Raiders of Lost Ark” version but the comic relief “Last Crusade” one.

Ditto Thrillers. My greatest cinematic nightmare is ending up like Harrison Ford in “Frantic” or Woody Harrelson in “Transsiberian.” I end up in one of those movies and I’m toast. No thanks!

Sci-Fi and Fantasy are not my bag. Sports are but, man, Sports Movies tend to be as fantastical as Fantasy.

Comedy would exhaust me – like, stop cracking jokes for five seconds – and Rom Com would leave me wishing we could stop talking about our bad dates – like, can we talk about how good this gruyère is instead? – and while there are elements of Screwball Comedy I would find most appealing to exist in, well, the plots would just be too exhausting. It’d be ten minutes into the damn thing and I’d be wanting to just lie down and take a nap.

Also Me?
That’s why I’m almost tempted to go Indie. The vibe would be a lot more laid-back. I could just spend a lot of time with my feet kicked up, wiling away the day, while viewers turn away in droves. Still, indies tend to be pure angst and I’m not looking for more angst here.

Documentary’s no good, obviously, and though Mockumentary is a tempting off the beaten path choice, I keep worrying I’d be less Corky St. Clair and more Lloyd Miller.

I would love to just up and burst into song like a Musical. Why the morning before I concocted this post I saw a young woman standing on a median in the middle of Michigan Avenue listening to some groovy tuneage in her earbuds and dancing as traffic coasted by on each side of her and though for a split-second that I was in “La La Land” and wondered if I should just crank Gaga’s “The Fame Monster” and get publicly lost in the groove myself.

And yet.

Doonan, as mentioned, picked film noir, which is less a genre, per se, than a subgenre. And so I keep thinking about French New Wave. I keep thinking about how those New Wave maestros mixed genres. And I keep thinking about kicking back in a cafe like I’m in a indie...

...and then getting up and dancing like all my world’s a Musical.

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