Friday, February 10, 2012

On the spectrum

One of the Readership....
In spite of the absence of writing, I do still have readers....

...encouraged my to explain this spectrum, just as I explained it to her.

It is high-art movie season -- prime time to explain another chart that exists in my brain, which I discovered I could easily describe without realizing it.  Unless I was.

This is the spectrum of Tolerable Fantasy Genres, complete with exceptions that prove the rule.  I can not effective illustrate it here, 1) because blogs are limited in their graphical capability and 2) because I am always better at text than with words and 3) my flight takes off in 9 hours, which means I really ought to be sleeping right now.

It is a simple number line: on the left is Absolutely Not; on the right is Hell Yes, and More than Once.

You can live a lot of life on a spectrum like that.

Bored to Tears - by all things outer space/sci-fi.  Or, as I said to The Boss when she asked if I knew the Syfy Channel, I said, "I am aware it is misspelled."  Outer space science fiction is the extreme left of my tolerable fantasy. I do not care. And I believe you that Firefly or BSG or even Avatar is an exciting thrill ride... for you.  I.  Do.  Not Care.  

Exceptions that prove the rule?  Star Wars, naturally.  Because I am not dead inside, and because I am, after all, culturally a Gen X, mo matter what the census says. 

Apollo 13  - because that is not fantasy; that is real.

Star Trek TOS - for kitsch.  And I only called it TOS just now to appeal to those of you who reside on this end of the spectrum, and who are my friends, though I am sure begrudgingly on your part.

Completely Irritated by Middle Earth, Narnia, and all Universes where people have names with too many consonants and not enough shampoo.  File Clan of the Cave Bear under here also. 
Exception...?  I really don't know.   I can't imagine what

Draw a fat dotted line at this point.   The left of this line is pretty non-negotiable.  I don't judge you for playing on that side of the fence.  I'm not going to talk you out of it.  Just... do it some other weekend, a'iight? 

In this middle ground, you'll find a mix that might surprise you.  I believe they move to the right in this order:

Aliens are on the other side of the fence from crews of people emphasizing exposition in actual outer space.  I don't know why.  maybe because the rules vary more.

Is Sigourney's jaw bigger than the Aliens?   It's debatable.
District 9 - yes.
War of the Worlds - no
Close Encounters is much more boring than you remember, and is mostly a haunted child story.

Monsters - Vampires moved to the other side of the wall in the past few years, just by over-exposure.  I am interested in reboots, though, so I'll give the film-maker a listen when there is something new to say.

not that new.

Pan's Labyrinth - brilliant.

Superheroes.  DC universe has been especially good at this, but maybe I am just more DC than Marvel.  I have now started a comic nerd's favorite debate.  But I will not participate in it.  I can't hold my own in such a discussion.  If I am honest with myself, Superman is actually an alien.  And Batman is a vigilante.
Dark Knight is a great one; I liked Batman Begins even better.
Spiderman made me change the channels.

Time Travel.  Did I really put time travel to the right of superheroes?  I can't explain it myself.  This genre is full of the most irritating tropes and cliches.  But sometimes it's a fun era.  And this is dead zero on the spectrum, where it can really go either way.
Somewhere in Time can not be beaten, but it takes an Edwardian to say so.
Midnight in Paris -  shut up.  Stop talking.  Your mother's calling.  Go away.

(I haven't actually seen Kate & Leopold.  It looked like it would make me want to smack them.  or myself)

Magical Realism - when magical things happen in real life, I am actually much more interested than when entire universes are created on other planets. 
Big, for example.  delightful.
Barton Fink I didn't understand for 1 second, but I couldn't look  away.

Greek Mythology - see, now we are talking.  I won't abide the elves and the hobbits, but Minotaurs and Gorgons?    bring them on.
And ancient Rome?  more please.  because now we are in the realm of...

Biblical Epics - I love a bloated Biblical Epic.  The bloatier, the better.
Even when it's bad, it's good.
I won't make you site through them.  Because payback on that is a bitch.


  1. You constantly amaze me! My dotted line is much farther to the right than yours and we haven't gotten to Mitchell's yet.

    If I can be of help in the next few weeks, let me know. Travel safely.

  2. As Aliens go, ET is up there with Sigourney's friends. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (remake, sorry, love Donald Sutherland) fits nicely here too.


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