29. Movie Formulas


In my Media History class the other day we talked about how history needs an interpretation, and interpreter, to translate what happened and how we can learn from it. Media is the transmitter that carries the message and media is useless without a message to share and an interpreter to decode the meaning.

I have been thinking about movie formulas a lot recently. There are patterns that make up the recipe for Sci-Fi, Rom-Com and Action/Comedy movies. More significantly perhaps, is the formula that makes a movie a blockbuster, a success.

Production companies operate a lot like farmers, they weigh the possible yield of the harvest and the demand for the produce before planting. They have been making movies for over 100 years, so why would they plant something that they are not sure will yield success?

As of late, Hollywood is obsessed with the Superhero formula. It seems to be the only thing that will hold viewer’s attention. Personally I am a big critic of Superhero movies, since most of them are full of vapid characters that barely develop as the film progresses through a series of explosions and special effects that bear traces of something once called a “plot.”

I can think of two movies I saw lately that bucked the trend and told a story worth watching. The King’s Speech andĀ The Help.

Both films told their stories from a perspective that they had not been seen from before, a King’s self-doubt and troubled relationships, and the 1960 South during the civil rights movement, from the eyes of Black housemaids.

I recommend both to you, not because they were given a load of awards, but because they earned those awards for accomplishing what they did, and doing something new.

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