Sunday, March 11, 2007

Diaster Films

I don't really have much to report. Well, I've been writing my butt off. I've managed about 7K of new words on BTPM in the past 3 days -- and I'm extremely pleased with the results. All of the little details seem to be tying up very well -- connections being made, chunks linking together. I may actually be able to order this book pretty soon. It seems like I'm filling in areas nicely and mainly have the ending of the book to work on. That works. That means I _could_ start posting for critiques soon. We'll see. I do think it's better to enter that step with a completed manuscript. Otherwise, it's a little too distracting to the creative process. I waited with Narc 1 and it worked out very well.

Anyway, I want to take a moment to talk about one of my favorite genres of film -- The disaster movie. (g) I know this is completely random, but The Towering Inferno was on tonight and I'd never seen it before. Gah, what a great movie.

And yes, I know the disaster movies of that era -- The Posiedon Adventure, When Time Ran Out, The Towering Inferno, The Titanic -- are all from the same cookie cutter. But man, you gotta love them. You have the rich benefactor who owns an establishment -- the best, the brightest, the indestructible [insert building, hotel, ship, whatever] that he has unwavering faith in. There's the bad guy who somehow misleads said benefactor into believing he can trust his pride and joy. There's the hero (remarkably played by Paul Newman most times) who sees the disaster coming and NO ONE will listen to him. Except his hot woman, of course.

Speaking of Paul Newman, why is it that in every disaster movie he ends up carrying someone on his back to safety? There's always your token kid or two for said rescue (in this particular movie, Bobby Brady made an appearance in a stunning pair of red jeans -- harkens me back to the days I had a pair of green cords. What were our parents thinking?), and he just plops them on his back and scales whatever obstacle is in his way. I guess he must've looked good that way. But I digress.

These movies are almost stupidly predictable. Seriously, if you can't guess what's coming next, I don't know what to do for you. (g) The basic gist -- indestructable [something] -- where there are lots of rich, stupid people hanging out. Some disaster they say COULDN'T happen, does... they refuse to believe it... The hero (who saw it coming) runs around like Chicken Little yelling "The Sky Is Falling!!" and only a said few will actually believe him. By time most realize he was right, it's TOO LATE. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

The only truly unpredictable thing about these movies is there are NO RULES regarding who they'll kill off. Big, big stars have been offed in these movies -- just cuz their name is on the marquee doesn't mean they'll survive. Of course, Paul always makes it, cuz who could kill off Chicken Little? Oh wait, guess that doesn't quite work for Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure. (g) But generally speaking.

While there have been some interesting modern movies of this ilk -- Dante's Peak, Posiedon, The Day After Tomorrow, to name a few -- the oldies are truly the goodies in this genre. The special effects suck -- really badly, actually... but man, where else are you going to see such a fine collection of actors? TTI had Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Steve McQueen...the dude from the Thornbirds. Hell, even O.J. made an appearance to save a kitten from the blaze (heh, talk about ironic). And Robert Wagner, who had a truly valiant run through a burning corridor before going pop, sizzle.

You know the ending before you begin the movie, but you're still on the edge of your seat the entire time. That's good filmmaking.

All I can say -- WANT MORE.

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