An important distinction.

March 6, 2010

Have you ever been at the grocery store before going to a party or making dinner, and you want to buy a bottle of wine while you’re there, but then you realize that what you’re looking at is not wine but “wine product”? I might write about wine sometimes too on this blog. Deal with it. Wine is fun.

So, according to “Truth in Wine Advertising,” wine product is: The definition of a “Wine product”, to be changed to: a blended formulation of wine, water, sugar or sugar syrups, with or without flavorings and an alcohol content of less than 7% can not be advertised, marketed or sold with a wine variety designation.

I promise I’m going somewhere with this.

I’m putting forth the idea that there is a distinction to be made between “films” and “film product.” Movies with any stylistic or narrative ambitions are films (I’m not a snob, I mean anything), but movies that exist solely to sell Happy Meals or that take all of the trappings of a movie but none of the substance, those better belong to the category “film product.” Some people would just call these bad movies – I don’t think they are movies at all. I think it’s silly to even suggest it.

Talking about this with a colleague (my friend Marc, a Film Studies student also), he referred me to a book I already knew pretty well, Richard Dyer’s Pastiche. It is pretty darn entertaining, as far as academically-minded books go, and it talks a lot about the differences between terms like homage, parody, copy, and, finally, pastiche.

I’m going somewhere with this.

Straight up, the film industry puts out too much “film product” directed to women and not nearly enough “films.” This fall has been pretty prolific in terms of women writers and directors putting out what I deem superior films about and (to an extent) for women: I’m thinking of An Education, Bright Star, even Whip It! (Hey. I liked Whip It!) But my point is that there are too many romantic comedies that are neither funny nor romantic, and way way too many movies centered on a wedding. Seriously: My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Wedding Date, The Wedding Planner, Wedding Daze… some are good, some aren’t, but it’s just a lot of wedding, don’t you think?

That said, even those exhibits are intereresting as anthropological items. Let’s pretend that’s why I watch them, and not because they are the cinematic equivalent of cotton candy so sweet that your teeth ache after eating too much of it. Anyway, we must always be vigilant: is this a film or film product? Does it attempt originality in its presentation or its message? Or is it a three-minute movie trailer stretched out over ninety minutes? It’s all of interest to me, but the sooner we become vigilant in labelling film versus film product, the sooner (I hope I hope) Hollywood will step up and make us better movies: the movies we want, not the ones they think we want or that they expect us to accept without protest.


2 Responses to “An important distinction.”

  1. binaryorbits Says:

    I am so glad you are back.

  2. Jen Says:

    great, great points, my minister of social media

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