Guy Movies! Chick Flicks! Gender Neutral Pictures!

Hey everyone, Flobo here.

Like you, I enjoy a good movie every once in a while. Sure nowadays we fire up the Netflix or  scan our ever-increasing-in-size movie libraries as opposed to going to the local cineplex, but movies are movies, am I right? Anyway, I was talking to a colleague of mine about the concept of “chick flicks”. Or more specifically, were chick flicks movies featuring women, or movies that were created with the female audience in mind? Personally, I’m on the side of the latter, but how do moviemakers know how people are going to respond to a film  (besides focus groups)? Or what about “guy films”?
Because you know, I’ve been a guy for like forever.

I wish my lack of self control with alcohol came with its own logo…

Whether you like the movie or not, 2009’s “The Hangover” has been noted as one of the most successful (R-Rated) comedies of all time. People rag on the almost carbon copy sequel, but since I personally consider these films mysteries first and comedies second, that doesn’t bother me as much.  There is a direct relationship between a movie’s rating and the gender they are appealing to. For example, there’s a difference between “The Hangover” being a rated R comedy, and “Sex And The City” being a rated R comedy. Conversely, I can assume a Pixar Movie usually is for every gender.

But what made The Hangover a “guy movie”? Most of the characters were men yes, but most movies in general have male protagonists. Flipping the example, just because Lara Croft is a woman, doesn’t necessarily mean “Tomb Raider” is a chick flick. “Love Actually” and “Failure To Launch” are chick flicks because they are romantic comedies, but “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” is a romantic comedy too and women generally hate that movie.

It’s OK Scott, I still love you.

I was watching the classic film “Hot Fuzz” last night. (Flobo Fact: I prefer “Fuzz” over “Shaun Of The Dead”) With the all the high-paced action, sharp sound design, and send up to buddy cop films, it had “GUY MOVIE” stamped all over it. But then, ever so often I find the girl who just ADORES that film (and by extension anything Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost have ever done), bucking the stereotype. Is a woman considered “guyish” if she liked old school Ah-nold in “Commando”? Is a guy any less of a guy because “The Princess Diaries” gave him a lump in his throat?

When we are writing, we always have to keep our audience in mind. Even though what we do is creative, at the end of the day we are creating a product that we hope someone consumes (or at least appreciates). But allow me to be bold and say the terms “Guy Movie” and “Chick Flicks” are just marketing terms. Terms that cannot truly be defined, and are used for gross generalizations. This also happens in music. When I was a kid there was a music store called Sam Goody (that used to be a Tower Records). I would get so upset when they used to bundle hip-hop, r&b, jazz, and funk together and call it “Urban Music”. Trance, house, rave, and techno also got grouped into “Dance”, making it even harder for me to tell them apart.

Taking the music thing one step further, I fell “old school hip hop” is another marketing term. Sure there was a “new school” movement in the early nineties, and that’s what people use to separate the eras in the music, but how many “old school” hip-hop stations and shows include music from the late 90s, and the early and mid 2000s?

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t go into a script/novel/short telling yourself “This is for guys”, or “This is definitely my chick story”, because your overall creativity will suffer. That’s like the music producer who says “This track is for the clubs, and this one is to cruise to”. You’ll end up with content sure, but you could have built something creative from whole cloth.

In the meantime, I’m going to go back to my “Guy Movie” marathon as well as mourn the loss of one of my favorite directors in Tony Scott by flipping on “The Taking Of Pelham 123”. It’s my favorite movie to watch when I’m homesick.

–Flobo

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