Whenever someone asks what kind of movie I want to watch, I can’t give them a good answer. Not because I don’t know what I like, but because the answer, this post, would take longer to explain than simply watching a movie. But since I’ve never written it down, I might as well try to explain it in full.
I have a difficult time, nearly an impossible time actually, even deciding which genre is my favorite. But if I hybridize them, I can at least narrow it down to a few.
And by hybridize, I mean combining typical genres into setting/style pairs, where the setting is a genre that describes the context where the story unfolds, and the style is a genre that describes how the story will be told.
These are of course not all the possible pairs that could be made, just my favorites. And you may be thinking that these pairs are rather obvious and the idea of pairing them isn’t very groundbreaking because of all the good movies out there that use them. That’s the point; there are many examples of these because they work so well together and make for a more well-rounded movie. But there are also plenty of movies that only focus on a specific genre alone, and feel relatively flat, no matter how well they fit their genre.
Also, plenty of movies overlap between even hybridized genres. Sometimes, a movie is better known for trying to fit one in particular, and ends up getting bad reviews. But I’ll end up watching it, see another that wasn’t hyped, and realize the movie is still worth it. Always good to watch with an open mind.
So along with my favorite hybrid genres, here are some favorite examples of each, in no particular order. And this is of course not an exhaustive list.
1. Sci-Fi/Comedy - Not necessarily set in the future, or even in space, but with a saturation of technology and science themes, and layered with quality humor - from sarcastic one liners to situational comedy to dry irony.
Examples: Stargate SG-1, Star Wars, Firefly, Men in Black, Star Trek (movie), Wall-E, Dr. Horrible, Back to the Future
2. Action/Drama - This is more than your night out with the guys shoot-em-up movie; these have deeper undertones and character development, where both the actors and the viewer change
Examples: Saving Private Ryan, Tears of the Sun, Bourne, Apollo 13, Enemy at the Gates, Book of Eli, Three Musketeers, The Fifth Element
3. Relational/Tragedy - I would have used the genre romance, but that’s only one subcategory of relationships that build and must endure some destructive event
Examples: P.S. I Love You, Seven Pounds, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Legends of the Fall, Casablanca, (500) Days of Summer
4. Mystery/Thriller - Not all mysteries are thrillers, but the good ones are. And if you want a good baseline, just grab something by Hitchcock.
Examples: Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Inception
5. Slapstick/Horror - This is where order matters. If it was a Horror/Slapstick, the context would be a horror movie that had slapstick comedy in it. But a Slapstick/Horror is a slapstick comedy, but in the style of a horror movie. Evil Dead II would be like the first; Scooby Doo would be an example of the second.
Examples: Zombieland, Army of Darkness
6. Fantasy/Epic - Again, order matters. Here, we have a fantasy environment, but told in the style of an epic.
Examples: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Narnia, The Never Ending Story
7. Sentimental/Classic - These are your feel-good movies. But they aren’t cheesy, since they fully develop the emotional undertones, and find a way to capture the sense of life that is timeless.
Examples: ET, The Sandlot, Disney animated Classics, A Little Princess, Swiss Family Robinson, Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice, A Walk to Remember, An Affair to Remember, Princess Bride