For now, I’m sticking to the topic of movies because it is SERIOUSLY the only thing I think about during the day. That, and balloons. Just floatin’ all over the place.
Last year I read a book called Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder, the writer of the smash hits Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) and Blank Check (1994). Based on his credits, you KNOW this guy has a handle on how to write a great movie.
But, for this purposes of this post, I will not resort to taking personal jabs at a man who could so easily be the recipient of countless jokes about the reputation (or lack thereof) of the films he has managed to have produced. Like, for instance, the way I imagine him coming up with the idea to write Blank Check being the day his first film made $0 at the box office.
I’m NOT going to do that. Instead, I’m going to use a small section of his book for my own personal blog post. He’d be cool with that, right?.
(By the way, IMDb is telling me that Mr. Snyder has been named (by somebody, apparently) “Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriter.” So…….good for Blake.)
Mr. Snyder makes a claim in his book that any Hollywood film falls into one of the ten categories he has created. This makes me wonder………………..how do these genres compare to MY life? (Each genre will be followed by examples to better define them).
1). Monster in the House - Jaws, Tremors, Alien, The Exorcist, Fatal Attraction, Panic Room.
I never had a big problem with monsters. But, I was scared out of my mind about burglars as a kid. There were at least a dozen times I was convinced our house had been broken into and that I was a goner. These days, my biggest fear consists of falling down on my way to class and looking silly in front of people I don’t know. Terrifying.
2). Golden Fleece - Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, and Most Heist Movies (I kept that last part in italics even though it’s not a movie just for continuity purposes, deal with it).
These movies are all pretty epic- I’m kind of boring. No time travel, no yellow brick roads, no George Clooney-led bank robberies. I’ve never even held a light saber. But, all of these movies have young men embark on life defining journeys, which is something I did when I decided to come to the University of Iowa (future blog topic???…….it will be. Didn’t want to keep you in suspense).
3). Out of the Bottle - Liar, Liar, Bruce Almighty, Freaky Friday, Flubber.
Lots of crazy stuff happening in these movies. I’d say my life is pretty ordinary. If I were to make a big stretch, I GUESS living in the Midwest and dealing with the ridiculous weather can at times become out of the ordinary….but that’s boring and you’ve probably already moved on to the next one, or stopped reading completely.
4). Dude with a Problem - “This is a genre that ranges in style” Die Hard, Titanic, Schindler’s List.
Seems like this one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m a dude. Sometimes I encounter problems. But my problems are mostly “first world problems” or “swimmer problems.” Most recently, I dealt with the first world problem of hotels providing pillows that are either firm or soft, nothing in between. As for swimmer problems, today I suffered through the moment when you’re trying to do an actual set in a lane full of people during warm-up and someone swims in to the wall 5 seconds before you are supposed to push off. Oh, the struggles.
5). Rites of Passage - “Every change of life Story” No recognizable examples given
Rite of passage? I’m not a man yet, but when I am, I think that will qualify. Also, I expect to know the exact moment I reach manhood. And, for some reason, I suspect it will involve a bear.
6). Buddy Love - “more than the buddy movie dynamic seen in buddy-cop pictures Dumb and Dumber, Rain Man, and every love story ever made.
Not much romance in my life right now (which is just GREAT) but there is plenty of bromance to go around.
7). Whydunit - It’s not who did it, but why? JFK, Chinatown, The Insider
No mysteries in my life. I don’t ask “why?” as much as I ask “why not?” For instance, “Should I have another bowl of Frosted Flakes? Why not?”
8). The Fool Triumphant - Forrest Gump, Dave, The Jerk
At this point in my academic career, I remember absolutely none of the math or science I pointlessly memorized for high school. So if I find myself in a situation requiring mental arithmetic and I make it out alive, I consider it a moment of a fool triumphing.
9). Institutionalized - Groups of crazy people. Animal House, MASH, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Godfather
I have spent the better part of my life in the swimming community. We are all crazy.
10). Superhero - Batman, Dracula, Frankenstein Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind.
Maybe someday, Trem.
So there you have it! Every movie ever made according to Blake Snyder as it fits into my life. (We’ll see if #10 ever happens….everyone’s allowed to dream, I read that somewhere).