Monday, March 9, 2009

Haven’t I Read This Before?

Ripping off another film – particularly a widely-seen one - is another sure way to end up in the PASS pile. Here’s the thing about readers – we watch movies too. Amusingly enough, it wouldn’t have taken someone very well-read in film history to pick out the most egregious rip-offs I’ve seen over the years.

I once got stuck reading a Star Wars rip-off where the only deviations from Lucas’s script might have been to use find and replace to rename the characters. I think the writer thought he was writing a parody, but he seemed to forget that parodies are supposed to have humor. Despite what the Scary Movies, Disaster Movies, and Date Movies of the world have shown us, a parody should generally be more than a beat-for-beat reenactment of a better film, with only a fart joke or random pop culture reference thrown in to shake things up.

It’s only natural that a hit movie is going to spawn a number of imitators. I’ve certainly read my fair share of Tarantino wannabes over the years, and none of them have really impressed me. There’s more to a movie like Reservoir Dogs than a 70s soundtrack, intense violence, and repeated use of the word “motherfucker.” I don’t see anything wrong with paying homage to your heroes, but make sure that that’s the garnish on the meal you’re serving – not the main course.

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