Film theory

My relationship with movies is a rather colourful story. When I was very very young, they were something well beyond my reach, as hardly any children appropriate movies ran at my local theatre. However, occasionally, another, smaller theatre (an auditorium, if that's the hair you want to split) ran cartoon deature films on Saturdays and distributed flyers around schools, prompting me to get my first taste of what a cinematigraphical experience should be like.

I remember the first non-animated feature film I ever watched at a cinema was "RoboCop 3", in 1994 (shortly followed by "Jurassic Park", in the same year). "The Mask" would follow soon enough, and then I had a spat of a rather strange phobia. It struck for the fist time in 1996, if memory serves (it hardly ever does...), and went on for a good three years, until in 1999 I would conquer it by watching "Pink Nightmare" (the things teenager boys won't do for a crush on Catarina Furtado...) and several others not consequential enough for me to even remember them. Minf you, for those three years I was scared of the movies, I was absolutely terrified of the very notion of a cinema screen. Even the very sight of what would become my favourite theatre was enough to make my heart race and my stomach turn (mind you, despite there being a small theatre within the confines of a small shopping centre, we were nowhere near the multi-screen cinema complexes you can't not find at any self respecting shopping centre, and The Theatre was a venerated building, which is now, rather sadly, been demolished to make way for a pharmacy. Not so good for what ails you, if you ask me).

Long story short, I now love the movies. As such, you'd understand that if I spend what really is a trifle (compared to what people in civilized countries spend) to watch a movie at a proper cinema and the experience turns out not to be at least as satisfying as I expected it to be, I should feel at least a bit ripped-off. Usually, this could serve as a stepping stone towards an apology of piracy and a demand that corporate advertising be removed from cinema screens and (especially) DVDs, but not today.

I'll assume everyone here knows there is such a thing as a school for people who want to make movies (and no, this is not me setting you up for a special education pun; I have a great deal of respect for the good people delivering my high-grade entertainment). Sadly, I have never attended such a school, and so my theories might sound strange, silly or downright idiotic, but I'm allowed to, as I don't expect anyone to be made to pay to watch some movie loaded with what I should think are great ideas that would turn out to be absolute crap.

So today I submit to you one such crazy idea: Drama relief.

The concept of comic relief should be familiar to just about everyone: in the middle of a tense or sad movie, one bumbling character keeps the whole thing from being entirely too depressing or a despair-wracked character delivers one well turned pun or makes a joke of his dire straits (no, not the band) to lighten up the mood.

And now, for the novelty: amidst a comedy, one certain character, likely perfectly useless, as far as the plot is concerned (and, then again, maybe not...) does asolutely nothing funny. Despite madness and pantomine all around him (or her), they keep perfectly level headed, handle every situation in a most sensible manner and manage to avoid every situation that would make for a risible setting.

Case in point: well, there aren't any that I've noticed, but picture a comedy set in an English girls boarding school. (Oi! I said comedy, you perverts!) I can think of two I watched last night, one of them quite good, on spote of a not-so-great sequel (pro tip: You don't cast Russel Brand in a movie only to leave him out of the sequel! That would be akin to Mr. George Lucas deciding he'll be making three more Star Wars films, but none of them will feature any Force users.) Each film has a perfectly sensible, albeit bumbling, teacher who manages to be bullied or otherwise caught in some setting made to tickle a larf out of your sense of schadenfreude. Even their appearence (especially their apparel) is made to indicate a gentleman of tranquil reason, but not much fortune.

Consider instead, in keeping with the theme here, Professor Snape of Harry Potter fame, transplanted from Hogwarts to whatever boarding school the film is set at, leaving behind his magical prowess, his knowledge of both potions and the Dark Arts and any semblance of relevance to the grand scheme of things (a. k. a., the plot) and instead gaining the uncanny ability of teaching math (well, you try it, then).

Much as I like Alan Rickman, I wonder if the man has ever said anything funny in his career. He does, however, make great dramatical characters, and his seemingly out-of-place presence in an otherwise irreverent and inconsequent comedy might oerhaps act like that pinch of salt in your merengue or that dash of vineagre in your Pavlova (assuming that does do anything for taste, rather than just help with the consistency of the egg whites) that makes the dominant sweetness seem all the more intense by contrast.

You know, just a thought. I'll be banging this drum much harder the day I make a major grossing film featuring my concepts. Don't hold your breath.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark is still waiting for an English chef to suggest an asian recipe featuring Spam to blatantly rip off here, where it would be most adequate. Now who would like to see Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey compete for the priviledge? We only need a Drama Relief character to make a comedy out of that, now. Until then, let's have a new poll.