Teen Beach Movie, Snakes on a Plane, Scary Movie: This is an article about generic and humourless film titles
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Among the sillier genre films of the 1960s were the beach party movies: they depicted attractive young people in abbreviated swimwear beguiling the summer months with flirty horseplay and otiose bursts of song.
They often starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, with occasional appearances by the wholesome Sandra Dee, and had titles like Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Beach Blanket Bingo, Ride the Wild Surf and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (I know, I know. It was a long time ago.)
Walt Disney Studios is giving a post-modern nod to the genre in a movie aimed squarely at teenage retro-romantics. They’ve called it Teen Beach Movie. Just that. Could they be any more boring? A few years ago, when High School Musical came out, the title sounded cute, knowing, amusingly generic. Now it, and TBM, are evidence of a “Ronseal Tendency”: films that do exactly what it says in the name.
Snakes on a Plane was an early sighting, as was Scary Movie and its offshoots. But now we’ve got Teen Beach Movie, where can the generic movie title go from here? Can we expect to see “Expensive But Pointless Superhero Remake” arriving soon? “Clueless Romcom Starring Amy Adams” coming to an Odeon near you?
Will punters flock to “Cacophonous But Sub-Die Hard Heist Movie”? How about “Quentin Tarantino Seeks Revenge For Someone Else’s Racial or Ethnic Suffering”?
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