…and leave me either disappointed or really, really happy.
5. Vampire stuff.
This one is the least automatic of the list, because I don’t go ooh gimme for every vampire thing. For example, I will probably never watch The Vampire Diaries (because really, I am a snob, but the CW… I was willing to make an exception for Sarah Michelle Gellar, and I still don’t even know if Ringer was worth it). And yeah, Twilight was a mistake forever. But obviously, Buffy and True Blood and things of that nature. And I enjoy C-movies I see on Chiller or SyFy or at Blockbuster that are about vampires. This is also on the list because it is a genre that sometimes I regret and a genre that I criticize the hell out of in certain cases.
4. The 1960s. Is that even a genre?
No, really, is it? I am a gigantic sucker for it, though. I have been my whole life, though it used to be more hippie late 60s and now it’s more obvious Mad Men early/mid 60s. But this one is so pervasive it extends to real life: apparently the Disneyland Hotel has been remodeled all mid-century modern, and we are planning on being in Disneyland later this year, and while we will not stay there as it is exorbitantly priced, welp, as they say. Mid-century modern with a restaurant and bar to visit? Suddenly I know what I’m packing and I know what we’re doing one night. The 1960s were crap for a lot of social reasons, and I acknowledge that, but I crave the aesthetic value of the clothing and the architecture and the music and the cocktails and stuff often.
Which are totally a genre don’t even. I mean, more often than not apocalypses leave me sorely disappointed; my favorite kind of apocalypse is the zombie kind, though my love for the genre does not only reach to zombie apocalypses. I dunno. I enjoy apocalypse stories because they are morbid and also because, particularly if they’re zombie-related, I feel comfortable analyzing them to death and feeling vaguely authoritative on the subject. (And no, shouting “double tap” at the screen does not count as analyzing. Helpful advice, sure, but really? I am more concerned with group dynamic and weapon usage and stuff.)
2. Film noir.
Always weird; I mean, you have James Ellroy, whose works are novels (that then became films, yes) but it’s still the film noir genre. Detective mysteries, 1940s-1950s, stylish and morbid and probably involving a lot of gun violence. This one has come back to bite me often: good film noir is good, really good, and I love it. Bad film noir is often bad. Cheesy and cliche. A lot of things proclaim themselves as “modern noir,” too, which is still an instant grab to me, but really a debatable thing. For example, Brick, the high school noir with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Nora Zehetner, is good and I really like it, but Passion Play, which had a very legitimate cast but was so forgettable I just had to look up its title, is not so good and I did not like it. Also, film noir is a problematic genre in the way that the 1960s genre can be problematic, what with pesky things like misogyny everywhere. Let’s talk about LA Confidential for a second, though: here you really only have one main female, Lynn Bracken, and she doesn’t run around shooting people and she gets beat up by men and she’s a whore, yes, but she doesn’t damsel, really. She’s at least an interesting character in her own right. I saw the trailer for the upcoming film Gangster Squad and went “ooh yay noir” but then immediately started to go “okay is Emma Stone’s character going to be legitimately interesting and well-written or just a spunky damsel?” I really hope the former, because this is my biggest noir gripe.
1. Late 1800s period pieces.
Many of which are Westerns, yeah. I am not a complete sucker for the entire Western genre; cowboys tend to bore me. But I like lawmen and halfway-established towns full of ne’er-do-wells and saloon girls. And aside from sloppy generic characterizations and sloppy generic sets and sloppy generic plots, which do happen, particularly in low-rent Western-types, the saloon girls are what I judge these hardest about. This is 100% the fault of Deadwood, which taught me what saloon girls should be (and also how you write good female characters in Westerns). Saloon girls should not look like they bought their clothes at Pete’s Party Plaza or whatever the hell the party supply store of your choosing may be. They should not wear brightly colored satin with black lace and black fringe, accompanied by a black feather sticking out of their perfectly neat updo. For that matter, a saloon girl’s dress should not look brand new or actually new at all. There should be flaws. And what is the saloon girl’s role in the plot? Is she just there to hang on a man while he plays cards and drinks? Maybe scream during the breakout of a gun battle? Yeah, no, I will be rolling my eyes. There should also be interesting women in the story who aren’t saloon girls, and I’m not just talking about extras. There should be women with lines who aren’t saloon girls. And at least some of the saloon girls should actually have lines themselves, probably. Etcetera.
–your fangirl heroine.