Tuesday, May 05, 2009

How to Render Your Film Dated

Hey, John here. As you may be aware, we improviseres are a shiftelss lot (with the exception of TR). Our primary activities include napping, cat napping, and the consumption of media. One thing that the consuption of media encompasses, is watching movies. This leads me to the topic of today's post: how to render your film dated. As you make the movie that you no doubt have rattling around in your head, you must decide if you want to go for something timeless, or stamp it with a big ol' reference to when it was made. Sure it may keep you from making the next Casablanca, but everyone watching your movie will know "Emo was sure big when this thing was made.". Here are a few steps you can take to rub time funk all over your picture:

- Musical cues: Putting a big, current radio hit in your movie will make it connect with the kids...for about a month. Then some new God-awful song will come out and the hero of your movie now looks hopelessly out of date! You started out courting the coolness factor and ended up with "Whoop-Adams Family-There it is!!". Truth be told, dated music can work in your favor. Huey Lewis and the News knocked it out of the park in Back to the Future, perfectly capturing the 1985 setting. Generally speaking, though, keep to a quasi-generic score.

- Cutting edge technology: Watch a cheesy action flick from the early-mid 1980's. Ok, now look at the rich business man bad-guy. "Look how rich he is!! He has a phone right in his car!!!" In the late 80's and early 90's it was cell phones; and in the early 00's it was the current iphone. Look, whatever you put in there, it's gonna be passed up, and look like a freakin' joke in the future. Just use current technology and people won't judge.

- The newest video games: Ok, I love Jackie Chan. But if you've ever seen Rumble in the Bronx, there's a scene where a kid is playing a Sega Game Gear that clearly has no game in it. As amazing as this movie is, it's soo distracting to watch a kid clack an empty plastic box in his hands. Also, movies like Big, that show a computer game being played become a study in 8-bit disappointment when viewed next to today's video games.

These three methods of movie dating at one point came together in a perfect storm of "This is what's big today!!" in one movie. that movie is the 1989 Fred Savage vehicle:

The Wizard. This film had it all Ninja Gaiden footage, "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids on the Block, and the piece de resistance; the world debut of.....The Power Glove!!! (for those too young to remember it, the power glove was a nintendo controler, built right into a glove, that never worked.)

Use these tools and references wisely, and for God's sakes, keep the New Kids out of your movie.

1 comment:

  1. That movie pissed me off to no end because the video game music in the movie wasn't right. When he was playing TMNT, the sewer music started playing BEFORE he got into the sewer.