I love a good Genre Buster. What’s a Genre Buster you might ask? A Genre Buster is a film that combines at least two different genres into one film. Genre Busters can mix anything from laughs, action, Sci-Fi, horror or drama equally to create a unique movie experience. Movies such as Men In Black, Shaun of the Dead and The Green Mile are all perfect examples of what makes up a great Genre Buster. Combining opposite genres doesn’t always work. The sum of equal parts doesn’t always lead to success. Sometimes the combination can lead you to duds like Hudson Hawk, Cowboys & Aliens and Your Highness. But when the risky mash-up works, you’re left with a film that distinguishes itself from the crowd as something totally different from what you are accustomed to at the movies. So what are ‘The 4’ best Genre Busters on film? I’m not looking for an action movie that has some laughs (Lethal Weapon) or some paint by numbers romantic comedy. I want the four films that blend everything equally and to perfection. So without further ado, let’s get to the list.
Ghostbusters is without a doubt the king of all Genre Busters. The 1984 classic mixes humor, action and scares precisely to create one of the quintessential films of the 1980s. All other Genre Busters look to this film for inspiration. Ghostbusters had the coolest gadgets, special effects that still hold up today and a great story that we all buy into. That’s one of the most important components to creating a successful Genre Buster is getting the audience to accept all the different genres in one film. I also believe that Ghostbusters has the biggest High Risk/High Reward scene in the history of movies. If I told you that I was going to make a movie where our heroes battle a 100 ft. tall Marshmallow Man in the final act, you would laugh me right out of the room – but what is the first thing you think of when someone brings up Ghostbusters? It’s Mr Stay Puft of course. All other Genre Busters should kneel down to the king.
Here’s a film that pays homage to Ghostbusters and was ahead of the Zombie craze that has infected Pop Culture in America. Sure, Zombieland came after another great Genre Buster Shaun of the Dead, but I think Zombieland is just a better film. Zombieland is full of Zombie kills and gore, but really the Zombie apocalypse is just the setting for a very funny road trip movie. For most of Zombieland, the zombies are missing in action. Never fear because we are treated to the over the top and at times, heartbreaking performance by Woody Harrelson as the Zombie-killing, Twinkie-craving Tallahassee. Zombieland has one of the best cameos ever in a movie with a certain star from Ghostbusters that lightens up the mood during the end of the world. It also helps having four Oscar nominated stars (Harrelson, Breslin, Murray & Eisenberg) and America’s newest sweetheart Emma Stone to help the audience take the film and all its survival rules seriously. Most zombie movies are all about survival, but Zombieland shows there’s room for a good time in the zombie plague as well. Just like Rule # 32 says “Enjoy the little things”.
Here’s the second Genre Buster on this list that deals with the world of the paranormal. Bettlejuice is ridiculously crazy and dumb – but would also be considered one of Tim Burton’s masterpieces. You have two ghosts (Alec Bladwin & Geena Davis) stuck in the world of the living, sharing their old house with a family of New York Yuppies and their goth daughter, Lydia. The real fun begins when they enlist the help of a Bio-Exorcist that goes by the name of Beetlejuice played by Michael Keaton. Even though Michael Keaton is only on-screen for 17 minutes, he makes it count as the ghost with the most. Beetlejuice is full of insane scenes including the Day-O shrimp dinner scene that is just as funny as it is scary. Beetlejuice’s world of the afterlife that’s more like a social workers office has been emulated by films such as Defending Your Life, Wristcutters: A Love Story and to a much lesser extent R.I.P.D. Bettlejuice is a comedy, horror and family film all rolled into one. Plus any film that has the balls to put a Demonic Whore House gag in its plot earns a place on this list.
Pineapple Express (2008)
Here’s my totally biased pick, but I don’t care. It’s my list and I can do whatever I want. Pineapple Express mixes two of my favorite genres in film. The action flick and the stoner flick. Pineapple Express starts simple enough. A process-server named Dale (Seth Rogen) is getting stoned in a car when he witnesses a murder take place. In the chaos Dale throws down a joint with a very special strain of marijuana called Pineapple Express. This leads a crew of drug lords, thugs and dirty cops to hunt down Dale and his drug dealer Saul (James Franco) in a chain of hilarious, if violent events. No one had ever tried mixing weed humor with Die Hard style action. The risk paid off. Pineapple Express was a hit at the box office and became an instant classic. The audience was treated to chase scenes, shootouts and a comical fight between Dale, Saul and the scene-stealing Danny McBride as Red. Even the crowd who doesn’t enjoy the little green plant were entertained by the mishaps of these two lovable stoners in Pineapple Express.
So what 4 movies do you think should be named the best Genre Busters? Let me know on Twitter @tmpowellCw44. I’m sure we will see a sequel to this list down the road.