Thursday, June 28, 2012

Typical Malay Movie in 5 Easy Steps

I know what you're thinking. If you've been visiting this blog every now and then, you might be aware (wary, even) of all the blog entries taking shots at popular local movies. I don't know if I've said it before, but I definitely will say it again; I don't have a hate-boner for homemade products. I do, however, have something against a particular brand of local movie, something I hope to illustrate in this particular entry.

No, this is not a shot against local actors either.


I may not know the whole story or the politics behind movie-making, but I get the feeling that audition only happens when there's a singing competition involved. When it comes to movies, it's all about how famous you are because apparently the cult of personality is still huge over here, and the mainstream audience still think of movies as the place where they get to see celebrities/jesters/favourite singers fumble with their lines. As opposed to, you know, to watch a movie? With stories and whatnot?

So who would I blame? Everybody. The mainstream audience for flocking the cinemas for the likes of Adnan Sempit while Bunohan earned less than a million domestically.  Well... I guess it's comforting to know that Songlap and Chow Kit did quite well. But such movies are few and far in between. Most of the time, we get subpar comedies that inexplicably make millions.

And they all tend to follow the same formula;

Step 1: Generic Jaguh Kampung Name + Adjective/Verb/Noun

It's true that this tradition is not unique here, and you might even argue that the origin can be traced back to superhero movies (Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, etc). But it's not exactly the same as how we do it over here. Just bear in mind that alliteration is the key. But of course, if you couldn't be bothered to spend more than five seconds on coming up with a name for the titular character, any two combination of words will do.

Step 2: The Pak Lawak Stock Character

I like double act comedy. I'm not crazy about it, but when there's chemistry between two funny people, the result is always memorable. From Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains & Automobiles [1987], to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz [2007], it's all fine and well. But I just don't understand why we love to abuse the hell out of this formula;

Just pair up a skinny (read: secretly coked-up) "comedian" as the stooge/comic, and another "comedian" as the straight man (preferably morbidly obese). Have them shout their lines and hurl insults at each other and we got ourselves a "comedy". Speaking of characters;

Step 3: Instead of characters, always opt for caricatures

It goes without saying that nobody goes to the cinema to see a movie about a 9-to-5 white collar worker living a completely conflict-free life. So rather than spicing things up from there, we gotta have a caricature of a character who's already over-the-top in everything he does, may it be the way he talks, the way he dresses and the vehicle he rides. The conflicts are always surprisingly mundane, but that's okay because people will laugh anyway.

But only as long as the characters' reactions are always accompanied by supposedly-funny and goofy-sounding sound effects. I'm afraid I don't know why. But don't worry, just stick with this rule. Okay? Good. Now our caricatures need a story, and... What's that?

Step 4: What story arc?
Not every movie needs to adhere to the whole Three-act structure, I agree. But unless you're looking to make something groundbreaking, and your name is P. Ramlee, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan, it's better to stick to the basic structure; Set up, conflict, climax and resolution. It's okay. Most great movies out there were made the same way. But of course, if you couldn't be bothered to spend more than an afternoon on the story, then screw it.

Just have your actors earn their pay by making a fool of themselves on-camera. Once you have enough sight gags, scenes with insults hurled between characters as well as some pseudo-sentimental scenes, you need to market it. No worries, the hard part's over because by now, you have...

Step 5: A minute's worth of "funny" things for the trailer

This one's self-explanatory.

Add all that up, the result will look something like this;


6 comments:

charlie fa said...

HAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHA

Zulfahmi said...

Mamu, just yesterday I thought of blogging about step no 1... You beat me to it and made a better post than I think I could...

Yeah, I was thinking:

"Hmm, Mael Lambong, Man Sewel, Mak Limah... What's next?? Shamsul Juling? Berahim Kudung?"

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Zulfahmi: Eh, why not? Just proceed with it. What I wrote was just one way of looking at it. Maybe you can go in depth? Or draw one of those comic strips? :D

echidna said...

Good one hahahahaha superbbb....

fadz said...

this is a good one, heck, ur writings shd be put into Filem Melayu 101: Bagaimana JANGAN membikin filem sebegini.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Fadz
Jom! Tontonfilem nak jadi buku dah, kan? So maybe we can do something like what you said here ;D

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