Same old, same old

October 26, 2015

Literature and movies have much in common. Some of the most popular and cherished movies came from books, as did some of the worst, most forgotten ones. While both have writing in some way shape or form, movies are much more visual, but need to tell a story at the same time.

So why is it that some movies are so terrible, visually, audioally (huh? I know it’s aurally, so lay off), and storywise?

As you know, I’m smitten with the sword and sorcery genre. Maybe it has to do with my love of Masters of the Universe, or maybe my affinity for Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. Whatever the case, there’s a lot of great S&S work out there.

There’s also a lot of shit.

I mean, a lot. Like, more than a lot. More than there should be, unfortunately.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried to make an effort to watch as many S&S movies as I can. Some are fantastic. Ladyhawke, anyone? Conan the Barbarian, both of them, of course. Dragonslayer! The list goes on.

But the bigger list is the crappy ones. The other night, I watched one of them, and just couldn’t stop shaking my head.

“The Warrior and the Sorceress” was just over an hour long, so I figured I’d give up some time to watch it. Hey, it had David Carradine and Anthony De Longis in it. Not only are we going to get the smooth, kickass action of Kane from Kung Fu, but the expert, badass weaponry and fight coordination of Blade from Masters of the Universe. Hells yeah!

Yeah…not quite.

Without going into a lengthy diatribe, let me say that this movie should have been called “How Not to Make a Movie.” Everything was bad. Seriously, there was no redemption.

Go ahead and watch it if you want. But I’m fairly certain you’ll agree with me.

Anyway, the point I want to make is, it just accentuated my belief that every story is the same. From what I’ve seen, most S&S has one of three beginnings:

  1. A group of guys are getting ready to go kill another group of guys. Then they do. The end.
  2. A wanderer who just so happens to be the greatest swordsman in the history of ever is just wandering and he stumbles upon a nefarious villain who needs to be put down. Hijinks ensue. The villain is put down. The wanderer continues wandering.
  3. Someone or a group of people are hanging out in a tavern waiting for people or something to happen and then it does.

I’m trying my best as a writer to do something different. While I can’t reinvent the wheel, I can give you a story that you’ll enjoy. Hey, who knows, maybe you’ll even see it as not the same old thing!

Currently, I’m working on a story for an anthology. I realized about two pages in that it was going the same way as always. So, I started over. After watching some of these terrible movies, I think I’ve got something that won’t be the same as always.

Who knows, though. Maybe I’m just hoping for a live action Ken Kelly or Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo painting. You can’t deny, the artwork of those men (and thousands of other talented, amazing artists) was beyond badass, and more than a little inspiring.

I know I shouldn’t compare my short stories to movies or paintings, but let’s face it, they’re a good start. I read a lot, and for the most part, things start out the same. So maybe if do write “the same old thing” no one will care? After all, what works, works, and history can prove that one.

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