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changing movies
April 7, 2006 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Are there any movies that have changed from, say, comedy to drama midway through? In other words, completely going from one style to another completely different one?
posted by sharksandwich to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Woody Allen's Melinda & Melinda, while not very good, tells the same story--the first time as a comedy; the second as a drama.
posted by maxreax at 4:36 PM on April 7, 2006


One could argue that Full Metal Jacket appears to do so.
posted by availablelight at 4:42 PM on April 7, 2006


La Vita è Bella was that way for me. A friend of mine best described it as:

"There's a silly Italian guy running around on a bicycle. And then the Nazis came."
posted by jammer at 4:42 PM on April 7, 2006


Maybe Do the Right Thing?
posted by amarynth at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2006


The best example I can think of is The Last American Virgin. 2/3 of the way through, it's a tacky teenage sex comedy. Then, without any possible explanation, it becomes a morbid meditation on unwanted pregnancy and heartbreak.
posted by johngoren at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2006


From Dusk Till Dawn. It starts as a road-movie, then suddenly turns into an over the top gore fest.
posted by koenie at 4:54 PM on April 7, 2006


Man on Fire is sort of like that. It goes something like from being about a guy bonding with a kid he's a bodygaurd for to something else I can't really quite figure out. The movie is complete garbage, though.
posted by cellphone at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2006


I'd front Odishon as an excellent example. It goes from cutesy relationship comedy-drama to horrific horror in a blink. Tho, the horrific horror stuff is arguably still funny.
posted by hoboynow at 4:55 PM on April 7, 2006


For the first 30 minutes of Audition you wonder why it was labeled a horror film.

I second From Dusk Till Dawn. It's a boring ordinary movie then suddenly there are vampires and everyone gets killed.

(28 Days Later is such a mess that it changes genre on a scene by scene basis. No one but me seems to have noticed)
posted by cillit bang at 4:57 PM on April 7, 2006


À la folie... pas du tout aka "He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not." 2002. French. Audrey Tautou. Romantic comedy -->stalker movie.
posted by ArcAm at 4:57 PM on April 7, 2006


natural born killers has a cheezy 'sitcom' start.
posted by delmoi at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2006


Something Wild?
posted by mkhall at 4:58 PM on April 7, 2006


Little Big Man works something like that. First as a jaunty comedy, but then the gravity of the situation sinks in.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:00 PM on April 7, 2006


natural born killers has a cheezy 'sitcom' start.

Though I think that scene is short enough that it's just a sort of method, not a full genre change.

To be honest, I'm not even sure what NBK even is.
posted by cellphone at 5:01 PM on April 7, 2006


cellphone >>> "To be honest, I'm not even sure what NBK even is."

A bad idea to watch on acid, that's what.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:02 PM on April 7, 2006


Vanilla Sky: it starts out as a drama and then it turns into a [very silly IMHO] sci-fi action movie.
posted by fshgrl at 5:03 PM on April 7, 2006


Heaven. Starts out as a crap thriller then gets worse. I won't spoil it by approximating what genre the end of it tries to appropriate.
posted by fire&wings at 5:03 PM on April 7, 2006


I think mkhall has it right -- Something Wild is the example I always think of when talking about blending genres. Totally underrated movie.
posted by incessant at 5:08 PM on April 7, 2006


"a day without a mexican" started off as a comedy and turned into a preachy melodrama. (not that i disagreed with their point, but still, it was pretty preachy.) I'm not sure whether it was intentional...
posted by clarahamster at 5:13 PM on April 7, 2006


The Ruling Class (1972), Starts out as a silly comedy about a man who thinks he's Christ and ends as something much, much darker.
posted by Chrischris at 5:15 PM on April 7, 2006


Adaptation is brilliant.
posted by cbrody at 5:15 PM on April 7, 2006


I thought Dangerous Liaisons turned from comedy to tragedy. It began as a light-hearted game. But the players eventually discover they are playing with fire.
posted by grumblebee at 5:31 PM on April 7, 2006


Several of Chaplin's films are like this: City Lights, The Great Dictator and Monsieur Verdoux come to mind.
posted by grumblebee at 5:35 PM on April 7, 2006


Trainspotting?

Addiction comedy/drama -> heist flick



From Dusk Till Dawn is the perfect example though.
posted by raider at 5:38 PM on April 7, 2006


The Crying Game?
posted by raider at 5:40 PM on April 7, 2006


Shaun of the Dead starts out as a relatively light comedy and rapidly turns into a surprisingly intense zombie survival movie. It might not be as abrupt or complete a change of tone as you're looking for - there's still humour in the latter bits, albeit a lot less - but if you compare a scene from near the end to one near the beginning they could be from different films.
posted by terpsichoria at 5:43 PM on April 7, 2006


Shaun of the Dead starts out as a relatively light comedy and rapidly turns into a surprisingly intense zombie survival movie. It might not be as abrupt or complete a change of tone as you're looking for - there's still humour in the latter bits, albeit a lot less - but if you compare a scene from near the end to one near the beginning they could be from different films.
posted by terpsichoria at 7:43 PM CST on April 7 [!]


I disagree. The tone is consistent throughout the entire film.

Another mention is ...And Justice for All, which starts out humorous and ends up becoming quite the drama. Besides the cheesy 70s score, it's easily one of my favorite movies.
posted by cellphone at 5:50 PM on April 7, 2006


Green for Danger does the opposite -- it changes from a drama (murder mystery) to a comedy (once the eccentric detective arrives) about halfway through.

I'd say Kubrick's Lolita fits the bill, too.
posted by grumblebee at 5:52 PM on April 7, 2006


Mulholland Drive.
posted by blueshammer at 5:52 PM on April 7, 2006


Dog Day Afternoon
posted by grumblebee at 5:53 PM on April 7, 2006


"Miracle Mile" -- and the effect is chilling.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:00 PM on April 7, 2006


WILD THINGS with Neve Campbell and Denise Richards. Starts as a Skinamax(tm) movie and ends as a thriller.
posted by Gucky at 6:16 PM on April 7, 2006


Patch Adams immediately came to mind on reading your question. Though I'm not sure I'd call it an entire style change, it does have a fairly major switchover from Happy-us-against-them-with-lots-of-jokes-thrown-in to Oh-my-god-I'm-so-wrecked-with-grief in the middle.
posted by fvw at 6:20 PM on April 7, 2006


I think Rear Window does this to a certain extent--the first third is mostly a light romance, most concerned with "will he marry her or won't he," and then Jeff notices that his neighbor's wife has disappeared....

I thought Conspiracy Theory had a pretty wild tonal shift, too, but not one I cared for or went along with.
posted by Tuwa at 6:41 PM on April 7, 2006


Second Full Metal Jacket... I thought of that movie immediately, and clicked on the comments not expecting anyone to have mentioned it...
posted by twiggy at 6:58 PM on April 7, 2006


Vanilla Sky is close to what you're looking for... I was told it was a sci-fi film when I watched it, and was wondering why up until the last half-hour or so of the film.

IIRC, although it's been a long time, The Majestic with Jim Carrey changes tone about halfway through the film as well.
posted by tkolstee at 7:00 PM on April 7, 2006


if you're into bollywood movies, Munnabhai MBBS starts as comedy and ends on the drama side, although i'm not sure I'd characterize it as a complete flip....
posted by gage at 7:03 PM on April 7, 2006


Muriel's Wedding starts out as a quirky little comedy and then blindsides you with Rhonda's cancer (and paralysis) and then Muriel's mother's suicide. It still ends on an upbeat note, but no one I've shown the film to has ever seen the depressing bits coming.
posted by web-goddess at 7:26 PM on April 7, 2006


To a lessor degree I found King Kong to be a bit like that, slow boring drama, then full-throttle action, and then a weepy tragedy.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2006


The Craft sort of does this. From teenage girl empowerment flick to oh my god Fairuza Balk's coming to kill me. But I'm sure there are better examples. There's a difference between a switch and an arc...

What about 2001?
posted by furiousthought at 7:36 PM on April 7, 2006


The Island sort of does that - the first half was very stereotypical sci-fi stuff, and in the second half or so, things blew up real good. I found it extremely amusing.
posted by livii at 7:41 PM on April 7, 2006


Million Dollar Baby?

Though none of these suggestions really seem to have the abrupt and complete switch the poster seemed to be looking for.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:39 PM on April 7, 2006


until the end of the world kind of does this.
starts off with this cloak and dagger stuff and heads into road trip, apocalyptic, philosophical and romance territories.
posted by juv3nal at 8:55 PM on April 7, 2006


I've thought about this before, and liked the examples of Full Metal Jacket and From Dusk Til Dawn best. Mainly because (1) the first half of FMJ is brilliant, and the second half (unforgivably) stars Michael Modine, whereas (2) the first half of FDTD (unforgivably) stars Quentin Tarantino, and the second half is all Robert Rodriguez. (And therefore great, even if it is a total ripoff of Dead/Alive.) I've suggested before that the good halves of these movies be joined into a greater whole.

Anyway, A Hero Never Dies is a perfect example. It goes from goofy Hong Kong hired killer comedy to unbelievably depressing pathos. One of the grimmer HK movies out there, all the moreso for the sucker-punch aspect.
posted by Aknaton at 8:59 PM on April 7, 2006


The Gods Must Be Crazy. Starts out like a documentary (a boring one) and then turns really funny.
Yikes! Looks like there are sequels. I don't remember II being very good and had no idea there were III, IV and V. Stick with the original.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:46 PM on April 7, 2006


Chasing Amy -- It's been a few years since I last saw it, but as I recall it turned from humor to really depressing love story. Please let me know if my memory is failing me.
posted by sian at 11:31 PM on April 7, 2006


I third Something Wild. It fits your criteria perfectly. Hilarious first act. Hair-raising second act! Also, features Ray Liotta's breakout role. Awesome movie - Jonathon Demme directed, after all.
posted by wsg at 1:36 AM on April 8, 2006


The Forgotten takes a huge lurch in the middle from what seems like a conventional drama, or at least an "am I going crazy" movie like Flight Plan, into some random nonsense about aliens.

Recent Australian movie Wolf Creek starts out looking like a road movie, takes a brief detour into what looks like it might be sci-fi, then turns into a brutal slasher flick.

The Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher lurched from one genre to another quite a bit as well.

Dusk Till Dawn is the prime example though.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:41 AM on April 8, 2006


And, not saying anyone's wrong about Something Wild, but it's part of a sub-genre of films in the 80s that I think of as "Yuppie's Nightmare" genre. Another comedy in the same vein would be After Hours but Fatal Attraction is the adult drama version, and I could make a case for Bonfire of the Vanities as the literary version.

They all feature a comfortable, well-to-do guy who takes that one wrong turn, in search of a bit of extra excitement with a sexual element, only to see his life spiral out of control.

So the genre-change is kind of part of the overall pattern or even moral of these stories -- you step outside your comfort zone, everything's fun and games until wham, it's all terribly serious.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:06 AM on April 8, 2006


And another vote for Something Wild. Besides being a really terrific flick, it's the best example of a movie that completely transforms itself halfway through. Even the cinematography and color palette changes when Ray shows up.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:42 AM on April 8, 2006


If memory serves (this was 1987), From The Hip starts out with wacky courtroom antics, then gets serious and severe with a murder trial.
posted by O9scar at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2006


Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby felt like two movies (to me anyways).
posted by jeremias at 9:27 AM on April 8, 2006


More in the spirit of the original question is THE TRILOGY, by Belgian director Lucas Belvaux. It's three movies featuring the same characters but with three different genres:

On The Run - thriller
An Amazing Couple - comedy
After The Life - melodrama

I recommend the series, especially since they're apparently available on one affordable DVD. Hope this helps.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:56 AM on April 8, 2006


Ghost World kind of did this.
posted by the_bone at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2006


I am shocked, shocked, to find no one has mentioned Psycho.

Starts off as a movie about a theft and a girl-on-the-run, and it turns into, well, Psycho.
posted by Brian James at 2:49 PM on April 8, 2006


Two films allegedly about South Africa, Cry Freedom and Stander, are each two movies in one. I keep trying to maintain a mental list of similar pictures, and failing.

The eternally annoying David Siegel has a theory on his site somewhere, surrounded by warnings not to steal it, that high-grossing Hollywood movies all involve the protagonist’s realizing that their original goal has changed. Essentially this argues for the two-in-one movie.
posted by joeclark at 7:11 AM on April 9, 2006


I've just been reminded that Predator is kind of a genre-change movie. There's no way you could see the alien stuff coming in the first half an hour.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:53 PM on April 9, 2006


As an aside, movies that "change genres" after the first thirty minutes aren't really changing at all -- they're using a convention of screenwriting structure. It's that moment when the world of the main character gets turned upside down and he or she has to adapt to the new situation. This is what's happening in Predator. Oh, yeah, and genre-wise it's action at the beginning and action at the end. Man on Fire, Audition, From Dusk Till Dawn, From the Hip, Wild Things, Vanilla Sky, Rear Window, I think all of these movies might appear to have two genres, one at the beginning and one at the end, but they're actually consequences of structure and (credit to furiousthought) arc not actual genre switches. And, um, I'm sorry but Full Metal Jacket starts out as a war movie... and ends as a war movie.

This is actually becoming a really interesting test. Two days and 58 answers later, I'm not sure we've come up with an adequate example. I've always thought of Something Wild as being the classic movie like this, but now I'm not sure. Any crit studies people want to chime in with discussions the nature of genre?
posted by incessant at 4:53 PM on April 9, 2006


Incessant, I believe I mentioned a real one: "Green for Danger." It is completely serious for about the first hour. Then it becomes a comedy. It feels very different from many of the films mentioned here -- a total change of tone. This is achieved by having a new character enter an hour into the film, bringing a totally different energy with him. Everyone else in the movie becomes his straight man.

There's a general trend towards this in whodunits. Usually, the detective is quirky and doesn't show up until a ways into the story. Usually, the suspects are less quirky. But I've never seen so pure/protracted an example as "Green for Danger."
posted by grumblebee at 8:49 AM on April 10, 2006


One I didn't see mentioned: Divorcing Jack.
posted by Pacrand at 1:40 PM on April 10, 2006


The eternally annoying David Siegel has a theory on his site somewhere, surrounded by warnings not to steal it, that high-grossing Hollywood movies all involve the protagonist’s realizing that their original goal has changed.

Wilson, in what turns out to be the pivotal scene in The Limey:
When I was in prison - second time - uh, no, telling a lie, third stretch, yeah, third, third - there was this screw what really had it in for me, and that geezer was top of my list. Two years after I got sprung, I sees him in Arnold Park. He's sittin' on a bench feedin' bloody pigeons. There was no-one about, I could've gone up behind him and snapped his fuckin' neck, *wallop!* But I left it. I could've knobbled him, but I didn't. 'Cause what I thought I wanted wasn't what I wanted. What I thought I was thinkin' about was something else.
posted by Aknaton at 2:14 PM on April 12, 2006


Click with Adam Sandler goes from funny to sad and meaningful.
posted by lain at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2007


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