Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cool Satire

Robocop is not your average eighties action flick. The satire about political practices works perfectly with the action genre. The main targets of the film are over privatization, and the deterioration of humanity. Satire and action work great together because action movies are already completely over the top with explosions, chase scenes, and of course some blood and gore. Since satire uses exaggeration to make a point, it fits hand and hand with the action genre.

Other genres can also work with satire, and one of the most common is comedy. Donna used the example of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Satire is easily incorporated into comedies because satire is comedic itself. Even though Robocop is an action movie the satire causes many comedic moments in which I laughed out loud. One of my favorite comedic satires is Airplane (1980). Airplane takes the disaster film genre, and through extreme hyperbole turns it into a genius comedy. The situation of an airplane crew getting food poisoning and not being able to the land the plane is totally ridiculous. The satire is not as profound as it is in Robocop because it is simply commenting on another genre. Although Airplane does not provide any great political or economic revelations, it is equally as entertaining.

My favorite satire film of all time would have to be O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). O Brother, Where Art Thou? is an adventure film that uses satire to show the public the evils of the South. The film parallels Homer’s The Odyssey, and makes references to the classic satire Sullivan’s Travels. The dangers of the South are revealed through Big Dan a con man who pretends to be a Bible salesman in order to rob people of their money. It is later revealed that Big Dan is a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The film also comments on less than noble politicians with Pappy, the Governor of Mississippi, whose true colors are shown when he’s not standing behind the microphone on the campaign trail. I think that O Brother, Where Art Thou? should be considered a classic because it combines the adventure genre with the comic elements of satire, and manages to comment on Southern society at the same time.


  1. I agree, O Brother Where Art Thou? is an amazing movie. It combines many genres and kept me laughing the entire time. Going through some blogs, I find a correlation between satires and the south, any ideas why?

  2. I love both the movies you reference!

    Do you think satire has to have the purpose of social commentary, or can it be created simply for making fun of someone/thing else?