Buddy Vs. Group Thrown Together Films



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  • Buddy Vs. Group Thrown Together Films

    This isn't really (or only) a film question. I was trying to think of some different films that tackle the story from a different perspective. On the one hand, you've got buddy films where everyone knows everyone else. On the other, you've got films where strangers are thrust together by an event. I couldn't think of any examples of Group films. Brain lock or something. The only one I could come up with was Speed or some other action films. Since I'm working on a romcom, does anyone have any examples in the comedy or romcom genre of a group that doesn't know each other thrown together in the second act?

    What are your thoughts on how a thrown together group works versus a bunch of people that already know each other? How would they work in a comedy/romcom? Strengths? Weaknesses?

    Any assistance would be appreciated and thanks in advance.


  • #2
    The one that comes immediately to mind since I saw it just this past weekend was Sandra Bullock's 28 Days, with all the rehab patients being the group. They managed something of a rom element to it as well.

    If my sleep-deprived brain ever revives (anyone want to buy a 3 week old boy?) I'll add more to this post.


    • #3
      Buddy groups vs. chance groups in romcoms

      My mind immediately went to that grandaddy of ensemble romcoms, "Much Ado About Nothing." I loved the Kenneth Branagh filmed version, and that's the one I'm thinking of here. Rent it and watch what happens when the group of soldiers arrive to make merry with the group of women who live at the Tuscan villa. There's backstory baggage between Beatrice (Emma Thompson) and Benedick (Kenneth Branagh), so they start off already knowing and disliking each other. But for the most part, the comedy swirls around various couplings and uncouplings and misunderstandings among all the men and women as they get acquainted, hang out and party, etc. For a buddy romcom ensemble, maybe Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan" would be an example?


      • #4
        200 CIGARETTES

        (just "jesting"!) :b

        Naw, seriously,

        THE DIRTY DOZEN is a prime example, albeit one of action.

        For comedy? ANIMAL HOUSE. Folks thrown together by the Uni system.

        Romance? That's hard, since romance likes to focus on particular "pairs".

        Hmmm, thinking-thinking-thinking...


        SINGLES, and the Aussie one, LOVE AND OTHER CATASTROPHES. Not great flicks, but they "made it", and their structures DO work.

        Besides, they would have been potentially delightful films with better casts. Can't blame the script due to the actors.

        I mean, I still dig the matrix. For every Keanu, there's a Lawrence, or Joe Napolitano... you know what I mean.

        pints raised, kosk


        • #5
          Thanks everyone. I'll have to check out 28 DAYS to see how they did it.

          I thought of ANIMAL HOUSE, too. However, all the guys already know each other in the film with the exception of the two new pledges. It wasn't really a buddy flick, but it didn't feel like a group thrown together one either. Know what I mean?

          I've been scratching my head trying to think of a romcom that's done a group thrown together where the group's never known each other.

          DIRTY DOZEN is a great example of what I'm talking about, but, unfortunately, that's an action genre.

          SINGLES struck me more as everyone knowing each other in the little apartment complex. Again, not a buddy flick, because they each went their separate ways. However, they already knew everyone so they wouldn't be a group getting thrown together.


          BTW "jester"? Okay. I see how it is. :evil


          • #6
            It's a very good question. It kind of gave me brain-lock too - which is a good sign, you're onto a paradigm that is original.

            The "thrown-together" scenario is the standard schtick in action/crime movies like Reservoir Dogs, Usual Suspects etc....

            ...because they usually center around a group goal that can only be achieved by the individuals in the group submerging themselves to the greater needs of the group itself.

            So my question is, if you want to have a group "thrown together" for a romantic comedy, what is the group goal? Does it create subplot/distraction problems for your main relationship?

            Traditionally, "thrown-together" works better in plot-driven, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances films, whereas history between the characters helps in films that are about character and relationships.


            • #7
              Damn or Awesome!

              That's what I was "afraid" of. OR Outstanding, a whole new way of telling a story! I just got to page 68 of my romcom and had been tackling it like a buddy film. For some reason, that's all I could think of during all the outlining and research. A buddy film just seemed the way most romcoms are. Most romcoms focus on character-driven stories. Then, on page 66, I had a sudden "Oh Damn" or great realization. A group thrown together might be a better way of telling this story.

              Group goal? Romance. Don't want to go into it in too much detail, but it's NOT an American Pie type of quest.

              No, I don't think it creates problems for my main relationship. In fact, it's going to be tough to maintain the main relationship during the late 2nd Act and 3rd Act. It's just the nature of the story. The main relationship has to be split during that part of the story regardless. It's one of those tentpole issues. I'm sure I'll come up with something to keep a tenous contact for the main relationship, but that's going to be one of my tough parts.

              It is plot-driven.

              I guess if I had you stumped too, then I might be onto something. I'll keep pondering it and reading any responses on this thread. For now, I'm going to drive on with the buddy film approach just so I have something on paper. The buddy film approach to the story is good. I'm just wondering if the story couldn't be better by going with the group thrown together approach.

              Thanks for everyone's suggestions.



              • #8
                credit to St. George

                Since this really IS a brain teaser, ala Tao's comments.

                So, sharp-shooting isn't hitting the target. Thus, when the TC Contender (and yeah, I know what that actually is) doesn't make the mark, break out the gatling gun.

                Spray the lead. Eventually, one of them slugs is gonna cap somebody. So:

                THE BOBO,
                THE PARTY, w/ Peter Sellers?
                APARTMENT COMPLEX? (must block images of naked Amanda Plummer out of my brain, must block naked images of...)

                *That dorky one w/Sandra Bullock as a go-go-girl riding cross-country with a guy who wants someone else but ends up with her anyway?*

                THE LADY AND THE TRAMP (forget the fact that it's animated; one could make a great live-action with hominids outta that one!)...?

                NATURAL BORN KILLERS? (okay, that's a "sick" example, but the Love was There)

                Did any of these even graze the target?

                Just tryin' to help.

                Jester-kosk (but not jesting here, really)

                PS: There are no "roasts" in the other thread, Lizard-Killer. In fact, I think the "casting" complimented you nicely!


                • #9
                  Re: credit to St. George

                  Thanks for the extra supporting gunfire, KSK.

                  I'm still not seeing any hitting the mark. However, I haven't seen THE BOBO, THE PARTY, or APARTMENT COMPLEX. (Ummm, Apartment Complex sounds... hmmm... interesting. It's only for research, I swear)

                  NATURAL BORN KILLERS - Been awhile since I saw it, but if I remember correctly the girl already knew Woody. However, it still wasn't a group, again, if I remember correctly. I just remember Woody grabbing people along the way. It wasn't really a collaborative crime spree.

                  THE LADY AND THE TRAMP - The Tramp already knew his buddies. He was king of his neighborhood. However, you did hit on one element. It's kind of how I'm handling it now only in reverse. The Lady is thrown into the Tramp's world. In my case, the Tramp's buddies are thrown into the Ladies world (the story isn't about down n out guys going to the big city or something like that). More the act of being thrown into something different. Actually, what I'm wondering about is very different overall as far as structure goes. Hmmm.

                  BTW I read into your post too much then. I was looking for satire where satire didn't exist. Funny that. I got a laugh and it wasn't even intended. Your reputation precedes you, o jester of a thousand jests. That's a good thing. O' and thanks, KSK. A nice compliment in the casting. Hats off.


                  • #10
                    Group thinghie

                    T., how about "The Night We Never Met"? A bunch of strangers (2 boys and a girl) take turn at sharing an apartment without meeting, at first, if my memory is right. It's labelled as a rom-com, so something has to eventually happen.

                    Or "Threesome"? (can't believe I'm actually recommending this...)

                    Good luck,



                    • #11
                      Re: Group thinghie

                      Cool, thanks, Jacinthe. I'll check them out.

                      Oh, BTW, I've hidden my notes and am carefully making sure I'm not followed. You're everywhere.

                      Seriously, thanks for your 2 cents.


                      • #12
                        Re: Group thinghie

                        Suddenly, a touch of inspiratioin.

                        "Big Chill" is actually a good example of weaving the two - because in many ways, though the characters have a past, they don't know the "new" versions of themselves. Same with "Return of the Seacaucus Seven".

                        And then of course, staring us all right in the face are all of Woody Allen's movies. Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, I believe, follows these basic rules. And DS, I can't, can't, can't BEG you enough to acquanit yourself with the films of Eric Rohmer. They are ensemble, whimsical, romantic films of such beauty and substance, I can't imagine they wouldn't help.

                        Between Woody Allen and Eric Rohmer, I'd be surprised if you didn't get some great inspiration for telling multiple love story lines, learning how to use groups in conjunction with a central romance, and working with people that are just meeting each other (this is common in Rohmer films, it's a great mix of people that know each other and people meeting each other).

                        Rohmer: Pauline on the Beach, Boyfriends and Girlfriends would be good choices...also Claire's Knee, Chloe in the Afternoon and Full Moon in Paris.

                        Hope that helps. Even though you did refer to me as the "arrogant old guard". (sound of Tao weeping)


                        • #13
                          Another movie to consider...

                          Another Sandra Bullock movie is "Forces Of Nature" opposite Ben Affleck.

                          I thought the film was okay.


                          • #14
                            Re: Group thinghie

                            :lol a misunderstanding. Sorry, Tao. That "arrogant old guard" wasn't directed at you. It was in reference a chat I had with Strange Mind. We were discussing the same thing and he mentioned how he was trained by the "old guard." I was thinking of a generalized stodgy "old guard" at the time of the "arrogant" comment. A generalization that slipped into a specific point. I'd only wear the "arrogant" hat, if it fits. I don't think it fits you. If you were truly "arrogant", you wouldn't be wasting your time discussing screenwriting with brand new writers. You'd be sipping wine or coffee with executives and trying to hob knob with the rich and famous. The true measure of arrogance is the amount of time one spends on those beneath one's station in life as opposed to spending the time with those above one's station.

                            Thanks for pointing me towards Rohmer. I'll definetly check out his work.

                            Again, thank you. I'm sure I'll find some gems in the hopeful help you provided.



                            • #15
                              This might be a stretch but ever watch "The Love Boat" or "Fantasy Island"?