Sub-genre mania: The Dramedy, like drama or comedy, has its own sub-genres that include The Contemporary Romance, The Teen Dramedy while also seemingly popular in independent film and with contemporary writers.
Must-sees: Amelie (2001), Oscar nominated French, independent film, Garden State (2004), directed and written by the multi-talented Zach Braff with an incredible performance by Natalie Portman, Stranger Than Fiction (2006) including the legendary Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) which features a dramedy favourite and new Oscar winner, Kate Winslet.
For a look back at all the problems read here. But people, I have fabulous news: there is hope and it just keeps on coming. Some of the best teen movies are the most recent including Juno (2007), Superbad (2007), Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2008), and Adventureland (2009). Again, I'm all for this new hybrid of comedy and drama with a cast of great actors and writers with guts, honesty and a fresh look at the life of a teen. If you don't believe me, check out reliable Ebert for some great insight.
The best of the best: In other posts I have mentioned Ellen Page (Oscar nominated for Juno) and Michael Cera who I think are the most normal, quirky and interesting young actors out there who also have this amazing talent for comedy and drama. And Jonah Hill is so hysterically funny that I will now see anything with him in it. I think their performances along with the premises of these movies, are the most relatable of any teen films out there and that is why they are better than anything else.
I'm talking REAL teenagers: They actually look like teenagers and you rarely see the jock, cheerleader, science or math geek stereotypes. The girls aren't overly sexualized and the guys aren't always sex-crazed beasts (I mean, Superbad's Evan is the sweetest kid ever). They don't demean or degrade teenagers and thank god for it!
I mean, in the sense that it is guy-friendly. These are for those of you who actually want to keep their boyfriends around on movie night I'm sure you've turned to some of these: The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Role Models (2008), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) and I Love You, Man (2009). And just from talking to friends and family about these movies they are popular with many age groups including both genders. And yes, I classify them as chick flicks ( I even dub them, chic-flicks), because they stick to the romantic comedy form in some way, shape or form. I Love You, Man and Superbad literally trade the heterosexual romance plot for a bromance plot while Role Models take bits of both and even crosses generations of male bonding, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall tells a break-up story from the point-of-view of a guy, which I don't think has ever been done before in a romantic comedy.
The root of it all: Turns out the new generation of comedians, featured in April 2009 Vanity Fair, are not only funny performers but pretty substantial writers; Paul Rudd is the co-writer of Role Models, Seth Rogen co-wrote Superbad, and Jason Segel wrote Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Is this whats turning comedy around? I say, keep the comedians doing it all, writing, directing and holding the boom if that's what keeps their creative juices flowing.