Usually when I ask someone what kind of movie they like to see, they always say they prefer comedy, action or drama.
Well they can also say they want action and drama, or comedy and action, or drama and comedy, but my point is that there's a general feeling the viewers want to feel as they watch the movie.
For action you could generalize it as wanting to feel adrenaline or anger.
For comedy it's usually about laughter or having likable characters.
For drama it's all about being fully invested and crying.
Of course, whenever people like something more than the other, many will sadly take sides and start some kind of opinion war out of it.
People who like comedy will talk about how melodramatic the drama movies are, people who like action will hate the slapstick included in their beautifully choreographed fighting, people who like drama will say how the action is mindless.
Obviously that way of thinking is pretty simple-minded, and I think it's pretty obvious that a good movie makes use of all the three emotional responses rather than focus on just one of them.
There can be a preference in your story, of course, but a good story can't stand on it's own with JUST one emotional response.
Like always, comedy seems to be the most under-appreciated out of them, many thinking comedy is about watching people being stupid and all that.
They of course don't realize that without the comedy, people will never truly LIKE your characters.
I mean they can admire their skill in martial arts with the action or sympathize them with the drama, but to actually LIKE them?
Think of it this way, imagine your character is a very pompous and overconfident guy who always succeeds in everything and does everything in the story with ease.
Sounds like a bit of a Mary Sue, doesn't he? You don't appreciate the things he's done because there wasn't really anything that gave you the feeling he COULDN'T do it in the first place.
Now imagine if he's overconfident, but he NEVER succeeded in anything in his life and actually goes through a lot of problems, becoming the butt of the joke all the time until finally he succeeds in the end.
He still as the same personality, but the events have changed. He can be overconfident all he wants, but he's easily put back on his place by falling into a haystack or getting hit in the face with a basketball or whatever.
You end up liking him for having such optimism, even if still a bit narcissistic. And as overconfident as he is, you still really do feel happy the moment he finally succeeded in the end.
That's why people like characters like Johnny Bravo, Sherlock Holmes or Tony Stark.
On the flip side, though, drama seems to be generalized as what's winning Oscars most of the time.
Pushing aside the fact of whether Oscars are actually credible or not, drama IS what's making people invested in your stories to begin with.
Sure, sometimes all it takes for someone to check out a movie is to read the description and say "Oh, that sounds funny/cool. I'll watch it!".
But a movie with nothing BUT Comedy or nothing BUT Action will end up boring fast.
A Comedy is about timing, but you won't ever GET the opportunity for the next best time for a gag without some drama in between.
Action is all about resolving conflict in a violent manner, but the conflict has to come from SOMEWHERE.
Whenever people think of drama, they usually think of romantic drama where a guy and a girl fight over something and cry cry cry, or some art-house movie where some student goes all emotional over a pen falling on the ground in slow-motion.
Okay, maybe the last one's just me, but that just sounds hilarious to me.
But drama is more than that.
Drama is about investment.
Drama is about making people know what the characters are going through, what they feel and what weight their decisions have.
Drama is about making you realize how one character feels about the other, or how a crowd feels about one person.
Drama and Comedy are not exclusive.
Naked Gun is a great example of that.
If it was JUST the slapstick in Naked Gun without any context, it would've been tiring and eventually the joke, no matter how good they are, end up simply becoming annoying.
But as much as people claim Naked Gun is nothing but comedy, it really isn't.
As weird as it is, Naked Gun has characters that people invest in.
The situations are still hilarious, but there's a plot going on that gives the characters different emotions to the situation.
It obviously gets made fun, it being a parody of cop movies after all, but the characters take it completely seriously, and that's the beauty of it.
The late Leslie Nielsen didn't play off his character's romance as "Oh wow, look how wacky we are as a couple". He felt genuine sadness and anger and love. It's done in a hilarious manner, but you're convinced his character does feel those feelings, and that gets you invested in him.
With the action genre, many people seem to love pointing out how mindless they are.
"Oh, it's just to show big burly men punching and kicking each other."
Sure, out of all the three genres listed here, I can actually imagine stories being great without action.
But action has it's time and place too, especially because action is the place where both comedy and drama can come together perfectly.
Just look at fight scenes of Jackie Chan. It's not just about watching how amazing he is as a martial artist, it's also about showing that despite all the impressive stunts he does, he's still human.
He gets punched in the face and is visibly hurt. He intercepts someone's kick with his own and rubs his hurt shin afterwards. He gets stomped on his fingers as he's hanging on the edge and actually whimpers in pain after he lands safely.
The action makes him an awesome martial artist, but the comedy makes him likable.
Of course there has to be a REASON why the fighting was happening in the first place, which is where the drama comes from.
Drama is what gave the story the level of conflict in the first place.
Sometimes it's just a silly "Get him!" moment and Jackie is simply trying to escape.
But there are also times when the one Jackie is fighting is some guy who threatened his family's business, or someone who ruined his career, or someone who's a real threat to humanity.
It makes you invested and makes you root for Jackie in the first place.
Honestly, the worst action movies are where you don't care at all who's going to win because you're not invested in any of them in the first place.
In the end, without investment, all an action sequence is is a bunch of creative ways of hurting one another.
But with the investment and the context, it's suddenly an underdog story, or it's a heartbreaking story of two separated brothers, or it's an epic story involving the fate of the world.
As much of a forgone conclusion it is, a great story makes use of all the emotions that come from all those three genres.
And the funny thing is, many stories generally already HAVE all three of them.
Just because it's a slapstick comedy doesn't mean there's no drama in Tom and Jerry. Just look at the amount of times those two end up very sadly begging against one another or crying as the realize what their fates are about to be.
Just because Avengers is full of action doesn't mean it has no comedy. People don't make posts on tumblr about how likable the characters are because of how they fought the aliens, they make posts about their funny dialogue, how Tony and Steve had a whole pissing contest about Justice vs Pragmatism.
And just because Titanic is all about the relationship between Jack and Rose, doesn't mean there's no place for action. It's the Titanic sinking that made people truly root for Jack and Rose to survive, and it's the fact they've gone so far that it's so sad to see Jack die in the end.
I would say spoilers, but anyone knows about that, so whatever.
The point is, every story in it's most basic form generally has the ability for the viewer/reader to have those feelings.
It's all about utilizing those feelings to the fullest while still holding onto the vision and moral of your story.