This is kind of a pet peeve of mine, too, not just because it is kind of condescending, but because it's such a fuzzy idea (even though I've used it myself on occasion). If you say that a movie "transcends its genre" you are probably trying to get across one or more of the following ideas (some of which contradict each other):
- Most movies in the blogger biopic genre are bad, but The Forager Movie is pretty great. This might be the most common way folks use "TTG". From my POV, this brings us really close to Sturgeon's Law.
Note: If "TTG" just means "a good movie that happens to be part of a recognizable genre", we're straying into genre-condescension territory: after all, I don't think we'd say of Philip Roth's American Pastoral that it's a male-mid-life-crisis novel that transcends its genre, even though (a) most male-mid-life-crisis novels aren't all that great (IMO, of course) and (b) American Pastoral is pretty great (again, IMO). So this mainly gets applied to books and movies in ghetto genres like sci-fi and the western. My take is that a great movie that is also a great sci-fi movie (for instance) is not a case of "transcending the genre", but rather showing-off the genre or maybe even fulfilling the genre.
- Most movies in the blogger biopic genre will appeal mainly (only?) to the die-hard fan, but The Forager Movie will appeal to a general audience. Ok - I have a lot of sympathy for this kind of thinking. For instance, as a fan of super-hero comics I know there are super-hero books that I would recommend to "just about anybody" and those that I would only recommend to other fans. So, in a sense, "TTG" is correct: some movies/books/etc. transcend a lot of the wonky, specific appeal of their genres.
Note: As a wonk and a fan I know that sometimes I'm not going to be as interested in books/movies/etc. that are aimed at a general audience. Like, with horror movies: I want to be scared! I want my buttons pushed! It's not as important that the story be well-constructed or that the actors are all giving accessible performances or that it is "about something". To clarify: as a rule, I'm in favor of genre books/movies/etc. that do try to reach a wider audience. When it comes to some of my favorite genres, they just aren't necessarily as interesting to me. But this works both ways: there's a fair amount of contempo poetry that is really only accessible to contempo poetry wonks. I'm not one, so I'm more apt to read contempo poetry that is aimed at a general audience. Hmmm... wait a second: once again, we're getting close to genre condescension territory. After all, lit-critics are probably more likely to talk about a sci-fi novel "transcending the genre" and a book of general interest poetry being "watered down for the masses". (Heh - well, obviously, I'm biased.)
- While The Forager Movie is recognizably a blogger biopic, it gets rid of that genre's more odious conventions and trappings. This is like #2, but with more of a judgmental edge. Sometimes I suspect when people talk about horror movies that "transcend the genre" they mean that they don't feature lots of T&A and gore. I don't think when people use "TTG" they ever mean just this, but it seems to be a sentiment that gets mixed in there (remember the fuzziness).
(Personally, I'm somewhat split on this: there are some trappings and conventions that don't bug me, even though I know they're silly/offensive/etc. - colorful costumes in super-hero comics, for instance. Other times, though, they do annoy me - convoluted cross-overs in super-hero comics, for instance. This also raises the question of pandering: some time a movie/book/etc. will feature a genre element simply to pander to the hardcore fan. I tend to prefer stuff that doesn't blatantly pander, but , in terms of "TTG", this gets back to #1 and Sturgeon's Law.)
- Usually, blogger biopics are done in by the conventions of that genre, but The Forager Movie avoids those traps. Actually, this really is how I feel about most musician biopics: the conventions of the genre are just seem so stupid to me that even when they're well done, I can't work up that much enthusiasm. This is another variation on #2. The important point here, though, is that the phrasing is more specific than just saying that "The Forager Movie transcends its genre."
- The Forager Movie only looks like it is a blogger biopic, but, actually, it eschews (almost?) all of the conventions of that genre. Really the snob version of #2, but, again, this is more specific than the standard "TTG". Personally, I think this line of argument
Hey - I think of a genre as a kind of ongoing conversation people the people creating movies/books/etc. and the audience for those movies/books/etc.* This means that any given genre is going to be a (slowly?) moving target (a genre is dynamic, not a Platonic Form) and that individual books/movies/etc. are going to be a part of that conversation. So maybe it's better to talk about how movies/books/etc. can expand their genre or exemplify their genre at its best or open up their genre to the uninitiated than to talk about how they "transcend the genre", which kind of means leaving the conversation behind.
*For better or worse, marketing folks (used in the broadest sense of the term), also shape the conversation, but we'll ignore that for now.