Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sit Down, Shut Up, And Watch The Movie -OR- Fuck Your Agenda

This is going to be an angry old man post, as I long for the good old days, when we simply went to the movies, enjoyed ourselves (or not), and moved on.

What has prompted me to put pen to paper, uhm, I mean fingers to keyboard, you ask?

Wonder Woman.

More accurately, it's the impression I have that there are twelve different versions of the Wonder Woman film, showing all over the country.

Let's back up. I went to see WW on Thursday, June 1st. I was hoping to see an entertaining comic book/superhero movie. What I saw was a FANTASTIC comic book/superhero movie. Easily one of my top five superhero movies. It's not a perfect movie. There are a few things I would have done differently. But, overall, holy cow, was I blown away.

Then I started reading the reviews. There are plenty that are positive. There are plenty that are negative. And there are plenty that are...I really don't know. As I read each review, it seemed that so many of the reviewers had watched a completely different movie.

One reviewer says that, in the version they watched, Steve Trevor is the main character; overshadowing the titular character. (That would be Wonder Woman, you know?)

Some reviewers saw a version that was too feminist and called out for male genocide.

Some reviewers saw a version that wasn't feminist enough and failed because there is a semi-romantic story thread.

And on, and on, and on.

So, let's go back to the title of this post; well, the secondary title. When I say "Fuck your agenda," I'm not talking to the people who made the movie, but, rather, those who go to see it.

Back in my day (There it is!), my friends and I went to see movies to be entertained. That was it. We liked or disliked a movie based on simple things: Was it well written? Was it well acted? Was it boring, or unfunny, or not scary (depending on the genre, of course)? I don't recall any of us going in with preconceived ideas of what the movie SHOULD be, or looking for characters and themes that we thought SHOULD be a part of the story.

Sure, film analysis has been around for as long as there have been films. (I think. What the hell do I know about it?) But, lately, it seems that too many people are going to see movies with those aforementioned preconceived notions. Maybe it's the internet, or, more accurately, what the internet is used for. So many people can shout their every thought into the world (yes, I get that that is what I'm doing here), and scream at the people with whom they disagree. It seems that everyone has an agenda, and the internet has given them the perfect forum for pushing that agenda, at the expense of simply enjoying themselves, for a couple of hours.

Back to Wonder Woman.

Is it nice that we have a movie that can inspire girls/young woman? Of course. (Although, one reviewer seems to think that WW does the exact opposite.) Is it good that we have a movie that shows that a female driven film, directed by a woman, can be a huge hit? Absolutely.
On the other hand, I agree with director Patty Jenkins, who said "I want to make a great superhero film, not a great woman superhero film. Similarly, I want to be a great director, not a great woman director." But, it seems to me that those who keep talking about this WOMAN movie, by this WOMAN director, have their own agenda.

There's nothing wrong with having your causes, and supporting the things you believe in (for the most part), but stop forcing your vision onto the vision of others.

What I'm trying to say is: Sit down, shut up, watch the movie, and fuck your agenda.