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November 17, 2009: "Backlash" 
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Post November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
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Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:44 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I believe backlash mostly results from our desire to tear down that which is so successful that EVERYONE is talking about it. Especially since we live in a 24/7 media culture where it's all about ratings and what sells, hype can easily irritate us. The same thing happens in sports. Teams like the Yankees, Lakers, and Patriots draw huge crowds and TV audiences not just because they have a lot of fans, but because they're "fun to hate."

Many of us love the underdog, feel-good story. But take that same story and balloon it into Hollywood-level fame and hype, and suddenly we just want it to go away.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:00 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Logically, you would think Dark Knight would have been another example of vicious backlash but it really wasn't was it? People never stopped praising it (at least in the majority). Any theories on why that might be?


Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:39 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I agree that many films suffer from the "backlash", but the term probably shouldn't be applied to recently released films. Perhaps the negativity accumulating as Precious sees a wide release is how the average person really feels. Those who clamour to see a film early are excited about the material and are more likely to love it. I consider what happens in the weeks after release to be a fair leveling out of opinion.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:26 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
MGamesCook wrote:
Logically, you would think Dark Knight would have been another example of vicious backlash but it really wasn't was it? People never stopped praising it (at least in the majority). Any theories on why that might be?

It's probably the fact that one of its stars (Heath Ledger) died after the film was made. It also helped that he turned in a genuinely good performance in the film before passing on. Of course, there are better ways to avoid backlash than dying. ;)


Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:05 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
James Berardinelli wrote:

It could be basic human nature to tear down things that are successful, but it could also be a backlash against the Hollywood hype machine that builds up each film they churn out as "The Movie Event of The Year". People get sick of seeing that kind of advertising, especially when the films themselves turn out to be garbage. I would bet that buzz generated by word-of-mouth (re: by filmgoers themselves rather than by Hollywood studio execs) would result in less backlash for the films being praised.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:08 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:

It could be basic human nature to tear down things that are successful, but it could also be a backlash against the Hollywood hype machine that builds up each film they churn out as "The Movie Event of The Year". People get sick of seeing that kind of advertising, especially when the films themselves turn out to be garbage. I would bet that buzz generated by word-of-mouth (re: by filmgoers themselves rather than by Hollywood studio execs) would result in less backlash for the films being praised.

Yeah I certainly fall into that category, I get so sick of hearing movies get hyped as "must-see" event films, I gets REAL tiring and it's one of the reasons why most of the time I feel far more compelled to watch the films that get mostly negative or mixed reviews then the ones that get mostly positive reviews(and that goes especially for Best Picture nominees/winners). I mean I won't hate on a film just because it gets universally praised, but after a certain amount of time you get sick of people praising a movie,The Dark Knight for example, I liked it, but I would not call it a masterpiece at all, to be honest I think some people are only calling it as such due to Ledger's death. I wish Hollywood would learn how to dial down the hype for once,


Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:29 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
The Phantom Menace backlash is truly the stuff of legend. I can't think of any other movie that has engendered so much rage and disdain than it did back in 1999. That was the summer before 7th grade from me, and I remember a lot of arguments and near-fights in the neighborhood that summer over whether Phantom Menace was a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe or the worst movie ever in the history of movies. Good times, man. James I don't think I will ever be able to understand how you can think that all 3 of the prequels are better than Return of the Jedi, that is pure blasphemy my friend. I can kind of see Revenge of the Sith (begrudgingly), but there is no way in Hell that I can see any case for the other 2 prequels. Return of the Jedi is far from perfect but it isn't that far from perfect (the sarlacc pit battle and the Lando space battle are both awesome).


Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:08 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Quote:
Teams like the Yankees, Lakers, and Patriots draw huge crowds and TV audiences not just because they have a lot of fans, but because they're "fun to hate."

Many of us love the underdog, feel-good story. But take that same story and balloon it into Hollywood-level fame and hype, and suddenly we just want it to go away.


I don't watch any of those teams I don't like any of them. I'm a Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers and Chicago Bulls fan. I usually don't watch any games of other teams, except the Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup. As for the Pirates, I hope some day that they have their own underdog, feel good story. After 17 straight losing seasons, I think us fans who've stuck around this long deserve it.

As for Precious, if I like it, I'll like it. If I don't, I won't. I mean, I didn't hate movies because it's popular to hate them. I dislike movies that I don't like. I can't understand why people would jump on a hate bandwagon.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:38 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
BANKA wrote:
Return of the Jedi is far from perfect but it isn't that far from perfect (the sarlacc pit battle and the Lando space battle are both awesome).


RotJ is one good movie (the Luke/Vader/Emperor stuff), one mediocre movie (Tatooine at the beginning), and one godawful movie (Endor) cobbled together into one. Parts of it cannot be re-watched without the use of the FF button. I don't have that problem with any of the other five movies.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:50 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
James Berardinelli wrote:
BANKA wrote:
Return of the Jedi is far from perfect but it isn't that far from perfect (the sarlacc pit battle and the Lando space battle are both awesome).


RotJ is one good movie (the Luke/Vader/Emperor stuff), one mediocre movie (Tatooine at the beginning), and one godawful movie (Endor) cobbled together into one. Parts of it cannot be re-watched without the use of the FF button. I don't have that problem with any of the other five movies.


http://www.lardbiscuit.com/lard/ilovetpm7.html

Figured you might appreciate that.

Back on topic, has there been a Lord of the Rings backlash yet?


Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:10 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
ShrunkenHead wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
BANKA wrote:
Return of the Jedi is far from perfect but it isn't that far from perfect (the sarlacc pit battle and the Lando space battle are both awesome).


RotJ is one good movie (the Luke/Vader/Emperor stuff), one mediocre movie (Tatooine at the beginning), and one godawful movie (Endor) cobbled together into one. Parts of it cannot be re-watched without the use of the FF button. I don't have that problem with any of the other five movies.


http://www.lardbiscuit.com/lard/ilovetpm7.html

Figured you might appreciate that.

Back on topic, has there been a Lord of the Rings backlash yet?



Well, some people in some corners view it as an overrated work...


http://philius-1987.blogspot.com/2009/08/vexer-dilemma.html


Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:15 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Well I have actually known other people who found the LOTR series overrated, several of my classmates did(and I now expect that many peole on here will immediately call them ignorant just for that)


Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:32 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Holy shit.

The chronology of the last two posts have me gaining a six-pack of laughter.

Thank you Phil. Holy shit, thank you Phil.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:59 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
BANKA wrote:
The Phantom Menace backlash is truly the stuff of legend. I can't think of any other movie that has engendered so much rage and disdain than it did back in 1999. That was the summer before 7th grade from me, and I remember a lot of arguments and near-fights in the neighborhood that summer over whether Phantom Menace was a worthy addition to the Star Wars universe or the worst movie ever in the history of movies. Good times, man. James I don't think I will ever be able to understand how you can think that all 3 of the prequels are better than Return of the Jedi, that is pure blasphemy my friend. I can kind of see Revenge of the Sith (begrudgingly), but there is no way in Hell that I can see any case for the other 2 prequels. Return of the Jedi is far from perfect but it isn't that far from perfect (the sarlacc pit battle and the Lando space battle are both awesome).


I think the whole "raped my childhood" commentary about the new Indiana Jones was the stuff of legends.


Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:20 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I think James' commentary on The Phantom Menace is revisionist history to some degree. To group this with other great movies that received backlash is especially baffling.

There is no backlash to TPM. There is some fore-lash in that some people decided maybe it was okay given some perspective.

I was one of the biggest Star Wars fans in the world. I had no vested interest in disliking Episode I, but it ended my interest in Star Wars altogether. Lucas ruined the magic by creating a story that consciously referenced and retconned the original trilogy at every possible opportunity. It was a truly awful film (that is made watchable via a fan edit known as Balance of the Force which redoes some of the dialogue of the trade federation/jarjar/anakin). The action was fun, but the nostalgia was gone (partly not Lucas's fault given the CGI obsession of the times, but even his references to old samurai films and sci-fi serials seemed to be missing).

To fans of the series, it seemed like the soul of Star Wars was gone. You can say that the movie is a fun outer space adventure film, and it certainly succeeds to some degree in that, but James I think you go to far in trying to force yourself to gain "perspective" on the films. Everyone hated Episode I so much that certainly it needs to be re-evaluated and the negative response dismissed/reinterpreted somehow, right? It was all group-think, right? No. You liked it, but most people older than 10 didn't. Most people thought it was a bad movie, and a terrible movie in comparison to what came before.


Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:24 am
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
The Matrix trilogy would have been another worthy addition to the column. I'm still not exactly sure what the detractors of the last two movies were hoping for-to me they pretty much followed through on the initial premise in a consistent manner, but I guess people were hoping for additional layers of depth and intrigue (what if Zion is just another level in the Matrix?). When that didn't happen, the whiplash directed at the Brothers & their sequels was pretty gruesome.


Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:43 am
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
John DiFool wrote:
The Matrix trilogy would have been another worthy addition to the column. I'm still not exactly sure what the detractors of the last two movies were hoping for-to me they pretty much followed through on the initial premise in a consistent manner, but I guess people were hoping for additional layers of depth and intrigue (what if Zion is just another level in the Matrix?). When that didn't happen, the whiplash directed at the Brothers & their sequels was pretty gruesome.


Although a big sci-fi fan, I never saw the Matrix until I could sit down and watch all three movies at once. (I was never allowed to watch them as a kid. Strict parents.) I LOVED them. All three. When people criticize those movies, it's like they're splitting one long movie into three parts and saying, "Act III doesn't have enough philosophical musings!" Bizarre.


Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:08 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Haven't seen Precious yet so I can't comment. What I think leads to backlash a lot of times is less hyping by rabid fans of the movie in question than hyping by the studios. In essence, attempts to make a movie seem like the next big thing so more people will come. I suspect that this leads to 2 kinds of backlash:

1: Backlash by people whose expectations were inflated beyond a reasonable level and came out feeling like they'd been ripped off. Of course there are people for whom the heavily hyped movie did not live up to reasonable expectations. But that always happens with any movie.

2: Backlash by the against the grain types. Those who automatically turn their back on anything popular regardless of quality.

I've seen minor bits of backlash pop up against The Departed. But most of that is mainly from ultra cynics who argue that this is simply Scorsese's "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar. I don't agree with that at all as I agree with James and anyone else who chose that as the best picture of 2006. It was.

A related backlash is the one against Ordinary People. Sure, it won the Oscar. But nowadays most people remember it as the one that stole the award from Raging Bull.

I agree with JB's comment that Crash was not the best picture of 2005. I liked it enough that it would go on a best of the year list. But best picture? No way. I strongly suspect that the main reason it did win is because it tapped into the zeitgeist at that particular moment in time. If it came out a year earlier or later, it probably would've opened to some strong critical notices and been overlooked by much of the general public. At the same time I also realize that my personal pick for Best Picture of 2005 (Sin City) was too edgy for Academy Award material.

Titanic? I'm not one of the people who hated Cameron's film. But from my perspective it was more undeserving of best picture than Crash. Was it an entertaining disaster movie that was better than most disaster movies? Yes. Was it a profound life-changing picture the way some people made it out to be? No. It always irritated me in a way that Titanic made off with all the awards while the likes of The Ice Storm, Eve's Bayou and LA Confidential, all immeasurably better pictures, got overlooked. I will also echo the sentiments of Spike Lee who observed that "Cameron is a superb technical director. But he can't write dialogue".

A couple films that I suspect will fall victim to backlash are The English Patient and Shrek. In the case of The English Patient, it's more or less the Ordinary People effect as I know quite a few people (and I agree with them) who consider Fargo to be a modern day classic, while The English Patient is regarded as the film that stole its Oscar.

The case of Shrek is a somewhat different (and sadder one). When the original came out in 2001, it was a new and fresh approach to animated movies. Part of the backlash I suspect will come from the fact that the approach the original Shrek took was fresh at the time. But has been done to death since. The other problem is the way Shrek degenerated from being an original funny movie into just another franchise. THe original Shrek is a modern animated classic. Shrek 2 didn't have the novelty of the original. But was almost as funny and found a way to continue the story rather than repeating stuff. With Shrek The Third, it became painfully obvious that the Dreamworks creative team were running out of stories to tell. They started falling back on gags that had been done before and focusing more on them at the expense of the characters. Plus I also hear that there are plans in the works for a Shrek 4 and 5. At this rate, by the time the last one rolls around it'll likely be all but indistinguishable from the likes of Happily Never After.


Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:37 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Quote:
The case of Shrek is a somewhat different (and sadder one). When the original came out in 2001, it was a new and fresh approach to animated movies. Part of the backlash I suspect will come from the fact that the approach the original Shrek took was fresh at the time. But has been done to death since. The other problem is the way Shrek degenerated from being an original funny movie into just another franchise. THe original Shrek is a modern animated classic. Shrek 2 didn't have the novelty of the original. But was almost as funny and found a way to continue the story rather than repeating stuff. With Shrek The Third, it became painfully obvious that the Dreamworks creative team were running out of stories to tell. They started falling back on gags that had been done before and focusing more on them at the expense of the characters. Plus I also hear that there are plans in the works for a Shrek 4 and 5. At this rate, by the time the last one rolls around it'll likely be all but indistinguishable from the likes of Happily Never After.


I think this dynamic is also at play with the Star Wars prequels. Sure, there were lots of people who were critical of them, but when Revenge of the Sith came out, you could at least argue that the prequel trilogy had an artistic right to exist, however flawed you believe it may have been in execution.

Then the Clone Wars came out. I haven't seen it, but James was not the only critic who excoriated it as a greedy cash grab. The backlash against Clone Wars has probably tainted the prequel trilogy forever because now we'll always wonder: did George Lucas really want to do those movies because they were stories he wanted to tell or did he view it all as a cash grab? I think it's possible for backlashes against movies to retroactively damage movies that came before them.


Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:29 pm
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