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November 17, 2009: "Backlash" 
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
KGZotU wrote:
The second can explain changes of position within an individual. Take TPM. There were very high expectations for this movie, generated both internally by fans and externally by marketing. You go in, and whatever minor issues with the film might occur to you you set aside; they're probably nothing, and everyone else seems to be having the great time you expected to see people having, so you have one too. You and your friends have built a part of your identity around enjoying this movie, and so when you exit the theater you defer any criticism and reinforce the personalities you've constructed. As the days roll on, though, criticism slips out innocently. "Yeah, man, awesome movie! You know, the one thing I didn't get though was [...]." "Yeah, I didn't quite understand that, and I thought it was a little weird that [...]." It snow-balls, and suddenly you're faced with a mountain of evidence that the movie really wasn't that great.
Or you're faced with the fact that the mountain is really a molehill. In your phrasing, they're "minor issues," which can be overlooked in the face of the otherwise enjoyable experience of the movie. However, it's easier to succumb to the opinions of the most vocal of the detractors than it is to explain a dissenting opinion. Those same vocal detractors also tend to be the ones who have the most trouble accepting a flawed but otherwise fine film when what they really expected was the Second Coming.

Quote:
you've got to reconcile the fact that you loved the movie with the fact that it sucks.
Whether or not it sucks is a value judgment, the same as whether or not you love something. "The fact that it sucks" is an oxymoron. If you loved it, it clearly didn't suck to you. To say that it did is to be dishonest to yourself.

Quote:
There are three solutions: revise and downplay the movie as a whole, conclude that it was a flawed masterpiece, or that Lucas painted a turd and deceived you into believing it was gold.
Option three isn't really an option at all. Remember the vocal detractors? They also tend to be the ones who blame George Lucas for everything from forcing them to buy things to raping their childhoods. As a matter of fact, George Lucas is a filmmaker and a businessperson. He does not go around with a crowbar and pry people's wallets open against their wishes.


Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:25 pm
Gaffer
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Hah, well, I'm not going to fall on a sword here and start discussing why I think TPM objectively sucked. :mrgreen:

Just take it as a premise when reading my post that TPM did suck. And then after reading it you can take back up the opinion that it didn't. I meant to describe a possible mechanism for backlash in general, and probably aired my own blind disdain for TPM in the process.

My point is that there don't need to be vocal detractors to seed discontent against a movie which originally enjoys success. This can arise organically even out of viewers who initially claimed to love the movie. It seemed to in me, and I did choose option three.

Edit with regards to minor issues: it's unremarkable that we can dismiss issues as minor which we might otherwise consider major. Your point about subjectivity is well taken. A movie which is highly enjoyable only in an expectation-laden environment is not, I submit, good by virtue of being good in that environment.


Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:47 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
There's nothing wrong with a movie declining in someone's estimation once they've had time to think about it. But to go from enjoying it so much that the minor flaws don't bother them to outright hating every inch of ground George Lucas treads upon is inexplicable.

As for an expectation-laden environment, one would expect the process to work in the opposite way. If your threshold of expectation is raised, particularly to the degree that TPM engendered during its release period, then logically, it would be harder--not easier--for a film to clear that bar. That's with the proviso that the audience isn't entirely made up of schizophrenics whose perceptions are easily distorted from moment to moment.

There is something to be said for the contagiousness of excitement, but I find that to be an uncompelling explanation for how The Phantom Menace could go from loved to loathed so forcefully. More probable is that people enjoyed the film, developed some fair but not particularly severe misgivings upon further rumination, and were then swept up in the wave of counter-hype that soon ensued.


Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:43 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Good points. In addition to audience expectations on the film, I think the audience can have expectations on themselves and on each other, particularly in the realm of fandom.

I'll guess that the effect you mention was probably also in the mix, and I can't say which played the greater part..


Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:13 pm
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Gaffer

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Post Romantic Comedies Get No Respect
With all due respect to "Saving Private Ryan", a movie that I liked. "Shakespeare In Love" is in no way over-rated, it deserved all the awards it received. Which was surprising, since romantic comedies are so seldom seen as important. Nearly every actor and filmmaker will tell you that excellent romantic comedies are the hardest movies to make. Each year, you might only get one or two excellent ones. The same is not true of excellent dramas. There's at least 20 to 30 excellent dramas each year.

For anyone who have never seen "Shakespeare In Love". You will not find a wittier, funnier and beautiful romantic comedy.


Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:10 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
There are 2 reasons why backlashes occur.
1: Sjit stirring.
Some people love to stir things up by taking an opposing view on any particular film just so that they can antagonise the general public.
2: Being Fashionly first.
Some people love to be the first to recognise and be recognised for discovering wheteher the popular view is wrong. There is an element of bragging rights.


Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:28 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I'm wondering if anyone would consider Peter Jackson's "King Kong" to be a good example of backlash. The hype was overall pretty high going into it, not because of Kong himself but because it was Jackson's follow-up to LOTR. I think people had expectations that the movie would be as monstrous as the Rings trilogy, with a mega-gazillion dollar box office and a sweep of the awards that year. The critical reviews were generally very high (and personally, it's one of my top 10 of the entire decade). But because the movie didn't do AS GOOD AS LOTR, the media generally portrayed it as a "gargantuan flop", even though it grossed over 200 million domestically and 500 worldwide. (I remember James writing on this, that there was no reason to expect Kong to do any better than it did).

Granted, that's a different kind of backlash (not stemming from dissatisfaction from the viewers, but a box office return that didn't come anywhere near the expectations).


Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:41 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I think there are several types of backlash. Many are generated by fans themselves. They so desparately want to see something come to fruition that they imagine the end result before the movie crew even has it in the can. Sometimes the studios just overhype a product that can't live up to its own publicity machine. Sometimes its just a difference in viewpoint. There are a great many fans (I am one) who view film as entertainment and diversion. Whereas the critics and art house patrons (and most who are devoted to this forum) view film as art and education. So when the buzz comes from the critics and limited release crowds, often times the appeal just isn't there for the folks that are looking for something different. I don't bother looking at the critic's rating anymore. I focus on the content of the review to try and determine if I might like to see the movie based on words. From that standpoint, James' reviews are wonderful.


Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:57 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I agree with the fellow forumite above about Saving Private Ryan and Shakespear In Love. The second might not be in the league of other winners (like Casablanca, The Silence of the Lambs or Lawrence of Arabia), but it's a better movie overall IMHO. I suspect that the main reason for the backlash is because SIL, a comedy, prevailed over a "Serious Film With An Important Message" like Ryan.

I'm also appaled by the vitriol directed even today towards Titanic. This movie's goal was as I understand to become our generation's Gone With the Wind. And it succeeded on every level.
Unfortunately since it's first run it became rather hip among the cinephil circles to bash Titanic, as to show that you ain't fooled by Hollywood and it's dazzling productions, no matter what the yeomen say.
It's a rather sad state and unfortunately even our own James B wasn't immune to that mode of thinking. I can't explain otherwise how he designated Titanic the No 2 movie of 1997 (after the Sweet Hereafter) but ommited it completely when he did his 90's retrospect (not even among the honorable mentions).


Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:30 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
panos75 wrote:
I can't explain otherwise how he designated Titanic the No 2 movie of 1997 (after the Sweet Hereafter) but ommited it completely when he did his 90's retrospect (not even among the honorable mentions).


Perhaps because in retrospect it's as bad if not worse than Gone With The Wind. The only way I could possibly make it through both those movies back to back is with the Ludovico Technique.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovico_technique


Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:42 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Ah yes, the old backlash warhorse of the Star Wars prequels. I think I've been blocking that trilogy out for so long now that I almost forgot about the buildup of anticipation for them back then (which I also shared), especially following the theatrical re-release of the original trilogy which had also been unnecessarily tweaked in various ways. The moment Greedo nonsensically fired off the first shot in the Cantina scene, that should have been a warning indicator of what was to come.

I guess I fall into the camp of embittered old school trilogy fans that found the new films painfully lackluster, trying to act as though they don't exist. Despite TPM's watered down sophomoric screenplay, annoying characters, wimpily vacuous "I'm evil because I wear ugly make-up" villain and poorly coached acting, it had a few saving graces for me. The first was Liam Neeson. Despite the weak script his natural screen presence and sensibilities really helped ground the film, although I think this has more to do with Liam himself than anything else. Also, unlike the other prequels, TPM at least captured a little bit of the fun and youthful exuberance that the Star Wars franchise has always been known for. Ultimately, I left the theater mildly entertained, but ultimately disappointed. I can barely discuss AOTC. From the absurd 50s'esque B horror film title that barely makes sense (what were the clones attacking again?) to the equally absurd film itself on almost all levels, it did more to kill the "magic" for me than anything else. ROTS did not win me back, despite the genuinely tragic and surprisingly emotional climax of Anakin and Obiwan's duel with which much is owed to Ewan's performance.

I'm in full agreement with James though regarding RotJ. As much as I love the original trilogy, it is the weakest and most unoriginal of the three. Another Death Star? Come on George, is that the best you can come up with in your fantasy universe far, far away? It hasn't held up very well over the years. I distinctly remember thinking it was my favorite as a kid, but I think that was mainly because of its gloriously climactic happy ending than anything else. Seeing it now, the script is pretty mediocre overall which is kind of surprising considering Kasdan's involvement, but if what James says is true about a Lucas rewrite, then it all makes perfect sense. Even so, it has its strengths and the good things about it can be summed up in 5 words: Emperor, speeder bikes, space battle. The bad things about it have gotten worse with age and the post-production tweaks didn't help, making the Jabba palace scenes even harder to watch than before. After viewing Empire it isn't hard to notice Harrison Ford phoning in his performance in RotJ. He looked so utterly bored, especially when compared with the spunkiness and great chemistry he had with Leia in Empire. The yoda scene was a disappointing rehash. The convenient, out-of-nowhere Leia sister revelation came nowhere near the power of Empire's with Luke and felt like a desperate attempt to throw in another "shocking" twist. The Ewoks were just plain annoying and now stick out even more as the marketing props that they were. It always reminds me of a scene from Spaceballs with Yogurt proclaiming "Merchandising, merchandising. Where the real money from the movie is made". And there's nothing more embarrassing for a legion of the empire's best troops than to be defeated by a tribe of stick wielding teddy bears.


Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:29 pm
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Gaffer

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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
MrGuinness wrote:
panos75 wrote:
I can't explain otherwise how he designated Titanic the No 2 movie of 1997 (after the Sweet Hereafter) but ommited it completely when he did his 90's retrospect (not even among the honorable mentions).


Perhaps because in retrospect it's as bad if not worse than Gone With The Wind. The only way I could possibly make it through both those movies back to back is with the Ludovico Technique.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovico_technique


You, my friend, are in the minority. "Titanic" is a superior film to "Gone with the Wind". For one thing, it's not mildly racist. Of all the people I know, only one person didn't like "Titanic", and he never finished watching the film. He stopped watching the movie near the end. Personally, I think he was embarassed that he was beginning to feel all emotional and was afraid that he might start crying. If you don't shed a tear at the end of "Titanic", you probably don't have a heart.


Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:03 am
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
forwonder wrote:
MrGuinness wrote:
panos75 wrote:
I can't explain otherwise how he designated Titanic the No 2 movie of 1997 (after the Sweet Hereafter) but ommited it completely when he did his 90's retrospect (not even among the honorable mentions).


Perhaps because in retrospect it's as bad if not worse than Gone With The Wind. The only way I could possibly make it through both those movies back to back is with the Ludovico Technique.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovico_technique


You, my friend, are in the minority. "Titanic" is a superior film to "Gone with the Wind". For one thing, it's not mildly racist. Of all the people I know, only one person didn't like "Titanic", and he never finished watching the film. He stopped watching the movie near the end. Personally, I think he was embarassed that he was beginning to feel all emotional and was afraid that he might start crying. If you don't shed a tear at the end of "Titanic", you probably don't have a heart.
No. that's total BS, I sat through that whole goddamn movie and I never once felt like crying, I mean I knew exactly what was going to happen at the end and when it, I didn't shed one tear, because I simply couldn't care less about Jack or Rose if I tried. And the ending just made me groan, especially since it had that horrible Celine Dion song playing! :evil:


Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:51 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
No. that's total BS, I sat through that whole goddamn movie and I never once felt like crying, I mean I knew exactly what was going to happen at the end and when it, I didn't shed one tear, because I simply couldn't care less about Jack or Rose if I tried. And the ending just made me groan, especially since it had that horrible Celine Dion song playing! :evil:[/quote]

:lol: I like Titanic, but it's not a great film. Now a decade later, more baclash is revealing its little head aginst the movie.


Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:57 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Vexer wrote:
No. that's total BS, I sat through that whole goddamn movie and I never once felt like crying, I mean I knew exactly what was going to happen at the end and when it, I didn't shed one tear, because I simply couldn't care less about Jack or Rose if I tried. And the ending just made me groan, especially since it had that horrible Celine Dion song playing! :evil:


Holy sh*t,. I agree with Vexer. Whoa! Watch out! Flying pigs! :)

Titanic is far more entertaining in a camp / funny way than in any serious way. I've spouted it before, but Zane's and Frances Fisher's acting, the period wardrobe that isn't quite right (Kathy Bates), people traipsing through freezing water... the comedy goes on and on. Gone with the Wind and Titanic are both VASTLY overrated, painful-to-sit-through movies.


Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:33 pm
Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Titanic is a brilliant technical achievement, and a stunning recreation of the historical event.

But somehow, a fictitious love story wormed its way in and spoiled everything.


Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:25 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
You don't have to care one iota about Jack and Rose to feel something at the end of Titanic. All it takes is just the slightest bit of empathy to share in that sense of hopelessness and dread as 100s of people slowly drown or freeze to death around you. Knowing that it actually happened adds even more weight to the impact of that scene, even if you already knew it was coming before entering the theater. The sinking of the ship was masterfully paced and a technical tour de force. While I can't say that I'd see Titanic again, I have respect for it. Let us hope that Cameron hasn't gotten rusty over the past 10 years and Avatar turns out better than it appears. As much as I love his work, I'll be the first to admit that the previews have been strangely underwhelming.


Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:16 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
Tronam wrote:
You don't have to care one iota about Jack and Rose to feel something at the end of Titanic. All it takes is just the slightest bit of empathy to share in that sense of hopelessness and dread as 100s of people slowly drown or freeze to death around you. Knowing that it actually happened adds even more weight to the impact of that scene, even if you already knew it was coming before entering the theater. The sinking of the ship was masterfully paced and a technical tour de force. While I can't say that I'd see Titanic again, I have respect for it. Let us hope that Cameron hasn't gotten rusty over the past 10 years and Avatar turns out better than it appears. As much as I love his work, I'll be the first to admit that the previews have been strangely underwhelming.

Yeah well that never really worked for me, yes the Titanic was a tragedy, but I got more out of the Titanic exhibit in the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry(I went there on a class field trip if anybody cares) then I did from the movie itself, It's hard for me to feel any sort of emotion in a movie based on historical events when you know exactly what's going to happen, my mom feels the same way, she saw Titanic once and liked it, and said she didn't have any desire to see it again because in her"you know exactly what's going to happen" I personally get more out of films that deal with current events like the Iraq war rather then historical films, though maybe that's because History was always my least favorite subject in high school, bored the hell out of me! And seeing historical movies most of the time wasn't much better IMO


Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:36 pm
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
I'm actually quite surprised about all the hatred for Titanic. I'm even more surprised by all the hatred for Gone With The Wind, but that's for another post, I guess.

I never really considered Titanic a masterpiece of either acting or writing. Its story is secondary to the overall technical achievement of the film. As I like to say, "there's a reason the film didn't get nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars". I love watching Titanic to simply bring me onto the ship; into that time and place. The ship itself was flawlessly designed. Cameron even got the original company that made the carpeting on the Titanic to make the carpets for the sets (they still had the design on file). That's commitment. I can't help but congratulate Cameron for that.

Although I was never really one who felt so emotionally attached to the characters that I was bawling by the end of the film, I still think that to certain audiences that might be different. It seems like most of the hatred for Titanic is just baseless vague attacks, rather than substantive criticism. It's all well and good to keep bashing the film because people are wading through water that would be freezing, but I think that you could even justify that given the circumstances of the film. And it's not as if the temperature wasn't conveyed, especially when the boat finally sinks and Jack dies; Rose's skin is pale white and you could see their breath. It felt freezing because it was freezing. If that's the best argument against the film, then I have to shrug my shoulders. I don't see peoples standards for most other films as being so high. Is it just that Titanic was so popular, and won so many awards and so much praise that if it doesn't live up to every tiny iota of that popularity, those awards and that praise that it fails on principle? That's just unfair.

Is Titanic my favorite film? Certainly not. But I've seen it enough times, and actually studied the film in school to a great enough extent that I've come to realize the fact that the film does achieve a certain level of greatness on the technical level. And I feel that some films are worth watching simply for the awe they inspire on that technical level. Some movies are just visually astounding. Titanic was, and continues to be, one of those films for me.

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Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:48 am
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Post Re: November 17, 2009: "Backlash"
A film can be a technical feat, Tron is a perfect example> It isn't a masterpiece becaus eof its story and its character. I like both films, but the awards(except the technological feats) shouldn't have gone to Titanic. It's a good film, but not an OVERALL masterpiece as people claim it is.


Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:52 am
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