Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Entertainment in the PC World

I commute to work everyday, and its usually a forty-five minute drive from my apartment to my day job. That means plenty of time with my radio on my to and from work. There are a variety of radio shows I like to tune into from time to time, but I also like to listen to music as well. The disc jockeys that run the music station in the mornings are pretty entertaining in their own rights, so it makes that ride to work just as much fun. There is an alternative station I like and the disc jockeys got on the subject of the new "Ghostbusters." I don't know if this was meant to be a joke or not, but they were afraid to say what they thought of the initial trailers, because they didn't want to sound sexist. Apparently one of them had already been accused of being sexist for not thinking the new "Ghostbusters" was all that.

Look, I don't mind the PC age. I really don't. We do need better representation in all assets of our country, especially our entertainment. But as there is potential in being inclusive, there is also potential of going overboard. If the rumors are true, we are going to see several up-and-coming all-women remakes of movies. There is also a movement going on in the comic book world that wants Captain America to begin a romantic relationship with Bucky Barnes. I have read about so much of this online already, but any comments about this are extremely venomous. We are living in a moment now where if you aren't on-board the PC wagon, then you're automatically a bigot.

I personally don't mind seeing teams of women in entertainment, nor do I mind seeing minorities, gay characters, and everybody else getting equal representation in the arts. Here's the rub though, when you put yourself out there, you need to realize that some people may not like what you've created. Sure, there are some bigoted wacko's in the world, but many professional critics and lots of people in general like and dislike things based upon their tastes, and it has nothing to do with surface value. It doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, if you are gay or straight or transgender, if you are black, white, Asian, Arab or an alien from outer space. If you publish something in a magazine or a novel or a website, if you record a song, if you post a video on Youtube, if you paint a piece of art, or if you film a TV show or movie, you are responsible for that content. You are also giving people the opportunity to judge your work, and you have to go into it knowing that not everybody is going to agree with you. Criticism comes faster than it used to now, with the explosion of the internet, everybody is a critic now. And sadly, not everybody is as sophisticated in their criticisms as say, the late Roger Ebert. You need to be prepared for all of it, learn from it, strengthen yourself from it, not just the PC card every single time someone attacks you. Otherwise, the PC dissenters will never cease to attack you.

When I started this blog, I knew not everybody would agree with me. But I proudly throw my opinion on movies out there for everybody to read everyday. I stand by what I write, and I think very carefully about how I write and how I word what I want to say. I never want to write anything that comes off as hate speech, and I am not here to beat anybody up. But I am also not going to give a bad film a pass simply because I will be labeled a hater. I don't mind discussing with people how we disagree, as long as the conversation stays civil. Sadly, on the internet, very few conversations ever stay civil. Sometimes you have to be the bigger person and let it go, and you need to understand that nothing in this world, especially anything in the entertainment industry, is above criticism. Everybody in this world is allowed an opinion, because art is subjective. Even the material that deals with women, sexual orientation, religion and minorities. Tackling those subjects is ambitious, but if you have nothing of substance to say about them, it looses me. 

Already after doing this since 2013, I have already had people attack me and insult me over a review I've written or something that I wrote about that they didn't like. I had somebody tell me earlier this week, hurling my favorite attack in the history of attacks, "Let's see you write a movie and make a movie and we'll see how good it is." Film criticism and film making are two completely different things. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel and a host of other great film critics never made a single movie in their lives, but they write with such conviction and insight that people read their material, and still do today. The act of watching something is subjective, and as long as your criticism come from somewhere of passion, confidence, insight, and intelligence. I don't see why we aren't allowed to discuss our opinions. But we need to understand that we live in a very touchy environment and we need to be prepared to say "fuck the haters!" 

Nothing is above criticism, and that includes something like the new "Ghostbusters." Never have I said, nor have I read anybody say, that the new "Ghostbusters" will suck because its all women. I don't know about what some of you read or hear, but I personally have never said that. I was as open-minded as anybody for an all-women "Ghostbusters," but the trailers just did not do it for me. Will I see the movie? Probably, just so I can judge the movie itself. So far though, the 2016 remake looks like a complete betrayal of what made the first film great. The humor is non-existent and obnoxious and safe, the acting doesn't look all that great, and the special effects are terrible. This is all based on the trailers, and the final film could blindside me. I am also a special case, because the original "Ghostbusters" has a high sentimental value to me, so I will be extra judgey on this remake, whether I want to be or not. But no matter what I say or think, I don't hate the trailers simply because its all-women. That is really unfair to lump people in the sexist bigot category if their criticisms aren't even pointing that way in the first place. Hating something because its all-women is one thing, but hating something that features all women is something else. If you can see that difference, then you're the crazy one.

If we end up seeing more all women movies, and there is a chance that we will, I hope that there is some genuine thought in them. I hope they tackle issues in a insightful and significant way. I hope they entertain. I hope they dazzle. I hope to God that they don't play it safe. I didn't review this movie on my blog, but a few months ago I saw "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising." A movie which is basically the girl version of "Neighbors." I liked the first film and it was plain curiosity that lead me to see the sequel. I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Even though Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zak Efron battled a sorority, the film does an exceptional job telling a satire about the expectations and norms for a college girl. It has something honest and thought-provoking to say about the life and the potential danger of being a female on a college campus, and I loved how this sequel tackled its story. It was even more significant seeing it in the same week as the horrid Brock Turner case. The movie was much than that just "exactly like the first film, but with girls." It chose to go deeper and tell a thoughtful story, and I loved just as much as I loved the sequel. I hope all of these movies do that. If these all-women remakes take lazy scripts, go for easy jokes and call it a day. I am sorry, but I won't be interested.

That doesn't mean I am sexist, that doesn't mean I am railing against the PC, that is just what I want and expect from my movies. I want effort and thought going into everything I see, no matter the subject matter. The PC crowd is starting to turn into the military movie crowd, where you can't say one harmful thing about a military movie, otherwise you obviously hate the American military. The acts of lumping people into categories based on their opinions on movies is nonsense. If we want to have a day where we all get along, it can start here. We need to respect each others opinions and we need to understand that nothing is above criticism.

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