Monday, July 23, 2012

To Those Who Nit-Pick The Cool Things In Life

The internet has given us an absolutely insurmountable pile of opinions.  Besides porn, the internet’s true bounty is millions of opinions that are cast into the ether to be argued, disseminated, and mostly forgotten.  Everyone wants their voices heard, as I do.  I want people to know how I feel.  My friends and family aren’t enough.  I want strangers to weigh in, for some reason.  But that’s my problem.
Movies are one of the bigger targets because they are one of the last bastions of shared experiences we have.  We watch The Dark Knight Rises and we shuffle out into the hall and craft an opinion on smart phones before we get back to our cars.  I, personally, have class.  I wait until I come home.
 I love giving my opinions.  I have a podcast, for God’s sake.  I love when my kids ask me my opinion and I get to be a long-winded old fart.  It’s one of my only gifts. 
I cannot blame anyone for wanting to be heard and using the discussion or entertainment and its attempts to be art as a subject. But in the race to be different, edgy, or have your blog post get picked up by an aggregator or news site, we are all trying to come up with our own angle.  This film was fantastic, except…  The purists will love it, but…  It might be okay for a superhero film, but… 
I think we’re lying. 
I believe this because I don’t think we care as much as we say we do and I don’t think there can be millions of differing opinions out there.  Sure there can be…say…20 or so angles for the last movie in the Nolan trilogy, but 709 million results on Google?  For a Batman movie?  Somebody’s padding out there.  There are a few of you desperate to stand out so you are fudging the numbers and doctoring the books.  You are just looking for something to nit-pick.  If so, and you had that agenda before you bought your ticket, it’s not a legitimate review.  You’re a big faker-face.
I loved the movie. Here’s what I thought. I think I liked the previous one a little better because of Heath Ledger, but this stood alone as an epic with a brilliant villain and it was a successful finale to the franchise.  Are we having spaghetti for dinner? What’s next on Breaking Bad?
To the pseudo-hype: the notion that modern politics seeped its way onto the screen cannot be surprising to anyone. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. If it did, is this a shock to people?  Aren’t movies one of the first red flags of discontentment?  The sterility and McCarthyism of the 50’s, the generational clash of the 60’s, the frustration of Vietnam in the 70’s, and the cultural divide of the 80’s, all can be found in serious films and Spielberg blockbusters?  It’s in the air we breathe! 
But for this stuff, the superhero movies of the summer; the problem isn’t the studios.  We can’t decide whether or not we take them seriously or not.  We all know the stuffed shirts and old codgers out there who regard Batman as the spandexed goof who talks like Adam West and throws the Kiff! And Pow! jabs.  That’s all he’ll ever be to them.  Frank Miller never existed and Robin is always at his side.  Spider-Man is in his jammies all the time and Superman doesn’t deal with inner struggles of loneliness and abandonment, he kicks incoming asteroids into the sun.  You know, kid shit.
There’s a new generation who think differently.  The heroes are part of the psyche and the lexicon and the folklore.  This stuff means something to us.  We know they are stories and fables.  But they’re American and they are ours. 
Then the movies come out.  And we can’t help ourselves.  Our versions of the stories and characters and dialogues don’t match up and we have to blame Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan.  Sam Raimi and Joel Schumacher.  Zack Snyder and Bryan Singer.  Then we say they’re just superhero movies.  There’s no need to get our panties in a bunch. 
What happened here?  Are these our folk heroes in action or are they just movies meant to entertain us for a few hours every May through July?
Well, yeah.
Folk heroes are awesome and cool and fun and the impetus of young imaginations.  They are a root system for power and individuality and creativity.  But, in the end, you only need them for so long.  At some point, you take a step back and enjoy them as a whole.  As your life becomes more complicated you appreciate the stories for having endings and resolutions you wish were around the corner for yourself.
We shouldn’t nit-pick. It’s unseemly and douchey.  It isn’t becoming and it isn’t very manly.  I know Spider-Man 3, X-Men 3 and that Hulk movie were clunkers.  Yeah, that was a waste of money.  I got over it pretty quickly.  The latest Batman may have been a little long, but I don’t care.  It was a good film and I’m satisfied.  Maybe you thought differently and the entire 7 or 8 hours of Nolan’s superhero series was a giant waste of time.  You’re wrong, but you are entitled to your opinion.  What I’m sure of is, we’ll both get over it.

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