Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pop Culture and Mass Hysteria


Okay I HAD to get that out of the way. You must be wondering 'Shit Jade, what is with the hostility?' Well let me start at the VERY beginning of what inspired this article. My best friend and fellow Podcastration writer Tiff and myself were discussing what were certain directors best movies. I said how most people would consider Spielberg's best film to be Raiders of the Lost Ark, whereas I believe it's Jaws. I then began to talk about the reason why they wouldn't pick Jaws is because of the stigma attached to it because of movie pop culture and mass hysteria.

Movie pop culture can be a great thing, it makes us reminisce and think of times in movies where a phase was popular, a genre was unstoppable, or when an actor was in EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN MOVIE and getting constant critical acclaim. The 70's and the 80's were definitely time where a lot of movie pop culture references come from, judging by the amount of stupid 'memes' and pointless Facebook groups. Now a joke on the Internet is only really funny for about 5 minutes but it seems thousands of Facebook groups get made, and it just wears thin...really quickly. I'd say about 85% of people tend to listen to the trolls on the Internet or listen to hearsay rather than watching movies for themselves. I have met so many people who mock Chuck Norris, but ACTUALLY haven't seen a single one of his movies. Sure some of the jokes are funny, but I want people to see Norris as a talented actor and a solid martial artist.

Now I know you may be thinking 'Where the fuck is this going?' But just hear me out. The point of this article is to show you, that a lot of people out there do NOT actually watch as many films as they would like you to think. They also believe whatever their close minded friends tell them, as well as the fat guy sitting behind a computer rattling off bullshit stories.  People would rather listen to others telling them false information rather than letting them experience it for themselves. And because people tend to jump on certain movie pop culture bandwagons, it then creates a mass hysteria. Now mass hysteria can be a good thing, if used correctly. But what I am noticing is that mass hysteria creates a lot of ugliness in people. It creates tension, as well as negativity but overall severe ignorance. And when you have a large group of people it becomes all the more disgusting. 

And this brings me to how a lot of people just like movies because EVERYONE else seems to like them. When you ask someone what is their favourite film which was DIRECTED by Tim Burton , what is one of the major responses you will hear? Nightmare before Christmas...funny that he didn't direct it though. Henry Selick did, he is the same guy who directed James and the Giant Peach and Coraline...are you noticing a familiar pattern here? Now you may be thinking that I am hating on people for the sheer sake of it. But I'm not. I am trying to point out to you how movie pop culture and Internet trolls manipulate our mind via mass hysteria.

Now, I am prepared to open a can of worms to prove my next point. Sigh. I am not a fan of the new Batman movies. Now I know a lot of people will be sitting in their seat thinking 'Oh what the fuck does this bitch know, she's a girl, she doesn't know anything about Batman'. Well let's rewind a little shall we. Batman came into my life at the age of 2. The first scene I remember is from the 1989 Batman when Vicky Vale splashes the water on the Joker's face and he has his hands on his face and just says 'BOO', and then laughs so menacingly. This scared the absolute SHIT out of me. And as soon as I could learn to read, I was reading Batman comics. And I loved Tim Burton's interpretation of the comics. To me they were exactly like a comic book. This world I had created in my head, was exactly like the movies. Burton's Batman movies were a pure fantasy, that is how I saw the comics. I didn't see it as a reality. When I saw the new movies, more so The Dark Knight, my childhood came crashing down. This wasn't what I had pictured, and sure enough I was fucking upset about it. I have been called a hater for so long for not enjoying The Dark Knight. I have always given many reasons as to why I didn't like it. But was always shot down. I only have several friends who agree with me about the Batman movies. People just assume I don't know what I am talking about, and I have been told I actually don't know anything about movies, because I dislike Nolan's Batman trilogy. 

I will not lie, the marketing into this film, was done extremely well , and I even bought into it. I was really excited to see this film and I couldn't wait to see what Nolan had in store for me. There was some good scenes in the film, I am not denying that, but only some good scenes do not equal a great film. And I know it may be hard to actually understand that, but its true. I was once all about mass hysteria, I thought I knew everything at 21, and my opinion was the only thing that was right. But then I branched out and found more different genres of films, and I just started to enjoy films for what they were and stopped hating on things. Having said that though, I will not like a film, just because people are pressuring me to, and telling me that my opinion is wrong. An opinion is just something we say, it isn't set in stone. You can have yours and I can have mine. But at the end of the day, do not victimise someone by telling them, they know nothing about film, just because they don't like something you are passionate about. I am not going to go into massive detail on why I did not like the Nolan Batman Trilogy. Because no matter how many reasons I will give to people, it won't matter, because people won't listen. I am up against a majority with my opinion, so what I say won't matter. And besides it's much more fun talking about movies, that you love, instead of defending the reasons why you don't like a film.

It isn't just films that get affected by mass hysteria. It's the actors too. I am not going to feel sorry for them, and believe that everyone should go easy on them because they cannot have a private life. But I can show a little empathy because there is nothing worse than stories about you spiralling out of control with no way to really stop it. Paparazzi and the tabloids have always been the major force of mass hysteria. They always have these 'reliable' sources which are never named but people think it's as true as what they see on the news. And a lot of careers get tarnished a little or completely ruined. And if actors are just trying to give you entertainment on screen and all you are bothered about is what they do off screen, then why do you even watch movies? I am not saying all actors out there are saints, because we all know that's not true. I have seen many interviews with actors that I genuinely love, and they have acted like total pricks, but that won't stop me from appreciating someone's talent. Just because I love watching movies with certain actors in it, doesn't mean I want to sit down and have a meal and chat to them. 

Viewers as a whole are fuckheads. To be blunt about it. We all seem to believe that actors owe us everything. They have to be good role models, they have to be nice, they have to be clean and sober, they cannot be promiscuous. These are the things we expect of them. Well guess what. THEY DON'T OWE US SHIT. Outside of making movies, they don't owe us anything. I don't give a shit, what actor is smoking crack or sleeping around. That shit doesn't bother me. If they can still do that and entertain me, they can do whatever they want. But because people always seem to think they are owed something, the get upset when certain actors 'go off the rails' and then refuse to watch any of their movies again. I say that is your fucking loss. If you don't want to watch particular movies because of what an actor has done in their private life, well then have fun being miserable in your self righteous world. 

Public meltdowns and drug abuse are not uncommon in Hollywood. So when an actor has this happen to them, and they try to make a comeback, the public cannot take them seriously.  This is what happened to Jean-Claude Van Damme. This man has done so much for martial arts. He brought it back to America and made it big. He was on every magazine cover, he had so many movies out at once, he had iconic film quotes, and he made a lot of people money. He gave a lot to his fans, and appreciated them and still does to this day. Action and martial arts fans are some of the most loyal fans out there, and even if he did Z grade action movies, people would still see them. Want to know why? Because they know he is a talented martial artist and he always manages to deliver in terms of fight scenes. And in a lot of his movies, he has proved he can indeed act. But unfortunately because of the drug abuse he was experiencing in the mid 1990's, it all came crashing down. His movies were not as successful so people just assumed that he was a big joke, and labelled him as a has been. Completely forgetting about the impact he has made. And to this day, I still get hassled for loving Van Damme, but those people I would never be friends with. Why? Because they are narrow minded and cannot look past what pop culture and tabloids have told them. 

I don't want anyone who is reading this, to think I am 'Holier than thou', because I am not. I have just as many faults as the next person, and even admitted to you in this article, how I used to act in regards to film, and I am disgusted with myself that I was that way. But seeing so many different films in heaps of different genres, opened my eyes. I love a lot of movies which people would consider shit. I think Piranha 2 is one of James Cameron's best work. I am not saying this to be a troll or a douche, I am just being honest, it is my opinion and it's a great movie which always entertains me and brings a smile to my face. But I do love a lot classics and mainstream new cinema. There is nothing wrong with being able to love both. 

I want people to step out of the shadows of all the Facebook groups, all the 'de-motivational' posters, the Chuck Norris and Nicholas Cage memes, and all that other crap. Just step out of all that bullshit, and watch a movie and be able to enjoy it without having someone telling you their opinion and how they are the only ones that are right. Experience things for yourself. If you are the only one of your friends who wants to see Gangster Squad, then fuck them, go by yourself and see it. Watching movies alone sometimes is a great experience, because you can think for yourself.  

Watching movies is supposed to be an experience. Sure you are going to encounter films which you dislike, or films that confuse you, films that bore you. But at the end of the day discovering the films you love so much, is the best journey. One day you may find a DVD in a bargain bin which looks kinda cool if not a little bit dodgy, and then you watch it and it could turn out to be one of your favourite films. Don't let mass hysteria and movie pop culture cloud your judgement. Choose your own journey with films, and don't let anyone live their opinions through you. 

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