Thursday, March 15, 2012

Barsoom, opinions, assholes and the schadenfreude gangbang

I posted Why John Carter of Mars Is Loads Of Fun & You Should Ignore Cynics Who Can't Have Fun At Movies by Mark Hughes to my Facebook last night. I didn't specifically put a lot of thought into it. Neil D. Vokes and Terry Beatty had posted it, and I agreed with the general sentiment.

Obviously, at least to me, I'm a guy with enough unpopular and variously unique opinions that it never really occurred to me in the moment that I clicked "Share" that I might be seen as endorsing the kind of narrow worldview in which people who don't enjoy every so called "popcorn movie" are dismissed as joyless party poopers. Bob Westal specifically referenced fans of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the second of Michael Bay's awful Transformers movies.

Well, I hardly want to do that. I know that the reasons we have opinions are as diverse as we are. I can barely be bothered in my old age to watch a movie that I don't think is "fun", but I think those awful Transformers things could used define all that isn't fun to me,

I only occasionally go see the modern big budget Hollywood "popcorn movies", for exactly that reason. And when I get around to seeing them on home video, I even more rarely find them worth my time. This one I decided early on that I'd make John Carter of Mars my birthday movie. With Kimberly Rae and Conan taking up my time and energy - for which I'm eternally grateful! - I've become choosier about what I even plan to see in a theater.

It maintained my optimism with sheer force of will. It had something to do with liking Edgar Rice Burroughs generally and A Princess of Mars specifically, but partly I wanted this movie to work. I'd been following the ups and downs of movie rumors for years. In fact, I suspect I'm losing "money" on Hollywood Stock Exchange from when Robert Rodriguez was attached.

It was tough to stay optimistic. Sometime last year you could feel it coming. John Carter of Mars had been picked, by whatever strange conflagration of people and events picks these things, to be the next Schadenfreude Gangbang Lightning Rod.

Yeah, that's not a real term, and there may be a real term, but you know the phenomenon.

Every few years a movie is martyred as the example of excess in Hollywood, everyone leaps on them to make an example of them. They're a kind of secular indulgence. You join the Schadenfreude Gangbang on whatever the current movie is, Cleopatra to Myra Breckinridge to Heaven's Gate to Ishtar to Waterworld, and when it's over you can feel like you've roundly and properly stuck it to Hollywood and its wastefulness and whatever other excesses you feel the need to criticize but know you'll want to go back for more of.

Showgirls is particularly nice for that. It has excesses that no other Hollywood movie is guilty of, but I guess you get forgiveness for thinking of them or hoping for them or something.

Only James Cameron escapes the trap, and has at least twice, Titanic and Avatar.

My gut feels like Andrew Stanton not going to be another Cameron.

I think John Carter of Mars is in a weird neighborhood. It's probably a bit too old-fashioned for the new-fangled kids with their flashy new-fangled movies. Yeah, I have a feeling those same new-fangled kids would react the same to the Indiana Jones movies, if they hadn't grown up with them.

And too many of people in my age/experience range are driven off by the heavy use of CGI. That can be an issue for me, as well, as another old fart, but it didn't bother me a bit in this one. Am I just a sucker on this one?

Well, maybe to one extent or another. All of us are led by one hang-up or another in our enjoyment of art. This spoke to some of mine.

I think the tide will turn on this one. In fact, I think kind of turned out to be a non-starter as a Schadenfreude Gangbang Lightning Rod, all told. In the moment I posted that article - remember that? - that's what I was thinking about.

I suspect in a few years the reviewers and other people who did leap out to unleash their rage at all that's wrong with Hollywood on John Carter of Mars will be downplaying that reaction years from now when the dust settles. I expect it'll be more Dark City than Tron.

John Carter of Mars Fans Start Facebook Group Calling For Sequel by Mark Hughes links to Take me back to Barsoom! I want John Carter to have a sequel!

I joined, for whatever it's worth. Despite the fact that the game is rigged for instant success and failure, Cameron shows there can be exceptions if we're willing to reject that game.


William S. Wilson said...

"Schadenfreude Gangbang Lightning Rod"

I will forever use this term to describe that phenomenon.

Neil Sarver said...

Woohoo! That's very exciting.

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