Discussion in 'Misc. Films' started by Thread Manager, Jul 24, 2014.
This is a continuation thread, the old thread is [split]388203[/split]
You knew it was happening, it was only a matter of knowing who and when.
Me too. I'm completely accepting of 'chick flicks' where the filmmakers treat both genders well or just make a broadly-appealing movie period. I'll admit I enjoy the 2005 P&P, as well as the Drew Barrymore Ever After and The Time Traveler's Wife.
And count me as one who didn't like Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" remix either. But lyric-wise, it's perfect for this movie.
I like a good chick flick, emphasis on good (P&P is a great example), but that's not really what I get the impression 50 Shades is. I haven't read it, but it's a notorious guilty pleasure, even for its target demo, so instead of likening it to "the female Marvel movie," I'd say it's more like "the female Expendables movie" or something, ya know? Like you know it will be junk food before you eat it and will probably regret it afterwards, but you just can't help yourself.
That said, while everything I've heard about the story sounds like rubbish (and what they did to Jamie Dornan's natural hotness is criminal), this actually looks like it could be decently directed at least? Still couldn't be bothered to watch it unless I happen to find it on cable one day though, lol.
There's far more hate applied to properties intended for women than those intended for men. Let's not pretend that the MCU, Transformers, etc get as much critique as Twilight, etc. in general society.
That's the point of the original academic article.
As far as I'm concerned Twilight deserves all the hate it gets for glorifying abusive relationships to young impressionable readers. Sure the MCU might be problematic with its lack of representation in both gender and race, but it doesn't sell anything nearly as toxic. And I think Transformers gets as much hate (online, at least) as Twilight does.
Transformers is an active franchise and a larger franchise.
There is plenty in the MCU that is toxic, as has been discussed here and elsewhere. It doesn't get as much scrutiny because it caters to the hegemonic, the leads are quintessential athletic, American, white males, which facilitates not only denial among the fan base, nut a total absence of ability to recognise said problems, as the norms are accepted norms within our cultural landscape.
I didn't say there was nothing in the MCU that was toxic, I said there is nothing in it nearly AS toxic as the ideas Twilight sells to young women.
I'd argue that the MCU is more toxic as the vast majority of people are incapable of recognising its social corrosiveness. In contrast, when people read Twilight they know it's wrong for Edward to watch over Bella, and even if they don't the point is made on megaphone for all to hear.
Can't speak for 50 Shades specifically as I have not read it. However, I have bashed it, and having now read the article on gawker and the academic article it linked to I regret having bashed it.
ETA: Don't get me wrong, I don't think that any of these mass properties are for the best. I'm merely commenting on the lopsidedness of hate culture, which expropriates a lot of progressive language and vocabulary but is itself an enabler and perpetuator of existing problematic social norms.
Actually, they don't, which is the problem. The entire crux of the appeal of those stories is that girls want that relationship. And it's not just the stalking, he makes most of her decisions for her, is physically controlling of her, and she not only develops a death wish that she acts on when she's apart from him, but literally throws away her life to be with him. And she is the self-insert character for the readers/audience. It's the worst possible story for young women to be obsessed with at an age when they are looking for their first relationships.
While the MCU has a major problem in perpetuating only the white male hero archetype, it at least treats its female and minority characters with respect for the most part and attempts to make them characters with strength and integrity, so I cannot see it's failings as being nearly as toxic as Twilight's.
And PLENTY of people see MCU's white male problem and calls them out on a daily basis. It's hardly gone unnoticed. Which is why the most consistently demanded movies among the fanbase are Black Panther and Captain Marvel.
ETA: I get what you're saying. The hate IS lopsided in favor of male-driven properties. Like, I feel as though there's this collective of male moviegoers out there that hate movies like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect because they're "not funny" when in reality its because they're female-centric comedies (I'm not saying it's not possible for someone to not find those films funny, I'm just saying that's merely a thinly-veiled excuse for some). And the dismissive attitude toward chick flicks as a whole, even the really good ones, is not a good look. But some properties on both sides deserve the hate, and I think Twilight and Transformers are two of them (TF especially for the racism in RotF and the horrible treatment of female characters in all). MCU certainly deserves its share of hate, but not nearly as much as those two, imo.
I don't agree with the description of becoming a vampire as literally throwing away one's life. They live on in a new form, it's not the same as dying.
With that said -- it's not a healthy relationship. Yet it's the relationship millions fantasise about -- why?
There are far more problems with the MCU than its whiteness, and even that problem is largely denied, as is the issue of male gaze in the films.
It communicates the norms that violence is the solution to problems (a feature of nearly all CBMs); presents warfare as a battle between good and evil rather than between two sides pursuing distinct interests; perpetuates the lazy-genius stereotype that is a peculiar American archetype; and valorises a Republican model for governance, whereby Republican I'm referring to Plato and not to the GOP.
These issues (and no doubt others I'm not aware of) are for the most part totally unrecognised by the fan base. I see them discussed sometimes, but the discussion is at the level of a whisper.
I got convinced of the bias in critical and fan assessments recently when I looked up some numbers on rotten tomatoes.
PS I Love You has a rotten tomatoes score of 24% ... 24% ! That's lower than Green Lantern.
Mona Lisa Smile has a rotten tomatoes score of 35%
It's just one more indication of the problems with our culture. We undervalue women's pulp relative to men's pulp.
I never saw Bridesmaids. I thought Pitch Perfect was ok.
Fair enough at the vampire thing, lol. Supernatural semantics.
See, now you're talking about things that are the staples of movies as a whole, not just the MCU and not even just action movies. Because movies are primarily made by white males, so things like the male gaze run rampant across all genres, EVEN chick flicks (again, largely made my white males).
Still, the MCU is part of the action genre, and there's not gonna be an action movie without fighting. That's what action is in movies for the most part. If you think that's a problem, fine, but the blood-lust in entertainment has been a part of human nature since the beginning (which I thought Cabin in the Woods did a wonderful job of meta-commenting on).
That said, I don't agree that the MCU always uses violence as a solution. Captain America ultimately "defeated" The Winter Soldier by refusing to fight him. The actual climax of the film is Steve Rogers laying down arms. And Thor didn't only portray war as good vs. evil instead of conflicting ideologies. Odin certainly did not see Asgard vs. The Frost Giants as good vs. evil when he tried to stop his son from starting a war with them, and part of Thor's arc in that movie was in realizing this himself. And at least the lazy-genius still tries to use his genius to better the world (after he learns humility of course, because what are character arcs for?).
So with the MCU, it just depends on the movie. Their films are varied and each has its own issues, but aside from the white male-ness, I don't believe there is a problem that's unanimously spread across their entire filmography.
This is true, no argument there.
I can only speak for myself, but part of it's cultural training. Keep in mind, I'm in a very equal marriage and I would not be cool if my husband ever pulled that kind of s*** on me, but parts of it is fascinating to me. (Not Twilight or 50 Shades, since both are badly written on top of all the other stuff.)
There's something very alluring to women about a hot guy being SO attracted to them, that he can't help himself from being dominating, to the point of being abusive. Women are taught that to be sexually attractive is what they should strive for, so a guy not being able to help himself around her is like, the peak of that mountain.
I think many women are sane enough not to actually want that kind of relationship in their own lives, but it's still something they fantasize about.
At the end of Breaking Dawn, Bella (really Alice) defeats the Volturri by showing them what violence does, she shows them a future where they have their big epic fight and consequently nearly everybody dies, and then they agreed to a ceasefire to avoid that future. This wasn't intentional by Stephanie Meyer as far as I know, she had other reasons, but it shows a different approach to the ideology that violence is always the best solution to all problems.
It is true that "violence as the best solution" is a genre convention, but that's part of my point really. We don't recognise that problematic vice and male power fantasy because it's a convention, it's normalised as good. If we lived in a matriarchal society roman novels might be automatically defended on the basis that they're following a convention, they're doing what they're for.
The climax sequence of Cap 2 is all about violence as a solution. Loyal American troops fight Hydra, the people loyal to America are better-looking than the people loyal to Hydra, Falcon has his own fight, and Cap overpowers Bucky in order to insert the USB key rather than converting him and aligning with him. The fighting then continues on Agents of Shield where the mission is to hunt down and kill all Hydra. What's Hydra's plan by the way? To conquer the world and impose order.
Within Thor 1, the frost giants are a less interesting and less civilised culture than the great and noble Asgardians. They're clearly the bad guys. Their aim, if I recall correctly, was to dominate the universe. This continues into Thor 2 where the Dark Elves have no characterisation, they're just plain evil and want to conquer the universe. The Asgardians look human, the frost giants and dark elves do not.
Twilight's take on violence has nothing to do with its other damaging messages. I never tried to argue that it was devoid of any positive quality, just that it's negative one (which is it's primary story and appeal) is a doozy and utterly inexcusable.
And I think there's a difference between violence being "normalized as good" and being "recognized as a reality of human existence." The characters in MCU movies try to protect lives of not just Americans, but of world citizens, and there's no way they're going to defeat world threats like the ones they've faced without violence. Just like in the world we live in, where some problems CAN be solved without violence, but there are some that can't. When there are those who only want to kill others and can't be reasoned with, violence will always be at least a part of the only solution, even if it just means overpowering their forces to capture them. But there are times when a peaceful solution is possible, like the moment I mentioned in Cap 2, and in that moment, the hero takes it.
And I don't think there's anything else for me to say other than I don't see those situations in Cap 2 and Thor the same way you do, and leave it at that.
I thought Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids were both entertaining..........
If you're that offended by these things then why are you even a fan of superheroes? Fighting and violence is a mainstay of the genre. I see you touched on that in your post, but if that's so "corrosive" then why are you here supporting it? You're clearly a fan. If you want to search everything with a fine-toothed comb and find bits and pieces of things to try and be offended about then have it, but make sure you look at everything with equal scrutiny.
I say "try and be offended" because the fact that you are getting bent out of shape about these issues in comic book films is quite strange. In all seriousness, do you really think anyone left Captain America 2 thinking that fighting was an acceptable solution to whatever problems they may face? Do you honestly think the movie was "corrosive" in that people left the movie with their minds more warped than when they went in? If you do, then you don't think in realistic terms.
Movies present fighting and violence simply because it's entertaining, in the same way Romans used to pack coliseums to watch people get mauled by lions (sounds a lot more "corrosive" than people fake-fighting in front of green screens). Anyone with a working brain knows these fights are cartoonish and completely impossible. There is little to no trickle into the real world. This is similar to the argument I've heard uninformed soccer moms use about video games making kids violent.
The ideals and messages presented in the movies you mentioned by the film makers (which you are conveniently ignoring) are not only of strong moral fiber, but are more readily apparent to the viewer than any virtue that violence may or may not take. Thor 1 was about humility and learning your place; Captain America 2 was about personal liberty and the strength of friendship. These were clearly outlined in the dialogue and the actions of the characters; you can take issue with how effective those ideas may or may not have been translated, but they were undeniably a hell of a lot more apparent than the idea that violence is totally acceptable. As I said, it seems to me you are looking to be offended.
Heh, never thought I'd run into an argument about how toxic the MCU is in the 50 Shades of Grey thread.
It's SHH. Be grateful Nolan has not gotten a mention here yet.
One can be a fan of something and recognise its problems. There's no contradiction at all.
This article tackles the problems with Winter Soldier in depth:
There's much more that can be said but it detracts from the point of the two articles I linked to in the previous thread (page 30 or 40) that were about Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. The issue is that we are extremely quick to thoroughly critique culture that appeals to teenage girls or women past the age of 40, much faster and more easily than we criticise culture that appeals (for example) to privileged white men in their teens, 20s, and 30s.
That's a general statement. Don't know if that's the case with you as I don't recall you participating in the hate-culture against those properties. I've personally participated in the hate culture against 50 shades, and those two articles make me recognise that this was an error on my part.
Note, however, that you are completely incapable of recognising that there are moral problems with the MCU films, you've literally denied every single one. You believe that there are no serious problems, and that these movies predominantly communicate a good message film, which is absurd. That ties into the articles linked and the discussion. Those vices are protected because they appeal to a more privileged group -- they are the norm.
By the way, the human brain largely works by imitation. People see how things work and they internalise that as part of a systemic framework. The idea that everybody thinks about everything critically is very 19th century.
Oh lawd, you have doomed us all
The topic is due to me linking to these two articles:
Can we cool it with the Fifty Shades of Grey hate?
“…it sucked because it was written for teenage girls” —
Twilight, anti-fans and symbolic violence
One of the issue raised by the second one (an academic conference proceeding) which is the source article is that we more easily recognise problems in pulp aimed at teenage girls, and more easily gang up to hate.
It's thus on topic to discuss the converse, that we are utterly incapable of recognising the problems in pulp aimed at men in their teens, 20s, and 30s.
I could have technically brought up the Nolan movies, but there's actually been a decent amount of work deconstructing that trilogy and Batman in general as a right-wing power fantasy, for example here:
Film Crit Hulk Smash: WHAT THE F&#% IS IT ABOUT BATMAN?
I'm denying these "moral issues" because they are not unique to that particular franchise in any regard. You can't cherry pick which movie's cartoonish and unrealistic violence offend you; if you really think this way then you should be offended nearly every time you turn on the TV. Doesn't sound like a fun, or practical, mindset to have.
Not only that, but you're completely exaggerating the severity of these so called "problems". As I said, not a single person with a functioning brain is going to leave Captain America 2 or Man of Steel or X-men, or any other movie about people with ridiculous powers fighting each other with outlandish CG effects, and see the world in a more aggressive or violent manner. You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.
The lead, Jamie Dornan? can't remember his name, is HOT HOt HOT!
Off the top of my head I can't think of any non-trivial criticism of any franchise that is "unique".
Though I do watch a lot of guilty pleasures, not all movies/TV are **** as you imply. There is some genuinely better stuff -- I'm pretty sure we've been through this before.
Actually culture does influence behaviour and everybody understands that (consciously or otherwise), You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.
All the parents of little girls that I know try to adjust what they watch so that they see more female protagonists. Based on your view, you think they're all wrong, they must be "uninformed soccer moms who don't have working brains".
The US military vetoes any screenplays where the director requests access to military hardware (and they ask to watch the movie early), it's known that they wish that more movies like were Top Gun. Why do you think that is? I'm pretty sure that their psychologists know better as they've been researching psychology very well for fifty years. They even apply these rules to movies where people have ridiculous powers and that have outlandish CGI effects. Are they brainless soccer moms too?
To return the thread to the topic raised a few pages back, there's bad stuff in Twilight and 50 Shades. But is it so bad as to warrant being number 1 in hate and ridicule? It seems a lot of other people think so, but that's a prediction of the argument.