Can We Be Sincere At The Movies, Please?

Ya know how it is, dudes. Ya roll up on the movies with your bros (or brahs or bruhs if you prefer) to check out this awesome Avengers movie, right? And Iron Man’s blasting some shit, and Hulk’s all badass, and ScarJo is looking foine, and you’re thinking this is the shit! But then what the fuck!? Why’s the Hulk talking about his feelings with ScarJo? Who the fuck wants to hear Hulk talk, I wanna see some ass-kicking! Fuck that gay noise! So what else you gonna do? You crack some jokes to your friends, cuz fuck it! Nothing’s blowing up, so why pay attention? It’s not like THERE’S A STORY BEING TOLD THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT AND YOU SHOULD SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH AND RESPECT THE DAMN ART.

Ahem. This little melodrama is brought to you by the douchebros that sat behind me at Age of Ultron the other night, and who were the perfect distillation of the entitled snark culture that I can’t stand.

Now, obviously it’s worth keeping in mind that everyone has different reactions to films, and just because I’m emotionally invested in the story being told doesn’t mean everyone else will be. And it’s also worth considering that maybe I am overly sensitive about this, being a very committed fan of the characters and wanting them to be respected. That being said, it still boggles my mind how the people sitting near me the other night were so desperate to prove how superior they were to this movie (that they were so excited for they were seeing it at 8:30 on a Thursday night). It’s something that seems to have become more common in pop culture in recent years: the need of people to snark and eye-roll everything they consume, regardless of whether it’s good or bad or they like it or they don’t.

What’s so bad about a movie broaching human emotion? Why did the assholes behind me feel the need to joke at every moment of intimacy and every off-putting stylistic choice? Are they just that ashamed of their own feelings that they have to shield themselves from art that’s trying to access them? Are they annoyed that this talking shit is wasting time between fight scenes? Or is it just symptomatic of the larger trend of Irony in our culture that people don’t want to be seen as being too engaged in art? Have we reached a point where the average person in my demographic isn’t even capable of being unreservedly enthusiastic about anything unless they’re a 13-year-old Batman fan? Pretty much none of those options sound okay to me; honestly they all massively suck, and I don’t know if there’s an actual solution or lesson to be had in any of it.

What makes it especially frustrating for me is that I want to judge these people. I want to be able to look at everyone that undermines the art they consume and think of them as idiots. But I also don’t want to be a pretentious snob and assume that everyone is trying to have the same deep connection to a movie as I am. I do feel that if you are willing to engage with a movie enough to crack jokes at every little thing that isn’t immediately entertaining to you, you should be engaged enough to actually understand what the movie is attempting to do and at least try to respect it instead of scoffing at the filmmakers’ attempts to evoke feelings. Whether people like or dislike a movie is ultimately irrelevant to me, but I think people should respect the artists enough to meet the film on its own terms. But whether you agree with me on all of that or not, I think we should all be on the same page on this: even if you don’t like a movie, even if you wanna snark on it, there’s no reason why you can’t KEEP YOUR FUCKING MOUTH SHUT until the credits roll. You can react to the movie however you want, but don’t drag me down with you.

NOTE: I do realize that while I’m complaining about this there are real issues in places like Baltimore and Nepal and that this is incredibly inconsequential and obnoxious by comparison. BUT I think there are many people out there doing or saying much more impactful things about those subjects than I could, so I’m gonna focus on this instead.

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