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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Entertainment value
Yesterday during my drive home, Andrew Siciliano was ranting about the opening weekend take of X-Men: The Last Stand.

His basic rant was, "How'd they get so many people to go out and see this movie? Who are these fans and did anyone actually read the comic books? Why would anyone get excited about seeing this movie?"

Of course, if you were dumb enough to call in to say you liked the movie or you liked the X-Men comic books, you were belittled by Siciliano.

(The funny thing was that Andrew played the theme from The X-Files to start the rant. Andrew, buddy, The X-Files and the X-Men have nothing to do with each other, other than having an X in the title.)

Then, this morning, USA Today had an article about how two big summer blockbusters (X-Men and The DaVinci Code) were critically panned but yet large numbers of people showed up at the theater to see them. The implication was that we, the unwashed masses, didn't listen to the big, bad, super-smart critics who all know better than we do and should tell us what we should and shouldn't see.

I find the dichotomy of how movie critics react to the general public's "taste" in films interesting. If they love a film and it's a bit hit, they all go--see, our opinion helped to steer people toward this great film. If they are not as up on a film and pan it, yet we all go see it, they go--what is wrong with you people? Can't you see that the movie is horrible?

They want to have their cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. But sometimes what I think movie critics forget is that some movies are just made to be entertaining and fun. It's not about being intellectually stimulated for two hours or finding something artful, meaingful and deep in every film that comes out. Yes, I enjoy a movie that engages my intellect as much as the next person, but every once in a while you just want a mindless, fun, entertaining escape. And there are just some movies that offer that.

But for me, it's all in the expectation of how I approach a film. I went to see Lethal Weapon 4 in the theaters becuase I wanted to see stuff get blown up, some well-staged action pieces and witty banter between Riggs and Murtough. And that's what I go. It wasn't Shakespeare and it's not one that I ran out to buy on DVD for viewing again and again. But for what it was--two hours of entertainment, it was exactly what I wanted and expected of the film. And I sometimes think people can be so critical and want to find a deeper meaning in everything they see on screen that it's easy to forget the main purpose of a movie is to entertain the audience.

I'm not saying some movies don't do this better than others. And I'm also not saying that there aren't some things I won't have a personal preference for. But I don't look down on or feel the need to question the taste of others simply because they don't agree with me on what we choose to watch. (Or even to read, as it were). And while I may think Star Trek II is one of the greatest movies ever made, you might disagree with me (you'd be wrong..but that's OK...we can disagree.) But then again, I might disagree with you on what your favorite movie of all time is. And that's OK.

Just so long as we're not movie critics.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/31/2006 08:40:00 AM | |
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