Monday, April 18, 2011
Video Games and Armchairs
You thought the rants were done? Nope, I still have another good one in me and it's bubbling to the surface...it involves video games...and armchairs. Intrigued? Read further...
So, it's no secret that I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really liked the movie Sucker Punch. I wrote a blog entry blasting those who criticized it, not because they didn't like it, but because of the stupid things they were saying in their critiques. Well, I forgot one. A big one. Some of the people who saw the movie and didn't like it stated they didn't like it because it "felt like a video game."
Hmmm...now let's examine this. You know what else felt like a video game? Batman Begins. Want to know why? Because...it actually became a video game! Know what else? Every stinking Harry Potter movie. Let's see, you want more? How about Scarface? How about THE GODFATHER. That's right, the sacred cow for all these fan "experts", the movie that sits on everyone's shelf who knows anything about film, the movie that is hailed on the IMDB as the greatest of all time...is also a video game. Saying you don't like a movie "because it feels like a video game" is absurd. It's akin to not liking apples "because they remind me of fruit." Video games and movies go hand-in-hand these days. Video games are turned into movies. Movies are turned into video games. If a movie is popular, chances are at some point, it will become a video game.
Now luckily for these critics, they have the argument that the reverse doesn't happen and video games don't "feel" like movies...umm...ehh...actually...have you played any video game these days? On any system? You heard of Grand Theft Auto? Halo? Bioshock? Fallout? Half-life? Arkham Asylum? They're all basically mini-movies. You play a bit, cinematic cut scene. You play a little bit, another cinematic plot scene. You know things are getting ridiculous when you read on message boards "what's going to be the plot for this game?" Plot? Plot...now where have I heard that word used before...plot...oh yeah. MOVIES! So, the whole point is, the line between video games and movies are too blurred to separate. Saying you don't like a movie because it feels like a video game is like complaining about it being widescreen. It is what it is.
Now, what does this have to do with armchairs? Well, as Deceptisean is fond of hyping about, all of these criticisms are by these "armchair critics" who sit there and criticize and over-analyze every single aspect of a film. Why is this? I have my theory.
I took film classes at Dork, I mean York University. These film classes were over-populated with these blowhard, pompous, yahoo, jackass, know-nothings who thought they knew every aspect of film because they saw Citizen Kane once. These self-styled "filmmakers of tomorrow" would often strut into class and go on and on about the film technique, the mise-en-scene, the breakdown of every single frame of a film and what it meant. Now, that's kind of what film class does to you and I'm not saying I was totally immune. In fact, film class somewhat took some of the pure joy out of watching film, as I sit and watch some movies I used to enjoy and notice flaws now. The difference between me and the other yahoos is, I can still enjoy a movie just as a movie. These guys can't.
Anyhow, back to my theory. So, these guys who were going to take over Hollywood and make it like they want it, guaranteed did not do that. In fact, I'm guessing the "real world" came crashing down on this idiot lot when they departed the safe, smug grounds of University thought. These bitter dumbasses might have ended up writing for half-baked schlock websites like JoBlo and Ain'tItCoolNews. They might have started up their own review blogs. They might by the guys populating the message boards. There might even be a few who were lucky enough to write online journals or for newspapers and get paid for their moronic blatherings.
The bottom line is, these are the armchair critics to me, the pathetic souls who walked into a film class at some point in their life and walked out thinking that they, not Thomas Edison, invented the motion picture. These are the guys demanding "hard-hitting, gritty stories", "three-dimensional characters", "organic chemistry" and half-a-dozen other eye-rolling catchphrases that make me want to vomit. Hey, movies should be analyzed, don't get me wrong. I'm all for looking at a movie and seeing how it functions. What I'm against, is analyzing it to death. I'm against sitting in your big armchair, criticizing someone else's work that can take years to make it to the screen, and you possess neither the talent nor the drive to produce anything yourself. People who can make movies, make movies. Those who can't, criticize.
At the end of the day, I want to enjoy a movie. Every picture is it's own experience, with it's own set of genre-specific expectations and it's own hook to drive me to pay my hard-earned money and watch it in a dark room with a bunch of strangers. Painting every movie with the same brush is not going to work. Expecting every movie to be The Wizard of Oz or Gone With the Wind, will not work. Each movie is set up to illicit a different emotion from you, the viewer. Whether it be mind-numbing chills, thrills, laughter, tears, whatever, that's the beauty of film, like Forrest Gump said, it's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It's the dumbasses who demand every movie be from Lady Godiva that ruin it for the rest of us.
Well, that's me all ranted out for now. Whether it made you think, made you laugh, made you happy, made you mad, it's all fine by me. So until the next one, kick back, watch a movie and don't worry about how much of a video game it is.