Be nice

Woo, it’s been a while since I got back to this blogging thingy. I was perusing some of my favorite websites today and realized just how much I missed writing. Most regular days, I’m busy creating math worksheets and ridiculous raps on areas of trapezoids and what not. This is not healthy. I spent so much of my growing life on writing- newspaper columns, stories, college papers (ha!)- that I didn’t realize how important it was to me. Plus, I’m narcissistic and I like to think people want to hear what I have to say.

Which brings me to the curious case of Shyamalan. I’ve written about him before and the somewhat irrational hatred people seem to have for him. Umm, did I miss the memo on him? Yes, I get it- he’s a lousy filmmaker, The Happening makes you want to gouge your eyes out, his head is the size of Spain, yada, yada.But jesus christ, he’s just a director. Much ado has been made about the reviews of the Last Airbender, his latest flick. Some have even mocked the terrible 8% favorable rating he received on rotten tomatoes. Funny, no one seems too concerned about the 10% rating for Grown Ups but I digress. The point is, it seems a little disconcerting to note the glee with which people are receiving the latest Shyamalan failure. What gives?


2 responses to “Be nice

  1. I always thought it was the impression of pretension that MNS gives off. Or the fact that audiences hate feeling duped, and his “what a twist” style is nothing but that. The director of Grown Ups (whoever it is) never took on that “auteur” vibe, to use your comparison.

    In short, you can find completely reasonable explanations of the disdain that have nothing to do with race, class, ethnicity, etc. And you can find people gloating over the failure of plenty of directors. Hollywood is very vicious to anyone who tries to do anything unique or different or without a track record. There were people rooting for Avatar to fail. Nobody talks about that now because it made money, but the idea of a $300 million movie that took ten years, made heavy use of 3D, and isn’t an adaptation was controversial.

    The Last Airbender took a cult TV show, replaced the Asians with whites, converted to 3D on the cheap, was directed by a guy with a shaky track record (did you see The Village? Serious let down.), and released it opposite the biggest possible movie that has the same demographics (Eclipse). It was going to fail. If they had done it in 3D from the start (or left it in 2D), or released in August with less competition, it would have done much better.


    While I think it’s hard to find really explicit, racially-based bias in peeps responses to MNS’s films, it is also really hard to untangle how much someone’s race or gender influences our opinions of them. And therefore entertaining the idea that race or gender plays a role in everyone’s thoughts about them is definitely an idea worth kicking around.

    This might be a controversial thing to say, and I may regret it later, but I have recently felt that the vitriol aimed at MIA would not be as strong if she were, say, a man. I am tempted to think, were she a man, no one would be so giddy to point at her and shout HYPOCRITE! PROVOCATEUR! WITCH! BURN HER! They’d probably be like, “MIA, the man, he’s an artist, he knows what he’s doing.”

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