So, being a geek and a movie lover usually sucks big time. Year after year, I get to watch some of my favorite books butchered on the big screen; I have to endure the slings and arrows of, well, inaccurate slings and arrows in medieval films. I cringe when they miscast favorite super heroes and bring me to the verge of tears with terrible dialogue or horrendously “re-imagined” plot devices.
And then, there’s those torturous glimpses of films that were almost good, or televisions shows that were pulled past their prime. We geeks are forever at the mercy of the marketing gurus behind film and television, who so often have no clue whatsoever of how to help a show succeed, let alone promote it (yes in fact, I am still bitter about Firefly).
Going in to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I knew it’d been touted as the next geekiest thing since a d20, but who am I to trust the bigwigs of marketing in Hollywood? No one. I didn’t read the comics, and I’d only seen a few previews, and I happened to stumble upon a few rather curious reviews of the film. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones where the reviewers weren’t actually complaining about the film, they were complaining about the audience at the film. Yes, you read that right. The reviewers weren’t complaining about the film itself, but the people watching it. Super classy, eh?
Linda Holmes of NPR hit it right on the head with her recent article “Scott Pilgrim’ Versus The Unfortunate Tendency To Review the Audience” where she details some of the decidedly more cruel responses to the movie, including a reviewer at The Boston Phoenix who describes Scott Pilgrim as a “dork-pandering assault” and claims Michael Cera is “irritating” due partially to “the non-stop Pavlovian laugh track provided by the audience at the screening I attended.” Translation: Omg the geeks were all laughing and I didn’t get the jokes, so clearly this movie sucks.
Holmes continues with similar reviews from The St. Petersburg Times, The New York Observer (claiming the film is “directed at an audience with generational ADD”) and, one of my favorites, from The Philadelphia Weekly, calling it “an insular, punishingly alienating experience preaching only to the faithful, devoted hearts of arrested 12-year-old boys. It’s singularly fixated on video games and shallow visions of women as one-dimensional objects to be either obtained or discarded and offers no possible point of entry to anybody over the age of 30.”
And, important to point out, Holmes actually enjoyed Scott Pilgrim. As she puts it:
Here’s what I’m saying: I’m a woman, I’m in my late thirties, I can’t handle first-person shooters, I’m afraid of Comic-Con, and I really, really liked Scott Pilgrim vs. The World… I hope I’m not, you know, blowing your mind.
These whiny reviewers have missed the point by such a measure that I’m just, well, offended and irritated and doubtful as to whether anything I say will change their minds. I loved the movie. It was, hands down, the best film I’ve seen this year, and I haven’t laughed so much during a movie since I can remember. Yes, I’m a kid of the 80s. I grew up playing Mario and 8-bit games, and wishing my life had the same heroic capabilities of video games. And yes, I was in bands, and was an outcast, and fell in love and fell on my face. So, I’m your dream demographic, really.
But back to the nasty reviews. While it seems so obvious to say this, I’m going to do it anyway: if you don’t understand something, that doesn’t mean you have to make fun of it. Reviewers, really. Are we in grade school again? Are you honestly falling back to the schoolyard behavior of your childhood and poking fun at the kids recounting their D&D sessions over lunch? ‘Cause that’s all this sounds like. And it’s just downright shameful. If you can’t review a film fairly, maybe you shouldn’t be reviewing it at all.
Geeks move the movie market, folks. We may not always like what happens, or the result (that’s sort of part of being a geek in the first place), but take a look at Comic-Con and tell me we don’t move the market. Look at the highest grossing films of all time and tell me geeks have nothing to do with it. Shaking your fists at us because one little film panders to some of our more unusual tastes is low. It’s just as bad as making fun of country music fans for enjoying country music, or ridiculing bird-watchers for liking to watch birds.
Here’s my advice to all the Cranky McCrankypants reviewers out there: go have some fun, will you? De-twist those wadded panties, put on a t-shirt and some flip-flops, and chill. Take a deep breath. You don’t have to make fun of the geeks anymore. We’ve have lives, families, aspirations; we’re smart, we’re sexy, we’re balanced. We’re women, we’re men, we’re grandparents, we’re kids. We’re everywhere. And, frankly, we don’t care if you don’t get our humor. We’re not going anywhere. You’re not going to scare us away.
So get used to being the only one in a crowded theater who doesn’t get the joke. Or, you know, take a chance and actually try to walk in our shoes because, you know what? We’ve got one hell of a bright future. With jetpacks.