Monday, October 1, 2012

5 Stupidest Assumptions Local Moviegoers Tend to Make

"Pffftt... The producers must be Jews. Or the Illuminati."
Now, where did I leave things off? It has been a while, and I can't help but feel a little bit rusty. So yeah... *ahem* Let's keep the introduction short, yah? Now, I understand that you might get the feeling that this entry is tinged with arrogance. But that's not where I'm coming from, for I too am a moviegoer, and I'm not above making stupid assumptions. However, you'll never catch me having assumptions as stupid as these, as plenty of local moviegoers tend to make;

(Note that I used words like "plenty" and "tend" in the same goddamn sentence. So if your rebuttal is something along the lines of "But not all local movie fans are like that!!" Well... Tak reti bahasa ke apa weh?)

#5 We should be completely detached from the protagonist
Because I couldn't find a picture of an archetypal "anak Tan Sri" stock character...
Like I once said, movies like KL Drift [2010] belongs in the same genre as the likes of Fast & Furious, where it calls for that kind of suspension of disbelief. Therefore I'm not using them as an example. Sure, I'm not a fan of such movies, but that's a different story.

Call me crazy, but I'm under the impression that it's always movies where we can't relate to the protagonists that perform well. Either they're disgustingly rich, or a lowly white-collar worker living in a fully-furnished double-storey house, or some dude haunted by the most annoying ghost ever, or a piss-poor street urchin wearing RM500+ worth of leather goods, and the list goes on.

Yes, you can have movies about gangsters, and it's not wrong to like horror movies. But if you ever wonder why we can't be more involved in international film festivals, that's because we have too much of Hantu Boncengs, Budak Pailangs and Apa Celop Toqqs; i.e. movies where the audience get absolutely nothing in return, because there's nobody on screen we can relate with, and nothing we can have a discussion about after the show's over. More about this in a minute.

Most of the time, you'll find that the same people who'd go for such movies will have something against movies like Anu Dalam Botol [2011], Songlap [2011] and Bunohan [2012]. The nerve!

#4 Slow pace = Art movie
"Why, my good sir... This film is simply exquisite."
This one's a little tricky to tackle. Because I too couldn't put my finger on what constitutes "an art movie". I'm not even sure if it can be considered a genre of its own. Still, my opinion doesn't matter, and the general consensus seems to agree that an art film is simply a movie that's meant to appeal to a niche audience. So you can count out the likes of Transformers, no matter how meticulously they worked on the CGI (i.e. "You can see the scratches on Optimus Prime even with all the explosions going on around him OMG OMG!!")

Meh... I'm not impressed.

If you want my opinion; Songlap [2011] is not an art movie. The American [2010] is not an art movie. I still haven't the slightest notion what Misteri Jalan Lama [2011] was going for, but I don't know if I would chuck it into the art film bin. Like I said, I'm not the one you should go to for Art Film 101 lessons. But I can tell you this; Just because they all take their time in telling their stories, just because there are lots of close-ups and slow pans, just because the actors take five-second pauses between exchanges, does not make 'em all art films. It's a lot more complicated than that.

And while we're on the subject of actors...

#3 Subtle performance = Bad acting
"I'm choking... Get it? Get it?"
"Takde perasaan dowh. Tak reti berlakon la dia ni... Harap muka je hensem." said a friend of mine, back when we were killing time, not studying. We were watching Troy [2004], and get this... He was referring to Brad Pitt. I didn't say anything, but looking back, I think he was talking about how Brad Pitt barely showed emotions in Troy. How he was all arrogant and bajet-power all the time.

C'mon. He was playing Achilles!

Granted, Troy was not one of his best performances. But to say that Brad Pitt can't act means you haven't seen him in movies like Kalifornia [1993], Seven [1995], 12 Monkeys [1995], Snatch [2000]... Heck, even Inglourious Basterds [2009]! The point is, you can't measure how good an actor is by how over-the-top they can be. Some of the best performances ever were due to the actors playing their cards close to the chest. When played right, it can be very interesting to watch. Some good examples include Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption [1994], and Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day [1993].

#2 A movie's bad if it doesn't meet your expectations

This one's pretty self-explanatory, so I'm not gonna go at length about it.

Truth is, I too can fall victim of making assumptions and in turn, have expectations of any given movie (usually due to overexposure in the PR department). It can't be helped sometimes. But this is only a bad thing if you're not flexible about it, or not open to the idea that the production crew might have something else in mind. So the movie pulls a complete one-eighty on you (e.g. Master and Commander not being Pirates of the Caribbean). Big deal. Open up your mind and watch the movie for what it is.

#1 If it's not *comedic, it's not worth watching
"Bila hantu nak keluar ni?"
*I'm using the term very, very loosely

"I pay to be entertained, not to think!" I tend to take issue with this kind of sentiment, because it reflects poorly on the society, not to mention it's pretty hypocritical. You see, we make fun of south Indians for being fans of movies like this (and this, and this, and this, and this), even though plenty of people here too flock the cinemas for hebetudinous, substance-free, junk-food-for-the-brain movies? If you're saying they're not the same, well then... I have news for you;

You need to strap some proverbial TNT to your brains, because they are in dire need to be blown away.

Sure, it's easy to pin the blame on producers who lurk in the safe zone too damn much. But then when movies like Bunohan and 29 Februari [2012] came along, they tend to under-perform at the box-office. It's like somewhere along the way, people narrowed down their interests to "comedies" with ghosts, Rempits, and gangsters in them. I don't know about you, but I'd like to think that a bulk of the blame goes to the kind of people who spell "aku" as "aq".

And yes, I know not all of them are like that. *sigh* I was making a joke.


Unknown said...

Great entry.

But for the third one, do you mean Subtle performanc =/= Bad acting instead?

Mamü Vies said...

I mean... People assume that if a performance is subtle, it means he or she is a terrible actor. No?

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