Audiences and Fans are Ruining Entertainment

"The average moviegoer of today."

“The average moviegoer of today.”

This past Thanksgiving, I went to go see Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur in theaters. It was a good movie, but far from Pixar’s best. Though I may wait to fully express my feelings for it, because my viewing was largely dampened (and distracted) by the audience, who were without a doubt one of the worst audiences I have ever had the displeasure of viewing a movie with.

No, I’m not talking about disruptive children. In fact, the one family who was attending the movie were the only group of people who were respectful to their fellow moviegoers. I’m talking about two groups of twenty-somethings who had zero respect for the movie or the other people in the audience.

I kid you not, the person sitting closest to me laughed through the whole thing. That’s not an exaggeration. They were literally snickering through the movie’s entire running time. It didn’t matter whether the scenes were supposed to be funny or not, they continued to laugh even in the film’s sad moments. And the group sitting a few rows behind me just had to give their own little commentaries on the movie whenever possible. Because obviously we were all dying to know what they were thinking, and not trying to watch a movie in a movie theater.

The sad thing is, I’ve noticed crowds like this are becoming more and more common. They come in with a cynical, disrespectful disposition, and treat the situation as though the movie is there for them, instead of them being there for the movie. They’ll talk whenever they feel like it, laugh during inappropriate moments, and give their two cents for all the world to hear whenever possible.

It’s really a sad reminder of how cynical and self-absorbed people have become in this internet age. These days, people are encouraged to dislike everything, because there’s always some yahoo out there who would remind them how “stupid” they are for liking something.

It seems like people no longer have respect for art and entertainment. This age of meme and internet culture has reduced people’s taste to bite-sized chunks. If something is anything more than a singular joke, it must be belittled and mocked. If a movie (or TV show or video game or whatever) gives an honest attempt at storytelling, then it’s an even bigger target for ridicule.

You’ll hear a lot of people say things along the lines of “I liked that movie because it didn’t take itself seriously.” Because heaven forbid an artist actually cares about the story they’re trying to tell. I’m not saying that stories need to be dead-serious (I personally have a preference for the lighthearted and whimsical), but people these days seem to think that unless something is entirely tongue-in-cheek and self-aware, it’s crap. We don’t want humor, we want mockery and self-parody.

We live in an age that feeds cynicism. We belittle the works of artist to satisfy our own egos, and blow the tiniest details of any given work out of proportion to give us something to complain about and make ourselves feel special. It’s sad that these days I see words such as “sentiment” used as a negative. How dare people have emotion!

It doesn’t help that these days we have things such as Honest Trailers on the internet, which basically roll with such cynicism and pretty much tell people to hate movies. I’m not saying people can’t make jokes about the things they like, but things like Honest Trailers and their ilk just cater to today’s self-important, cynical mentality. They don’t simply make jokes about movies, they more or less say “All these popular movies you like suck and you’re an idiot for liking them! Let us nitpick and tell you why you’re such a dumb ass for enjoying these movies.” 

Again, I have to say that it’s like we encourage people to not like anything. Back in the day, people actually formed their own opinions, and would talk about movies (or TV shows. Or video games. Or whatever) with their friends and family. They used to bring people together and give them something meaningful to talk about.

That wasn’t even that long ago. But this internet age has rapidly turned people into self-righteous punks who simply can’t be bothered to enjoy things.

Now, I’m not saying that people have to like everything. Of course not. There are plenty of  things that I don’t like, and this entire site is pretty much dedicated to my opinions. I’m not saying people can’t dislike some things, but the problem is that these days people don’t want to like anything.

In this day and age, people just seem to want to hate everything for any reason they can. I get the feeling that more people watch crappy parody videos on YouTube than they do the actual things they’re parodying. People flock to videos of some angry (and loud… Always loud) people who make fun of movies, video games, or anything else, and more or less tell people to hate them along with them. And the worst part is people go right along with it. Why actually give something an honest, insightful look and form an opinion when you can just write it off for being what it is, because some jerk on the internet said so?

I truly, truly feel bad for the creators of today. Especially those who put their own emotions and experiences into their work, because no doubt they’ll be belittled for creating something that’s more than just a picture with a stupid caption. It’s basically the artistic equivalent of someone opening up about something personal, and receiving mocking laughter in response.

"This is probably the reaction a movie like Schindler's List would receive if it were released today."

“This is probably the reaction a movie like Schindler’s List would receive if it were released today.”

I can’t help but think people laugh during sad moments in movies these days simply because they’ve forgotten how to properly react to something emotionally. Either they’ve covered up their emotions or outright denied them so frequently that they no longer appreciate (or care to appreciate) the honesty of emotion. They’ll talk during a movie because they don’t begin to contemplate that someone else might actually want to enjoy something. They’ll give their predictably contrarian opinions during a movie because clearly they’re better than it.

Frankly, this is all depressing. Gone are the days when entertainment brought people together. Now entertainment is little more than a target for us to aim our cynicism at just so we can pat ourselves on the back. Sincerity can still be found in a few movies here and there. But sincerity in their audience is virtually extinct.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Audiences and Fans are Ruining Entertainment

  1. Red Metal

    I’ve remarked in the past that the cynicism (and misanthropy, I feel I have to add) that’s pervasive on the internet is of a very sophomoric variety. To expand upon that, the reason I believe this is because I don’t think for a second that these people became cynical because they were chewed up and spat out by their fellow humans. These people display misanthropic tendencies because the rest of the world doesn’t live up to their impossibly high standards – and that’s assuming they don’t constantly move the goalposts. There are people who have had far worse lives that emerge from their traumatic experiences with a much better attitude than the average internet cynic for whom hardship is an alien concept.

    At times, the internet feels like it’s turning into a society that encourages conformity over individualism, as I’m sure you’ve witnessed several instances where someone will get swarmed with angry comments and death threats for daring to challenge the status quo (and often proving the person in question right in the process to boot). My only hope is that creators don’t take cues from these people because they could never live to their standards – even the cynics themselves couldn’t.

    It’s a fascinating subject, and I intend to write about it myself in an editorial (I’m going to go in a different direction with it, though). As I’ve said, this mentality was one of the factors that spurred me into making game reviews in the first place; I want my work to exist as an antithesis to the misplaced cynicism. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that I’ll change the internet with my writings. Even if they make it less cynical by a very small degree, that’s good enough as far as I’m concerned.

    But I do have to say one thing about the cynicism: it won’t last. Sooner or later, there will be a moment when the majority tires of this attitude. When that happens, people will realize just how silly their misplaced cynicism was. The original works will stand the test of time while the lambasting parodies will fall out of the public consciousness once later generations are deprived of their original context.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. themancalledscott Post author

      I look forward to reading what you have to write on the subject. You are a much better writer than I am. 😛

      I completely understand your point. These people aren’t even cynical because life has treated them unfairly. They simply adhere to cynicism because they think “hating stuff = cool.”

      I agree that no one can live up to the “standards” of such people, but what’s really weird is that such people seem to go back and hate stuff they previously claimed to like. The Dark Knight, for example, was beloved when it was first released. But while professional critics still rate it highly, you’ll basically hear nothing but complaints about it from the nerd community these days.

      Again, great points as always. Thanks for your continued readership.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Red Metal

        No problem! I’m always happy to read and comment. Don’t sell yourself short there though; I think your writing style is also good. You’re not afraid to have your own opinions and you express them very well. The internet desperately needs more independent thought, I’d say.

        It’s crazy how people can turn on a once-beloved work, isn’t it? That to me demonstrates a lack of conviction (and possibly a short attention span); these people only latched on to a work because everyone else did and the minute their peers moved on, they’re gone. Actually, have you seen other examples of this phenomenon in action (not counting instances where a work has aged poorly)?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. themancalledscott Post author

        Once again, I completely agree. People think are ready to flock to something because of the hype, and then once that dies down they think it makes them look cool and smart to then dismiss it. It’s a real shame, I still think The Dark Knight is great, and hate to see how it now frequently gets labelled as “overrated” and many worse terms these days.

        And thanks for the compliment. 🙂 I do have a tendency to sell myself short, I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Red Metal

        Overrated is one of those words that gets used way too much these days – to the point where it could mean anything. Plus, it’s not very insightful; there are plenty of works I would describe as overrated that I also think are excellent. A fun game to play when someone uses the word is to erase the sentence it appears in, replace it with, “I don’t like this [work] and everyone who does is an idiot,” and see if it makes just as much (if not more) sense. Other overused words include pretentious (when a person is really complaining that a work displays any degree of intelligence) and literally (enough said).

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s