Boiling Point: Cheap Shots

Brendan Fraser: The Topic of Boiling PointCritics can be a cowardly lot, though with rabid fans threatening to murder those who view their favorites negatively, maybe everyone should watch their words more carefully. But then this wouldn’t be the internet and this wouldn’t be America, so we can say what we want. People and critics are, of course, free to speak their minds and I won’t hold that against them. I will think less of them, though, as the saying goes “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” One thing I do take exception to, is taking some cheap shots at undeserving films.

A lot of films deserve to get railed on. A lot of films that don’t get railed on should have been. Lately I’ve seen tons and tons of flicks getting positive reviews from major outlets despite the fact that they, in the opinions of many, many people, suck donkey balls. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is well reviewed by many, though many of my friends were angered by it. Movies that feature popular actors or writers or directors seem to be given free passes. What gives? The Dark Knight is an awesome film, but it is really a “cinematic revolution?” No, not if you know the definition of “revolution.”

So there is all this undeserved positivity out there, and I think varying outlets, who shall remain nameless, praise everything from Indy to Spider-Man 3 to exercise (yeah, the damned activity) and who knows what else, feel that to remain credible, they’ve got to blast something out of the water. And they get their cheap shots. They take aim at the actors that have lost a little favor with Hollywood or the hip crowd. They blast The Mummy or Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D (though many reviews were positive, some notable exceptions appeared) or Kevin Costner and Swing Vote. These are movies and actors you’re allowed to make fun of for whatever reason. So instead of being honest, earnest, and hard hitting on a movie that sucks and needs to be told it sucks (Indy, et al), they just wait for a softball and knock it out of the park.

That’s bullshit. That makes me mad. It’s easy to spot. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the number 2 movie in America and makes well over $40 million and it’s “disappointing” and “under performing.” Yes, it made less than the sequel, but it is up against a film that is closing in on the title of top grossing film of all time. Various conservative actors, like Kevin Costner and Tom Selleck, fell prey at various times to these cheap shots. They’re not “mainstream Hollywood” so you can take a swing. No one will care, knock ’em dead. Criticize a media darling and you’re an asshole, knock Fraser down a peg and no one bats an eye. Look at the heat Tom Cruise takes in all the jokes online, despite being an awesome entertainer. Poor Katie Holmes gets torn apart at every turn just for being associated with him. I re-watched Batman Begins – her performance isn’t nearly as bad as people rip about, but hey, she’s an easy target so take it.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just being ignorant. Maybe these people genuinely love the films and aren’t won over by the sweet swag bags handed out by the studios. Maybe for some reason they genuinely hate the films that I and many others love. It just smells fishy to me, is all. You can look at a cast and a crew and tell off the bat whether or not it’s going to be reviewed positively. No, it’s not that they’re perfect, everyone makes mistakes, everyone missteps. But when it’s ok to spit on the floor, you spit on the floor. If you can vent all over a movie without having someone question your sexuality or call your mother names, you do it. All I can do is speak for me and speak my mind. If a movie sucks, I’m going to say it sucks. I don’t care if costs $150 million or the studio comes to my house, spit shines my shoes, rubs my back and bakes me a cake. Some of these movies that are so wildly reviewed and doused in love need a reality check and I’ve got no problem doing it. And on the flip side, if I enjoy the movie, I will praise it. I will show it love I will scratch behind its ears and rub its belly. But right now, I’m not in a loving mood. I’ve seen people take the easy shots and soften the shit out of their negative reviews to give a pat on the back to something, be it people or studios or actors or whatever, for whatever reasons. And I see them take the cheap shots and I’m past my boiling point.

Do you agree? Do some movies get free rides? Are some actors prone to cheap shots? Am I an idiot?

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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