Summer brings many wonderful things: warmth, trips to the beach, drinking in the daylight, bikinis, and summer blockbusters. Unfortunately, summer also brings many terrible things: crippling heat, overcrowded beaches, drunken idiots, fatties in small swimsuits, and summer blockbusters.
See, it’s a joke – some summer blockbusters are awesome, some are terrible. All of them, however, are designed to be fun, something many in the critical community can abide or swallow without gagging. Soon you’ll start seeing phrases like “a real summer movie” or “mindless summer fun.” You know what I call movies like that? Regular fun.
What’s wrong with having fun in a movie theater – and admitting it? Why, if a movie is simple yet entertaining, do we focus on the fact that it’s simple. Is Jaws a complicated movie? Is Alien? Are 90% of Westerns anything more than good guy kills bad guy? No, they’re not. Simple is good. Simple is fine. Simple is fun.
Transformers is a just barely rotten 57% on RottenTomatoes.com while its follow-up, Revenge of the Fallen, is a dismal 20%. But you know what, I thought they were fun. Robots beating the shit out of robots and blowing up buildings. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. It’s worth noting that each film is viewed very positively by the audience, at 89% and 76% respectively. What is wrong with the situation is perfectly exemplified by Joshua Starnes’ review at ComingSoon.net: The people Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was made for will like it for what it is.
That sounds like a pretty successful movie to me.
It accomplished what it set out to do and even its critics admit that there are plenty of people out there who loved it, and they’re the ones it was aimed at. It’d be kind of like me shitting all over VeggieTales for not being stimulating enough while a roomful of children laughed and learned or some bullshit.
Fast Five is currently kicking ass at the theaters, raking in a grip of money and earning a 91% fresh rating from audiences. Somewhat surprisingly, it has also earned a 79% fresh rating from critics. Unsurprisingly though, many critics have felt the need to distance themselves from the film for fear of appearing to like something so uncomplicated so much. Matt Neal of The Standard gives the film three stars, but calls it “dumb” and “mostly substanceless.” Matt Brunson gives the film a positive 2.5 stars and calls it the best of the series, while adding the caveat that that’s not saying much at all.
It’s shocking, really, to read the reviews of all the critics who liked the movie, since they use words like dumb, stupid, loud, competent, lackluster, silly, and absurd. It’s like Thanksgiving with the family – yeah, they love you, but would you shut up, pass the mashed potatoes, find a girlfriend and get a real job already?
Why must we hang our heads in shame over what we like? Why can’t good be good enough? Why aren’t we rewarding films for being entertaining? What is the difference between Good Good and Dumb Good? We’re not talking about watching MegaShark vs DinoDuck, something that is so laughably horrendous that it’s unwatchable. We’re talking about movies that are coherent, well made, visually stunning, and endless entertaining. Just because your brain wasn’t taxed or Christopher Nolan didn’t direct doesn’t mean the film is bad or stupid or silly or absurd.
We’re all afflicted by this curse. I, seemingly alone, liked Your Highness. When asked about the film I look to the floor and say “Yeah I kind of liked it…” Was it great? No. Did it challenge me? No. But was I entertained? Yes. Did I laugh out loud? Did a minotaur’s dick hit Danny McBride in the face? Did we see Natalie Portman in a chastity belt? Yes on all counts. So fuck hanging my head – I thought that film was funny. I was entertained. Suck my dick, world.
Even now, as I write this, Twitter and water-cooler conversation debates the merits of a film like Fast Five. Plenty of people are saying it’s an entertaining film and giving it good reviews, 3s out of 5s and 7s out of 10s, but in the same breath calling it awful, absurd, stupid, or a guilty pleasure.
You know what I say to you? Quit being a bitch. My bookshelf has Stephen King next to Lovecraft next to Bukowski next to Milton next to Shakespeare next to Poe next to a stack of comic books and a photo book called “Hot Chicks with Douchebags.” My DVD shelf has the limited collector’s edition of Gone With the Wind near Predator 2 near The Maltese Falcon near Abominable near Bad Boys II near Alien Apocalypse near Unforgiven. I’ve got a poster of Jaws, King Kong, For a Few Dollars More, Halloween and Friday the 13th Part 3.
Who. Fucking. Cares. What entertains us, entertains us. Make no apology for what you like. Feel no guilt over enjoying something that isn’t cerebral. Forget the opinion of anyone who would look down upon something so trivial as a movie that makes you laugh or gets you excited. Go see Fast Five. Go see Your Highness. Go see fucking Prom. Go see The King’s Speech. Who the fuck cares? Assholes, that’s who. Stuck up pretentious assholes who send me right past my boiling point.