Originally this article was going to be titled “Hey Old People, Quit Ragging On Us and Die Already” but I like some old people. And some seniors aren’t total killjoys. Rewind. This is a quasi-response to Roger Ebert’s Kick Ass review which did a couple of things worth of rage. Number one, it gave away some major story elements. Not cool. Second, he put on his silly old man britches and called Kick Ass morally reprehensible and said he doesn’t want to exist in a world where people like this kind of thing. If I could for a moment quote him:
Shall I have feelings, or should I pretend to be cool? Will I seem hopelessly square if I find “Kick-Ass” morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point?
Ebert is entitled to his opinion, of course. Many critics have said similar things in jest, along the lines of “I don’t want to be friends with anyone who likes this movie.” That’s fine. I hate most spoof movies, but I don’t really refuse to associate with those people who want to watch them. That’s just weird. A movie can offend people. I get it. I understand that sometimes watching a movie can upset you. But movies are fictional. They’re make believe. They shouldn’t upset you too much, because, you know, they’re fake.
Ebert has been a movie critic for 43 years. In 1980, at the age of 38, he and Siskel spent 30 minutes talking about how horrible Friday the 13th was. Ebert would never come around to enjoying “dead teenager movies” and, whether he’s 38 in 1980 or 67 in 2010, he hasn’t managed to come to grips with some the idea that movies are fictional and some people are entitled to like different things. I’m sure he understands that, but when insulting audiences who enjoy certain movies, perhaps he just doesn’t care.
Anyway, this isn’t supposed to be anti-Ebert. It’s supposed to be anti-Old People. Kidding. It’s anti-people who can’t get it in their heads that fucked up films are entertainment, not bibles. Can a film be morally reprehensible if no one is basing their morals off of it? I can almost guarantee that no one walks into a movie like Kick Ass, or a film called Kick Ass, to learn a life lesson. Who cares if a kid says cunt? Who cares if there is fictional violence against children or by children? It’s fake. It’s presented in a humorous light. We’re allowed to laugh.
Kick Ass is based on a violent comic book. The movie would do a disservice to everyone if it were any less violent. Would an adaptation of The Heart of Darkness (like Apocalypse Now) benefit from getting rid of some of the killing? Taking out anything objectionable? Sounds like it would suck to me.
This movie, and movies like it, are Rated-R. Restricted. No children. The theater and the studio can’t do anything more than that. It’s a parental issue if you’re concerned about kids seeing this – though you should be just as concerned about kids seeing any violent film. Perhaps even more so of realistic films that don’t involve spandex and slow motion.
Look, everyone hates what the next generation loves. Your grandparents hate the music your dad listened to. Your mom hates the movies you love. You’re going to think the stuff your kid reads is pure trash. That’s just the way it is. Times change, tastes change. You have to accept that. In this day and age, we’re a pretty savvy generation. We can readily identify fictional materials. I see Batman jump off a building, I know that’s fake. I see Nic Cage shoot his daughter in the chest, I know that’s a bad idea. I hear kids say cunt and watch simulated rape on screen. It may make us feel uneasy. It may make us hate those characters. But when the lights come up, they’re just characters in a movie. Or drawings in a book.
You hear me, you old farts? Lighten up and let us enjoy what we want to. You don’t have to pretend to be cool or like what we do or even understand. You just have to let us. We don’t shit on your porch for liking boring black and white films, sarsaparilla, and The Smothers Brothers. So give us a break when we watch ultra violent flicks, cheer for naked sluts getting stabbed, and listen to music that says fuck the police. We are not mindless drones being programmed by media. Not to sound conceited or like a huge ass, but in a way, we’re smarter than you.
Entertainment is such a massive part of our lives that we’re bound to understand more than the generation before us. We’ve grown up with TV, matured with the internet, and pushed back on the censorship of the Cold War era. The entertainment era is ours now and we can enjoy it how we want. And how we want to enjoy it is without your patronizing words and your moral high ground. Give us a break. Fiction is fiction. Personal tastes are personal. You didn’t like it – fine. But don’t intentionally ruin it for others and don’t take some false superior high ground because it offended you. Lots of stuff is offensive, though some old geezers who knew what they were talking about 230 years ago made sure that just because some people got offended it didn’t mean we stopped the presses.
You like what you like. I like what I like. I don’t hold that against you, out of touch old people, so don’t hold it against me. I’m going to watch dirty nasty stuff and laugh about it, then walk the dog because fiction doesn’t warp my mind. So while I’m okay with little girls with dirty mouths and ultra-violence, what I’m not okay with is out of touch geezers not understanding that fiction is fiction and thus not that serious. Any time I hear one of these Depends-users get on my case for what I like, I hit my boiling point.
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