By Jared Jones
Because the Internet is a perpetually-expanding entity, pretty much anyone can become a quote unquote “movie critic” these days. Take a couple film studies classes in college, watch some Kurosawa to boost your street cred, start up a blog and BOOM: Your opinion is almost important. Hell, our sense of entitlement when it comes to film is so out of whack that a major studio can barely post a 30-second teaser from their new superhero movie before John Q. Livesinbasement posts an EIGHTEEN MINUTE RESPONSE to said clip on Youtube, honestly expecting that people will give two shits about it.
And for a certain period of time, long before Youtubes and Internets, movie studios actually *did* give two shits about what critics thought of their efforts. Getting the Siskel & Ebert stamp of approval on your film was like having Bruce Dickinson tell you that your song had precisely the right amount of cowbell, and while you could always throw a couple dollars at some hack like Pete Hammond to sing your praises, a glowing review could once persuade on-the-fence moviegoers to fork over $5 (movies were cheaper back then) to at least give you a shot. The world was an intellectual, artistic utopia without crime, poverty, or mean people, basically.
But lo, those days are long behind us, my friends. Moviegoing audiences don’t care about whether a movie is “good” or not, they just want to see two giant robots fuck in the woods, or have a guy in a cape/mask/codpiece constantly explain why their latest mission is super complicated and therefore awesome. Audiences have become the critics, which has led to perhaps the most disturbing trend of them all: Fanboy twitter reviews in movie trailers.
Take the above TV spot for Into the Storm, a wicked awesome tornado movie about tornadoes that tornadoed its way into theaters last weekend. Not many people who actually bothered to learn anything about competent filmmaking or storytelling seemed to like it (Tomatometer score: 21%), but no matter, because Twitter user @AsToldByGianna thinks it’s “Amaze-Balls.”
You hear that? It’s amaze-balls, you guys! That’s pretty high praise from the lady who once declared Schindler’s List to be “Totes depressing lolz.”
It’s not that I blame the movie studios themselves for contributing to our cultural ADHD by highlighting one-(made up)word Twitter reviews of their shitty movies. Well, I do, but when you can’t even get a Hammond or a Shalit to whore out a positive review for you, it’s pretty much your only option left. I guess my question is: Are there people out there who are actually influenced by these “reviews”? Like, is there someone, somewhere, sitting on their couch and discussing the pros and cons of a tornado movie about tornadoes with their friends, when this trailer comes on and puts all doubts to rest?
Friend 1: “There’s no way I’m going to see that suckfest, you guys.”
Friend 2: “But…DJKFresh said it was insane.”
Friend 1: “God damn it, you’re right. I’ll get my jacket.”
Thankfully, there are movie trailers out there clever enough to mock our stupidity and the studios/marketing departments who enable it, like the one for The Muppets Most Wanted.
“I’ll prolly go see this.” Classic Fuzzy Ben.
Look, I know that I’m probably making a mountain out of a molehill here, and that most of the twitter accounts used in these trailers are probably fake, but for God’s sake, if you’re putting out a movie that you know is garbage, why even try and convince your audience that it’s anything but? They obviously don’t care — Trans4mers made roughly 20 billion dollars and it was the intellectual equivalent of a turd in a microwave. So for the love of God, Hollywood, please stop acting like a 13-character hashtag counts as a legitimate endorsement of your sub-par product.