Movies, Society, and Expectations

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Drew Russom

Throughout the history of cinema, a symbiotic relationship has formed between the silver screen and the many facets of our real world: politics, social discourse, and even enlightening the masses. This is not a unique concept to this generation of film making, but it does seem to be more vocalized in this day and age. Some section of the populous credit this same concept, but with a negative outline to social justice warriors, or SJWs. On Wikipedia, the definition of an SJW is “a pejorative term for an individual who promotes socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, and multiculturalism, as well as identity politics”. This title as an SJW has taken on some multiple connotations, some negative, and methods that have been viewed as counter intuitive to their goal of inclusion to all peoples.

Film studios have come under fire over the past few years with accusations of appealing the SJW with several films that include many characters of varying genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientation, but with no narrative or appropriate characterization. With this mind set, some people would just pass on a film just by the trailer, but is this entirely fair? A quick story, in my late teens the Twilight saga began its long arguably notorious reputation if you ask outside the film’s core demographic. I myself made fun of the series without any actual evidence to prove their inadequacy, so I decided to change that sentiment. I now have seen Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and some of Breaking Dawn part one, and can definitively breakdown what I do not like about those movies.

I will not bore you with a long, and arduous retread of what has already been expressed by many critics, but the short version of the films issues includes: boring protagonists in an unhealthy relationship being poorly acted by unenthused actors. The point is not hop on the hate train for these films, but for me to form my own opinion based on evidence gathered upon viewing the films, which is reverting back to the point of this article. Many people shrug off movies just from the trailers based purely on their own cynicism of Hollywood’s money grubbing ways. While this stance is not unfair, I do ask if it is fair to judge the entire film off of preconceived notions, and a single trailer?

This is a question that I have asked myself once again, since I myself have a great dislike for the main profit driven methods of the mainstream film making community. I do think that Hollywood’s decisions about remakes and their form of inclusion being a nearly transparent marketing ploy for more butts in seats and money. While some films throught out the history of cinema we were intended to accrue the studio more money, those same films have had profound effect upon the audience decades later, Transformers: The Movie comes to mind. Recently I have been hesitant to watch Ocean’s 8 after my being picked up by my parents from Red Box. I originally, had the same hesitance which I had explained earlier in this article, and looked to realign this mind set to a more moderate view.

I can now state whole heartedly, back up with my own experiences of watching this film, that I thought Ocean’s 8 was forgettable film. Don’t get me wrong, it checks all the boxes of a heist movie, and this is not meant to be a full review of the film. I felt that, like any heist film that just is okay, it has stock standard archetypes: the quirky hacker, the one that reluctant one that left that life behind, so on and so forth, with tiny characterizations that set the cast apart. The film also lacks a “All Is Lost” moment in the third act, meaning the characters never have a moment where they might actually lose. Sure they have moments where they stumble, but great comebacks which is what makes us root for our “heroines”.

At the end of the day, I won’t remember this film, but it wasn’t a bad film. Ocean’s 8 will be viewed by others as the mooching of an established franchise that has not had a film entry since 2007. However, I do not agree with this completely; I do feel the film lacked the flare, which is not easily reciprocated in a series. Yet, I still found enjoyment within moments of the film, as well as the twist at the end. My message to the readers, be willing to give something a chance and don’t pass over a film based on outside influences, that is how movies driven by focus groups get made, and everyone loses in the end.

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