Archives For April 26, 2012

Today, Matt Singer kicked up a bit of a storm of commentary when he wrote a heartfelt post over at his Indiewire Criticwire blog about extremely sexist comments left on a negative review of The Avengers at Rotten Tomatoes.

If you asked me now, I would observe an interesting coincidence: that eighth grade was also the year when I received the harshest bullying of my entire life.

The abuse I endured wasn’t especially serious, but it was serious enough to understand how bad it hurts to be teased or called a name because of how you look or act.  I was less than five feet tall through most of my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I didn’t hit puberty until I was 16. I had big glasses. I wore white sneakers and tapered jeans. I may as well have walked around with a gigantic target on my backpack.

What did I do instead? I found comic books.

What Matt highlights is the message behind many of the very best and most popular comic book properties. These are stories about outcasts, often people who were bullied or suffered traumatic events in their youth, who overcome adversity. These stories are regularly a plea for tolerance and acceptance, of understanding different points of view and coming to terms with those who are different from us. Though they are regularly violent, they usually depict violence as a last resort to stop those who would rather destroy peace than be a part of it. I never really read comic books as a kid, but I was bullied, and I deeply sympathize with Matt’s concerns that these self-described comic book fans have completely missed the point of comic books. Click to read more.

I have been to a number of midnight shows in my time, ranging from Snakes on a Plane to Avatar. I tend to think these “first” screenings lend themselves to some of the best theatrical experiences possible, though it can definitely be a risk. There’s something about midnight shows, a fanatical quality that makes them great but can also make them quite bad.

In many ways, midnight screenings are like the very best film festival screenings. Generally, the people who are willing to drag themselves out to a show, stand in line for a couple of hours and watch a movie until some ungodly hour in the morning are also the people who will be the best audience. Why? Because they actually want to be there. For example, for all this recent talk about allowing texting at the cinema, I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody pull out a phone to text at a midnight screening. That’s the difference between a regular audience where half the people are just there to be passively entertained and a truly excited and engaged audience. Click to read more.