Movies Can’t Just be Movies Anymore

Watching a movie should be simple enough, right? A person watches a movie, they get to make up their own mind about what’s going on, what certain elements mean, and why it hits them in a certain way. A person might even allow themselves to think that the director was going for one type of reaction and be confident in the thought that their line of thinking is correct. Those days have been long gone, and yet the old feelings that one opinion might be wrong while the consensus that’s been deduced by those that are supposedly far more knowledgeable about movies and their meanings continue to shout down, gaslight, and otherwise convince people that they know next to nothing about various movies and ideas. In other words, ‘experts’ whose opinions are echoed by those that don’t want to be ostracized by the majority are being accepted as the only truth behind one movie or another. All in all, it’s not that much of an issue since people are allowed to think what they want, but there are moments when an online review needs to be dialed down just a bit, or worded in a manner that allows for a more inclusive line of thinking so that debate can be free and open about one movie or another. 

Where it stems from is the fact that, as fans and audience members, we tend to form opinions about one element or another within many movies that show us ideas that we find provocative and thought-inducing. That’s all well and good since as far as entertainment goes, a person is allowed to think and feel what they want. But when a movie is analyzed over and over and taken apart frame by frame with metaphorical tweezers that take apart and continue to analyze every little part of the story, it becomes less about entertainment and more about the desire to find out what makes it tick to break it down to constituent elements within the movie. 

In other words, a movie can’t just be a movie, it can’t just be entertaining, and it can’t contain an element of mystery and the unknown since many people wish to know every inch of the tale. To be fair, those that want to tear the story apart and work their way through every scene are allowed to do so. That’s their thing, and that’s their prerogative. However, over-analyzing a movie to the degree that its initial meaning becomes something entirely different than what it was meant to be is more than a little irritating. The moment that a director or screenwriter looks confused as to why a critic or a fan thinks one way when they had no intention of delivering such a message to the audience, it becomes obvious that folks have turned the corner when the story was headed straightforward. The situation only worsens when the meaning of a movie becomes something that connects to a negative element of society, an emotion, or something that repels people but still manages to get their attention. Racism is one of the biggest red herrings that has touched many movies over the years, as is sexism. 

A movie can’t be a movie these days, a form of entertainment that people can enjoy and simply watch for what it is. This has, unfortunately, been a reality since cinema was first created, as it’s an element of criticism that has carried over from the old ways of storytelling as the idea that one word, or one phrase, or an entire story can mean something very different than what it was initially intended to. The opinions of the people are what create these different meanings unless the artist in control actually does admit that they were trying to be sneaky or clever by adding in elements that they were hoping people might pick up on. Many upon many storytellers, directors, and screenwriters have added various elements to movies that have helped to paint one story or another to create a tale that is multifaceted and is capable of making people think in various ways to stimulate their opinions and comments. 

Opinions aren’t bad, nor are they always good, since opinion tends to have a very strong effect on one movie after another, and the reaction that many people will have concerning the given movie.  The problem comes when those that are ready and willing to attribute the meaning of one or more elements in a movie to something increasingly negative comes up, and while it’s very true that some movies do manage to connect various elements to said negative ideas, this can take a great deal away from any movie’s main point if it’s not accurate, and not needed. A movie is meant to be a movie unless otherwise noted, as being able to enjoy a movie is the main point of entertainment, and anything else is extra. Watching a movie for the entertainment value it provides is what a lot of people want. 

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