So, I’ve been wondering this for a while now. I wasn’t sure how to write this up either and have gone through it in my head many times. Then I stumbled onto this part from a Suicide Squad review:
“In my sensible critical opinion, Suicide Squad wasn’t a complete disaster, but inexcusably mediocre. To be fair, the audience I saw the film with appeared to love every frame: big laughter, cheers for the action and clapping as the credits rolled. Is there a disconnect between critics and audiences?”
Now, I’m not going to touch on the question because I have another one. Are people disconnecting themselves from movies, shows, and books before they even start? I’ve seen so many people swear that something will be bad for months and then they begrudgingly indulge. SURPRISE! They didn’t like it for exactly the reasons either they said or the critics declared. Sometimes word for word too when they put up their social media announcement that they were right.
It seems like it’s a lot more difficult to entertain people these days. Solid opinions are being made off the promotional material, which creates a bind for an artist out to only entertain the audience. The goal changes from entertaining people to changing their established opinion, which you never knew prior to finishing whatever it is you put out there. You can’t do anything about that. It’s entirely on the head of the reader/viewer to let their opinions being influenced by the final product. This is for better or worse, but I see more people holding true to their original opinions as if changing is a horrible sign of weakness.
Honestly, I’m still confused on why people go to see a movie or read a book that they already claim to hate. You tend to search for problems that will justify your previously established opinion, which becomes your focus instead of giving the story a change to entertain you. I’m pretty sure I’ve done it in the past, but I’ve spent the last few years sticking to stuff that interests me. Honestly, the first ‘Game of Thrones’ book is where I had a preexisting opinion and tried to read it, but failed miserably. The series was described to me as ‘every character you love will die’ and that caused me to look for reasons to give up. I learned my lesson there and have been pickier about what I watch and read now. Also, who I listen to. This means I miss out on some blockbusters and end up at odds with people who hate the movies that are cool to hate on, but I don’t waste 2-3 hours of my life on something I didn’t have any intention of enjoying.
And that’s part of the ‘problem’ that I think I see. Many people don’t enter fiction with the intention of enjoying the escape and having fun. They set out to analyze and put their ‘findings’ on the Internet to prove whatever they were saying before. This isn’t even to hate what they’re looking at because you can go to the other side too. I can probably sum this up with this:
Now, this is coming from an author who writes to entertain first and a viewer/reader who does so solely to relax. Sure, I’ll get into an analysis discussion after I have fun, but I like to be in the moment when it comes to fiction. Just drift away and go on the adventure because I’m tired of thinking about bills, my exhaustion, deadlines, and all the other stresses of my life. Adding a goal to rip whatever I’m enjoying to shreds kind of defeats my purpose. This is just me though and I do think a person shouldn’t be forced to like something. Yet, we should give these things a chance instead of going in with a critical agenda. Going back to that review segment: Critics are paid to analyze a work while the audience pays to have fun. That’s how I see it. You can have overlap, but it seems silly to hand money over for something you plan on hating.
Maybe I’m naive and missing the modern day point of everything. I remember going to a summer blockbuster every weekend and having a blast. There was no bombardment of trailers, clips, opinions, predictions, actor contracts, future releases, etc. I saw what was out, picked a showing, and went to have fun. Fiction has always been a source of fun for me. Probably why I skip some big movies that don’t hold my interest and why I have so few movies that I regret seeing. So, I guess I’m missing the modern point of fiction if it’s no longer to have fun and leave reality behind for a few hours.
(I’m really hoping there isn’t too much of a fuss in the comments. I’ve gotten into this fight on FB a few times. So, let’s try to be civil.)