Number 5: Religious Films
Yup. I can see the hate flowing in already. Look, my issue with religious films, most notably Christian films, is not that they exist. My issue is with how bad they are and how many people still go out an see them. The filmmakers of this genre have realized that their audience is far and away the most gullible movie-going audience out there, and thus they have thrown quality to the wind in order to make as many films where the Christian guy wins (wins, mind you, he must somehow emerge victorious over his religious-hating adversary) as humanely possible. Even major filmmakers, like Ridley Scott, have caught onto this trend. Do you really want to try to make the case that Exodus: Gods and Kings was not a cash-grab? You really want to try to do that? The other big-budget religious film, Noah, was at least ok. But that was the best that the genre offered in 2014. Decent. And Noah was probably only decent because the massively underrated Darren Aronofsky was its director. But, also, remember the part where Christians were up in arms for the "historical inaccuracy" of Noah? They didn't go see the best film their genre had to offer in 2014 because it wasn't religious enough. That. That right there signifies everything wrong with the genre. Those same people I'm sure also trudged on out to the incredibly bad Son of God, God's Not Dead, Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas, (Ugh...just muttering that movie's name gives me shivers) and the only-somewhat-bad Heaven is for Real. Those are just to name a few. Why? Because we have this need for our films to remind us of our faith! And, as long as the hate-filled religious hater is defeated at the end, then I'm happy! So, what am I really saying about this? Of course a religious genre is going to exist. Some of the best films in the history of cinema have come out of this genre. I would give anything to go back to 1956 and watch The Ten Commandments and be utterly amazed as Noah parts the Red Sea. That scene is still one of the best scenes in the history of cinema. Hell, I am listening to Dreamworks Animation's Prince of Egypt that came out in the 90s as I'm writing this. (Seriously, the music to that film is INCREDIBLE) Those were the days of quality. But the genre has become such a cash cow now. The filmmakers of the genre have figured out a formula to get Christian movie-goers to come out and see a film, and as a result they have thrown anything resembling quality out the door in order to achieve this formula. And the moviegoers of the genre, who already believe their faith is coming under fire from all sides and immediately become defensive when you say something negative about it, will not listen to anyone who will tell them that the best way to end these cash-grabbing religious flicks is to....wait for it......not go out and see them. We as consumers have power in the entertainment! It's called our wallets. But I think it's safe to say that won't be happening anytime soon, especially since Heaven is for Real, God's Not Dead, and Son of God rank 5-7 (respectively) ALL-TIME at the box office in the religious genre. Yup. I wish I was making that up. While I see no end in sight for this genre, I think there may be some hope for number 4's problems.
Number 4: Two-Part Finales
Ok. So I just pissed off everyone who enjoys the travesties that are Christian films. Who's ready for me to piss off fans of young adult novels? I AM! Guys. Let's have a real talk about an incredibly INCREDIBLY scary and rapidly growing trend that's happening in Hollywood: the two-part finale. Or, in Peter Jackson's case, the THREE-part finale! This trend really started with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. I remember walking out of that theater for part 1 and getting back in the car of my RA (cause I was a wee little freshman at the time) and I said "I hope this doesn't become a trend in Hollywood, because that was completely unnecessary." Well, I was right about that second part. They are still COMPLETELY unnecessary, though they have become significantly more popular than they once were, much to my dismay. But seriously: look me in the eye and tell me that The Hobbit 2 wasn't anything short of a waste of time. Tell me that something important happened in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 that couldn't have happened in a single finale. Struggling to find the words? Well, that's because, from a movie perspective, these things SUCK. And, while I'm disappointed in a large part of the Oscar nominations for 2014 (don't worry, we'll get to that) I am glad that they got together and only gave a total of one nomination to these two films, despite the fact that Mockingjay Part 1 was the top-grossing movie of 2014, and The Hobbit 3 was the 6th. And the Academy had a chance to bring Lorde out to the Oscars for Yellow Flicker Beat and didn't because of their prejudice against this unnecessary trend. But I can't be mad at them for this because, after all, it is an unnecessary trend, and they SHOULD be prejudice against those movies because they exist for exactly one reason and one reason only: MONEY. This is why I, Enter the Movies, will take this moment to officially declare that from here on out I will not review Part 1 of two-part finales when they are released. I am doing what everyone should do with these movies: speaking out with my wallet. I will watch Part 1 on Netflix the day before Part 2 comes out and then go watch/review Part 2 as if it were its own movie. Sorry, Divergent fans, but this boycott starts with your finale and will extend to all other films that cash-grab with this horrible system. The tribe has spoken. Will I stand alone? Please join me. Together, we can end this. I mean, to be fair, everything happens in Part 2 anyway so you're still going to be waiting a year for it to be released regardless of whether you see Part 1 the day it comes out or not. So wait to see Part 1 when it is inevitably released on Netflix a month before Part 2 is released! Then, you're only waiting a month after the inevitable cliffhanger of Part 1 makes you want to go out and see Part 2 the day it comes out! WOAH. MARKETING STRATEGIES. And don't even get me started on you, Peter Jackson. Actually, you know what? I'm gonna do it anyway. F*ck you. How dare you decimate the beloved Lord of the Rings franchise with your THREE Part Hobbit cash-cow? HOW DARE YOU??? You know, all three of these movies were horrible. And Part 3 managed to piss me off in the first 20 minutes when they completely resolved the TOTALLY UNNECESSARY cliffhanger in Part 2 IMMEDIATELY. I mean, can you imagine if The Two Towers had ended with Aragorn and crew getting ready to charge out of Helm's Deep with Gandalf getting ready to charge over the hill? Just a random cut to black? YA. Would've been a little pissed off right? Shame on you, Peter Jackson. Shame on you. Anyway I digress...
Number 3: #OscarsSoWhite and The Lego Movie oversight
Ahhhhh this year's major Oscar categories. You suck. Well....ok. You're not bad, but you're not good either. It's not about who's nominated. After watching all of these performances I can tell you everyone deserved to be nominated short of Meryl Streep for Into the Woods for Best Supporting Actress, and Robert Duvall in The Judge for Best Supporting Actor. But, do you see a trend with this list? Ya. This is the first time since 1998 where there is not one person of color on the entire list. Now, you could make the argument that there were not too many high-profile African American movies out there this year. This is a true statement. However, the main one that WAS on out there got completely snubbed by the Academy. And, given the fact that it is FAR AND AWAY one of the best films of the year is why this is so huge a controversy. Selma. Look. Say what you want to say about its historical inaccuracies, but Selma got completely screwed by the Academy. Why? Well, I went into it in my review, so if you want to read my in-depth analysis you can click here, but here I'll just say for no real honest reason. The Academy had a chance to nominated the first EVER African-American woman to the Best Director category, (who, coincidentally, is the ONLY high profile African American woman director in Hollywood right now) but instead you nominated Bennett Miller from Foxcatcher? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? And no nomination for David Oyelowo??? You mean to tell me, with a straight face, that Bradley Cooper's performance in American Sniper was better than Oyelowo's in Selma? What about Eddie Redmayne? Really?? There's a whole host of missteps here. What about Carmen Ejogo for Best Supporting Actor? Over Meryl Streep? I mean c'mon! I'm honestly worried that the Academy, after giving 12 Years a Slave a very undeserving Best Picture award last year, threw their hands up and said, "Ok! We're good! We don't have to worry about African American films for a while!" But, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. They're better than that. They must be. Now, there were other major oversights at the Oscars this year. Most notably Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year (I mean Felicity Jones? Really?) and Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler (also far better than Bradley Cooper) but to me these pale in comparison to the oversight of Selma. And, for what? Because of the movie's interpretation of LBJ? Ya. I got news for you. LBJ's good. There's enough in the history books on LBJ that his legacy is not going to be tarnished by how Selma fits his mold into their story.
Also, the other HUGE oversight by the Academy is The Lego Movie. Now, I should preface this by saying I have not seen many of the nominations this year for Animated Features, but I have seen The Boxtrolls. The freaking Boxtrolls?? Over The Lego Movie? ARE YOU SERIOUS? And then you give the song a nomination instead? That's just insulting: a one-note song meant to be a very sharp and smart satire on how much our society enjoys formula in music nowadays, and it gets nominated for Best Song of the year. Ironic too, if you ask me. But The Boxtrolls? Really? That's laughable. Go home, Academy. You're drunk.
Number 2: Historical Accuracy and Film
Sigh. I don't even want to talk about this anymore. I've engaged in numerous conversations with various people about this topic, and in particular how American Sniper interprets history, and it basically comes down to this: if you identify with the right, you love this movie and think it's the greatest. If you identify with the left, then you think what American Sniper did is borderline criminal. I personally identify with the left. So everyone who is on the right is either not going to read the rest of this or read it but not pay attention to it and still call me wrong. So, why bother, right? I'm just preaching to the choir, essentially. Why waste my breath with this? Well, look. Here's my two cents from someone who identifies with the left but likes to think he's pretty moderate in today's time: movies are rapidly becoming the final say for how history interprets events. Why? Well, because most of our society watches movies now over reading books. The Iraqi War is a huge instance where the facts are hidden behind heaps of political BS. There are even still people in this country who fully believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We didn't, guys. This is a fact. Multiple reports released by our own government confirm this fact. So, when a film like American Sniper comes out and is based in as much inaccuracy as it is, there is going to be huge controversy surrounding it and the people that are foolish enough to interpret its story as the truth. Yes, the movie is based off an autobiography of Chris Kyle. However, Chris Kyle was himself grossly misinterpreting the facts that were happening around him. That's just the hard truth. Now, do you hear me saying something negative about our military as a whole when I say Chris Kyle was a rather messed-up individual? No. Am I saying that we should've just stood by and let Saddam Hussein continue his reign of terror in Iraq? No. And those are interpretations that a lot of people are making when they have no right to do so. I'm not saying any of those things. The courage the members of our military has to do what they do is indescribable. I will openly admit that I do not have that sort of courage, so I have an incredible amount of respect for them as a result. Does that have ANYTHING to do with American Sniper as a movie? NO. NO IT DOES NOT. The problem with this movie is this. (link to Tweets about killing Iraqis) This should not be how you feel when you leave a movie. And yet, this is how many Americans feel after leaving American Sniper. And this is not how the war happened. This is my problem with American Sniper. And I'm ashamed that both sides of the coin are not having any issues with American Sniper generalizing the Iraqi population as Islamic Extremists. This is not historically accurate, and I am insulted that American Sniper choose to make this generalization for the betterment of its drama and content. Do movies make leaps like this for the betterment of their story? Yes. Was LBJ a huge racist as Selma portrayed him as? No. And we have plenty of documentation, including from MLK HIMSELF and other members of the march on Selma that this was not even remotely true. Are right-wing conservative sites coming out and reminding their readers that not every Iraqi wanted to go out and kill as many American soldiers as possible? NO. No they are not. What's wrong with you guys? Clint Eastwood, you should be ashamed that you are not talking about this. Shame on you, Eastwood. Shame on you.
Number 1: The Sony Hack
You guessed it! The Sony Hack. This was scary for a little while, guys. But this was the biggest act of cyber terrorism our country has seen yet. And the fact that I have to use the word "yet" there is scary in and of itself. While the hack was funny for a little while (though not at all to the people that were involved with it) it took a very dark turn in those last few days. But here's the other thing I want to talk about. I'm on people like Aaron Sorkin's side with the coverage of the hack. Look....I'm about to make a broad statement that will probably upset some of you, but it's the hard truth that we don't want to admit: why does anyone do anything negative nowadays? What's their number one motivation? Why do people attack schools and commit acts of terrorism? Attention. They know their face will get on the news. They don't care that it's in a negative fashion, they just want their 15 minutes of fame. Media outlets have long struggled with the ethicality of publishing a school-shooter's identity and talking about him. And yet they do. Why? Because we watch it. We click on it. The articles that came out of the Sony hack were always publicized by media outlets because they generated more clicks than anything else they posted that day. And that's messed up. Our society is messed up. This thought is likely 10 years ahead of its time, but we really need to, as a society, calm the f*ck down. Those Sony hackers made national news daily for a ridiculous amount of time. Do you have ANY idea how many people they likely inspired to try and follow in their footsteps because of it? What if the media had covered the hack for a day and then let it go? What if all the stories that the hackers created were just ignored? Why do we have to know that Sony and Marvel were in talks to bring Spider-Man into the Avengers franchise? Does it really matter? NO. But we click on it, and as a result the media publishes it. I know I fell victim to reading some of these stories. I mean, we want these hype pieces as soon as possible. Instant gratification is a huuuuge trend amongst the younger generations. But, we as a society failed to see the damage it was doing to Sony, and why it was happening. Would you personally have been happy with all your dirty laundry being leaked to the general public? I doubt it. Yet we have no problem with reading someone else's dirty laundry. We love it. This is a seriously messed up trend that has been occurring for years and years and years that needs to STOP. So, let's work together. The next cyber-terrorism attack that occurs, can we please stand up and say we don't want to know? If nude pics of Jennifer Lawrence get leaked can we as a society please stand up and say we don't want to see that? When Paramount, or Warner Brothers get hacked and all their dirty laundry gets released, can we please stand up and say we don't want to see it? PLEASE? Probably not. But I think this mindset will slowly become infused with the country as the years go on. I believe in you, America! You can do this!
http://static.businessinsider.com/image/54623e3b6da811747f1952e9-1200/image.jpg (The Interview)
Well, there you have it. The 5 biggest controversies of 2014. The one honorable mention here is the Snapchat leak. That was another major cyber-terrorism attack that should never have taken place. I just hope these attacks generate less and less stories as time goes on. Anyway, next up is the 5 best movie moments in 2014, so look for that in the coming days! Thanks for reading and I love you all! DEUCES.
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