Suicide Squad Still #1 in Box Office; Epic Failure?

Despite people assuming Sausage Party would top the box office last weekend because of its racist jokes that even Carlos Mencia would consider lazy as well as its “innovative satire on religion” that had been done by South Park dozens of times in the last two decades, Suicide Squad came out on top again. That’s not good enough though. It’s still a failure according to professional critics who considered Sausage Party one of the best movies of the year because it has a talking taco as a stereotypical Mexican.

Make no mistake: It had a huge second weekend drop. Know what other movies had huge drops though? Captain America: Civil War. Did critics declare that a failure? Did the fact that The Angry Birds Movie knocked Captain America: Civil War off its number one position in its third week spell doom for the movie? What about how it made much less money than everybody expected, much less than either of the first two Avengers movies despite being considered Avengers 2.5 and despite featuring Marvel’s most popular superhero, Spider-Man? Of course not. Even critics know that would have been stupid, even stupider than the humor in Sausage Party that they consider to be so great and timeless.

To be fair, rather than act as if these huge drops that are occuring to almost all movies this year spell doom for the DC Extended Universe, some are noticing it’s a trend with practically every movie.  Sure, the article suggests  critics have something to do with the majority of movies underperforming this year, despite the fact that even critically well-received movies like Ghostbusters and The BFG did poorly, far worse than anybody except its critics wanted (I predicted The BFG was going to fail and it did; I guess that makes me a psychic who can control people’s taste in movies!). But at least it acknowledged that with the exception of a few animated movies, the cinema just isn’t doing as well as it was. Considering how many sources of entertainment now exist as well as the fact that it’s so much easier to illegally watch movies for free, it shouldn’t be too surprising that people aren’t as interested in paying $10 and up to watch a movie.

I don’t expect Suicide Squad to be number one for a third week, but if it is, I do expect critics to write articles on why that’s still not enough because “it’s actually the fourth week that determines if the general public likes it; the first three weeks are just hardcore fanboys who love Trump! Sausage Party is so edgy, which is ironic, considering I call Suicide Squad fans edgelords!”

Suicide Squad Schadenfreude

Suicide Squad is a box office hit, despite claims that an average Friday to Saturday drop spelled doom for the movie, and critics are pissed!

“Fans, dutiful automatons… whatever you call humans who accept hot garbage sauce as entertainment…”

How many things will the elites get wrong? Donald Trump, Brexit, and now this… Problem is, bad movies are exactly what people sometimes want.”

Okay, so that’s just one critic and one senior associate editor at The Atlantic. There are others, but I’m too lazy to find them right now. They aren’t all outraged that we aren’t listening to them though. Some are following Bugs Bunny’s advice: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” One critic who said that Nine Lives was better than Suicide Squad is now celebrating Suicide Squad‘s success with everybody else. One wrote that “Critics are great because they begin the conversation. They don’t, however, end it.

I would argue that positioning oneself as superior to others, while disregarding their opinions as the blind loyalty of fanboys, is essentially ending any conversation. Obviously, #NotAllCritics do that, and it’s mostly fanboys of critics that deify them, but look at those two quotes I posted. How the hell are any of those fruitful to a mature discussion about film?

Trump is the Godwin of 2016. That The Atlantic believes there is commonality between the right wing and the diverse audience of Suicide Squad. Because I’m sure all the women and minorities who make up a sizable amount of the movie’s audience all support Trump. Meanwhile, Sausage Party, a movie a for white frat stoner bros, is being praised by (white male) critics as “so unwoke that it’s woke.” It’s even scoring higher than Ghostbusters, a movie that people wanted to succeed, not because it was good—ironically, I enjoyed it much more as a movie than critics who treated it as the last bastion of feminism did—but because women need more movies that cater to them. Yet when it comes to Suicide Squad, a movie that both women and minorities enjoy, white male critics are all “Fuck y’all! You have awful taste, ya fanboys! Bow down to my professional opinion and watch Sausage Party!, a progressive movie that one of the few dissenting critics described as bro-y and rape-y! I’m a woke bae like Matt McGorry and Hugo Schwyzer!”

Why am I getting political? Because Ghostbusters changed the game. Watching movies is now a political act. It’s why I am now considered a true feminist simply because I saw a movie I was planning to watch. It’s also why I am now considered a Trump supporter because I watched a movie men who fit the demographic of Trump supporters better than I do said so. It’s also why critics will spin off Seth Rogen’s new comedy as “subversively” progressive. It’s the same “subversiveness” that Always Sunny in Philadelphia displays when Dee is constantly called a bitch or when Deadpool makes gay jokes about having a crush on Hugh Jackman, which references his pansexuality apparently? It’s how you justify liking racist/sexist/homophobic things while pretending you’re above all of that.

Fans have turned on the critics, but it’s strong, fair, and meaningful criticism that could lead to a new, ideally positive direction for Warner Bros. and the DC Comics movies of years to come.”

I would agree if critics didn’t resemble the Angry Video Game Nerd in their opinions so much. I would agree if critics didn’t get pissy when people disagreed with them. Critic fanboys say I should focus on the ones with whom I agree, but you know what? I really don’t care to be influenced by anybody’s opinions, even if we agree.

But I’ve read that it’s not just their opinions that make critics so special—we all have opinions—it’s that they can write them down. I’m a fucking English major, so I know all about writing shit down. I also know about bullshitting, whether to get my point across or to reach the minimum word count. I also know that the people who act as if they’re above the unwashed masses are usually pretty fucking stupid themselves. What can they do that nobody else can? People already rant enough online. Hell, I’m doing it right now. Screw Flanders!

Suicide Squad’s Creator Loves the Movie: Teh Bias?

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Recently, Suicide Squad’s creator, John Ostrander, reviewed the movie based on his comic series. Unsurprisingly, he enjoyed it.

“Of course he liked it! He’s a fanboy! You have to listen to critics. They are teh objective and use science to review movies!”

I disagree. For one, huge DC fans such as “Angry Joe” Vargas did not like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and had no qualm expressing his distaste for the film despite loving Superman. Even Kevin Smith, a DC fanboy if there ever were one, expressed some pretty blunt criticisms of the movie. Like Ostrender says in his Suicide Squd review, if he didn’t like the film, he more than likely wouldn’t say anything.

I also agree with him that critics went into the movie ready to hate it. Why do I think that? Because of all the negative news articles surrounding Suicide Squad beforehand. It’s the same reason why, despite loving Ghostbusters, I wouldn’t call the positive reviews left by critics who were hyping up the movie since the whole controversy regarding its female cast started any less biased than your typical fanboy’s review of a movie they were eager for. When somebody invests themselves into either loving or hating something, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the actual experience usually only serves to confirm their initial impressions. Something has to defy expectations to convert somebody already invested one way or the other. One movie that did that for me was Ratatouille, which I did not expect to like at all. Captain America: Winter Soldier also did for me, as it was unlike what I expected from Marvel movies, which I generally do not enjoy. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice defied expectations for some, but in the opposite way, in that they hated it. Suicide Squad is what you expect it to be, which means it was great for me, but not for media outlets that reported derisively on every bit of news to come out about the film. We were already invested.

James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd, understood this, which is why he refused to review Ghostbusters. People already invested in Ghostbusters, including many critics, criticized him for it, telling him that he was obligated to watch and review it, accusing him of sexism for realizing that if he has zero interest in a movie, he’s probably not going to enjoy it. The irony is that he did the movie a favor by not watching it, because how likely would it have been that he changed his mind? Considering how middling the reviews are, not very likely. That too is a movie that is what you expect it to be. Say he were a reviewer for a corporation that forced him to watch the movie and forced him to write about it. Do you think his review would be kind or even merciful? Very unlikely.

I agree with Ostrander that critics are sick of comic book movies. Marvel is the exception. “What about Deadpool?” People consider that a Marvel movie, even moreso than other Marvel movies made by FOX. Marvel set off this comic book movie craze, and people invested themselves long ago, but with DC coming so late in the game, it’s feeling overcrowded and overdone. It’s why Suicide Squad is criticized for its generic plot while Guardians of the Galaxy and its “generic and confusing” plot is fine, because you’re supposed to “shake off the bonds of narrative coherency” while watching it. It’s why so many articles analyzed the sexism of Suicide Squad while much wasn’t said on how every woman in Guardians of the Galaxy is a subjugated by a man, except for Star Lord’s mother, who gets to be fridged while screaming in what was the worst introduction to a movie I had ever seen. Two of the other three women are killed, and the remaining one may be one of the main characters, but is also a stereotype and an exotic love interest for the white savior who is the leader of the team not because of his competence—Gamora is more competent—but merely because why shouldn’t the white dude be the leader? He saves the day simply with his white male essence! I would like to say that because I went into that movie with zero expectations, I was unbiased and objective—a real scientist!—but the truth is, I don’t like much science fiction  so I admit that history with Marvel and science fiction paints my bias. Regarding those who love it though, you won’t see those issues mentioned or taken very seiously, just like you probably won’t see reviews about Doctor Strange focus significant space on its whitewashing when it comes out. We’re already invested in our emotions.

 

Likewise, while articles are already coming out ready to declare Suicide Squad a failure for a high but still normal Friday-to-Saturday drop in the box office, those same websites have little to say about Ghostbusters‘ failure at the box office. Seems only conservative websites with a chip on their shoulder for feminists and were against the movie before it came out report on it, while the more progressive outlets that defended the movie from the misogynistic attacks have little to say. Nobody’s lying, but when it comes to bad news, people are being a bit quiet about it just like Ostrander said he would be if Suicide Squad had been bad.

Of course the creator of Suicide Squad would be biased toward a movie based on his creation, but so is anybody else who’s kept up. Who isn’t biased?

“What do you know? You’re not a critic! You’re a fanboy! You don’t know science! ”

Perhaps, but if I can’t be believed because I am teh bias, then take it from this woman, a critic! She writes, “If you had a different reaction than I did, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. And my dislike isn’t proof that you’re wrong either. Responses to art aren’t something we win. There isn’t an objective truth out there to be discerned… [Critique’s] not a skill that critics alone possess, nor do we intend to. It’s a tool set that’s available to everyone. Criticism is an invitation to an argument, not the end of the conversation.” Considering that a critic’s word is bond, this should shut down everybody who wants to uphold them as above the biases and subjectivity of mere mortals. To disagree with a critic would be like declaring the world flat! So, which is it? Is the world flat or are critics people as guilty of biases as the rest of us?

Will Critics Destroy Suicide Squad?

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Suicide Squad is breaking records, but with a rotten rating below Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, film buffs are speculating whether it will have legs. The argument goes that people who see it the first week are fans who would preordered weeks ago, which is mostly true, but the second week and beyond will be the general audiences that will determine whether a movie has enough longevity to be considered a success, and critical reception will play a significant role in that.

I disagree with the last part of that statement regarding the influence of critics. Critics don’t matter. At all. Consider two of the freshest movies that hit theaters this year: The BFG, Ghostbusters, and Star Trek BeyondStar Trek Beyond, despite its lovely reception, is not doing so well in the box office, Ghostbusters is already disappearing from theaters and only halfway to breaking even, and The BFG was a big, friendly dud. Critics couldn’t save any of those movies. Meanwhile, The Legend of Tarzan, which critics hated, is doing surprisingly well. Apparently, the awesome power of critics was not enough to cut Tarzan’s legs off.

“But what about Zootopia?” film buffs argue. “The great critical reception made that movie a billion dollars! And Batman v. Superman underperformed because of bad reviews!” This should be obvious to all adults, but correlation is not causation. Zootopia earned its money because it was a great movie that the public loved, while Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was not a movie that a lot of people liked. Just because the public agreed with the critics in these cases does not mean that the critics had any influence on the general public. That’s merely hubris on the part of critics.

Here’s the scoop on critics: They don’t matter, and they aren’t special. “But they’re professionals! They know better than the rest of us!” film buffs ejaculate. Perhaps, but what does that mean? A professional journalist got paid for very wrongly suggesting that Ghostbusters has made back its budget. Guess they have to be right despite completely ignoring the fact that Sony does not receive all that box office money! It’s published, after all! Critics are nothing more than self-proclaimed tastemakers who get paid to give opinions. What makes their opinions so special? Does that mean that the Oscars are correct and that white people and movies about white people are far superior to people of color and movies about them? After all, they’re professionals who know a lot about cinema! We’re just cultureless peons! Of course, people will then argue that biases contribute to that just as male biases contributed to Ghostbusters not receiving a higher fresh rating. So I guess critics aren’t so right when you disagree with them?

Isn’t this blog entry a case of me disregarding critics because I don’t agree with them? I’m sure that influences my rant, but I’ve agreed with critics a few times, and when those movies bombed—Dredd and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, just to name a couple—I found no solace in the fact that critics liked them. That didn’t make the movies successes and guarantee sequels. Hell, I would have preferred Ghostbusters to be considered rotten but make hundreds of millions more than it did than the opposite situation the occurred. That would have pissed off the misogynists far more than having critics, many of whom seemed more intent on sticking it to assholes than on reviewing the movie, giving the movie their blessing. People being willing to pay money to see movies, sometimes even multiple times, matters more than people being paid to give an opinion about said movie.

“What about Transformers? Audiences loved that, but those movies are awful!” Those movies have to be doing something right. The longevity of the series is proof of that. People may pay to see a bad movie once, but they won’t go see a bad movie multiple times. Let’s not forget another movie that was panned by critics when it originally came out: Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m certainly not saying that Transformers will have the lasting appealing of that movie, but if critics were so “wrong” once, then what makes you so sure they are so right now? There’s a narrative that movies like Transformers succeed because the public is brainless, but the irony is that these elitists are the ones who, when critics say “Jump!,” will ask “How high?” so as not to appear “uncultured.”

My point? Audiences and their word-of-mouth will decide whether Suicide Squad is a movie worth watching. Perhaps audiences will agree with critics, and perhaps they won’t. One thing is for sure though: The only people influenced by critics are the ones engaging in their circle jerks and pissing contests on forums and social networks.

The Difference Between Kanye West and Taylor Swift

Ever since Kim Kardashian outed Taylor Swift as the snake she is, bloggers everywhere have had something to say about it. Most take neither side, acknowledging that neither side of the feud is admirable, some take glee that Taylor Swift, or Regina George in sheep’s clothing as Katy Perry once called her, has finally been exposed, and then there are those who see Taylor Swift as the victim.

Take this SPIN article: Let’s Admit It: We’ve Been Waiting for Taylor Swift to Fail. Within the article, it contrasts the way society treats Taylor and Kanye: “When Kanye makes fun of Wiz Khalifa’s pants and takes shots at Khalifa’s toddler son on Twitter, then highlights a years-old feud with Swift in the lyrics to “Famous,” he’s just being plainspoken. Direct… But when Swift (allegedly) refers to old tensions with Perry in the lyrics to “Bad Blood,” she’s a Mean Girl.”

Are you serious? Everybody knows Kanye West is fucking crazy. Some people—such as me—find it funny, but most people find it annoying. People hate Kanye, and people hate the Kardashians. Even his fans call him out on his bullshit. Go on the main forum for Kanye West fans, and although people may call him a musical genius, very few will defend all the crazy shit he says and does.

Can the same be said about Taylor Swift and her fans? Even the writer of the article won’t admit that Bad Blood is about Katy Perry, as if all the coincidences between Taylor’s songs and drama are just coincidences. She does not want to admit that maybe people are right that Taylor Swift is not a very nice person. She wants to write it off as PR mishaps. You may argue that many celebrities aren’t nice nor should they have to be, but many celebrities don’t advertise themselves as America’s sweetheart. That’s the difference. It’s like if a video came out of Kirk Cameron and Charlie Sheen having sex with strippers. Cameron would receive much more flack than Sheen, and rightly so. People aren’t big fans of duplicity, preferring even abrasive honesty—or fake abrasive honesty, as is the case of Trump—and Taylor Swift has made plenty of enemies with Twitter accounts, and I don’t believe in some conspiracy by celebrities to take down Swift. I’m the type of person who believes where there is smoke, there is fire.

Taylor Swift is not a good person. Kanye West is not either. They deserve each other, but whereas Kanye West fans, for the most part, acknowledge his flaws and like him in spite of him, Taylor Swift fans do not accept her as she is beneath the PR. How else could that writer actually think society treats Kanye as “the people’s champ” just to flesh out her narrative of Taylor as the victim? How else can they accept Taylor’s new narrative on “Famous” that clearly contradicts her previous narrative in which she claims Kanye never asked for approval in the first place?

People want to make it a gender thing, and I’m sure that plays a role with a lot of people, but so does race. People hate Taylor Swift for being a woman as much as people hate Kanye West for being black. It should be no surprise that all of the articles I’ve seen in defense of Taylor have been by white people. Meanwhile, a lot of the articles critical of Taylor are by women. Perhaps it’s internalized misogyny as white progressive men love to say when women disagree with them, but here’s something else about those articles: They don’t treat Kanye as some gentle, misunderstood soul who’s actually not that bad of a person. The articles that defend Taylor though? They still believe the glamor. They still think she’s America’s sweetheart. That’s the difference.

Three Things in Suicide Squad You’ll Never See in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe

After critics destroyed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of JusticeSuicide Squad became the movie that needed to prove to the world that DC has a cinematic universe worth watching. Fortunately, it seems up to the task. It’s even projected to surpass the opening weekend box office of the very successful Guardians of the Galaxy! Although we still do not know much about the movie, there are a few exciting things we do know. These are the types of the things you won’t be seeing in a Marvel movie anytime soon.

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A Mexican Hero

Ant-Man may have had Luis, a minor comic relief character whose primary purpose was to be the white protagonist’s friend, but Suicide Squad has El Diablo, a member of the Suicide Squad who is not only Hispanic, but is also one of its most formidable members! Though one may think by his appearance that he is a two-dimensional stereotype of a Mexican gang member and would thus likely appear in the next Daredevil season, he is actually one of the more sympathetic and conscientious characters.

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A Black Woman in Charge

I know what you’re going to say: “What about Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy?” True, she is played by a black actress, but that actress is covered in green body paint as Gamora is not a black woman herself, but an alien. To be fair though, she does play the role that black women often play in movies: the exotic love interest for the white male protagonist. Sure, she may be a more competent warrior and leader than Star Lord, but nobody bats an eye when Star Lord is deemed leader of their group.

In Suicide Squad, however, we have Amanda Waller, who is not only a legitimate black woman—No joke! She’s not a green alien!—but she is actually the leader of the organization that forms the Suicide Squad. Crazy, huh?

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An Asian

Now we get to the really good stuff. As one can infer from Doctor Strange, a movie that takes place in Asia but only has one Asian character in it who just happens to be the manservant of the white male protagonist, there are very few Asians in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Perhaps they will delve into the story of how Asians have went nearly extinct except for the ones who transformed into mindless zombie ninjas, but Suicide Squad will need such backstory: There is an actual Asian woman in the movie! I’m absolutely serious! What’s even more insane is that Katana, a Japanese assassin who plays the bodyguard of Amanda Waller, is actually played by a woman who’s Japanese! You can’t make this stuff up, folks. It’s actually happening. The DC Extended Universe is actually going to acknowledge that Asians exist. Again! (RIP Mercy)

As for Marvel, by the time Kevin Feige realizes that Asia has people in it, Kanye will have entered his second presidential term.

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Now I know what some of you will say. “Aren’t they a bit stereotypical though? That’s kind of racist. They should have cast white people instead. That’s the progressive way to deal with problematic elements in a movie!” Maybe you’re right. Maybe Katana doesn’t need the Japanese flag on her mask. Despite that, I appreciate that Warner Bros. is going to take a chance on heroes not named Chris. Maybe their crazy gambit won’t pay off. After all, considering how successful, both critically and financially, every Marvel movie has been, it’s clear that Disney knows what audiences and critics want and don’t want. Maybe DC’s stubbornness not to have the Suicide Squad be a bunch of white people with a token black man will have people disregarding movie as another dud. We won’t know for sure though until August 5th.

Why The BFG Sucks: Part 1 of 10

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WTF, LMFAO, GTFO, FML, BFD, BFG-900

Just a few of the many acronyms we all know and love today. Unsurprisingly, the F in those acronyms do not stand for “friendly.” Not a single one. Why then did Disney and Spielberg insist on naming their flop The BFG and assume people would associate F for “friendly” in an age when F in acronyms always refers to the F-bomb, which is a different kind of bomb than the movie?

The BFG is the title of the book!” says nostalgic Roald Dahl fans. “If you change the title to The Big Friendly Giant, none of the fans of the book will know it’s the same thing!” Considering that people were able deduce that Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory was based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I think readers would be intelligent enough to at least consider that a movie called The Big Friendly Giant had something to do with The BFG. Meanwhile, everybody else who sees the acronym on a marquee is not going to assume that the movie is about a family-friendly big friendly giant from a book fans insist was insanely popular but is forgotten by everybody else. Besides that, who cares what the book is called? Did pandering to purist fans of the original help the movie not end up as a flop in the same league as Warcraft?

Acronyms evolve just as words do. Emily Dickinson referred to her cat as her “pussy,” but if Disney were to make a movie based on the magical adventures of Emily Dickinson’s cat, do you think they would call the movie “Emily Dickinson’s Magical Pussy” because “cat” would confuse fans of the poet? Of course not. I doubt the word would even appear in the movie. Yet according to so many fans of The BFG, the title was non-negotiable. Well, you got your wish, and the movie has suffered because of it.

Not that the movie would have done much better with a better title. The title is just part one of why this movie is so awful. Expect the next part on my 10-part mini-series on why The BFG is awful really soon!