Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Movie Respect

Originally written August 28, 2004

I recently went to the movie Hero with two good friends and had an epiphany right in between an “awww daaaaammmmnnn” and “yeah! kick his ass.” I was thinking of leaning over and adding to the conversation a “you got served, bitch,” but thought better of it because of a fear of “getting served” myself. Also, considering I was in a public place, and didn’t really want to get beat up or provoke more unwanted commentary I decided to keep quiet and try to enjoy the movie.
The epiphany part is thus: the general viewing public has no business going to movies which are above their intellectual level or dealing with a culture that they know nothing about. I say this because I am bitter, and was offended that I could not watch the movie in peace and quiet. I would say that my epiphany is justified by the fact that all the people that should enjoy such a movie appreciate the artistic value of elaborate, fantastical martial arts. But, it’s not just in this one movie. It happens frequently when you have a diverse population that thinks it’s okay to treat the theater as their personal living room.
It happened to be an excellent piece of cinematography; story-telling with great symbolism. Firstly, the movie was entirely in Chinese with English subtitles. This usually deters many from considering seeing a movie. Such that one friend turned to me and groaned when he realized it would all be subtitled. I turned back and whispered, “it’s a good thing you go to F&M where they assume you know how to read.” I don’t really have a problem with people whispering comments during movies because it’s a natural American thing to do: you see something; you speak your mind, no matter what. On the other hand, it just seems like bad taste when you keeping hearing audible conversations (not comments), cell phone calls, and things such as “yeah, yeah, ooooh, ahhh, holy crap….daaaaaammmmmnn,” during every choreographed fight scene. I mean, one would think it simple to keep these noises inside to one’s self.
The movie did have a good deal of fighting, but it wasn’t gratuitous, and served its purpose, considering it was a war movie about China’s union from provinces into one nation. So, unfortunately the emotion shown before and after the heroics will go unremembered by the jeering audience who will most likely just think of it as “fight movie.” This is regrettable because the movie did a great job of moving from love, to hatred, to sorrow, and to pride.
So, if you are still following my train of thought, let’s jump cars for a moment. These disrespectful people, I believe, are a key reason why Americans, in general, have a bad reputation outside the country and don’t end up voting. Let’s try to connect the dots about the conduct in the theater. A Foreign, subtitled movie, and a lack of cultural understanding evidently translate into a lack of respect or discipline from an uneducated and uncultured audience. With voting there is apathy among the younger generation who does not see how voting can change anything, and therefore has a lack of respect for the process of democracy. Honestly, how hard is it to vote, or be quiet in a movie theater? Not that the two go hand-in-hand, but two acts that require minimum effort should be easy enough for anyone to handle.

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