Current Status: Attempting not to let the little things stab my soul.
I mean, upon closer inspection, it’s inconsequential really. Life is generally fairly good right now, despite the awful political climate, minor health quibbles (of my own doing), friends’ tragedies and struggles, handymen nonsense, and the reminders that one’s exes are everywhere at once (e.g., I was recently thoughtfully matched with my ex-boyfriend on Match). I have a roof over my head, food on the table, bills paid on time, a job that grants me some free time to write and edit for a couple of months (horror novel is in the revision stage now), and nice people around to do things with. As soon as I get a quote from handyman #6 (I’m not joking…he’s the sixth I’ve attempted to garner an estimate from), if I hire him, I’ll be broke again, but unlike far too many people these days, I’ve reasonable options and, again, good people around. I won’t suffer, in other words.
I’ve been purposefully holed up in my house this summer so far, but like any writer I suppose, I sometimes have to make an appearance in the outside world in order to seem like a…I don’t know…a sociable human being? I have to connect periodically with those good people I’ve mentioned.
Anyway, to get to the heart of the matter, right after my last search committee meeting, a friend of mine and I went to an early matinee viewing of the latest movie that’s further establishing the great divide between critics and audiences, Hereditary. I’d been anxiously waiting for this film for quite a while. The critics’ hype machine didn’t help matters in that it was another one of those movies like The Witch, It Comes At Night, and It Follows that was being touted as the “scariest” film ever. (How many “scariest” movies could there possibly be when it’s all supposed to end at “scariest”?)… At any rate, I finally got to see it, and I can see why people either love or hate it. I’m definitely on the side of the critics. I don’t think it was the “scariest” film I’ve seen, but it was definitely emotionally traumatizing in its horror. While there were some surreal moments, like the very end, that seemed to stray from the overall atmosphere, I still can’t get some of that imagery, some of those moments, out of my head. It was nightmarish stuff.
Now here’s part of my beef: I don’t like moviegoers around here. I was so lucky my friend and I were among respectful viewers during the movie. We all gasped and whispered to each other during those carefully timed, gut-punch scenes designed to elicit that sort of response. We sat there in the dark, puzzling over the final scene as the end credits rolled. It was a good bunch. That said, I wish I could erase the embarrassment that makes up much of the general movie-going populace. Don’t get me wrong here. It’s perfectly fine to have a positive or negative opinion about a film. However, lately, more often than not, some of the dissenting opinions are so superficial and insulting (sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.), offering absolutely NOTHING of substance, it’s no wonder we still have so many supporting that shallow, childish buffoon in the Oval Office (yeah, I said it, it’s irrelevant, but it’s my blog).
Case in point – I’m in a horror movie fan group online, and right now, there’s a serious discussion happening about Hereditary as it rightly warrants such discourse. We’re mixed in our opinions, of course, but everyone has provided strong points about the film. Our discussion shifted a bit when someone brought up the controversial Rotten Tomatoes scoring (91%) vs. the audience-driven Cinemascore of the film (D-). Then the discussion was promptly derailed by this nugget…
“As a horror fan the preview didn’t even entice me to want to watch it. Not to be to the child (sic) but putting a not stunning cute child to a movie (sic) isn’t a horror movie and Toni’s face always looks like that anyway so meh…”
(Side note: Toni is Toni Collette, who plays the mother)
It angered me quite a bit, and I know I shouldn’t have been angry about it, that it’s just one person’s shallow perspective, but honestly… this woman’s opinion of female faces (she said nothing about the male characters seen in the preview as well) rather than…oh, I don’t know… the actual movie was illustrative of a much larger problem within our culture’s perception of image and representation. Right now, I know the Star Wars fanbase is in the midst of its share of similar toxic troubles.. Hell, stick a girl or a woman with a…a FACE (Whoooo-hoooo! We have faces!)…on just the poster for a film, and she’s sure to get pushback no matter who she is.
Stupid me, I thought we were moving well past this sort of ridiculousness.
Meanwhile, I was grateful to be in good company, for the responses after mine were baffled and annoyed as well. One of them then posted this with the caption “There, I fixed it”:
…and we were finally able to have a giggle and move on (and the OP couldn’t take anymore from us, so she disappeared). Nevertheless, it still stuck with me, perhaps because this was so personally familiar to me, that sort of instantaneous, superficial judgment about a woman (and girl’s) general appearance rather than her performance, her embodiment of the character.
By the way, to the judgmental jackasses, I leave you with one final note…
You’re not even remotely worthy of a Toni Collette.