I was listening to the first of what will probably be a few year end review podcasts over the course of the next week and some change. Politics dominated most of the conversation, but there were moments that broke away from the gravitational pull of the massive s%&# show that was the 2016 election. At one point, one person made a statement, and another agreed, about how this year we got a lot of shows like Stranger Things and Westworld that received a lot of praise but really turned out to be not good. And I’m like wait, what? I thought we were on the forefront of a television renaissance? Seeing the rise of several original and diverse shows? When did it become that everything is bad now?
My reasoning for this post isn’t based off this one podcast’s comments alone. Over the past year or so I’ve taken notice of what I guess you could call a rise in mixed reviews on everything. It seems like I hear that something is amazing and next thing it’s terrible, and vice versa. Here a few points I think contribute to that.
The Age of the Innanets
Plain and simple, everyone one has a platform on the internet now so there is a huge spike in visibility of people’s opinions.
The Critical Eye
Folks tend to take a more detailed look at entertainment now than before, especially comic book and pop culture related. I don’t think it’s inherently good or bad, just an observation. For example, there are hoards of Youtubers that analyze every frame of movie trailers. Just the trailers! Not even the whole movie! Turning a 40 second clip into a 10 minute long commentary. Which I must admit I am guilty of watching, but only via Mr. Sunday Movies. People aren’t just watching to watch anymore, they’re looking for every detail.
Everybody Too Nitpicky
Everyone from your neighbor’s kid to that guy in your office are “highly qualified” movie critics. (Jay Sherman is the only critic I recognize). People expect everything to be 100% perfect. Find a couple of things they don’t agree with it gives them authority to deem something terrible. “I think this scene could have been shot better, it ruined the whole film for me.” Shut Up! Where are your credentials?
Main movie coming to mind now is the Ghostbusters remake. A movie that I found to be quite enjoyable. It was funny, the cast was great, action and special effects were dope. What else do you need from a movie? Reviews I saw basically echoed my opinion, but then they would nitpick about a couple of things. “I don’t think this one joke landed well. A couple of ghosts felt out of place. I didn’t really care for the after credit scene, therefore, this is a terrible movie.” WTF!!?? How can you say overall how enjoyable and good a movie is, bring up so many things it does right, then nitpick a couple of minor points to justify calling it a terrible movie? Sway I ask thee how?
That type of stuff happens a bit too often for my taste. It’s a movie, none are perfect, you can go through classics and find something small to complain about, (check CinemaSins for proof) that doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. I don’t know why folks are so afraid to just call something good…or maybe it’s intentional?
Contrarians & Your General Haters
Now that I think about it, some people like to disagree with the masses as a way to make themselves look more informed and distinguished than others. Just like every snobby guy trope on TV. “Yes yes, Mozart and Bach were OK for what they were, but if you really want to listen to some genius music, you have to listen to this obscure person no one has ever heard of.”
The contrarian title does not work in the case of Ghostbusters, but it does in why someone would make a statement that all TV from this year was terrible. Discrediting popular entertainment (from music to movies) as a way to make themselves feel superior. Nothing wrong with not liking or disagreeing with something, I’m not attacking anyone for that. But there’s something different when you say a body of work was good and interesting at the beginning, kinda of ‘meh’ in the middle, but ended great and somehow it’s still completely terrible. That’s hate my man. Get that out ya system and leave it in 2016.
My last observation is kind of on the other end of the others. I get that things are often oversold. People get really excited about something and present it as the best thing since free porn and you have a certain level of expectations. A level that will likely not be met (unless it’s porn you get paid to watch). I myself have been guilty of this. Specifically with music. Over hyped a song as the best this year by far and cats gave me the look like “the joint is ok, but it aint all that.” Then they dismiss it. All the hype makes them go in with unrealistic expectations and get let down.
Bottom line, its hard to tell what is supposed to be deemed as good these days if you go by what everybody else is saying. And the innanets gives everybody a louder voice so its impossible to ignore. Folks tend to be highly critical for the sake of being critical and everybody is an expert with no credentials. On the other end there are a lot of dreams being sold out here too. Some might need to tone their comments down a bit, but it would help to keep your expectations in check. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. Might not be stellar, amazing, or even great, but that doesn’t make it terrible. So just give it its just due.