Sunday, August 25, 2013

Things I Simply Don’t Understand

Point 1.  Ben Affleck is named as the next Batman and the internet goes into a tizzy.

Point 2.  Patton Oswald posts a blog saying don’t hate on Ben Affleck and many haters, go, “Wow you’re right. I won’t hate on him anymore.”

I don’t understand number one for many reasons. First and foremost, it’s an effing movie. More than that, it’s a “Batman” movie and we’ve had how many of these things already? Now I like Batman. I liked some of the movies better than others. I’ve expressed my opinions here and there. But do I lose any sleep or waste any energy wondering, Oh My God, who will they cast as Batman next? Will my world continue if they choose someone I don’t like? I suspect you know my answers to those questions.

Second, I don’t understand what Ben Affleck has done to deserve that hate. I haven’t watched a lot of movies with him in. I was never overly impressed with his acting talents. I didn’t like Daredevil. But he seemed middle of the pack to me. But suddenly he seems to have become identified as the world’s worst actor. What appears absolutely clear to me is that someone decided to hate on Ben Affleck. Someone else decided to join in. And soon we had a whole movement in which it is suddenly cool to hate him. Let me state it very clearly: Most of the people who supposedly “hate” Ben Affleck do so because they want to be one of the “cool” kids. There is no logic behind it, no rationality. It’s simply part of a need that people have to be “one of the group.”

Third, say you really really hated Daredevil, just as I really disliked the recent Judge Dredd. How is it that you so closely link Ben Affleck to that hate? I don’t find myself disliking Karl Urban because he played Dredd in a movie I didn’t like. Don’t you think that it was probably more the directors, editors and writers that were at fault for a poor movie than the acting itself?

I suppose my comment about the need to be one of the group sort of answers my point 2 at the top. Apparently some people read Patton Oswald’s blog and decided that it wasn’t cool to hate on Ben Affleck anymore. Well, another celebrity, who is thought by people to “be” cool, says not to. Is that really all it takes to change your mind? If I really didn’t like Ben Affleck, then Patton Oswald’s opinion would not matter a whit to me. How in the world can people change their minds just because a celebrity (or politician, or newscaster, or athlete, or popular singer) tells them they are wrong?

Here’s some other things that I think. 1). Most people never question why they feel the way they do? 2). Many people essentially have their emotions handed to them by outside sources. In other words, they don’t have any feeling one way or another about the Ben Affleck’s of the world until someone says, “Ben Affleck is horrible,” and it clicks in their head and becomes their feeling. 3). Many people will do just about anything to be “cool.” 4). Many people are far more influenced by ‘prominent’ people (who they don’t know from Adam) than they are by people who are less famous but might actually know something on the subject.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's the bandwagon - everyone wants to be on it.
I don't have a problem with Affleck being Batman, and I'm a huge Batman and DC fan.
I also liked Daredevil.
And Dredd.
So, obviously everyone has an opinion!

Cloudia said...

Your summation rings true, Dr G


"The unexamined life ..."


Ty said...

I don't expect Affleck to make a great Batman, but I don't hate him or anything, and I'm not out crusading against him. But then, I've not cared much for any of the portrayals of Batman.

There's a big difference between now and "back in the day."

Though we wouldn't have to go back that far, let's say it's 30 years ago. There's a new big blockbuster movie coming out. For whatever reason, I decided, "Eh, I'm not crazy about the guy starring in the movie." Then I either did not go see the movie, or I decided, "what the hell," and I went and saw the movie. Or maybe I caught it on VHS because it was a cheap rental and I had nothing else to do one night.

That was it. My opinion and my decision were but fleeting thoughts that did not disrupt my day. I did not feel the need to go on a tirade. I did not feel the need to "make my opinion known." I did not feel a need to begin a crusade, or sign a petition, or say nasty things to random, anonymous individuals who might or might not agree with my opinion which was only that, my opinion.

The world has changed.

Oh, there were plenty of cultural bandwagons to jump on in the past, but they generally were not as vicious and didn't last very long. A few magazine articles, and most times that was about it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Little Messy Missy, thumbs up!

Alex, I'm actually not a big fan of superhero movies in general. I hardly ever read superhero comics as a kid so that might be part of it. But I'd like folks to keep a bit of perspective.

Cloudia, thankee. Hypothesis is upcoming.

Ty, that's about my take on it as well. One thing the current social media world has created is "momentary" clicks, in which many people agree on one particular issue but probably don't agree on anything else between them. But they form an alliance based on that one issue.

Tom Doolan said...

For the record, I have disliked Affleck since long before it was cool. To me, he just has no screen presence beyond a good supporting actor. Every time he has taken a lead role, and tried to be "intense" he fails miserably, in my eyes. He just looks silly and kind of dorky. He may be better now, I don't know. But in Daredevil (which was ok EXCEPT for him), Sum of All Fears and Reindeer Games, he was laughable as an intense hero.

So, since Batman is the very definition of an intense hero, it stands to reason that he will fail in the role.

That being said, I will probably see the film anyways. Though I have yet to see Man of Steel. So, I'm sure I will probably not see it in the theater either.

Chris said...

Well, I won't weigh in on Affleck or Oswalt or anything, since that really isn't the point of your post. What fascinates me is how in this modern era of social media, things can flare up and be gone before I even really know what it means. A recent one is that Sharknado thing -- I had no idea what it was, then for two days it was all over the place. Before I figured out it was a TV show (I think) it was off the radar. I mean literally, in the span of about two days, it was all anyone talked about . . . then poof, gone. I think this Affleck thing will likely have more legs than that, but still . . . it's mind boggling. There was another thing right before Sharknado that was the same, only by now I can't even remember what it was.

The thing is, we are all on one bandwagon (or more) or another. Musically, culturally, politically . . . everyone is in a group of people, a tribe, that they relate to. Which is why I'm so amused when people point fingers at another group, particularly when I do it myself. It reminds me of a time at the airport when some guy in full cowboy garb -- hat, boots, buckle, wranglers, the works -- gave a funny look to some goth kid who walked by him. And it struck me as hilarious, because there really wasn't any difference between the two. Each was dressing (and fashion is a BIG one; we are all in one tribe or another in the way we express ourselves with clothing, like it or not) in a way that expressed their particular identity. Neither one was better than the other.

But you're right, Charles. Sociologically it is fascinating.

Randy Johnson said...

Those invested with the term "Fanboys" believe theirs is the only reality.

I wasn't impressed with Daredevil, nor a lot of the other superhero films. I haven't even seen the last Bat-man or Superman and am not real enthused about getting around to them.

As for Affleck, I've enjoyed a few of his movies. Haven't seen many. He's a decent actor, but probably a better director.

Randy Johnson said...

Oh, the only time I felt any tremor about a casting decision was Tom Cruise in THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. A personal favorite from my mid-teens, I hated that idea as I'm not a fan of Cruise.

The hating on the new guy doesn't bother me at all.

Barbara Martin said...

As I have not seen any of the Batman movies or any recent movies, concern about who is cast or not is of no concern to me. Often movie producers choose whom they think will fit the role best.

Travis Cody said...

Nicely put.

For the record, I enjoy most of the performances I've seen from Ben Affleck, up to and including Daredevil, which I thought was delightfully silly.

However, I am entirely indifferent to who will play Batman in a movie, mainly because the character doesn't interest me.

Now, should it be announced that Tom Cruise is to have anything to do with any future Hobbit movies, then I shall express my extreme displeasure, since I despise Tom Cruise. I came to that realization all by myself and likely won't embark on a campaign to bring others to my view.


Adventuresfantastic said...

Well said. The mindset of those who have grown/are growing up with social media is often very different from that of us, shall we say, who are of more mature years. While I don't hate Affleck, I don't think he's a good actor or a good casting choice, but I have better things to do with my time than actively hate him on the internet. And I've never heard of this Oswalt person you mention. Frankly, the older I get, the less I care what anyone thinks.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom, I thought Reindeer Games was quite good. Didn't see Sum of All Fears. Didn't like Daredevil as a whole, not just because of Affleck. There may be plenty of folks that do not like Affleck for specific reasons and they developed those reasons on their own, without jumping on the bandwagon. I'm convinced that a lot of folks have jumped on that bandwagon, though, without any thought before hand.

Chris, you said it. Sharknado was an example, and spread so widely that I actually ended up watching part of it. There are plenty of things I don't like. Much of it is idiosyncratic to me, which is probably how it should be. The hate thing almost always disturbs me, though. One day it's Tom Cruise, then Britney Spears, then Justin Bieber, then Affleck. Now I've had a laugh or two about Bieber jokes but don't really feel one way or the other about him. He's just not important enough to me to do so.

Randy, I think Affleck is a better director. I really liked Argo and we watched a movie by him last night that was quite good.

Barbara, I'm sure there are plenty of machinations behind the scenes regarding roles in Hollywood. But they just aren't important to me.

Travis Cody, Tom Cruise went through a period where everyone seemed to hate him. Again, I don't have strong feelings one way or the other about him but I have enjoyed quite a few of his movies. I don't pay attention to actor's personal lives so I don't know what kind of fellow he is on that front.

Charles Gramlich said...

Keith West, I only remembered Oswalt as a short comedian. Couldn't tell you what I might have seen him on but I recognize him because he's somewhat unusual in appearance.

Chris said...

A GREAT movie that Patton Oswalt is in, especially if you are a football fan, is called BIG FAN. I highly recommend it. He was also really great in YOUNG ADULT.

David Cranmer said...

There's no thought (for the majority) behind being in support of or against Affleck, Charles. News is spread by someone sparking a debate and getting readers/viewers to pile on. I always find it amusing when local news reports there's a demonstration at such and such location. The camera pans and there's ten people with placards. Then the AP picks up the story and we have a movement. So I doubt the majority really care that Affleck is the new Batman. Even if 800,000 people on Twitter hate Affleck, it's still minor.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, the Affleck issue seems like a case of herd mentality. I often read absolutely inane comments in response to, say, a news story or feature and dozens of others have clicked "Like". It doesn't make any sense. I see this happening on LinkedIn too.

I'm indifferent to Ben Affleck as an actor but going by the comics I've read I thought he suited the role of blind lawyer Matt Murdock/Daredevil.

Affleck as Batman is okay as long as he's in his batsuit most of the time and as long as it's not George Clooney again. Val Kilmer is and was the best Bruce Wayne I've seen.

sage said...

I like your conclusions about why people think the way they do. I have one more to add... Many people must have too much time on their hands!

Charles Gramlich said...

Chris, I haven't seen those. Will try and catch them. I think I remember him from some of the celebrity roasts, particularly one with Bill Shatner.

David Cranmer, that's true. The haters are just more outspoken, which gives us a skewed impression of things.

Prashant, I liked Kilmer as Batman pretty well. The Cloony and group movie was played too much for laughs for my tastes.

Sage, absolutely.

BernardL said...

I liked Daredevil. It wasn't a great movie, but I liked the chemistry between Affleck and his real life wife. They've turned the Batman movies into ongoing 'Transformer' special effects blow-outs. I expect this new one will be pretty much the same fare. If it ever comes on regular TV I might take a look. :)

Jessica Ferguson said...

Wonderful post, Charles. Poor Ben Affleck. I've found myself wondering why the world has turned on him. You have the answer. I don't think he's a good actor--even in the romantic movies. He has such a boring demeanor.

Ask yourself why? That's where I am now with Chris Christie of New Jersey. Blaaaaa! I can't stand him and I'm in the process of asking myself why ... well, I KNOW why but I'll spare you.

Oscar Case said...

I'm piling on, Charles. You voiced the feelings of a lot of us.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, I'm really over superhero movies. I didn't care for the most recent Batman, haven't even tried to see Man of Steel. I can't be much interested in any of them anymore.

Jess, I don't think he's a great actor either. Pretty middle of the road for me.

Oscar, thumbs up!

jodi said...

Charles-I don't get it. How can you 'hate on' someone you don't even know? Maybe you hate his work, but you never know him personally. And really, it's not as if Batman in the latex suit will be called on to emote too much anyway!

laughingwolf said...

since i don't know who half of the people you mention are, have no love for hollyweird, or most of tv, who plays what is of no consequence...

Erik Donald France said...

I think this is one reason why zombie tales resonate so well -- there's a certain truth to them at some level.

Other than that, in the words of a Ukrainian friend, "could give s*hit*" . . .

Greg said...

Those are very good points, and they say a whole lot about where the world is heading. I agree with you completely... as long as it's cool to do so.

- Greg

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, very true. It's certainly weird.

Laughingwolf, agreed.

Erik, absolutely. The zombie herd mentality.

Greg, I am always cool so it's ok. :)

SzélsőFa said...

I never liked Batman, the hype around the story, and before anything related Ben Affleck to Batman I disliked him. So I am not commenting on that one.

And as some of the commenters stated: it's being on the bandwagon.
It is safe to be on the bandwagon.
You have to be strong to endure the consequences of not sharing the same opinion as anyone else. Or not sharing the opposite, either, for being a rebel also is a really lazy take on life.
Being yourself, no matter what, is not easy.