Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fandoms and backlash. When I was growing up (back in the old days of 1980s…) most kids got a lot of their identity from the things they liked and didn’t like. I loved The Little Mermaid. I knew every scene, song and wished I could be like Ariel. Then in high school I loved Les Miserables. I saw it in New York, watched the 10th Anniversary Concert special over and over again. It was great! I loved Jewel, Simpsons, REM and Clueless. I saw Jurassic Park 6 times in the theaters. My friends all saw Titanic over a dozen times and I was annoyed by it but it wasn’t a big deal.
In college it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pixar, Jane Austen, Norah Jones, romcoms and Jane Eyre that caught my attention.
Back then I may have gotten a little bit of backlash from friends and family who were sick of my talking about Ariel, Les Miserables or Clueless but none that I can really remember. My sister loved Star Wars and had 7 or 8 life size cutouts lining the hallway to her basement room. My brother loved skateboarding and movies in general.
What I’m getting at is growing up you were allowed to have your fandoms and love something not really being challenged about it.
I kind of miss those days…
Now being a fan of something is very different. You aren’t allowed to just love something but are confronted with loud voices who hate, criticize or are ‘sick of’ everything you like. It turns you from a fan into a defender which isn’t nearly as much fun.
I’ve even seen a contrast between when the Twilight books first came out in 2005 and the fandoms of 2014-2015. I feel the Twilight books were allowed to simmer longer and most people didn’t really start hating on them until the 2nd movie came out. I actually liked the first 2 Twilight books and saw them as kind of a guilty pleasure but the 3rd entry I didn’t care for and wasn’t a fan of the movies. Still, I didn’t feel a need to lambast people who liked them (which was most girls I know).
But now in 2014-2015 fandoms aren’t allowed to simmer but boil over in a manner of weeks. Something like Lego Movie or Frozen is loved by many people but seemingly overnight hated by just as many. It kind of leaves you feeling like ‘wait this was so much fun and all the sudden it’s not…’
I saw it with Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar and Boyhood. The period fans could gush over these movies was very brief.
I also have the strange personality that doesn’t get sick of things like others. It has often happened that I’m still riding high on something while my friends have gone sour and like I said the souring happens so quickly now. It really can be kind of discouraging.
Now I am far from innocent on this trend. In the past I didn’t really care that everyone thought Rushmore was a classic and I didn’t really care for it or that I didn’t think Goodwill Hunting was all that great. I could just let it go.
But in the last year or so I found myself in the department of naysayers with Birdman. I really did not like it and found myself bothered by its popularity. Why? Well, in that case I thought it wasn’t just a harmless film like Lego but that it had some harmful depictions of women, rape and female sexuality. It bothered me it got so much praise. I also felt a little bit this way about Breaking Bad which is not a favorite of mine. I grew to despise the mere mention of Walter White and his meth business.
Perhaps part of it is a defense mechanism? After seeing films I like nitpicked to death and criticized it is natural to want to retaliate when I’m on the other side of the conversation. Perhaps it is just the way things are? Most of the time I try to keep my mouth shut but not always.
But either way I am going to try harder to let people enjoy their movies. If they like it that’s great. I always want people to have a good time at the movies. That doesn’t mean I don’t express my feelings in a reasoned and concise way but I’m determined to let other people have their favorites as well. If someone hates what I like that’s ok. If they like what I hate that’s great!
Being a member of a fandom is fun. It’s exhilarating to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s fun to bond with people who love the same things you love. I get that with Survivor and the fan group I’m a part of but its harder than it used to be.
If others can’t respect that and are going to troll around saying mean things than so be it. I’m just going to be more conscious of the trend and try to support the things I love more than criticize things I don’t. Join me!
Let’s at least agree to let kids decide what they like and not give them grief if you think it is ‘overhyped’.
Say no to backlash and yes to being movie fans again!
I’m also over the whole angry critic shtick and feel it is partly responsible for this behavior. Everyone is trying to be the Nostalgia Critic and it has gotten very old. What wasted energy. At least NC used to be funny (rarely is any more IMO). A lot of his copycats are just angry, mean-spirited and negative.
17 thoughts on “Thoughts on Backlash”
Reblogged this on Smilingldsgirl's Weblog and commented:
A little post I wrote on how being a fan used to be a little bit more fun. Now backlash comes so quickly it can be a bummer.
I can sympathize with you here. It can be very wearying to just get that endless stream of negativity, but I think it’s something that’s bound to happen. If things are overhyped then people will have expectations that can’t be met. The problem is in getting too upset over it that you ruin the experience for other people. I apologize if I did this with Guardians of the Galaxy and I may have taken it too far. I suppose people should stay away from the sites that feature this negative hate.
I do admit to enjoying angry negative reviewers like and including the Nostalgia Critic, but I will quote the NC’s real-life alter ego, Doug Walker, “So what I’m trying to get across here is that there are movies that I can’t stand, they just get under my skin but a lot of other people seem to like them and that’s fine. It’s really cool. Don’t go around judging people by this, it’s not worth it just because you like a film or don’t like a film, doesn’t mean you’re an idiot or you’re not smart or you’re a jerk or anything like that… There are no good movies or bad movies, just movies you like or don’t like.” Even at his angriest (Breaking Dawn Pt. 1) he admitted to going with someone who liked it and not saying anything bad about her.
Thanks for saying that. It’s not any one person and more the negativity over Boyhood that got me down. I feel like it was a little more fun to be a fan back in the day or at least people didn’t seem to fizzle out so quickly. I often feel like I’m just getting into something and the wave of public opinion already changes. It’s just kind of fun to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You know?
You and the NC are totally right and I’m always open for discussion. You dont do what I do if you dont have thick skin. I’m happy when anyone likes a movie. It’s just frustrating when people did like it and then all of a sudden they are “over it”. I guess I dont get sick of things like other people do. I thought Birdman was way overhyped and overrated but I didnt like that to begin with.
Anyway you are fine. Don’t worry. It’s just the little kids I most worry about who love Frozen and then a minute later told how stupid and awful it is. That bums me out. Oh well. It’s how it is I guess. 🙂
I never had to deal with that as a child either honestly.I hope not.
Have you heard of youtuber Oliver Harper. He is so amazing. He does these retrospectives where he tells the whole story of a picture. Less a review but it’s so refreshing
No, I had not heard of him. I will watch his Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy reviews and see what I think. Thank you for the recommendation.
I just like how he see’s some positives in terrible movies like Batman and Robin. It’s so well researched and interesting but less a review than a retrospective.
People who grew up watching the Adam West show might see nothing but positives in it…..
“I can’t believe people didn’t like this!… The puns weren’t that bad. A few of them actually made me laugh…. Everyone has their own interpretation.”
– my father, birthdate 1969
Awesome :). That’s why I like Harper. He respects all opinions and respects how hard it is to make any film. His are more podcast lengths but I just love them. But I also like Chris Stuckmann and the Schmoes who will occasionally rant but mostly you can tell they just love movies. But great thing about youtube there’s room for all in the game.
What’s funny/sad is that while plenty of people see Confused Matthew as encouraging and desiring fan backlash against certain movies, and this may definitely be true at least for ones like The Lion King but he failed and he fell completely the victim to it when he actually made a 4-part review series explaining why Frozen is one of his favorite movies. There’s such genuine enthusiasm for Let It Go and what the movie did for Disney in the videos, and the whole comment section is almost nothing but people criticizing the film and talking about how they can’t believe what an idiot he is, or talking about how he can call himself a film critic when he has such weird horrible taste in film.
I don’t know how much Interstellar is receiving fan backlash, actually, though, because people are treating Doug Walker the same way for disliking Interstellar (but of course this is only a sampling of a relatively small group of particularly hateful people).
It reminds me of this quote from The Big Bang Theory:
“RAJ: I’m so sick of people being mean on the Internet!
HOWARD: I think the anonymity makes everyone feel like they can say things they’d never say to your face.
SHELDON: Interesting. I can’t think of a single thing I wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
LEONARD: Never noticed that about you.
RAJ: You know, at least you guys did something. You know, you-you had a theory, you wrote a paper, you made an actual contribution. All guys like this do is get all over other people’s work.
SHELDON: (pause) He’s right. You know, I say we call this person back. We’ve got no reason to hide……”
Very well said and I love that sequence from BBT. it’s so true. I just wish we could all enjoy it longer but maybe part of it is I’m older and most people dont like repetition the way I do so naturally they get sick of things before I do. I love being a fan of something with other fans. This weekend went to a Survivor fan event and it was so much fun. Such good people all gabbing about a show we love. 🙂
When I think of criticism I always think of Ego in Ratatouille. It’s so brilliant “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”
Like the BBT said at least they have the guts to create something. I try to in my own little way support the new, be an advocate for film, particularly animation that I love. It’s very rewarding.
I’m actually a bit surprised you dislike Batman & Robin so much though due to how disturbed you were by The Dark Knight. What do you think of Batman Forever?
And the Nostalgia Critic is still pretty funny with good writing. A lot of the copycats are just angry rants without any of the humor. But recently NC did the Matrix and it seemed like he was seriously reaching and just trying to get a lot of hits on a movie people love. That was lame but each their own. 🙂
I guess now that I think about it I responded to negativity with more negativity. I guess we all rant from time to time. It just seems like people turn against things so quickly now. That’s what frustrates me. I guess I miss the naivete of being a little girl who loved Little Mermaid to her hearts content. I hope kids still have that.
My cousin Alice in California will be 6 years old this year and she loves The Little Mermaid. Her father joked about her having a lifelong dream to be a mermaid at the pool.
That’s good to hear.