It’s Thursday night and you just left the movie theater after watching the next summer blockbuster with two good friends. One friend is erratic with excitement and future plot theories, and the other friend expresses their experience as a snooze-fest. Back and forth, each of your friends fights with various objections while they await your opinion. While you may feel neutral about the movie, there’s just something easier about expressing how bad the movie was. Whether or not your points are objective or subjective, you might rarely mention the things done well.
Later that evening you decide to check social media and read about every shortcoming the movie had to offer. To fit in with the crowd, the best course of action would be to follow the noise, right? Why would you want to have an unpopular opinion among the sea of naysayers?
Even if this isn’t you, this is a real problem for the video production industry. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone complain about CGI ruining modern movies, I’d be able to buy back every company that Disney acquired in the last few years. Don’t even get me started on critics that hate anything that “isn’t realistic” enough for them. It’s difficult for me to pin-point exactly when this trend started, but hating movies is apparently the cool thing to do if you didn’t outright enjoy the movie.
Critique or Critic?
It’s absolutely okay to genuinely dislike, or even hate a movie. There are some objectively terrible movies out there, but lately, it appears as if everything isn’t worth the time of day. I’d like to start by explaining the difference between constructive criticism and a blatant critic.
Criticism can come in all forms, but the most effective are those that work on building upon an idea or creation. Instead of expressing pure distaste with various details in a movie, try forming your comments into questions and answer them for yourself. Use these answers as your means of criticism.
“The plot was hot garbage and lead up to nothing worth watching,” is useless and leaves creators with no direction.
A more constructive alternative to that comment would be something specific… but how do we get specific? Start with a question about what didn’t (or did) stand out to you. “Why did the old man choose to ride a bus instead of driving his own vehicle?”
Now we’re getting somewhere! Ponder on this detail and formulate an opinion that any creator could do something about. “I don’t like how the old man chose the bus simply to talk to strangers about their day. It didn’t work for his character since he was originally shown to be a recluse.”
This is just an example, but it’s the specific details like these that someone could take into account on their future work. This is how we improve as artists and creators. Those who choose to critique will aid in the development of our industry, while a critic showering negativity will stunt growth.
Opinions Help us Thrive… or Dive
Shedding some light on true critique is necessary for understanding why “hating movies” is a very bad trend for the industry. Imagine spending countless hours, days, weeks, months, and even years on a movie. The big day is on the horizon, and you can’t wait to premiere your work to the world. Countless crew members finally get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
When someone says they hate a movie, the reality may often be that the movie wasn’t their taste.
Meanwhile, every single skeptic comes out of the woodwork and bashes every detail of your movie trailer. The movie hasn’t even released yet and it’s receiving questionable press. Everyone who chooses to see the movie is already going in with a bad mindset. The odds of these viewers leaving the theater with a negative opinion of your movie is even higher. The human mind has a habit of making opinions from predetermined emotions. During the movie, people would make a point to find everything wrong instead of trying to enjoy it. This could happen both consciously and unconsciously.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to dislike things, but it’s very upsetting that well-made movies still have a high chance of bad press. When someone says they hate a movie, the reality may often be that the movie wasn’t their taste. It simply wasn’t “for them” and that’s absolutely okay! The trend of hating movies is dangerous territory to be in, because it spreads like wildfire onto every new production. It can serve as a deterrent for many creators who aren’t in massive businesses. Even as creators, we need to focus on building each other up instead of tearing each other down.
Build em’ up! Break em’ down!
Elitism surely leads to plateaus in any creative space. What may seem like massive success to one creator may appear as a flop to another. It’s important to look at what another creator isn’t doing well and help them, instead of leaving them in the dust. This goes for homegrown filmmakers just as much as Hollywood film crews. When it’s not our creation we are the consumer, and the success of any one creation is always in our hands. If we make it a trend to hate everything that comes our way, you’d think we’d eventually stop receiving such things.
The last thing I’d ever want to see is the end of movie productions and the death of this massively creative industry. I don’t believe this is going to happen anytime soon, but that still largely depends on the trends we enable as consumers and creators.
If I should leave you with anything, it’s ultimately this:
- Provide real, discussion-worthy critique about movies and experiences.
- Understand that a neutral opinion doesn’t mean you “hate” the movie.
- Something that isn’t in your taste isn’t “hate” and we should express this properly.
Movies, or any creation for that matter, ride solely on the consumers that pay to see them. If we’re cynical about everything that comes our way, the industry involving these creations cease to perform well.
Please take the time to think more critically about your opinions on movies and the industry. Spread this to everyone you know, and end the unnecessary hate. A lot of passion goes into this industry (unfortunately not the entirety of it) and it can only thrive with passion.