The Quentin Tarantino Archives logo

Assholes, stop intellectualizing movies. - A Rant


#1

ahem



Every notice how idiot people intellectualize movies that don’t need to be?

For example: “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”, people have accused this film of having “a lot of subtext about greed” What a load of shit. Three guys chase a box of money and people suddenly see subtext. Question: Do people watch a porn movie and say to themselves “Wow, this movie has so much subtext about our deepest human desires and the animality of mankind” ? No, they don’t.

But, suddenly when a movie gets “masterpiece” status and attributes like “genius”, they suddenly intellectualize everything and interpret shit into it that is not there.

It also happened with both the original versions of Dawn of the Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Back when they came out, every critic who wanted to be respected and keep his job had to say they suck terribly and should have never been made in the first place. But over the years, the critics have changed their mind. Suddenly, those are classics with “so much more going on that meets the eye”. Give me a break. “And they offer so much political critizism.” NOT. Dawn of the Dead making fun of consumerism? What a load of crap. I love DOTD and TCM so very much, and they are classics because they are awesome Horror movies, and not because they have any higher intellectual properties. And I like GBU for what it is - a stylish cool Western saga. Those 3 movies are just examples that came to mind, there are tons more that could be mentioned.



So fuck all of you overinterpreting assholes.



We need the 80’s zeitgeist back, big time. Or at least the early 90’s. This era sucks, it’s filled with morons and pussy political correctness assholes. And of course intellectualizing bastards.



Now I probably have lost most of you at the beginning by saying -OH NOES!- something else than a positive superlative about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. But really, you must see what I’m talking about, right?



P.S.: George Romero is a big beneficiary of all this bullcrap overinterpretating. The asshole film snob that he is, he deliberately puts stuff into his movies that are ripe for interpretation, just so that all the asshole critics rave about how valuable his movies are “much more than just a horror movie” and gives them stuff to congratulate him about. example: the fireworks in LOTD could be seen as a picture of blind patriotism. suddenly LOTD is an allegory for the Iraq war. bullshit like that needs to stop.


#2

Some people like to think and some don’t, I guess. That’s the beauty of art. Everybody can take what they want from it. Some people like to be intellectually stimulated and dig deeper than what’s on the surface. Some people like to be mindlessly entertained. It’s not like because somebody thinks the fireworks in Land of the Dead represent blind Patriotism you have to. Everyone’s free to feel and think as they please.



Personally I think the people that just go for mindless entertainment are the reason movies like Step Up, Bring it On, and Baby Geniuses and so many other horrible movies have become franchises.



EDIT: Just thought of this. Why are people who enjoy thinking while they watch a movie assholes?


#3

No one can deny Herzog’s Even Dwarfs Started Small being a highly allegoric movie. But I hated it. The whole movie. The message it had didn’t matter to me because I wasn’t the least bit interested in the whole film.



On the other hand, many people consider Angel Guts - High School Coed an immoral glorification of rape, with no deeper message. But I loved it. It didn’t tell me what to think, instead it left everything open. As a result, throughout the movie I kept thinking about the character’s motives and their relation to the real 1970’s Japanese society. Was that the director’s intention? I don’t know, and I don’t give shit. I was having hellava lot of fun doing brainwork while watching that movie, and I couldn’t care less what the director really meant to say, if anything.



In Passion of the Christ the most fun thing was try to analyze it while watching it and see if Gibson inserted some unintentional (?) anti-semitism into it. Otherwise you’ll get bored while watching it.



Now, what I’m trying to say with these examples is that the whole idea of cinema is that you can interpret it any way you want to. You’re right about it sometimes being a bit irritating when some critics are basing their reviews on deeper levels in movies that perhaps didn’t even exist before they found/invented them. But why make a big deal of it. What does it matter how they see the movie, unless they’re trying to tell people that their way is the only way?



I don’t really understand why you’re so eager to deny the sub-messages. Directors have all kinds of obsessions. Romero and society, Tarantino and feet, Norifumi Suzuki and making fun of authorities, Chang Cheh and homosexuality (?) etc. Certainly many of those are intentional. Some are perhaps unintentional. Sometimes the message is there but you can’t see it. Sometimes it isn’t there but you can still see it. But in the end, it doesn’t make any difference? It’s just one way to watch movies. Just like watching watching Ong-Bak and not paying attention to the poor storyline. Or watching a Hitchcock movie and ignoring the clumsy action scenes.



EDIT: didn’t see Dex’s post before, therefore came to repeat some of his points.


#4

Any good movie is inevitably gonna have subtext. I believe in the romantic idea that directors should work from their heart when making a movie. In this way, even if the movie is purely made for entertainment purposes, there is gonna be some deeper layer of context of what the movie is about. You have got your time, place, director, script, actors…one big melting pot of people who bring stuff in from their own personal live.



Every movie is about something and has more layers. Even the ones that don’t seem to have them do. Mostly there isn’t any interest in digging deeper into it, but when you like something, I would like to know more about it. It makes my experience more complete in a way.

It also keeps me from being an ignorant dumbass.



What I absolutely hate though is when a movie is pushing me into some fake ass moral or believe. For instance “the passion” or “Crash”.

Movies should not be made to just manipulate and have this big layer of “cliché, forced down your throat moral bullshit” over it.

I want stuff made from the fucking heart. Not made to make money or have half ass retarded messages in them to manipulate me thinking something.


#5

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly doesn’t have any subtext! Leones “Once upon trilogy” (Duck you sucker was called Once Upon A Time… the Revolution, in france hence trilogy part) does have some subtext though. I want to rewatch them again before I start discussing them.



But I think you can find subtext in anything if you try hard enough, some movie don’t have alot of subtext or any, but I don’t think we should be brainless creatures watching movies to see explosions and tits either. Movies are art and some have a message and some are just trying to entertain. Some do both (I prefer to meet in the middle)



Plus I love analyzing movies to death, I sometime trick people into thinking weird Grindhouse movies have important messages so they go see them, even though I know it’s bull. It’s fun to find subtexts!


#6

It depends on what you call “intellectualizing”.



Is it:



A) Putting ethic layers in it? Like: “CrasH”: Racism is bad, mmmmkay?



B) Putting the whole movie in a cultural context? For instance: Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu has ideas in it that are lend from romanticism



C) Something else?



I kind of hate it when the movie itself is trying too hard to be intellectual and failing hard at it, but nonetheless getting the acclaim for it.

For instance: Crash, Pan’s Labyrinth, Passion, etc



Putting any good movie in a wider cultural context can only add to your experience. Of course this type of analyzing shouldn’t be based on someone;s fine opinion, but on some relation to scientific rules.


#7

Thanks for putting in your thoughts everybody, I appreciate it.

[quote=“Hung Fist”]
Now, what I’m trying to say with these examples is that the whole idea of cinema is that you can interpret it any way you want to. You’re right about it sometimes being a bit irritating when some critics are basing their reviews on deeper levels in movies that perhaps didn’t even exist before they found/invented them. But why make a big deal of it. What does it matter how they see the movie, unless they’re trying to tell people that their way is the only way?



I don’t really understand why you’re so eager to deny the sub-messages. Directors have all kinds of obsessions. Romero and society, Tarantino and feet, Norifumi Suzuki and making fun of authorities, Chang Cheh and homosexuality (?) etc. Certainly many of those are intentional. Some are perhaps unintentional. Sometimes the message is there but you can’t see it. Sometimes it isn’t there but you can still see it. But in the end, it doesn’t make any difference? It’s just one way to watch movies. Just like watching watching Ong-Bak and not paying attention to the poor storyline. Or watching a Hitchcock movie and ignoring the clumsy action scenes.



EDIT: didn’t see Dex’s post before, therefore came to repeat some of his points.
[/quote]

I disagree. The whole idea of cinema to me is to create entertainment and emotions. Interpreting is no fun. Subliminal messages are no fun.



I like it when movies trigger the brain, yes. Go make a statement about society Mr. filmmaker, that’s cool with me. But don’t be a cheap bastard and leave everything in the open for interpretation. Make your statement clear, otherwise it’s useless.

Tarantino’s obession with feet doesn’t qualify for sub-messaging. He is out there to make 100% entertainment movies, and I love the man for it. He doesn’t want to make politcal statements or hidden messages, he understands the only true purpose of cinema: to entertain an audience.

[quote=“Seth_Gecko”]
Any good movie is inevitably gonna have subtext. I believe in the romantic idea that directors should work from their heart when making a movie. In this way, even if the movie is purely made for entertainment purposes, there is gonna be some deeper layer of context of what the movie is about. You have got your time, place, director, script, actors…one big melting pot of people who bring stuff in from their own personal live.



Every movie is about something and has more layers. Even the ones that don’t seem to have them do. Mostly there isn’t any interest in digging deeper into it, but when you like something, I would like to know more about it. It makes my experience more complete in a way.

It also keeps me from being an ignorant dumbass.



What I absolutely hate though is when a movie is pushing me into some fake ass moral or believe. For instance “the passion” or “Crash”.

Movies should not be made to just manipulate and have this big layer of “cliché, forced down your throat moral bullshit” over it.

I want stuff made from the fucking heart. Not made to make money or have half ass retarded messages in them to manipulate me thinking something.


[/quote]

I understand what you saying, and I think what you are talking about are the different themes a movie can have. I like that. In my opinion, movies should have universal themes like love, hate, friendship, revenge, etc.

[quote=“Bad Max”]
But I think you can find subtext in anything if you try hard enough, some movie don’t have alot of subtext or any, but I don’t think we should be brainless creatures watching movies to see explosions and tits either. Movies are art and some have a message and some are just trying to entertain. Some do both (I prefer to meet in the middle)
[/quote]

There’s the problem. Some movies are not made for this kinda over-interpretation and analysation.


[quote=“Seth_Gecko”]
It depends on what you call “intellectualizing”.
[/quote]

"To furnish a rational structure or meaning for."



Basically, searching for deeper meaning or messages where the filmmakers didn’t even insert them in the first place.


#8

[quote=“Dex”]
Personally I think the people that just go for mindless entertainment are the reason movies like Step Up, Bring it On, and Baby Geniuses and so many other horrible movies have become franchises.
[/quote]

But those movies would be worse if they had hidden messages and/or deeper layers.



Ghostbusters and Mad Max didn’t have any hidden layers, but they were both awesome and 100% entertainment. That’s how you do it.


#9

[quote=“Crazy Kenneth”]
I disagree. The whole idea of cinema to me is to create entertainment and emotions. Interpreting is no fun. Subliminal messages are no fun.
[/quote]

But hidden layers and political messages are one element that creates entertainment and emotions. If you don’t like them why not just ignore them? Only an idiot would take them seriously anyway. I get the feeling that you are actually spending more energy on looking for these layers and messages than the rest of us.


#10

Oh Hung, you totally burned him there! :smiley:


#11

[quote=“Hung Fist”]
But hidden layers and political messages are one element that creates entertainment and emotions.
[/quote]

hm, if you think so…



"I get the feeling that you are actually spending more energy on looking for these layers and messages than the rest of us."



no, i just have a good bullshit detector, as well as a pretty good film-snob-asshole-detector.


#12

[quote=“Crazy Kenneth”]
as well as a pretty good film-snob-asshole-detector.
[/quote]

heh. May hurt some people’s feelings, but fuck them. I despise almost everybody’s taste in movies, too.


#13

[quote=“Hung Fist”]
heh. May hurt some people’s feelings, but fuck them. I despise almost everybody’s taste in movies, too.
[/quote]

I can never listen to anybody about movies. Like asking them if a certain movie is good when they have already seen it and I didn’t. I always have to see it myself.


#14

It completely depends on your interest. I compare a good movie to any form of art. It can be a great medium for provoking thought, but likewise it can be a great medium for simple entertainment, but often it is both.



I personally rarely enjoy movies that I can’t think about, and I hate movies with in-your-face, way to obvious messages. I love subtlety. Also, I love sociology. I have always loved analyzing things and I have also loved taking sociology classes at University because you get to analyze things all the time, including things such as gender or power relatonships in movies or television shows. To me THATS entertaining. Also, related to that, many things that are seen in moives don’t have to be the intention of a director. Everything we do, from the clothes we wear, to the way we treat others around us reveals things about our society and ourselves within that society. Movies, because they are man-made have the exact same affect, but in a wider sense. Therefore, they can be analyed for things the director may or may not have intentionally included.



But having said that, once again it’s all about what you enjoy. It you like things that are just entertaining and you don’t want to think about it, then why don’t you just stick to those movies and ignore the critics that you hate? Sure, A LOT of people talk about things they don’t understand to sound intelligent. I was at a party a few months ago and heard these little posers arguing about something. One of them, in the most stuck up voice imaginable, says: “You don’t understand, I’ve read alot of books on philosophy…” I wanted to punch him in the back of the head. His “intellectualism” isn’t real. It’s a stereotype he brings up to sound more intelligent and thus superior. But, that doesn’t mean intellectualism is in itself stuck up or superior minded. It just means that a lot of people in the world are f-ing idiots, but we’ve always known that, haven’t we.


#15

Its def like looking at a painting. One person will look at it and say “meh” and another will stand and look and talk about it for hours. Its all about what interests you personally.



I dont really like when people spew total bullshit that even the artist would be like: WTF are you talking about? I think that happens alot too.


#16

[quote=“PutneySwope”]
I dont really like when people spew total bullshit that even the artist would be like: WTF are you talking about? I think that happens alot too.
[/quote]

I know. I often have my own feelings about paintings, but they’re personal to my understanding and the way it moves me as an individual. I don’t assume that I’m right or that other people need to understand it the same way, otherwise they’re wrong.

I went to an art school, and people would criticize others if they asked them what artists they liked and they said “I like what I see”. This pissed a lot of these kids off because if you didn’t know a tonne about art or the artists then you’re not “one of them” and you have no right saying that you enjoy art. It’s bullshit! It doesn’t mean you can’t have an emotional experience because you don’t know that the blue line represents his falling out with his parents, or some shit. It should be left up to the viewer to interept, as it effects them mentally, or to simply enjoy. As a painter, I am more interested in what my paintings mean to other people, what they get from it, then what my individual intentions were. Also, if someone just likes it for how it looks, thats a compliment that I wouldn’t turn down.


#17

Like it or not, movies are a form of art, so intellectualizing them is inevitable. I don’t know why it bothers you so much Kenneth. I mean, thank God for freedom of speech, right?


#18

I kinda like to get more out of a movie by knowing more about it. But I kinda agree with Kenneth that this stuff can be taken too far.

Some movies are literally analyzed to death. With this analyzing it often makes more of the movie than is actually in it. So you can give all this submeaning and make the submeaning, which isn’t or is there in the first place and make it some new rule for that movie.

Which actually can take away from the strong intentions of the movie in the first place. Be it only entertaining.



It’s like seeking all kinds of political context in Rambo. Which there probably is and making that more important than the obvious entertainment value of the movie. Which in my view how it was intended, otherwise they would’ve made the movie in a more serious way.



If you intellectualize a movie beyond its original intent you kind of kill it by loosing the magical enchanted feature by having more subtext when you watch it. It’s actually a very delicate matter.


#19

Exactly. Well put.



Another example is 300: a LOT of critics accused it of being right-wing propaganda and having a political agenda. which is BS of course.


#20

[quote=“Crazy Kenneth”]
Another example is 300: a LOT of critics accused it of being right-wing propaganda and having a political agenda. which is BS of course.
[/quote]

A lot of people found it offensive though. I have a friend from Iran, and she finds it extremely offensive in it’s portrayal of an entire race of people, that she is the descendant off. The comic book and then the movie really seemed to animalize Arab people. Whether or not you think it’s just entertaining or whether it sends a negative message about a group of people, it’s definitely losing an audience (in this case, many people of Persian descent) who don’t find things extremely offense to their culture as entertaining, and they have legitimate reasons for feeling that way.