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mygif

Why is it so important for you to have an opinion beyond “I’m not going to watch this”?

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mygif

I watched the first one-and-a-half episodes. I promised myself I would give it two episodes, but I couldn’t even get through the second one. It’s an awful, terrible show with no sense of character and no sense of pacing.

You’re better off having never watched it.

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mygif

I have a friend who still occasionally recommends that I see a movie that came out sometime in the late ’90s. I have absolutely no interest in seeing this movie — the previews looked hideously stupid to me — but my friend can’t grasp the concept that I have no interest in seeing this movie and never have.

Some people are just like that.

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mygif

Why is it so important for you to have an opinion beyond “I’m not going to watch this”?

Word count.

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Ian Austin said on December 20th, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I would follow Eric Kripke anywhere (Supernatural is one of the greatest ‘little shows that could’ of all time), but Revolution…

I can’t for two reasons.

1) Despite thinking the world of Kripke, I’m hesitant to join him on a big, sprawling, JJ Abrams epic style show. Because that’s not what Kripke does. Supernatural, even when it changed shape in S4, was STILL about two brothers. The epic stuff was backdrop, and so was the mythology. Revolution seemed to be mythology with a character backdrop.
2) I didn’t want to watch someone take an idea I had and make a TV show out of it. Years ago I wanted to do a similar story about people entering a new world without technology… and I can’t watch this show without armchair quarterbacking every choice they make.

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Jack-Pumpkinhead said on December 20th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

That’s gonna be my answer the next time this guy at the local shop tries to defend Twilight and convince me to see it or read it.

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mygif

I was not going to discover a secret gem of cinema that the masses had disdained

I will never forgive the critics that talked me out of seeing Speed Racer in the theatre.

Why is it so important for you to have an opinion beyond “I’m not going to watch this”?

Gene Wolfe was asked why he has a reputation as such a nice guy. He says it’s largely because he feels no compulsion to finish a book he’s not enjoying. So if someone asks him “Did you enjoy my book?” His answer is almost always either, “Yes, I enjoyed it very much!” or, “I’m sorry, I haven’t read it.”

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@Chris K: Because when someone pesters me with, “Oh, you’ve got to see this, it’s the best series ever, no seriously, I’ll bring over the DVDs tomorrow and we’ll have a marathon,” at some point polite dodges just don’t work and you have to say, “I’m sorry, but I have no interest in watching that.” And then it gets ugly. :)

(The most recent time this came up was for the movie ‘Sucker Punch’. My stance was and is that the director out-and-out said that anyone seeing the film is participating in the exploitation of its stars. I don’t want to be a part of that, and thank the director for warning me. Nothing on God’s green earth is going to move me to watch that film, no matter how highly it comes recommended or by whom.)

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Alexi Sargeant said on December 20th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

You’re totally within your rights to ignore this comment, but I’m curious about how “Cloud Atlas” ended up in this “Lone-Ranger-AVX-Godzilla’97″ category of utter disinterest. For me, the movie was a revelation — if perhaps overly ambitious, still a refreshing example of the kind of scope and aspiration movies should have. So yeah, I guess I thought highly of the film, and I’m not sure why you thought it looked awful.

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Admiral Snackbar said on December 20th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I can’t tell you how much having this revelation a few years back improved my life. Nearly every time I’ve gone to see a movie despite my misgivings, I’ve regretted the time wasted on it. So now I just don’t bother. I’m not seeing The Hobbit. I didn’t bother with Green Lantern, didn’t see Amazing Spider-Man, and after getting burned twice I didn’t see Dark Knight Rises. Didn’t see Avatar or Sucker Punch. I didn’t see the new Star Trek, and I won’t see the second one. I won’t be seeing Iron Man 3, or The Wolverine. Not one of these movies would add anything to my life but a vague sense of regret and another step towards diabetes from the blue Icee I’d need to tolerate the experience.

Instead, I go see screenings of older movies on 35mm. Just saw a festival featuring Re-Animator, Conan the Barbarian, Black Christmas, Phantasm II, The Devil’s Rain, and the incomparable Switchblade Sisters. I go to stuff like this every few months, and more frequently in the fall when horror screenings are common. It’s much more fun than the alternative.

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mygif

Yes, Cloud Atlas is very good, and it sort of highlights the flaws in John’s thinking here that he seems to think it’s self-evidently terrible (and, more so, that he’s willing to lump its defenders in with the “some people will love anything” crowd). I agree with the basic premise that life’s too short to experience EVERYTHING, but there’s also such a thing as being open-minded and listening to people when they’re passionate about stuff. I mean, I’ve only recently discovered “Parks and Recreation”, which started with a lot of people dismissing it as typical sitcom junk–I actually thought it was pretty good right from the first season, but there were people at the time actively rooting for its cancellation–and now it’s one of the best shows on TV and possibly one of the greatest TV comedies of all time. Another example, the Seth Rogan security guard movie Observe and Report, which I avoided like the plague at the time because I knew Rogan mostly from crappy comedies and “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” made me want to stay far away from this premise…but it turned out to be a brilliant movie.

Obviously you have to trust your instincts–if you hate French people, musicals, and Hugh Jackman, don’t go see Les Miserables–but a lot of genuinely good stuff can be dismissed unfairly when it first appears. What’s important is the substance of the defense. If people are telling you to go see Transformers because DOOD AWESOEM ROBOTS LOL, then you can extrapolate. But if someone’s praising a movie intelligently despite bad trailers (because we all know there’s never been a good movie with terrible trailers, or vice versa, right?) I think there’s a certain onus to check it out.

And seriously, dude. You think Cloud Atlas, an obvious labour of love that, for good or ill, is trying to do something different, is on the same level as Avengers vs. X-Men or The Lone Ranger, which are both obvious, cynical cash grabs based on recycling shit people have enjoyed in the past? I’m not saying you’re going to like it, but frankly, in that situation I think that mixed reviews are almost a good thing. It’s not a mix of “this is crap” and “eh, I guess this blockbuster killed two hours painlessly”, it’s a passionate love-hate response. The latter kind of movie is FAR more likely to be worth watching. I’m sure you have a movie or two that you enjoy but which is widely disliked.

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mygif

This post is both incoherent and wrong on a number of levels. where to even begin?

And these defenders always have a single defense whenever anyone says, “I didn’t see that because it looked awful.” That defense is, “Well, how do you know it’s awful if you didn’t even see it?”

… do people say this?

I’ve had people respond to “I didn’t see this because it looked awful” with “Dude, no! It’s super good.” I’ve never had them respond with “Well, how do you know it’s awful?”

I have had people respond to “I didn’t see this because it is awful” with “How do you know?” but that’s a completely different statement.

But there’s a simple counter-argument: Life is too short to waste on shit that you know is going to be shit walking in.

… this is a bad counterargument.

You might argue that life is too short to go see everything that everyone tells you you should see, but you can’t KNOW something is going to be shit walking in, because you haven’t seen it yet. You can make a pretty good guess! But you can’t know.

“I’m not going to see Punch Drunk Love because I hate everything Adam Sandler has ever made I’ve seen, so why should this be different?” is a reasonable argument. “I know, sight unseen, that Punch Drunk Love is shit” is not.

I was not going to discover a secret gem of cinema that the masses had disdained when I saw ‘Godzilla’. I was going to be wasting my time.

This has never happened to you? Ever? You’ve never looked at something almost everyone else thought was shit and said “This isn’t shit. This is gold.” I mean, good lord, given the amount of comics you read…

You do not have to sample everything that comes down the pike just to see if it’s really as bad as it looks, and you don’t have to apologize for skipping something that looks bad.

This is both true and reasonable, but it doesn’t seem to be relating to your prior points about ‘knowing’ something is going to be shit.

More generally… are you just not friends with anyone whose tastes your trust, or friends with people who have a long history of misjudging your tastes?

When I recommend something to someone, it is because I think they will enjoy it. Not because -I- enjoy it, but because they might. I’ve read books I never want to read again and gone “Huh, you know who would love this? My buddy Alan. I should tell him about it.” And if I do so and he says “I’ve seen that, but it looked really horrible” I will tell him “Oh, it’s not, it’s the sort of thing you’d really, really love.”

(I will admit that I often only recommend things that I personally like as well, but I have recommended things I didn’t like.)

And it works the other way. I know people (and there are critics who I follow) whose tastes are a reliable barometer for what I would like. Do you… NOT know anyone like this? Nobody who, if they said “John, this thing you think is shit? It’s not shit. You’d love it” you would then think “Huh. If this guy says it’s good and I’d love it, there is a very good chance I will love it! I will trust his judgment.”

Oh, and @Ian Austin:

Supernatural, even when it changed shape in S4, was STILL about two brothers.

Supernatural is about two brothers? According to tumblr AND twitter, it’s about whether the angel and the stubbly guy are going to fuck or not.

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@Prankster: ” You think Cloud Atlas, an obvious labour of love that, for good or ill, is trying to do something different, is on the same level as Avengers vs. X-Men or The Lone Ranger, which are both obvious, cynical cash grabs based on recycling shit people have enjoyed in the past?”

No, I’m saying it looked incoherent, and that the Wachowskis burned all their goodwill and then some with me on the Matrix sequels, and that I am frankly sick of seeing movies where white actors are cast in ethnic roles and I’m not going to support it financially. And you know what? As I stated in the post, if I miss a classic of cinema because of it, then oh well. I think I’ll survive not seeing it. :)

@Murc: I love and cherish the fact that you’ve never had anyone on the Internet rudely get up in your (metaphorical) face for saying that you weren’t interested in seeing something because it looked like it wasn’t going to be very good. I sincerely hope that never changes for you.

But I think something didn’t come across. I’m not saying, “Only trust your own judgment, never let anyone recommend anything to you, and never take a chance on anything.” I’m saying, “You do not have to apologize for prejudging a movie, a TV show, or a book. They are not people. They do not have feelings. They will not be hurt by the loss, and you will not be hurt by failing to see ‘Cloud Atlas’. The sheer number of enriching experiences out there is so vast that choosing one over another, even when based on very slim evidence of one’s superiority to another, is not something you should have to defend. Anyone yelling at you for ‘not giving the Green Lantern movie a chance’ needs to back off.” I hope this clarifies things a bit.

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mygif

“Sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie, but I’ll never know, ’cause I won’t eat the filthy mother-F*ckers.”

–Jules Winfield

Words to live by, people.

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…Yeah, bringing up the racism argument when talking about Cloud Atlas really kind of underlines that you have no idea what you’re talking about. That argument was attacked on this very site, because it’s one that ignores the facts that A), Cloud Atlas does feature a good number of minority actors, B), those same minority actors also play roles counter to their ethnicities a few times, C), most white-as-minority took place in Seoul, and even then the focus was strictly on Bae Doona (who, incidentally, was a good enough actress to put my friend in tears when we saw it), because D), the actors staying consistent over the course of the various stories is integral to the movie’s themes and message. Dismissing it as the usual Hollywood racism is exactly the sort of thing that WILL make people who saw the movie say, “You’re missing out.”

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@sumguy — yellowface ‘in service of the story’ is still yellowface, is still racist, is still not okay. that shit doesn’t stop being problematic just bc the movie is good and you liked it. as well, the movie’s flaws don’t cancel out its strengths: it’s possible for cloud atlas to be both clever and thought provoking and trancendental, and ALSO racist, and all of those at the same time.

handwaving cloud atlas as not-the-usual-hw-racism bc the filmmakers had different reasons for not hiring asian actors dismisses the reality that they still didn’t hire asian actors, and for all those asian actors who are still not getting any work, the end result is the same, what//ever// the wachowskis’ intentions were.

@johnseavey — you just //did// make a big deal out of your opinion about revolution. have it or don’t, whichever, but don’t write a whole passive-aggressive blog post about it and then claim you don’t care.

i think revolution looks terrible, it’s gotten terrible reviews, but so did sarah connor chronicles, and that show turned out to be AMAZING, and i only found that out right before it was cancelled. i’m not saying revolution might be a gem, i’m saying there’s a difference between knowing (or rather, suspecting) that something you haven’t seen is //bad//, and knowing (suspecting) that //you probably won’t like it//.

i don’t give a shit if you watch revolution (hunger games fan-fiction on by eric kripke) or twilight (x-men fan-fiction with bigger budgets than the last three actual x-men movies) or whatever, but failing to distinguish between apparent //quality// and apparent //appeal// in conversation is itself a form of trolling.

my brother does that all the time, declaring his opinions as facts, and shaping the conversation so that simply by disagreeing with him i am challenging not only //his opinion// but also //accepted truth//. arguing about my right to disagree with him is infinitely more exhausting than trying to politely rebuff him when he just really really wants me to watch something that he really liked.

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mygif

I plan on seeing “The Lone Ranger.” I’ve always liked the character and I trust Gore Verbinski. Everything is somebody’s favorite something and you just can’t argue taste.

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mygif

I completely agree with you, save one caveat. If you’re not going to invest enough time to watch the movie, don’t make constant jokes at the movie’s expense. If something isn’t worth your time, then act like it. This isn’t directed at anyone at this site, of course. This is aimed at people who decide to actively hate on an artist, a show, a book, or a movie without actually having any first hand knowledge of it.

I don’t read anything by Frank Miller. From what I’ve seen from the internet, I wouldn’t like his portrayal of women. I do not, however, actively seek out ways to express my distaste for him and his works.

I was engaging in a lot of Twilight-hate on the internet, and decided to watch the movies and read some of the books in order to have a legitimate leg to stand on. I found a lot more things to be upset about besides “the vampires sparkle” once I did.

If a show isn’t worth my time, then I try to act like it’s not, and spend time discussing things which are.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on December 21st, 2012 at 9:16 am

It does seem that Johnny Depp manages quite a good First Nations accent, based on the trailer I saw. Of course, you know who else does a great First Nations accent without even trying? FIRST NATIONS ACTORS.

If you’re a young white actor, you can dream of someday playing Batman or Bond or Spiderman or a zillion other iconic roles. Native American? Hm, we’ve got Tonto… oops, guess not.

But I guess they couldn’t find a First Nations actor who can do the Wacky Depp Double-take Face as well as Johnny Depp.

Sudden idea: they totally should have cast Adam Beach in whiteface as the Lone Ranger, to keep things fair.

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Jack-Pumpkinhead said on December 21st, 2012 at 9:29 am

“…or twilight (x-men fan-fiction with bigger budgets than the last three actual x-men movies)…”

…Oh hell no. Twilight is NOTHING like X-Men! X-Men is about people who are different fighting to protect a world that hates them. Twilight is about a chick entering a borderline abusive relationship with a golem becuase Stephanie Meyer comes from a “get back in the kitchen” mindset and failed any type of decent research into vampire legend and history. That’s like comparing apples and tacos. Casue it sure ain’t apples & oranges.

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@John Seavey

I love and cherish the fact that you’ve never had anyone on the Internet rudely get up in your (metaphorical) face for saying that you weren’t interested in seeing something because it looked like it wasn’t going to be very good.

This has, in fact, never happened to me.

Now, I have had people get up in my face because I’ve made judgments on pieces of art I am not qualified to make without seeing them. “I’m not going to see Avatar because it doesn’t look like something I’d like” didn’t get me a lot of pushback. “I’m not going to see Avatar because it’s white messiah bullshit” got me some, people saying I was wrong about that. Had I gone all the way to “I’m not seeing Avatar because it is white messiah bullshit” would have, justifiably, gotten me yelled out, because I’ve just made a judgment I am not qualified to make without having seen the thing.

(I did, in fact, eventually see it because I’m a cinemaphile, and Avatar was a big deal, technologically if nothing, and I wanted to be able to discuss it intelligently. Now if I say it’s white messiah bullshit, I can justify it!)

@seandehey-

I’m not saying you’re wrong, because I haven’t seen Cloud Atlas myself, but your statement seems problematic in a few ways.

First of all, I’m not sure ‘yellowface’ is the appropriate term. I think that would refer to actually making up non-asian people to try and look asian, rather than casting them AS asians, wouldn’t it?

Second of all, your terms seem rather… absolute. You’re saying there’s never a good reason to take on actors of a different ethnicity than the role they’re playing?

Example: a decade and a half ago, there was a production of Othello that did a complete racial inversion; Othello was played by a white man (Patrick Stewart) and everyone else by a black actor. The idea was that it would make people re-examine their privilege and the role of race in society. It had the support of the local black community and was generally well-received; Avery Brooks, who isn’t what you’d call soft on issues of race in acting, said he always regretted his shooting schedule prevented him from playing Iago, because it would likely be the only opportunity he’d ever get to do so.

I’m not saying Cloud Atlas quite rises to this level. I’m just saying it’s possible to cast against race without it being fundamentally racist, and given that Cloud Atlas has non-whites playing whites, it would seem at least possible that has happened.

@The Unstoppable Gravy Express

Aside from it looking awful, Depp as Tonto is basically the reason I’m not gonna go see Lone Ranger. Or at least not pay money to see it.

Also, nitpick: First Nations is the Canadian term and I think it only applies to the Canadian First Nations. Tonto the character is from a tribe in the U.S, so…

Although Jay Silverheels was Canadian.

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mygif

“I don’t read anything by Frank Miller. From what I’ve seen from the internet, I wouldn’t like his portrayal of women. I do not, however, actively seek out ways to express my distaste for him and his works. ”

I read quite a lot of Frank Miller, and even back when he was good it always felt like the outpourings of a liberal that got mugged. And then he also did not improve over the years.

I also hate the music of Ted Nugent, why do I mention this? Because Frank Miller is Ted Nugent without the charisma. And Ted Nugent is an angry, talentless wimp.

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mygif

Oh yeah Revolution, they keep talking about it over at tor, but to me the premise just sounds ridiculous and boring – a deadly combination.

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highlyverbal said on December 21st, 2012 at 2:50 pm

The argument that “you don’t know until you try it” is trivial to defeat. It is easy to come up with a list of things that your advocate will refuse without trying.
- amputations
- root canals without anesthetic
- a marathon of Keanu Reeves movies on loop
etc. … so the discussion then comfortably turns to what indicators for/against quality exist.

=========

“Try unknown things” is a much more intriguing proposition.

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mygif

@seandehey, clodia: I do see your point, and in fact I’m already working out a follow-up to this post that brings up the limitations of this approach…but at the same time, I felt that without any examples the whole thing would be kind of inacessible. So I used examples from my own personal experience, because, well…whose else can I use? :)

But yes, the same thing could be said about ‘Doctor Who’, which I passionately adore but others got sick of after about five minutes. It happens. When I encounter someone who’s not a ‘Doctor Who’ fan, I change the subject instead of trying to change their minds. That usually works a lot better for both of us.

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mygif

I think there’s something to be said about who’s doing the recommending. If you know (a reasonable amount about) what their taste is like, then that can help. So, if my friend who also hates Adam Sandler but was forced to watch “Punch Drunk Love” by his girlfriend says it’s actually pretty good, then I would be much more likely to take that recommendation seriously than my sister-in-law, who loves Adam Sandler in everything he appears in. Same thing with media critics: they may say something’s crap/brilliant, but if you know what else they recommend (and how you felt about it), then you can factor that in your decision.

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@John Seavey I wasn’t trying to ding you about picking out any particular title. You’re elaborating a point by using examples – totally valid! You’re right, a non-specific essay about not watching media that isn’t worth your time doesn’t have the same hook as, “I’m not watching Revolution (and other thoughts on media consumption).

To me, there is a difference in the essay, “Game of Thrones sucks” and the essay “Why I’m sick of standard sword and sandal arguably-sexist fantasy and thus am unexcited about Game of Thrones”. The second I could write, the first I couldn’t. I don’t have the intel available for the first. The second is all about me and how I respond with what I have seen in that show/book series.

There’s a difference in what you set up and what I did. I set up a circumstance wherein a person spouted an opinion unasked and uninformed. You are responding to (apparently) frequent requests that you watch something that you have no interest in by stating, “I have no interest in it”.

I look forward to your follow-up essay, nonetheless.

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Mark Temporis said on December 21st, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I’m of the opinion the CLOUD ATLAS racism thing is a non-starter.

Before I learned that it was based on something all literary and shit, I thought it was a pretty clear variant on QUANTUM LEAP, where a single person and personality inhabits multiple bodies, with us seeing the ‘soul’ instead of the body to reinforce the idea that the same person is experiences all these different lives.

It’s no more racist than having Sam leap into an African-American (which MUST have happened at least once, right?). I frankly can’t think of any way of doing the concept of “multiple stories linked by reincarnated souls” in a movie OTHER than using the same actor for each ‘soul’.

You’re still perfectly reasonable in thinking the movie’s shit, though.

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James Davis Nicoll said on December 22nd, 2012 at 12:39 am

It does seem that Johnny Depp manages quite a good First Nations accent, based on the trailer I saw.

[..] Sudden idea: they totally should have cast Adam Beach in whiteface as the Lone Ranger, to keep things fair.

Has anyone ever done Tonto as an Archibald Belaney character?

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Lister Sage said on December 22nd, 2012 at 12:48 am

Mark Temporis: The thing about Quantum Leap though is that they would never have put Scott Backula in black face for that episode. You always saw Sam as Sam. Only when he saw his own reflexion did you see what type of person he was. While I think you’ve got a point about why Cloud Atlas took the approach it did, they could have done the same thing as QL and only showed us what the characters where supposed to look like with the actors unchanged.

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@The Unstoppable Gravy Express as a Native American I can assure you that no Natives want to play Tonto anymore than Asian actors want to play Fu Manchu. He really is an offensive noble savage sterotype that should stay in the past.

I’d rather be Spider-Man myself.

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mygif

while I’ll probably check out Cloud atlas someday, for all the talk about actors playing characters of different races in cloud atlas is important for artistic/storytelling reasons, it doesn’t change the fact that almost everyone involved is still white with what looks like two minorities. and the two ‘tokens’ are two exceptionally attractive actresses.

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Alexi Sargeant said on December 22nd, 2012 at 10:01 am

Murc’s comparison of Cloud Atlas to the Patrick Stewart Othello is well-taken, I think. The racial cross-casting is in service of ideas of universality. It is at first discomfiting, intentionally so, but part of the takeaway of the movie is the way you stop seeing race at all, and start seeing the thematic connections of the characters: most obviously, Doona Bae is, whenever she appears, the human yearning for freedom. Hugo Weaving, in probably the most insistent theme-casting of the film, is the face of institutional oppression.

fly’s concern might be ameliorated if he remembered the prominent roles played by Keith David, Zhou Xun, and David Gyasi throughout the film.

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mygif

Have any actual Asian people complained about Cloud Atlas, BTW? It seems like all the people getting het up about it are white.

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mygif

John, the problem I’m having here is that, with your third and fourth paragraphs of the original article, you basically turn it around into an attack on people who attempt to defend movies you decide you’re not going to see. Of course you shouldn’t go see a movie that contains elements that disagree with you. And conversely, you have every right to go see a movie that you’re excited about even in the face of overwhelming criticism (“I don’t care if Peter Jackson stretched it out to three movies, The Hobbit is my favourite book, I’m there opening day, etc.”) No one is suggesting otherwise.

But surely there’s a continuum here. Just as you can’t see everything and therefore can apply a level of discrimination before you pay for your ticket, you also can’t just conform mindlessly to your prejudices at all times, or you’ll never be exposed to anything new. The latter seems like it’s becoming endemic to the geekosphere, and it’s leading to the endless recycling of “properties” and “franchises” and the dwlindling away of anything original.

If you’re rejecting the conformist impulse that comes from marketing campaigns or the freakouts of nerd cultists (like the gang who attacked that female critic for giving The Avengers a mediocre review, despite not having seen it), then good on you. If, however, you’re declaring that you refuse to consider anything if your first impression is negative, then, I’m sorry, that seems kind of dumb. The problem with the article is that it seems to conflate these two stances, and doesn’t really allow for a re-evaluation if, say, a lot of people you respect say that a movie is worth watching despite having a lousy trailer.

To use the example from your post, I haven’t seen “Revolution” either. I thought it looked bad, and the two creators, Abrams and Kripke, have not impressed me in the past. But if a bunch of people I respect had told me that it was great, I’d give it a shot. This is actually what happened, kind of, with Fringe, which came along just as I was getting really sick of Abrams and which looked like an infuriating X-Files ripoff. But when it started getting raves in the third season, I gave it a shot, and I’m glad I did. Where, in your philosophy, is there room for something like this?

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mygif

Have any actual Asian people complained about Cloud Atlas, BTW? It seems like all the people getting het up about it are white.

I’m sure criticizing Hollywood racism is a great way to get more acting jobs in Hollywood for Asians.

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Mister Harvest said on December 22nd, 2012 at 10:26 pm

You’re saying there’s never a good reason to take on actors of a different ethnicity than the role they’re playing?

If casting white actors to play non-white parts was was unheard of, and Cloud Atlas came along saying, “We’re going to do this casting thing because it makes an important artistic statement”… then yes.

This is not the world we live in. “Oh, OK, yes, it looks like the typical lazy stereotypical casting, but it is *really different this time*” is not compelling to me.

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@zob: not talking about Asian actors, I’m just talking about anyone at all who’s Asian and has complained. And I’m genuinely curious, because I haven’t heard any Asian people complaining–and I know of lots of Asian people who were pissed off about the racewashing in “The Last Airbender”, for instance. I know at least two Asian people who liked Cloud Atlas (and I believe Bryan Lee O’Malley, on his twitter feed, said he liked it a lot too) and one guy who was like “Erm, I dunno about that…” (but he definitely wasn’t “OMG SO RACIST” either).

None of this is to automatically devalue criticism–I definitely agree it gets into sensitive territory–but when they’re all coming from white people you have to consider that maybe it’s not as offensive as some people seem to think?

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mygif

This is not the world we live in. “Oh, OK, yes, it looks like the typical lazy stereotypical casting, but it is *really different this time*” is not compelling to me.

As long as you acknowledge the fact that although it might not be compelling to you, it also might be true.

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mygif

Based on trailers alone, Lone Ranger looks pretty cool actually. Stupid but… who cares? It’ll probably be a big dumb and fun movie, and that’s fine. I’ll watch it at least.

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Seavey walks very close to the point about why a lot of people ignore series / movies popular with geeks. “Why would I watch Star Trek with its wooden acting and rubbery sets? It looks terrible.”

Or Mystery Science Theatre 3000. “So they talk over bad films and try to be funny? That sounds terrible.” And no, the value isn’t ‘self-evident’ to others just because you know you like it.

And the ‘bad at two minutes, punishing at 12 hours’ argument has to also accept that the first series of a large number of sci-fi and fantasy series are terrible. Buffy, series 1 was terrible. Babylon 5, series 1 was terrible. STNG series 1 was exceedingly dull. They got better.

It’s your right not to watch it, but in the same vein you then have exceptionally limited rights to talk about the thing that you didn’t see.

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There’s a limit to how much you can attack something if you haven’t seen/read/listened to it. I mean, if you want to get into knock-down drag-out fights with defenders, you’re at a disadvantage. But saying “not for me” based on a small sample is perfectly logical. As you say, life is too short.

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Ian Austin said on December 23rd, 2012 at 3:56 am

‘They got better.’

I criticised Dollhouse 1×01 online a fair bit when it came out. Even weeks after airing. Fans always told me to keep watching because it got better, but my reply was simple: of course it got better, but it couldn’t really get much worse, ya know?

It got better than a terrible Pilot or a terrible first season doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good.

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Mister Harvest said on December 23rd, 2012 at 12:57 pm

As long as you acknowledge the fact that although it might not be compelling to you, it also might be true.

Anything is possible in medical science, but that manner of casting does not get the benefit of the doubt.

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Heksefatter said on December 23rd, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Why do people care that other people don’t want to see Revolution/Lone Ranger/Twilight or whatever?

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@Murc: “Well, how do you know it’s awful if you didn’t even see it?” is an argument I used to see all the time on the official DC Comics message boards (back when those still existed). So, maybe you were just lucky enough to not have to deal with those people?

That seems like a weird thing to argue with him about. It didn’t strike me as odd at all because people used to say that to me all the time.

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@murc: “First of all, I’m not sure ‘yellowface’ is the appropriate term. I think that would refer to actually making up non-asian people to try and look asian, rather than casting them AS asians, wouldn’t it?”

except that they //did// make up their white actors look korean.

http://www.racialicious.com/2012/11/19/cloud-atlas-review-yellowface-and-orientalism/

and also played into sexy orientalist cliches. so, sorry, that’s crossing a line past even garrett hedlund playing a white guy named kaneda in the theoretical akira movie.

now, race-reversal of the whole cast of othello? that’s good. idris elba playing heimdall or mos def playing ford prefect? excellent (and brilliantly cast).

but white actors playing non-white characters is a different animal, there are power structures at work in these casting decidions that white actors are affirming while poc actors are challenging.

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@jack-pumpkinhead re: twilight as x-men fanfiction

jacob is wolverine, edward is cyclops, bella is jean grey. they exist in the fringes, there are humans who fear them due to misunderstandings, there are centuries old conflicts teens are being thrown on opposite sides of, there are evil beings of their kind bent on world domination and etc.

but mostly it’s transplanting the scott / jean / logan love triangle into a high school romance movie about ‘vampires’ who are more like the mutants from x-men than anything else.

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The worst thing next to not seeing a nerd’s favorite movie or TV series is actually seeing it and not liking it. The hive-mind is pitiless towards heretics.

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@Prankster: Yes, actual Asian people have gotten upset about this. Google is your friend here. :)

Mike Le commented extensively on it at racebending.com, Andrew Ti talked about it at grantland.com, and that’s in less than a minute of looking. Their commentary is well worth reading, because it really does demolish the “it’s all post-racial racebending done in service to the story” fallacy quite well.

And they’ve seen it. So if you won’t listen to me, listen to them. :)

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While yellowface is problematic, since the reason for it in Cloud Atlas was visual shorthand of the plot point that the same group of souls was encountering each other in each successive lifetime I give them a pass.

They definitely did a much better job turning Bae Doo-Na into a Mexican-American and African-American than they did with turing the English and American actors into Koreans*, though.

*Except for turning Halle Berry into a Korean man, that is.

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DensityDuck said on December 31st, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Incidentally, did it actually work? In Cloud Atlas, that is, having actors wear makeup to make them look like the ethnicity their character was supposed to be.

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The white guys, not so much. The women, however? The makeup people did an amazing job of changing their ethnicities and genders.

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