Improving the movie experience.


(How does everyone feel about the new Olympic event I literally dreamt up overnight? It’s called the Seaerolon, which sounds like a winged mermaid familiar in a Final Fantasy game, and involves archery, biking on seawalls (this was very specific) and…some running? I can’t remember the last bit. But it was very popular.)

I remember hearing once, probably on QI, about how early railroad engineers were convinced that if the engines went too fast (seeing as this was when the first trains were being put together in the 19th century, that was probably about 15km/hour*) would make passengers not be able to breathe and therefore kill everyone on board.

As ridiculous as that seems now, check out this snippet from the Box Office Magazine review for Treasure of the Sierra Madre – in case you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a bit like Variety, in that it provides recommendations and suggestions for theatre owners (and, nowadays, distributors) on marketing films too:

The intense heat, thirst and near starvation suffered by the three main characters may prove wearisome to some women patrons. Males will best appreciate this “red meat” fare.**

Brilliant, eh?

It’s almost a shame that reviewers can’t indicate what films some groups of people would not enjoy in such blunt terms. Sure, they can allude to a film being ‘difficult’ if it is very violent or deals with truly horrible things, or hint that maybe the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation will do well in the female 18-35 demographic, but it would be frowned upon to be really blunt about that kind of thing, no?

I mean, woman can, obviously, like movies where giant robots blow up things for 154 ear-splitting minutes, but it is a shame that it would be considered terribly un-PC to say ‘Perhaps discourage your customers from bringing their girlfriends, who will almost undoubtedly hate this’. It’s fucking true! They probably wouldn’t! Just like those 16-year-olds at Friends With Kids who would NOT shut up about how the film was ‘so boring’ and ‘just people talking’ should have been stopped at the door! OR SENT TO THE DOME.

So perhaps we should start breaking that taboo more often. Especially if the film isn’t nearly as good as John Huston classic. Any professional film critics want to volunteer?

(Y’know what’s awkward? Trying to explain to customers, especially older, fussy-looking ones who have come too late to catch the latest Judi Dench movie, why they might not like Enter the Void. ‘What’s it about?’, ‘This guy in Tokyo who dies after a bad drug deal, experiences bad things from his life again, then watches his sister get it on, vagina literally aglow, with some guy. Oh, and I think the director tries to induce seizures in the audience with loud music and strobing lights. Enjoy!’)

On the other hand, I think there are some movies that should come with a different kind of warning, perhaps in the public reviews: Instructions on who SHOULD be seeing it, outside of what might be the target demographic. Like recommending that parents force their teenaged boys, especially ones who have adorable, lovely girl best friends who are in love with, and are perfect for, them, to watch Some Kind of Wonderful. Might teach them a few things about teenaged girls. Maybe they should show it in schools.

* Yes, okay, faster than that, since horses can go at a faster clip and not die, and neither do their riders.

**Coincidentally, I came across this review while take a work break in between devouring Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman, which I am enjoying thoroughly so far.

*** Don’t get me wrong, as I adore the Dame, but there is little overlap audience-wise for John Madden (director, not football player, obviously) and Gaspar Noé.

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