Cynicism and Cinema

"How am I supposed to hate this? What is this emotion that I'm feeling that I can't explain?!? Is it, happy?"

I've been making a point the past few months to be less cynical. But with social media it seems to be too easy, and almost encouraged...

In our popular culture as of late, the trend seems to be snark, disgust and outrage no matter what the subject and no matter what the context. Is there a live event going on? Tune into Twitter or your favorite blog for "live snarking." Was something just announced be it a book, album, movie, or video game? Quick, take to the interwebs to shit all over it as fast as you can!

It didn't used to be that way. In fact, it wasn't all that long ago.

"Ugh, moving molecules around in order to transport them from location to location? That's a terrible idea."

I was listening to Grant Morrison's interview on Chris Hardwick's Nerdist podcast yesterday and it was interesting timing. In the interview, the two discuss how America went from being this happy-go-lucky sky is the limit for our future where Star Trek was our vision of mankind's next steps to a cynical view where essentially we have destroyed everything worth living for and shuffle around in the shambles vision of the future in The Walking Dead. Cynicism has become so prevalent in our culture that we don't even see a distant future for mankind anymore. Our aspiration is just to survive instead of thrive.

What the hell happened to us?

On a whole, has the predominant temperature from being hurt so many times (or on so many various levels) triggered some sort of a defense mechanism where we have to deal with any situation with the snarkiest and most cynical attitude possible? Is this a post-Phantom Menace syndrome where our feelings are attempting to protect themselves from hyping something up so much to a point where expectations are unrealistic by already deeming something terrible so that if it's actually good, it'll be a pleasant surprise? Is it connected to the strange upswing in political correctness and litigious tendencies that put everyone on edge? Is it because now that everyone has a voice through so many outlets that the squeaky wheels are louder?

The reaction isn't necessarily isolated to but has really piqued my curiosity with the most recent news that The Heat writer Katie Dippold would be joining Paul Feig to reboot Ghostbusters with female comedians in starring roles. Not necessarily ALL of the roles (as some are arguing back and forth, nobody has said that this is inspired by Y the Last Man and no testosterone will be present at all in the film). But the outrage seems to be triggered by all sorts of catalysts: it's a reboot, it won't feature the characters from the first two films, female actors will portray roles, Paul Feig wears a suit on set. Okay, that last one I made up but there actually might be someone out there that's angered by that and has taken to expressing so in 140 characters, I haven't checked.

No joke, a long-time fellow fanboy's immediate reaction to the news yesterday was:

"This makes me want to spin around, screaming while firing my space gun like Rocket Raccoon. Gnashing my teeth, rending my garments, pouring fistfuls of dirt on my head."

...oh... but congratulations, Katie for getting a paid writing gig on something still in development which still might never make it in front of cameras. We're happy for you, we swear. - I think is what was left unsaid in that update.

Meet the squeaky clean cast of your new Ghostbusters, bet you want to snark something in 140 characters about it right now? C'mon, admit it.

What happened that, in 1996 when Columbia (then Tri-Star) announced they were teaming with Bohbot to bring us "Super Ghostbusters" which would star a Goth girl, a Latino slacker, an athlete in a wheelchair, and Carlton from Fresh Prince, and my and others' reactions were an immediate, "Holy crap! New Ghostbusters! This sounds awesome! We can't wait!" As a then freshman in high school, I remember running home to watch the precision-set VHS recording that was waiting for me from recording while I was at school on the very first day the show aired. I was excited. It was new. It was different. Holy shit, it was Ghostbusters. Cool! Interestingly, the announcement yesterday that could essentially have mirrored the news in 1996 (that a new writer - yes, the fourth or fifth to be hired on this project by my count - had been hired, that the crew would be comprised of new actors and new characters, maybe one or two of the old guys might come back if they want) was met with this extremely polarized outcry from fanboys, movie blogs, moms, dads and pets all around the world? 

Looking back on it, if present day me heard the same news from 1996 - would my reaction be as positive and optimistic? Or would I immediately violently react to the word "Extreme" being used as often was the trend in the 90s and calling the "diversity" of the cast nothing more than a gimmick? And sadly, if that was the case, would I have watched a cartoon that I actually really enjoyed and ended up making several friends from the production staff through the course of all because I had jumped to such a polarized conclusion?

Is it the arm-chair quarterback mentality that many think they could do better in some shape or form? Is it that the sense of humor in present day 2014 veers toward deprecation? Nerds have always found ways to poke holes and complain, that's nothing new (otherwise the Comic Book Guy on Simpsons would have never become the character that he has on that show). But what is it in the human psyche that causes someone to immediately not like something they know nothing about and haven't given a chance? Judging the so-called book by its cover (no matter how many details of the cover have even been revealed). Where's the fun in that?

I guess I'm trying to wrap my mind around why, after years and years of being strung along and finally being close to it happening, another Ghostbusters film being a possibility is causing fanboy flame wars and heated debate well into the early morning hours instead of excitement of potential? Especially considering how scarce details are for the discourse?

I'm guilty of it myself, and will openly admit to it. I reacted adversely to news that the new Terminator film would be called "Genisys" and immediately took to Twitter to be snarky about it. Aside from casting information and a shot of Arnold's back sitting in a director's chair, I know nothing about the film and it could be the awesomest thing that I've seen in my entire life. But why was my instinct upon hearing the (still ridiculously spelled) title to jump onto social media and shit on it?

Considering that this is my hobby, the distraction from the real world that should be adding joy to my life, why was that initial instinct to hate?