Birdman Is Pretentious, But That Doesn't Mean It's Not Fun

Birdman Is Pretentious, But That Doesn't Mean It's Not Fun

The latest by critics' darling Alejandro Iñárritu is a fun ride if you can get over the fact that the film can't get over itself.

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I'll be that guy and say that Birdman's (supposed)* mockery of superheroes probably didn't win it any points with Bob.

* = From what I hear. I haven't seen the movie for myself yet.

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I'll be that guy and say that [i]Birdman[i]'s (supposed)* mockery of superheroes probably didn't win it any points with Bob.

I didn't get that impression at all, it sounds more like the movie engaged in light-hearted ribbing of superhero movie tropes, which Bob has enough self-awareness to be fine with. Despite what people who liked Amazing Spiderman and Man of Steel will tell you, Bob doesn't really hate on movies for petty, self-interested reasons, he hates on them 'cause they're shit.

* = From what I hear. I haven't seen the movie for myself yet.

This seems like an important fact.

Bob, for a movie with the title of BIRDMAN, you didn't once make any joke involving Harvey Birdman. Not even one of Phil Ken Sebben's trademark "Ha ha!"'s at any of the casting choices from those who were in comic book movies. And speaking of:
Anything to say about Emma Stone appearing in this? Especially since she's going to Broadway as the female lead in Cabaret. And if anyone's got a picture of her in costume, yeah, that'd be greeeeeaaat.

McGuinty1:

Uriel_Hayabusa:
I'll be that guy and say that [i]Birdman[i]'s (supposed)* mockery of superheroes probably didn't win it any points with Bob.

I didn't get that impression at all, it sounds more like the movie engaged in light-hearted ribbing of superhero movie tropes, which Bob has enough self-awareness to be fine with.

Bob strikes me as more than a little overdefensive when it comes to superhero/geek stuff. Remember, he devoted a whole Big Picture episode (Stay Classy, San Diego in case you're wondering) to defending Comic-Con from mean, elitist film snobs not too long ago.

Hell, Bob seems rather passionate about defending superhero movies from film snobs in general:

http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/07/o-heart-weeps/#comment-1507365036
http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/10/cultural-genocide-thing/#comment-1649541742

Hell, in one of his comments in that second link he compares ''film snobs'' to Gamergaters of all things. Yes, he compared people who don't like a particular genre of movie he's passionate about to a (hate) group that's best known for harassing women. So yeah, pardon me if he strikes me as rather defensive about his superheroes.

"smarmy teenaged philosophy buffs the world over"
That's a thing? Pretentiousness is pretty detrimental to philosophic thinking IMO. Read Wittgenstein or Russell if you want down-to-earth philosophy.

There's also some places where pop-culture point-scoring just plain goes off the rails: "They put him in a cape, too?" laments Thomson, having been informed that Jeremy Renner is among the actors not available for his play because he's busy making comic books movies; a weird observation, since Hawkeye doesn't have a cape... and neither does Birdman, so what's his frame of reference supposed to be for that quip?

I assume it's meant to be a demonstration of how the actor is dismissive of superhero characters. Perhaps implying that the actor didn't really give a flip about his role as Birdman.

Either that, or it was chosen to be familiar to the anti-comic snobs watching the film, since they likely wouldn't know much about superheroes other than passing knowledge that you identify someone as a superhero by putting them in tights and a cape... so they needed a readily identifiable brush-off.

senkus:
"smarmy teenaged philosophy buffs the world over"
That's a thing? Pretense is pretty toxic to philosophic thinking IMO. Read Wittgenstein or Russell if you want down-to-earth philosophy.

It's a thing with, how you say, "armchair philosophers". People who pull out an overused and frequently misinterpreted quote from an overexposed movie to prove how "deep" they are. "OMG, you're like, the next Neechy."

So, it's the worst kind of pretentious: the kind that not only tries to cloak itself in armor of smug self-aware irony, but uses that as an excuse to mock the pretentiousness of others?

Yeah, pencil me out.

"There's also some places where pop-culture point-scoring just plain goes off the rails: "They put him in a cape, too?" laments Thomson, having been informed that Jeremy Renner is among the actors not available for his play because he's busy making comic books movies; a weird observation, since Hawkeye doesn't have a cape..."

This is so Comic Book Guy XD

image

I was really looking forward to this for a while. Seemed like it'd be a lot like Bojack Horseman. But it looks like it's just some twat raving against the superhero genre.

DEADLINE: Is there anything you enjoy about these superhero films?

GONZALEZ INARRITU: I sometimes enjoy them because they are basic and simple and go well with popcorn. The problem is that sometimes they purport to be profound, based on some Greek mythological kind of thing. And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be. I hate that, and don't respond to those characters. They have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn't mean nothing about the experience of being human.

http://deadline.com/2014/10/birdman-director-alejandro-gonzalez-inarritu-writers-interview-852206/

Ignoring the fact that most superheros have a no-killing code, is it really that right-wing to oppose people who believe it's ok to take over the world? I mean, yeah, he goes on about how many superheros are billionaires, but hat makes sense. Billionaires typically would be the only people with the resources to be able to wage a one-man war on crime. Is it right-wing? Sure, a bit. More libertarian than fascist, though. The core of a superhero is that it's an individual that takes an extralegal approach to fighting crime. They ignore due process and every other bureaucratic regulation in a way that would be an Orwellian nightmare if the authorities did it, However, despite operating under virtually no oversight, superheros aren't the jackbooted oppressors this guy is making out them to be. Seriously, what superhero gives a shit what people believe aside from stuff like "I believe I should rule the world!" or "I believe it'd be funny to drug the city's water supply!"?

Uriel_Hayabusa:
Bob strikes me as more than a little overdefensive when it comes to superhero/geek stuff. Remember, he devoted a whole Big Picture episode (Stay Classy, San Diego in case you're wondering) to defending Comic-Con from mean, elitist film snobs not too long ago.

Hell, Bob seems rather passionate about defending superhero movies from film snobs in general:

http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/07/o-heart-weeps/#comment-1507365036
http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/10/cultural-genocide-thing/#comment-1649541742

Hell, in one of his comments in that second link he compares ''film snobs'' to Gamergaters of all things. Yes, he compared people who don't like a particular genre of movie he's passionate about to a (hate) group that's best known for harassing women. So yeah, pardon me if he strikes me as rather defensive about his superheroes.

I will give you that, Bob is definitely prone to hyperbole from time to time.

So basically he's using the film to bitch about dumb action films and laments that smarter films do not do so well. But could have easily made a smarter action film.... I guess the artsy types that are trapped in their own little world didn't get the memo that only in the painting and sculpting world you can sale the concept of anything as art even nothing, however in group effort arts like film you have to take the intangible and make it into something the non art world wants. You can make Superhero/action films that have substance that are not fodder for the masses. /art rant

Sometimes the English language really fails at a very basic level where a words can have vastly different meanings depending on user context. "Art" is one of those words. At a basic level, art can be considered any creative output. Does a finger-painting five year old make art? Yes they do. At the same time, there are pretentious people who like to elevate themselves by a belief that 'true' art has to have some deeper meaning that only they (and others they approve of) understand.

A lot of this has to do with the subjective nature of art. Creative output of the producer should be governed by personal expression, and whether the consumer enjoys the end-product by personal impression. The problem comes when people blur the boundaries between the technical achievements of producing the creative output (something that can be comparatively rated in a scale that others can relate to) with their personal subjective consumption of it (which can also be rated, but only on a internal scale that will differ from person to person).

This is where pretentiousness comes in. Discuss and rate the technical achievements of (for example) super-hero movies all you want. Everything from the script to directing to set, music, visuals, editing, acting, etc. But to say that it has no value because you don't enjoy it? F*** off. Believing your subjective consumption of a creative work is more important or relevant than anyone else's is pretense of the highest level.

image
But did you enjoy it, Harold?!

Nuxxy:

image

Gonzalez Iñarritu: Its all of them if you want, i never made up my mind anyway. Oh! and discuss please, it will boost sales even more.

This review sailed clear over my head. Way too inside baseball for me.

jabrwock:

senkus:
"smarmy teenaged philosophy buffs the world over"
That's a thing? Pretense is pretty toxic to philosophic thinking IMO. Read Wittgenstein or Russell if you want down-to-earth philosophy.

It's a thing with, how you say, "armchair philosophers". People who pull out an overused and frequently misinterpreted quote from an overexposed movie to prove how "deep" they are. "OMG, you're like, the next Neechy."

Hey, don't insult Neechy. His thoughts on the Lubermenshe are unparalleled in philosophy. I bet you don't even know how to pronounce his name right. It's pronounced "Carl."

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to take complaints about pretentiousness seriously, especially when people cite a lack of self-awareness while displaying so little themselves.

Uriel_Hayabusa:
Hell, in one of his comments in that second link he compares ''film snobs'' to Gamergaters of all things. Yes, he compared people who don't like a particular genre of movie he's passionate about to a (hate) group that's best known for harassing women. So yeah, pardon me if he strikes me as rather defensive about his superheroes.

His commentary seemed to be about the whining where movements like GamerGate starts. With "take back my (videogame/movies/country) from the X (insert strawman threat)". These death threats don't come out of left field. They come from a growing perceived loss of privilege, and a slow build up of resentment by those who believe themselves slighted. Eventually culminating in the crap that became GamerGate.

jabrwock:
These death threats don't come out of left field. They come from a growing perceived loss of privilege, and a slow build up of resentment by those who believe themselves slighted. Eventually culminating in the crap that became GamerGate.

I'd argue that the comparison is still highly uncalled for since I can't recall any instances of so-called film snobs threatening to kill directors of superhero movies.

Uriel_Hayabusa:

jabrwock:
These death threats don't come out of left field. They come from a growing perceived loss of privilege, and a slow build up of resentment by those who believe themselves slighted. Eventually culminating in the crap that became GamerGate.

I'd argue that the comparison is still highly uncalled for since I can't recall any instances of so-called film snobs threatening to kill directors of superhero movies.

I'd argue the comparison is still valid. He's talking about the self-entitlement and irrational anger at the core. It may have gone further with gamergate, but they have similar roots. I guess film snobs just aren't a bunch of lippy 12-year olds in 30 year old bodies who are willing to take it to the next level of psychosis.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. It all depends on how far you let your fear take you.

I love the idea that Jeremy Renner was asked to not be in this film

jabrwock:

Uriel_Hayabusa:

jabrwock:
These death threats don't come out of left field. They come from a growing perceived loss of privilege, and a slow build up of resentment by those who believe themselves slighted. Eventually culminating in the crap that became GamerGate.

I'd argue that the comparison is still highly uncalled for since I can't recall any instances of so-called film snobs threatening to kill directors of superhero movies.

I'd argue the comparison is still valid. He's talking about the self-entitlement and irrational anger at the core. It may have gone further with gamergate, but they have similar roots.

What ''irrational anger'' is there is saying ''Man, I wish there were a few more high-profile movies that didn't revolve around superheroes''? Or hell, not liking superhero movies, period.

Look, I get that Bob is very passionate about comics and comic book movies; and one can get defensive about the things one is passionate about. I'm just saying that comparing people who dismiss the thing you're passionate about to a hate group is taking it way too far.

I love anime, plenty of people can't stand anime. You don't see me comparing these people to the KKK.

Is that Ryan Stiles in the photo for the article?

Uriel_Hayabusa:
What ''irrational anger'' is there is saying ''Man, I wish there were a few more high-profile movies that didn't revolve around superheroes''? Or hell, not liking superhero movies, period.

That's not who he's talking about, re-read his rant.

He's talking about the people who, through seeing a few more superhero movies than zero, whine that the industry is "ruined" because they're making nothing but superhero movies nowadays. The type of person who laments the demise of film genre X and blames it on Y because they see a movie of genre Y doing well in the box office.

"The sheeple of today want nothing but flash and bang, and that's why there are no more serious dramas anymore..."

"The sheeple of today want nothing but fan fiction trash, that's why there are no more good vampire movies anymore..."

"The sheeple etc."

That's why it's irrational. They've built up a straw man in their minds, and have assigned it the blame for their perceived (but still fictional) loss.

jabrwock:
That's not who he's talking about, re-read his rant.

He's talking about the people who, through seeing a few more superhero movies than zero, whine that the industry is "ruined" because they're making nothing but superhero movies nowadays. The type of person who laments the demise of film genre X and blames it on Y because they see a movie of genre Y doing well in the box office.

If anything, that's a strawman. The argument of most of these ''film snobs'' isn't that too many superhero movies are being made, it's that they're so prevalent and taking up the lion's share of budgets that other types of movies suffer from it.

You (and Bob) can find that elitist; but I don't see what's objectionable about such an opinion, and I've enjoyed plenty of superhero movies.

Then again, that wasn't even my point. My point was - as I'll say for the last time seeing as I'm getting fed up with repeating myself - that it's not classy of Bob to compare people who complain about superhero movies to scumbags who harass and threaten women. Even if the rationalizations are supposedly-kinda-sorta-but-actually-not-when-you-think-about-it-for-even-a-little-bit similar.

 

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