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GreenCine Movie Talk
In The Theaters
I just saw it and boy does it...
318

Cheering for malice
Topic by: itchy008
Posted: August 16, 2004 - 1:48 PM PDT
Last Reply: August 18, 2004 - 10:50 PM PDT

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author topic: Cheering for malice
itchy008
post #1  on August 16, 2004 - 1:48 PM PDT  
From 1997 until about a month ago, I lived and worked in Japan. Going to the movies there is completely different. The audience is so quiet and considerate in Japan. No cell phones ring. People try to be as quiet as possible when they eat their popcorn or drink their Coke.

Sometimes it was freaky. Most of the time, I would be the only person laughing out loud. Can you imagine watching THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY with a bunch of strict silent librarians?

Back in the good ole US of A, I hear phones ringing, people talking about their love life, or complaining about the movie every other minute. I miss Japan.

But the worst is the cheering and applause for scenes that shouldn't be applauded.

Two examples:
" In THE VILLAGE, Adrien Brody plays the village idiot and Bryce Dallas Howard is the blind daughter of the town leader. They have a loving relationship established by a number of scenes of the two playing and talking.

Near the middle of the film, Howard goes to Brody's house, finds him, and slaps him repeatedly. It is the most powerful scene in an underwhelming film and the emotions we should feel are grief and shock. Instead, the audience hoots and claps. "Go, girl!" "Damn, bitch-slapped him!"

" In COLLATERAL, Tom Cruise is a hitman with an important briefcase. At one point, the case is taken by a punk. Cruise wants the briefcase back. The punk points his gun at Cruise, gangsta-style. Cruise takes it away, shoots the punk, then shoots the punk's friend. With the punk on the floor, Cruise reclaims his briefcase and then shoots the prone punk one more time. Out of spite. And the audience responds with applause and "Yeahs."

What's wrong with people?

Am I turning into an old fogey? Or do you feel the same?

Be afraid. Be very afraid. For the audience.
Eoliano
post #2  on August 16, 2004 - 3:31 PM PDT  
It is a known fact that Audiences in the U.S. often misbehave. They should all be shot.

Vincent's final shot at the punk's head was not out of spite. It was his MO.
jross3
post #3  on August 16, 2004 - 5:27 PM PDT  
> What's wrong with people?

It's the Teletubbies. They're the ones responsible.

> Am I turning into an old fogey? Or do you feel the same?

We're both old farts. Those people suck. I throw popcorn at them.
SonjaBlue
post #4  on August 16, 2004 - 5:49 PM PDT  
Eoliano wrote:

> It is a known fact that Audiences in the U.S. often misbehave. They should all be shot.<

Let the theatre audience scenario be but one example of the morality of consideration.

I, for one, am all for the abuser/misbehaver (pending severity) experiencing a life-changing epiphany a few moments before experiencing life-threatening violence.

May all the not-so-innocent bystanders/potential contributers share in the sudden insight gained by such cause and (perhaps impending) effect.

All persons/things are accountable for their actions. A pity that only some are fortunate/unfortunate enough to pay sooner...
Eoliano
post #5  on August 16, 2004 - 6:07 PM PDT  
> Let the theatre audience scenario be but one example of the morality of inconsideration.

> I, for one, am all for the abuser/misbehaver (pending severity) experiencing a life-changing epiphany a few moments before experiencing life-threatening violence.

> May all the not-so-innocent bystanders/potential contributers share in the sudden insight gained by such cause and (perhaps impending) effect.

> All persons/things are accountable for their actions. A pity that only some are fortunate/unfortunate enough to pay sooner...

What a bunch of sanctimonious doublespeak!
SonjaBlue
post #6  on August 16, 2004 - 6:19 PM PDT  
You're right Eoliano. It is so much better to say:

Cause: Misbehavior
Effect: Being shot

At least I am more discriminating. (I never said that I would necessarily be the one collecting dues.)
SonjaBlue
post #7  on August 16, 2004 - 6:28 PM PDT  
Eoliano,

I would much rather assume that your sarcasm on this discussion doesn't translate well as opposed to giving the impression that your comment was less than gentlemanly.
Eoliano
post #8  on August 16, 2004 - 6:38 PM PDT  
> I would much rather assume that your sarcasm on this discussion doesn't translate well as opposed to giving the impression that your comment was less than gentlemanly.

Consider it collateral damage or consider it collateral damage for sticking your nose in here.
SonjaBlue
post #9  on August 16, 2004 - 6:42 PM PDT  
Oh, that's the Eoliano that we've all come to love. I've been away for a few days, and I've missed you.

Question is, if something were to happen -- would you be missed?
hamano
post #10  on August 16, 2004 - 6:46 PM PDT  
OK, as the token Japanese person I have to chime in and disagree... In this day of home theaters and DVDs, a big reason for going to a theater to see a film is for the communal experience. I remember seeing House Party in a NY neighborhood with a lot of African Americans and I must say I really enjoyed the "interactive" experience the audience had with the film... The same with the Sixth Sense and Candy Man. It's not to the degree of Rocky Horror, of course, but audience members screaming or laughing or shouting advice and admonitions to the characters totally added another dimension to the experience of seeing these films.

Also recently I got a copy of Young Frankenstein... I think Mel Brooks really understands how films interact with live audiences, and watching it alone it feels....flat? There's something missing... and you understand that Brooks never meant the film to be seen at home with an audience of one or two people.

I think modern directors, who edit stuff on digital editors and screen the results on a monitor, already prep their films for a home audience (there's always a chance, too, that a project would go straight to video or cable instead of a theater). I bet comedy films are fundamentally different today... directors edit in a "reaction" shot, like a standup routine rimshot, into the action of the film. Kind of like a hidden laugh track, for audiences that grew up with laugh tracked TV sitcoms. So if you watch a modern comedy at home, it still feels witty and sharply paced... older film comedies probably do a lot better in a theater.

Someone needs to tell those Japanese audiences to loosen up a bit. A movie IS NOT a live chamber music recital! It's really good for ALL OF US to seek out a film venue where movies are NOT treated like some ritual where audience silence is a virtue. Places where there's a definite sense of community, where audience members are acting out loud in relation to the film and to EACH OTHER.

Silence in a theater is a form of art fascism/puritanism/fundamentalism. Great dramatists and directors understand that seeing a play/movie should be a communal experience where the presence of scores or hundreds of different audience members in one place produces a kind of synergistic energy you just can't experience at home. That's what it means to be LIVE, man!

(That's not to say that I condone boorish behavior... but that could be funny, too, in the right context.)

I think smart cineastes actually MISS this live interaction, and that's why there are cult followings for stuff like Rocky Horror, the recently rereleased theatrical Sound of Music, and MST3K....
SonjaBlue
post #11  on August 16, 2004 - 6:49 PM PDT  
That sounds reasonable, dear hamano.
hamano
post #12  on August 16, 2004 - 6:55 PM PDT  
OK, I'm really daring Eo to accuse me of sanctimonious doublespeak (I think at least I was less obtuse than Sonja...) I'm ready to go mano hamano, Paisa`!!
SonjaBlue
post #13  on August 16, 2004 - 7:01 PM PDT  
It could be that Americans are more desensitized to violence and gunplay in theatres.

To this day, many British are still shocked (and very silent) in their reactions to the aforementioned. (They do seem, as a whole, to exhibit more of a reaction to bawdy humour, though.)

I do not think that Asians being reserved (especially in large groups) is that much of a stretch with regards to culture. I do agree that what is deemed acceptable behaviour/reaction depends on the company kept.
hamano
post #14  on August 16, 2004 - 7:22 PM PDT  
Maybe Japanese audiences are just trying to get their yen's worth considering a movie ticket costs as much as getting a Carnegie Hall ticket in NY....
SonjaBlue
post #15  on August 16, 2004 - 7:30 PM PDT  
Are you saying that it just takes the fight right out of them?
Eoliano
post #16  on August 16, 2004 - 8:11 PM PDT  
> Oh, that's the Eoliano that we've all come to love. I've been away for a few days, and I've missed you.

The feeling is mutual bella, just remember to keep your tongue in that pretty cheek of yours! ; ^ )

> Question is, if something were to happen -- would you be missed?

Yes, but only by my loved ones because they are the only ones who matter.

Define what you mean by happen. Define what you mean by missed.

Hamano, I entirely agree with you but I am just too tired and hungry to go into any significant detail right now. However, my comment that audiences should be shot was entirely facetious, and since my droll wit generally evades most people, I now stand accused of crimes against the people. Talk about fascism, I mean really!

What we have here is a failure to have a sense of humor, that, and perhaps a lamentable amount of seriousness.

> Maybe Japanese audiences are just trying to get their yen's worth considering a movie ticket costs as much as getting a Carnegie Hall ticket in NY....

And they have pay attention to all those subtitles to keep up with the absurd plots and breakneck editing of most American films!
Eoliano
post #17  on August 16, 2004 - 8:17 PM PDT  
Okay, that's it, I'm going to rename this thread Absence of Malice.
ALittlefield
post #18  on August 16, 2004 - 8:17 PM PDT  
Often audience reaction can really enhance the filmgoing experience: I saw PULP FICTION opening night with a sell out crowd who were really geared up for it, and who laughed and cheered throughout (myself included). That was one of the best times I've ever had at a movie.
On the other side, I saw THE STRAIGHT STORY in a theater filled with kids because parents thought that the "G" rating indicated a kids' movie, which it most certainly wasn't. The kids got bored with the film and started talking and running up and down the aisles. Most annoying. On a simular note, I really think that theaters should not allow parents with small children, since they often cry during the movie, or, even worse, obviously need a diaper change! If you weren't willing to make some sacrifices when you had a child, then you shouldn't have had one! GET A SITTER OR STAY AT HOME.
hamano
post #19  on August 16, 2004 - 8:46 PM PDT  
Babies crying at films don't bother me that much. What really gets me are old geezers and gossipy hags who think it's OK to go on and on about stuff totally unrelated to the film, then start asking each other questions about what's happening on screen! THEY're the ones who should be watching DVDs at home!

> And they have pay attention to all those subtitles to keep up with the absurd plots and breakneck editing of most American films!

Eo, I think you're mistaken... American films are entirely too predictable to confuse foreign filmgoers...
SonjaBlue
post #20  on August 16, 2004 - 9:07 PM PDT  
Eoliano wrote:

> The feeling is mutual bella, just remember to keep your tongue in that pretty cheek of yours! ; ^ )<

Sounds like a compliment, but really it's not. It should come as no surprise how some wars are started.

> [Would you be missed?] Yes, but only by my loved ones because they are the only ones who matter.<

Perhaps it is better to presume that I meant it that way.

> Define what you mean by happen. Define what you mean by missed.<

Sometimes misfortune is coincidental. Sometimes it isn't. You could pay as much mind to a fortune cookie unless you think there is more to it than that.

> ...my comment that audiences should be shot was entirely facetious, and since my droll wit generally evades most people, I now stand accused of crimes against the people...<

Perhaps to those offended. It would be fair to say that both dear hamano and I knew the intent of your first comment. Perhaps we both had a little trouble with the method of delivery (or accuracy) of the second or third.

> What we have here is a failure to have a sense of humor, that, and perhaps a lamentable amount of seriousness.<

I agree. Something said can/could still be conceived humourous to one even if it is not perceived as such in public display.
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