There’s a common perception that film critics love to hate films. Turkey reviews are seen as platforms for the writers to whip out their long list of scathing adjectives and demeaning analogies, often to validate how funny and clever they think they are. An articulate smackdown of a truly terrible film can make for some entertaining reading, and a lot of talented critics undoubtedly have a fun time expressing their hatred. Hell, Roger Ebert’s made three best-selling books compiled from reviews of movies he loathed.
Personally, I dislike 1-starring a film. It involves me spending at least 90 minutes (if I’m lucky) watching a shitty film at my displeasure. I go into every film wanting to like it. So when I end up watching a film that simply refuses to let me like it on any level, it becomes all the more aggravating. It squeezes every ounce of optimism from my black and withered heart and funnels it into the colostomy bag of bitter despair.
It takes a lot for a film to reach that low of a status in my opinion, and it very rarely happens. I’ve only ever done it four times for Flicks (here, here, here and here), and all four of those films I’ve hated in one regard or another. That’s how a film qualifies for the lone star award.
So when I’m tasked to relay what these films provoked out of me, I have to try and justify my hatred. But how does one go about justifying their hatred for a film?
Well one thing you don’t do is make judgements about audiences who love the film you hate. It’s one thing for me to call Resident Evil: Retribution a tedious coagulation of derivative waste (or a shitty shitload of shit), but to call the Resident Evil fan-base idiots solely based on my opinion of one of its film is just straight-up wrong. It would make me look egotistic, condescending and douchie. Considering I’m only one of those three things, I avoid doing this.
There’s also a double standard attached. If someone shows hatred for a film you love, it can be tempting to accuse them of ulterior motives that go beyond genuine hatred. After all, you usually can’t see or agree with all the flaws in the films you adore. Even if you do, you’ll either cherish those flaws or forgive them. But it’s important to accept the fact that some people may hate what you love for completely plausible reasons (as long as they’re not being an egotistical condescending douche about it).
It can be hard to accept such a fact, especially if you love a film like a mother loves her child. Reading some smarmy critic’s words on how much he or she hates your baby is aggravating on a maternal level. It makes you want to defend what you’re passionate about, and as such, you’d look a lot better if you promoted the good qualities you see in the film rather than attacking the critic on how many cocks their mother sucks in hell. It’s more respectable to deal love than hate.
But hey, it’s the internet. This is the virtual sanctum to let your inner twat run free. People are going to bitch, people are going to complain and people are going to call critics “faggy gay-tards.” Why? Because we suffer from a mental condition called “humanity.”
Here’s the truth: it’s fun to express hatred. We can’t help it. We’re disgusting that way. Perhaps it derives from some Neanderthal-ish impulse, causing us to feel some twisted euphoria whenever we rage. I don’t know. I’m not a scientician. But I do know that letting the anger out feels so, so good.
However, your superego has to keep your id intact, so we need socially acceptable ways of externalising our fury (or ways that prevent us from going all God Bless America on people’s asses). Thus, we have movies to hate, movie haters to hate and a Call of Duty‘s online multiplayer voice chat system to yell into.
Do not muddle my words, though. It’s not fun to hate things, but if you find yourself in the situation of hating something, there is so much gratification to be had letting the hatred out. It’s a hellovalot healthier than keeping it inside too (that’s how psychopaths are born). Essentially, I’m promoting the words of The Emperor.
If I’m put in the unfortunate position of hating a film, I’m going to revel in my verbal expression as to why. It’s my reward for giving up two hours of my life going through a bullshitty experience that would only have made me angrier had I actually paid to see it at my leisure. But I’m also a professional* critic, so I can’t let a rant undermine my analysis. It wouldn’t be fair to the film or the people who genuinely want to know why I found it to be a totally unenjoyable experience.
So how can you hate a hater? Easy, call them out on their bullshit.
Granted, there needs to be bullshit to call them out on. Example: some jump on a hate bandwagon without ever having seen the films they supposedly hate. The Twilight saga is probably the biggest and most recent victim of being hit by the hate train. I’m not saying it doesn’t deserve it because I don’t know; I haven’t seen a Twilight film before*. But a lot of the hate is unjustified, populated by those who hate it simply because everyone else does.
*However, I plan to do an entire death-run of the saga when Breaking Dawn: Part 2 comes out. I’m a little frightened.
I’ve been call stupid, accused of sexism, told to fuck off, and some of these are for films I didn’t even hate. I could be bitter about it. I could reply with something equally as vile. I could question why none of my haters actually specify what points they disagree with. But all their insults (no matter how scathing, premature or unjustified they might be) are fuelled by their passion for film. I can relate to that, and gain at little satisfaction knowing that a fellow film pasher has had some enjoyment expressing their hatred for me, a faceless internet film critic that they will probably never meet in RL.
Unless I piss off a complete lunatic who devotes their life to ending mine.