The Fight Out of Me


windmillsThere was a time when I would argue about movies and TV shows with all the vigor of Henry Drummond going after Matthew Harrison Brady in Inherit the Wind.  I was the living embodiment of the “But someone is WRONG on the Internet” meme, unable to let any disagreement go unchallenged.  It wasn’t enough to have an opinion; that opinion had to be defended against all comers, whether I was with the majority or the lone holdout bravely standing alone.  Sometimes it became more about winning the argument than championing a piece of art, but most of the time it was just about having the argument itself.

Now, I find myself just not caring.

I saw Furious 7.  I liked it okay.  Wasn’t the greatest thing ever, just a fun diversion, nothing more.  But I saw people waxing ecstatically over it, and I couldn’t understand it.  Where I saw an over-the-top retread, they saw an action classic.  It made no sense.  I felt the hackles rise, the fingers twitch in anticipation … and I shrugged and let it go.  They liked it, I didn’t.  I honestly couldn’t find the fire to debate that gap.

Later, I saw Terminator: Genisys.  And had a ton of fun with it.  A definite step up from the post-Terminator 2 sequels, both an homage and a deconstruction, a little ragged around the edges, but what fifth film in a series isn’t?  And then the knives came out, and apparently I’d seen some cinematic crime.  Everyone was miscast, they said, the story made no sense, they said.  I mentally geared for war, ready to refute every criticism … and I couldn’t bring myself to bother.  In the end, I had one more movie in my life I liked than they did.  Having a lengthy message board argument over it just didn’t seem like a good use of time.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk about movies. It’s just that I feel like we just don’t anymore.  We’d rather argue about plot holes and nitpicks and what ifs than enthuse over a theme or a performance or a shot.  Too much of what passes for discussion feels like the web equivalent of “Am not” and “Are too,” with people not interested in hearing other points of view, but hearing that theirs is right.

And yes, maybe a small part of it is just not wanting to have to justify what I like.  Sometimes something just works for me on an illogically emotional level, and I don’t feel like having to spend a dozen message board posts explaining that to someone.  Especially when it feels like they’re just there to throw around some internet tough guy persona rather than actually have a discussion.  Oh yes, you’re so above all this mainstream pop culture.  That’s why you’re spending so much time telling us how above it you are.

So I’m content to like or dislike what I want, and let you like or dislike what you want, and call it all even.  If something really truly excites me, like an Ex Machina or a Fury Road or an Inside Out, I’ll talk about it.  But I’m not going to tilt at every windmill anymore.  You just end up with broken lances.

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