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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Slumdog Price Is Right




Slumdog parody, you guys.



It's weird to see the hype/backlash machine work in real time. So many people hate on this movie now... it's basically become the new Juno. Why... because it was popular? Because it won a lot of awards? And I'm guessing people don't like things being popular and winning awards? Awards rewarding excellence? I mean, I would hate on stuff too if it had just won some stupid "People's Choice" award or "Teen Choice" award. I'm sure Miley Cyrus cleans up there, so duh. But I really don't get hating on stuff because it hit some cultural zeitgeist and became an important, escapist movie that defined our year and won a bunch of critical awards of excellence. That's just way too cynical for me.

Slumdog Millionaire resonated with audiences and critics alike because of what has been happening in our world. The film's success is truly a product of the global environment in which we live. We're in a global recession and almost everyone is hurting economically, so audiences flocked to see an escapist film where love, not money, was the prime driving point of the protagonist. We had just seen Barack Obama become the first black president, so audiences were excited to see another unlikely underdog story in Slumdog Millionaire.

I understand that the hype machine can get annoying and repetitive. I too got a little sick of all the Slumdog-love on Oprah and Regis & Kelly. But I remembered how I felt when I first saw the film in November. I had read a lot about it and knew it was going to be great, but I just thought it was going to be a little underground movie that would be a cult-classic in years to come. I mean, I knew if audiences somehow saw it they would love it, but I figured it would never be seen by the popular culture. It's not Slumdog Millionaire's fault that the movie somehow slowly resonated with audiences and became an Oscar-winning, successful movie. Slumdog's success in February doesn't belittle the people who saw it in November and thought it was an excellent, fun audience-picture that needed to be championed and seen by the masses.

Giving in to the backlash machine is too easy. It's a personal weakness. I know some people who would turn on almost ANYTHING they once loved if it became popular and mainstream. I know people who hate on M.I.A. (after previously loving her) because one of her songs made it onto a movie trailer and she performed at the Grammy's. I know huge Sacha Baron Cohen fans who hated on Borat because all the fratboys started doing the "very nice" voice. I know people who liked Juno when it was a little, unimportant Michael Cera movie and then hated on it after it won an Oscar.

I'm just not into this ironic, cynical hating on all things popular. I mean, if you don't like the movie, fine. You don't have to like Slumdog Millionaire. It's not for everyone. It's an occasionally farcical love story with a happy ending and a dance sequence. But don't like the movie on your own terms, not because it somehow became really popular with the general population and you hate most people and their cultural tastes and that the general population also likes "American Idol" so by your logic "American Idol"= Slumdog Millionaire.

I'm just into earnestness, I guess. Sometimes (very rarely) the cream actually rises to the top.

1 comment:

amber belmonte. said...

you said it perfectly.
i personally loved slumdog + can't STAND when people feel the need to make a stand about "not liking something" just because everyone else loved it.. they sound like idiots.

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