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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

question of the day: Is it a cop out to say a movie is “for the fans”?

Kenny Ortega, the director of Michael Jackson’s This Is It was sure to let everyone know prior to Tuesday night’s worldwide simultaneous premiere — at which lots of critics were present — that the film is “for the fans.” In case anybody missed his comment, a placard as the film opens reminds us of that.

Yesterday in an interview at Cinematical, Troy Duffy, director of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, which opens tomorrow, had this to say:

There’s gonna be critics who, I’m sure, harpoon this thing, and nobody likes to have their work hated and shunned by anybody, especially somebody with sort of a public voice like a critic, but I think what Billy was saying was that this one’s never been about that. It’s always been about… the fans found this thing and made it. It was beyond criticism at the time because there was no big f*cking red carpet and advertising campaign. We weren’t asking anyone to buy anything. This movie was virtually abandoned, and the kids found it. They made it their own thing, and they didn’t really give a sh*t what critics said. And they started protecting the film on the Internet. Every time you see a bad comment about Boondock, the next ten comments are Boondock fans calling that guy a douchebag.

Duffy seems proud of the fact that even his fans seem unable to defend his films on their own merits, and must resort to namecalling.

Is there something disingenuous, on the part of filmmakers and their fans, about the assumption that a movie that is “for the fans” is somehow exempt from criticism, or that criticism of such a movie simply doesn’t “count”?

It seems to me that any thinking fan — and perhaps that’s a caveat that just doesn’t often apply — would be offended by a film that merely pandered to him or her instead of being worthy on merits beyond that. It seems to me that any thinking filmmaker — and again, perhaps I assume too much — would strive to make a film that would appeal to “fans” and critics alike… because, after all, aren’t critics the most devoted film fans of all?

Is it a cop out to say a movie is “for the fans”? Is it an acknowledgement that a movie cannot be considered very good except by those so invested in it, for whatever reason, that they are unlikely to fail to love it unconditionally?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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