living underground in the real world

James Cameron can suck my (blue) left one

I mean it.

God, I love starting fights! I’ve already got one brewing on one internet platform, might as well bring it here too.

OK, it’s not like I’m saying it wasn’t entertaining. It was. For sure. I guess. Or something. Yes, that’s it: it was…certainly something.

Before we even got to the theater I was thinking: “This is not going to work out so well. I can tell. I like movies with long slow steady shots, preferably where the women are wearing complicated underwear under their complicated dresses, preferably speaking with English accents, preferably set about a hundred years ago, preferably with Cate Blanchett.” I knew what I was getting into, so I guess I have only myself to blame.

By the time the previews ended (and my long-shot-used-to-eyes were already crying out in pain from the constant barrage of images) I knew things were going to go just like, well, how they went. I had an escape plan: Sherlock Holmes started 20 minutes after Avatar. If I couldn’t take the sci-fi, I could escape at least to English accents. But when the time came to escape, I was trapped in a wall of bodies on either side, and Jacob had the popcorn anyway (and the supremely trashy theater had the coveted vegan fake butter, so I could not leave without the popcorn). I decided to go with the flow and see a boy movie. And I’m not saying I hated it, let’s be clear. I had more than a few eye-rolling moments, but I kinda sorta gave myself up to it, as much as a smart person can when seeing such a simplistic popcorn flick.

Basically: I went out on a limb because everyone else wanted to see it. I saw a boy movie, and, as expected, it turned me into a hissing, spitting essentialist girlie girl.

Here’s the good thing I’ll say: at its root, it has a nice, happy tree-huggery message: lets be kind to Mother Earth. If you’re incredibly stupid and this is what you take from the movie, I am thankful this message is there. I just wish people weren’t, you know. So incredibly fucking stupid.

One more good thing: Jacob mentioned someone commenting on some article about the movie on HuffPo who pointed out that it was a good critique of how, under capitalism, the corporate state must be maintained at all times with military force. Good on ya for that one, Cameron, but that’s the only pass you’ll get from me.

What I realized about halfway through is that most (argh, standard disclaimer about how this isn’t true in all cases, blah blah) dudes are stupid. Not exactly a new revelation, but work with me here, I’m making a point: stupid people are happy to see the same movie again and again and again. They like it. Change the setting from a dusty western to a futuristic world, change the skin color of the girls the main character fucks, throw in an onslaught of giant weaponry, and their minds will be blown as if it was the first time.

Extra points if you make (most of) the women “healers” and gentle-voiced, doe-eyed creatures—oh, and if you want to be “edgy,” make sure some—just some!! No need to go crazy!—of them have mad bow-and-arrow skills. You’re really smashing some paradigms then. Oh, and racism? No way! I mean, the gentle earth-loving tribes are a hilariously offensive mix of African-American and Native American facial features, but how could anyone call the movie racist? They are the good guys! Wait, what’s that? They would never have prevailed without the weaponry, know-how, and aw-shucks good-guyism of the main white dude?

My god. AMERICANS! You blow my fucking mind, you know that?

Oh, and you know what else? Fucking ableism.

Update, after another half-hour of thought and conversation: Poor James Cameron. You know what? I think he tried very hard to make a movie not just idiots would like. The problem is that even as he is, on the surface, condemning the intense militarism, etc, he can’t stop himself from jizzing all over it either. It thrills him to no end how big his guns are. It’s so trite that I can’t believe I’m even writing it, but it’s just another dude leading with his fuckin’ cock. Spare me, please.

29 Responses to “James Cameron can suck my (blue) left one”

  1. niki

    Hooray. That movie’s complete lack of connection with my cerebral cortex has been similarly felt by others.

    How fucking boring was the (lack of) storyline from the moment it started?

    Tis no surprise it needed overwhelming special effects to hold anyones attention – who can remain interested for long in anything so painfully predictable? Was there even a single moment of surprise in this film? Even one twist that you didn’t see coming? Or a twist, full stop?

    I couldn’t agree more on your comment about watching the same near plotless movie with the same tedious action scenes and explosions, made new again merely by changing the setting.

    You might like this to aggravate a little more frustration and disgust at the mentality of so many:
    http://avatar-forums.com/showthread.php?t=43

    Reply
  2. Katy

    I completely agree with you about Avatar but, even with the disclaimer, I think the “most dudes are stupid” was perhaps not a necessary or correct comment when it comes to male reactions to action films. Though it is true that many of dudes I’ve talked to have sustained their initial reaction of awe to the film, a lot of them were really angry about it too.

    Bottom line for me, as an avid consumer of the sci fi/fantasy genre, I was appalled by this film’s story to the same massive degree as I was impressed by the masterful usage of 3d. Check out Annalee Newitz criticism of the film on Io9: http://io9.com/5422666/when-will-white-people-stop-making-movies-like-avatar

    Reply
    • lagusta

      What a great review!!! Yeah, it’s not that I thought all men would like it, my partner had some issues with it, for sure, but that it’s just so saturated with dude-vibes.

      >

      Reply
      • Katy

        Oh yes. It’s pretty much only dude vibes, which is funny because I think Cameron has this idea that he’s very pro-woman due to the prominence of strong women in his past films/tv projects (Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Dark Angel, and even Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the Abyss). I did feel that of all the actors, Zoe Saldana was the only one who seemed truly committed-she just seemed to be working so hard.

      • lagusta

        oh yeah–In that New Yorker article I link to above (at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/26/091026fa_fact_goodyear#editorsnote) he says:

        “Of course, the whole movie ends up being about women, how guys relate to their lovers, mothers—there’s a large female presence,” Cameron said. “I try to do my testosterone movie and it’s a chick flick. That’s how it is for me.”

        (Um………have you seen your own movie?) And he also says, earlier: “With ‘Avatar,’ I thought, Forget all these chick flicks and do a classic guys’ adventure movie.”

        So, in fairness, I hate that entire string of words: classic + guys + adventure, so it makes perfect sense that I thus hate the movie. If you don’t have objections to such a silly genre, you might love it! But still, not if you have any politics whatsoever. It seems that he is literally so stupid that he thinks (or wants to project to the media the idea that he thinks–not sure which is worse) that adding any sort of non-fighting elements/human emotions/softness means that it’s a “chick flick.”

        Wowzers.

  3. Stephanie

    Apparently, some think Cameron is trying to recruit eco-terrorists. Urgh. Maybe that is a redeeming quality?

    Reply
  4. Mark Bernard

    These posts are fairly one-sided, I felt I had to say something. I’m probably setting myself up for some grief here.

    I don’t go to a movie to be brought to to the kind of depths that I already experience in my life and activism. I go to a movie for a good ride, and to get away from my complex life for a few hours.

    Thus, I adore most of Cameron’s movies; he delivers the big ride without being completely vapid.

    What do other people do to escape? Alcohol or drugs, perhaps? Hollywood’s a $50 billion-a-yearly habit in the US, versus the alcohol industry’s $100 billion habit. I guess most of us choose our way of escaping life, while hopefully trying to be aware of the implications.

    I’ve decided not to touch the male-bashing. Sexism is rather indefensible all by itself.

    Reply
  5. lagusta

    I guess I just don’t see escape in something that’s completely against my beliefs, my friend. I can think of tons of “good rides” without the Avatar ickiness.

    What male-bashing? Didn’t you see my disclaimer?

    Reply
  6. brooke

    Yes yes yes. Dunno if you’ve read this, but can you believe this quote?

    “We looked at designs for the Na’vi that initially were much more alien,” Cameron said. “When we would draw Neytiri and she had fins on her back and gills and all kinds of weird protuberances and so on in odd places, the question was, well, would you want to do her? No? OK, let’s back off from that. … We just didn’t want to take it so far that she had kind of a fish mouth or anything.” – James Cameron

    (originally saw it quoted here)

    Quite literally, as you say, “leading with his fuckin’ cock.”

    Reply
      • mark

        i just wanted to repeat that “wow”. that’s some truly dreadful creative thinking. perhaps the blue creatures will appear in ‘nuts’…

        anyway, loved the rant. i saw a trailer for the film and decided to stay away from it. the opportunity to see something dreadful with an extra dimension just doesn’t appeal to me. has everyone forgotten that we already have a lot of 3D stuff? I’M 3D, for christs sake! look at me!

  7. Mark Bernard

    You are all so outraged and passionate, and I am unwilling to face all of that to defend my fleeting interest in this little flick.

    However, I am dismayed by Cameron’s comment. He always seemed more evolved than that.

    Over and out,
    Mark

    Reply
      • lagusta

        ah man, that’s a response to a comment from Kevin that is working its way out of the spam filter.

  8. kt

    i know you are not a big fan of kids… but after i tell you this you may just think mine are kinda cool. i asked the 7 & 9 year olds if they wanted to go see avatar – i was in the mood for a movie and all sorts of peeps i respect were raving about it on facebook (even my pacifist little brother who called it “very good on many levels…despite obvious, telegraphed Dances with Wolves meets Ferngully storyline”)

    so my kids say “no mama – don’t you know it is about war? why in the world would you want us to see that???” they were like “duh, really mama”. (they obviously derived this purely from the adverts… where else?)

    oh, precious moments.

    Reply
  9. brittany

    oh no! if i don’t see it, i’m spurned, if i see it and like it, i’m spurned, if i see it and hate it, i’m spurned! what’s a gal to do?!?

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Well, you could like it while knowing it’s, at its core, dumb. I think that’s allowed. I think you should also be allowed to put away your politics and just enjoy the movie. I can’t perform such a trick, but I envy those who can.

      Reply
  10. zoe p.

    I like movies made for boys more often than I like movies made for girls because movies made for girls seem so often to be teaching me how to behave more like a girl. Which stresses me out. Still, I had been avoiding Avatar. And yet, how often do we have reason to don 3D glasses? I was quite on the fence, until I read this and now I’ll just put it all behind me. Thank *you* for sparing *me,* Lagusta and friends!

    Reply
    • lagusta

      OH! THE OTHER THING! I didn’t even have 3D glasses, the theater didn’t offer them! Maybe that’s another reason it was so irksome.

      Reply
  11. pete h.

    I watched it the second week it was out, I liked it, I’m a man, I didn’t want to do the blue girl. It was gorgeous cinematically even if it was all special effects and computer-generated. I always(almost) see the glass as half-full rather than the other way and I left the movie with a belly full of popcorn and a strong sense of this being at its best anti-US imperialist and pro-Green. For me, this was a popular entertainment and wasn’t something that many people would seriously consider as a major intellectual effort or any kind of high concept. Impressions are mostly what I’m left with and my impressions are all I expressed above.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Yeah, I think that some of my intense irritation stemmed from the fact that I never, ever see blockbusters. Within that genre, maybe it wasn’t that bad (though others here have said that it still was pretty crappy). I also think it had an anti-imperialist and pro-Green stance, just a pathetically simplistic one. Which, maybe within the context, is a major victory or something, I dunno.

      Reply
  12. ruby

    I hate video games and jump cuts (as they evolved beyond French New Wave) and have no intention of seeing Avatar because I hate action movies that don’t involve Vin Diesel, but I question your hatred of sci-fi. Have you tried? I don’t read much of it these days but I still hold a special place in my heart for Asimov, Bradbury, Butler, LeGuin, L’Engle and, eventually, Firefly. In junior high, stuck on an incredibly tiny island, those books offered me a great escape and, frankly, on average, more feminism than the average classic novel I came across. I wish I were as imaginative and open minded as I were then. The fact that I can’t read those stories as easily saddens me – like a part of me that used to reach and soar in my sleep has shut off.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Well, I like Ursula…but I haven’t ever been able to sink my teeth into her books. I’m happy she exists though! And I liked Ray Bradbury back in the day OK…I like Margaret Atwood a whole lot, does she count? I guess she’s more dystopian, rather than sci-fi.

      Something about most sci-fi though, I just can’t get into. Tragically, I fear I’m moving away from the world of fiction all together–Jacob has read a whole stack of novels on this trip, and I am just plugging away at depressing political books. I know sci-fi can be a place for revolutionary political ideas…maybe we’re both losing our ability to imagine new worlds.

      How depressing!

      Reply
  13. kevin

    I finally watched this last night.

    Visually stunning, yes.

    Colossal piece of crap, yes.

    That’s pretty bad coming from me (I find a lot of pretty iffy stuff enjoyable, movie-wise.) It just never seemed to end – by the time it finally did end I was actually annoyed at the 2.5+ hours I had spent.

    Reply

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