Doctor Strange is an overall pretty decent flick, but its comic relief is easily the worst thing that’s ever happened in a franchise that I’d like to remind you has the “fish out of water” story of Thor. If the endless pop culture names tossed against Wong’s name weren’t enough to make me groan… there is absolutely no better way to get me on the wrong fucking side of a Doctor Strange adaptation than to take one of the centers of the character’s mythology – the mystic Shamballa – and relegate that word to a wi-fi password (with the completely tasteless addition of “we’re not savages”) and put it in your fucking trailer.
What an utterly dismissive attitude to have to something so integral to the Doctor Strange universe (and replaced with the blah Sling Rings). It shows exactly where writer C. Robert Cargill’s (and director Scott Derrickson’s) mind was at when making this.
Still the movie was decent (and the review will be coming up), but it reminded me of other times I recognized a film having a completely
So as the Hitchcock quote I used to title this post implies, this post is a presentation of..
The 10 Biggest Moments in Film That Showed a Heavy Contempt for The Audience
Note: Please forgive that this list ends a bit comic-book movie heavy. It’s very easy to recognize an already established audience for certain properties and the most rabid of them happen to be comic book fans.
10. Spider-Man 3 – Venom
This is gonna sit in last place, because full disclosure: I like Spider-Man 3. I obviously like it significantly less than any of Raimi’s other Spider-Man pictures, but I certainly rank it above Marc Webb Sony’s run on the character. That said, it’s clearly a motion of complete hate for the character of Venom (a hate I kind of share with Raimi to begin with, as Venom is kind of a simple character that totally belonged in 80s/90s era of comics with no place for today and looks like a stereotypical Todd MacFarlane creation) that Venom is treated as such a throwaway concept. It’s not that he doesn’t take place in the film until its final act, that was a smart move that treated Venom as a sort of huge consequence to Spider-Man 3’s plot (although Christopher Nolan did the same hat trick much much better in The Dark Knight) and that gave it gravity.
It’s the casting of Topher Grace and his clear inability to embody all the hate and attitude that makes up Venom’s presence that makes this goddamn hard to watch. Let alone how unintimidating he and his voice is, even when he’s in the Venom suit. Or how shittily animated the character is, particularly when he talks with Brock’s face covered.
If Raimi truly felt he wasn’t able or willing to make a third Spider-Man film with Venom, he should have stepped down from the director’s chair. What resulted is a half-assed movie that was right to piss people off, and that’s just not right for a franchise that originally began as something that showed how much Raimi loved the Spider-Man comics.
9. Antichrist – “I am the best director in the world”
This is kind of something I have to credit Lars von Trier with, which should explain the place being in nine. As the video shows, the question von Trier had tossed at him was so poorly worded and antagonistic in its nature that I am honestly surprised nobody in the room booed the guy for asking it.
That von Trier defends himself as not needing to explain the nature of his film is adequate and understandable. That he goes on a mini-tirade about how critics shouldn’t ask him to explain his films, that he does not need to justify himself, and ends it on the tongue-in-cheek is a little more tolerable than Kevin Smith’s own infamous critic rant at Sundance. von Trier’s statement that the audience is his guest and he’s not theirs implies that there’s no two-street in cinematic communication.
By the way, any move by von Trier could easily be on this list, but I settled for the most obvious point.
8. Fantastic Four – “It’s Clobberin’ Time”
It was super early in the film but the moment the 2015 attempted reboot introduced the Thing’s most beloved catchphrase by giving it to Ben Grimm’s abusive older brother as he pummels our hero, there was one thought that crossed my mind “I think Josh Trank either hates comic books or hates his life.”
Given the way his career has developed, I’d be unsurprised if it was the latter.
7. Alien 3 – Killing Hicks and Newt
People like to claim that there’s no way there could have been a sequel to Aliens made without the killing-off of Hicks and Newt before the opening credits even finished up, but I have a couple of responses to that:
1 – The Dark Horse comic series Aliens happens to disagree with you and while I haven’t followed it since high school, at the time of my abandoning it, I can tell you it was a much much better written follow-up than Alien 3.
2 – I really doubt in all the brainstorming and last minute story developments that 20th Century Fox made for the film (y’all remember when the teaser trailer stated the movie would take place on Earth… back when Renny Harlin was attached and what a bullet they dodged with that director… and “everyone can hear you scream”, WTF? That’s the best tagline they could come up with?) they couldn’t possibly conceive of a story with Hicks and Newt’s involvement. They’re extremely crafty yet mortal characters, if you wanted to kill them, you could give them more dignity.
3 – Maybe we didn’t need another Alien film after Aliens? The fact that the heavily flawed Prometheus is the best film in the franchise since Aliens suggests that.
By the way, speaking of Renny Harlin…
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master – Freddy Krueger is revived by way of…
You know what? I’ll let you witness it yourself.
5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen/Bad Boys II – Animals fucking.
Speaking of a filmmaker for whom every single thing he does could be counted on this list (I almost went with one of the great number of tasteless scenes in Pearl Harbor – “I think WWII just started” or FDR getting the fuck out of his chair)…
“I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime.”
What the fuck kids do you have, man?!
4. Funny Games – Michael Haneke remaking it for American audiences
A sort of moral superiority within the original 1997 Austrian film Funny Games was prevalent (as well as hypocrisy in Haneke trying to moralize against the audience by using overt violence that his own filmmaking enjoys) before Haneke even started talking about Tarantino.
No, but remaking his own movie, shot-by-shot in English for an American audience… now that was something different. That was Haneke saying “yeah, THIS particular audience is stupider than all the others and not only do they not read subtitles…” – which… to be fair, he’s not wrong to think – “… but they also are exactly the sort of ingrates who should be shamed.”
3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – Existing
James Cameron cannot catch a break, man.
It’s not that Terminator 2: Judgment Day gave what was meant to be a finite end-note for his Terminator films, but that the finite element IS the moral of the whole movie. You can work, you can fight for your fate, nothing is written for you. The future is yours! It’s a completely uplifting theme and something to hold to heart.
If you wanted Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines to exist so fucking badly, you have really hate Terminator 2 to make that movie.
And so I guess the people who made it did. They don’t think they hate Terminator 2, but given that they produced the hands-down worst movie of the franchise… they totally hate it.
2. Stonewall – Whitewash the story
You can’t trust Roland Emmerich to make a good movie and you can’t trust him to take a very important event in history and treat it with gravitas. There is no worse case of Hollywood whitewashing than the man who gave you Godzilla and Independence Day: Resurgence tackling the LGBT liberation riots at Manhattan’s Stonewall and ignoring all the racial and genderfluid diversity of one of the most diverse events in modern history to let a white cismale literally rip the brick out of the hand of Marsha P. Johnson and throw the first brick.
“I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people.”
“As a director you have to put yourself in your movies, and I’m white and gay.”
And the Most Obvious Moment of Audience Contempt Goes to…
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Barakapool
I kind of didn’t want to put this at number one because I honestly don’t give a shit. I stopped giving a shit before 2010 even ended and well before FOX fixed their move with Deadpool, but when you have a character recognized specifically for his personality and chatter and acknowledge it in his first few scenes, you can’t be very much surprised when that characters’ fans are gonna come after you to have literally removed that personality and sewed shut the lips of the Merc with a Mouth. That Ryan Reynolds’ performance in his first scenes were annoyingly toneless and devoid of anything close to charisma (though he got way better in the 2016 film) doesn’t halt how obvious it is that FOX is giving Deadpool’s cult fans the finger.
Shit, if I were Ryan Reynolds even if I hated the character, I’d be trying to appease them with a spin-off too.
Honorable Mention: Psycho – Explain-a-plot
I get that all of the defenses are trying to be “back in the day, they didn’t really understand the psychology behind Norman” and here’s my thing, when I first saw the movie at age 17, I didn’t understand the psychology behind Norman as a character either, but I could recognize it and I could accept it in the moment.
I did not need a monologue that is 3 years long to tell me the psyche of Norman Bates and that monologue halted the movie so hard, I swear I got motherfucking whiplash.
But I understand the defense still, so I don’t list it. Just put it in honorable mentions.