When Did Plinkett Become a Snob?

Plinkett reviews Titanic. He does a more than impressive job of explaining--in his crass, monotone way--why the movie is a better big picture/epic film than Lucas's Star Wars I, II, and III: Cameron knows how to put together an action flick! I came away from Plinkett's review with a slightly better appreciation for why the film did so well.

Plinkett then does an equally impressive job explaining why people like me hate the film: the dialog is wooden; the characters are simplistic (rich people=bad; poor people=good!).

He mostly ignores the extreme historical inaccuracies, like Murdoch shooting himself, concentrating instead on the accuracy of the ship and praising Cameron for at least bothering to work hard on the film and create actual models and special effects. However, at the very end, he inserts a 1-minute clip about what "really" happened on the Titanic, complete with a U.F.O. It is very funny and underscores his main point that the film is a love story, not a historical-action movie.

The only thing that bothered me about the review was the cliche-ending argument that people-liked-this-film-because-it-was-aimed-at-dumb-people.

Possibly the best movie ever made--
it was popular enough.
RedLetterMedia--well, Plinkett, really--has always struck me as something of a populist. He does such a stellar and hilarious job in the Star Wars reviews (and in various Star Trek reviews) explaining the attraction of popular culture. At the beginning of the Titanic review, he does a fairly decent job explaining the populist elements that make that movie attractive.

This explanation didn't need to be harped on--except he does. His reasoning is the same reasoning I get from people who think that I'm supposed to prefer Twin Peaks to, say, Columbo because Twin Peaks is "artsy" and "challenging" and "outside-the-box." It's very tiresome.

I prefer Columbo, and I have an IQ higher than 100.

Yes, Plinkett is right: many people don't go to movies to be intellectually challenged, but that isn't because--as Plinkett implies--they are mass-culture zombie drones who prefer shopping at Walmart and going to Applebees; they can't think for themselves. Enjoying Titanic, shopping at Walmart, and eating at Applebees may be the favorite choices of many people--that's okay! These people usually find enough challenges in their work or their schooling or their home lives. They don't expect their entertainment to satisfy them in the same way that entertainment-buffs do.

And I like this!
Like me (an entertainment-buff), they expect different experiences from different things. I kind of hate Titanic but I did see it about 5 times in the theater because I got fascinated by the (inaccurate) history (I'd sit on the edge of my seat, armed with my latest set of factoids, waiting for the ship and the iceberg to collide). When it comes to popular movies, I happen to like Tangled and Toy Story. I also like The Man Who Never Was. I also like Moonstruck. I also watch stuff by Hayao Miyazaki. And sometimes even European foreign films, like Bread & Tulips.

When I go to see the equivalent of Titanic, I may or may not like it, but I expect it to be what it is: a fun, populist story. Sure, I've avoided Avatar as much as a person can avoid a movie. But I know outside-the-box thinkers who loved it. And I really enjoy, and occasionally rewatch, Jurassic Park as well as the first Pirates of the Caribbean; I adore Jackson's Tolkien series.
I rewatch all seasons of the Golden
Girls once a year. Oh no! Another
popular thing I like--oh, the shame!

When I go to McDonalds, I want McDonalds, not steak sirloin. Cause steak sirloin would be weird. I like Hershey's chocolate bars despite knowing that by "real" chocolate standards, they are the essence of average.

By the way, I've eaten at Applebees. And Lobster Shack. And fancy hoity-toity restaurants. And Mom and Pop places. And Indian food at home. And I shop at Walmart. And local stores. And Bullmoose (dangerous place for the wallet).

Plinkett makes the same mistake at the end of the Titanic review as Cameron does with his Titanic characters: all people of a certain class/genre fit into one category, or people-who-like-this-average-movie=dumb=like-all-this-other-dumb-average-stuff-too-all-the-time.

Since it is Plinkett, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose that maybe his anti-populist attitude was on purpose. But he doesn't undermine his snooty attitude with a joke (like usual). So I'm afraid he has revealed himself as more snob than populist.

Too bad.

1 comment:

FreeLiveFree said...

I like artist and challenging works. I like Gene Wolfe novels and "The Prisoner" TV series. I've actually read Ulysses TWICE.

I find snobbery utterly repugnant.

Thing about snobs is that they don't like people being snobs. I want saw a video on American Culture with discussion between two Conservative/Libertarian commentators. One commentator started out complaining about snobbery of elite liberals who look down on American culture. The commentator mentions Rock and Roll as an example. The first turns around and huffs and puffs about how degenerate Rock and Roll is. He just hated people being snobby about the things he liked.

The odd things some of the so called low arts seem deeper than the high art. There was an action adventure series called The Destroyer. The series had a great deal of social/political satire. (Often more than action adventure elements.) It satirized the social justice warrior mentality long before the phrase was invented. South Park has a lot of gross out jokes, but it is pretty spot on with it satire.