Monday, 13 February 2017

"Chick Flick" Is A Stupid Name.

Today is Valentine's Day. Unless you read this on a day which is not Valentine's Day. Such is the trouble with holiday related productions. Sort of loses its relevance after a 24 hour period. Regardless, every Valentine's Day inevitably is met with movie releases that intend to capitalize on the day of love. Every couple looking for something to do will flock to the cinema. Guys will be dragged by their girlfriends, and sit through 90 minutes of the mushy stuff that they actively avoid since they'd much rather be watching an action movie.

Just wait for the moment where there's a conflict that could be solved by 5 minutes of talking. Not much left to go after that.

Except that's a complete fiction.

Movie studios green light projects based on who they think it'll appeal to. Different demographics get different movies. In the eyes of executives, women get Romantic Comedies, men get Superhero movies. It's the kind of thinking that kept Black Widow toys from being made for Age Of Ultron. As far as Disney's concerned, they already have enough princesses to sell, so leave the capes for the boys. But using Superhero movies as the example, there's one thing that ties each of those things together. They're almost all love stories.

Superman loves Lois Lane. Wolverine loves Jean Grey. The most compelling part of the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films is the magnetic relationship between Peter and Gwen. Captain America spends most of his first film going gaga over Peggy Carter, and the last moment of the film is the man out of time with all the pain and sorrow in the world saying "I had a date." But sure, movies about love are just for girls.

Tell me you didn't bawl your eyes out when that plane went in the ice.
You're a goddamn liar.

Pretty much every movie that's aimed towards men has some form of a love story in it. John Wick is a man solely motivated by how much he loves his wife. You don't shoot your way through a nightclub unless it's for a good reason. As much as these movies feature love stories, they have to hide it. Obviously, everyone loves, love, but any movie that wears its heart on its sleeve is for women. Men's love stories are hidden beneath a barrage of explosions and cheap plots.

Now, I'm sure no one goes to those films for the love stories, but it's definitely a part of what makes them resonate. Maybe it is just something thrown in by the studio in a misguided attempt to attract female viewership, but it ends up being more than that. These stories give characters dimension and make them feel like real people. Reason being, everyone can relate to a love story, because even the most cynical of us wants to believe in love.

I know this doesn't exactly fit but I've got a girlfriend who likes Ed Sheeran. Look I'm not above pandering to an audience okay?
That's why "Chick Flick" is a stupid name. It's because delegating a type of story to one part of society is myopic. The world would be better off if we didn't have to uphold these artificial fences. Men shouldn't be ashamed to admit they like watching movies where two people meet, they laugh, they love, and then break up because of a lack of communication, only to get back together right before the credits. Why yes that is the plot of 'Deadpool'.

Possibly the most disgusting proposal in a movie.
Studios think they understand what people want to see. It's about time there was a change in that. Stereotyping may be good for business, but it's not good for us. We should have women in superhero movies. We shouldn't be ashamed to admit when we like something. When we do that we're taking cues from the people who wanted to make Sam Worthington a major star.

So this Valentine's Day, let's drop the pretenses and the outdated sectionalism. Let's throw on whatever we want to watch, and suggest the movies that aren't "supposed" to be for us. Once we let go of all that baggage, we can actually enjoy the movies we want to watch, without pressure or shame. If that ain't love then I don't know what is.

That's my article, and this is my podcast. Both are about love: