The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything.
November 27, 2021 4:59 AM   Subscribe

Ridley Scott Blames Millennials for ‘The Last Duel’ Box Office Failure (archive). A small snorter of generational discourse for your weekend.
posted by snerson (185 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lol sure.

I saw it in the theater. If I say “Medieval minor nobles toxic masculinity rape Roshamon” then you’ve pretty much got the picture. It wasn’t a BAD movie, but I didn’t walk away thinking “wow that really made me think.” And I’d struggle to recommend a movie where you see the same graphic rape scene twice in its entirety, unless the movie around it was like, transcendent.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:11 AM on November 27, 2021 [30 favorites]


Here's the mildly critical Pauline Kael review, that Ridley Scott is still smarting from all those years later, of Blade Runner, a film that Scott was so happy with that he reedited it three times.
posted by Kattullus at 5:11 AM on November 27, 2021 [36 favorites]


"Attack critics on fire off the shoulder of Holywood and Vine. I watched dollar signs glitter in the dark near the Shrine Auditorium. All those moments will be lost in time, like kids on my lawn. Time to die."
posted by lalochezia at 5:11 AM on November 27, 2021 [89 favorites]


Oh, never mind, the New Yorker, even though I'm a subscriber, is only showing me a part of the review. The full review is, indeed, scathing.
posted by Kattullus at 5:17 AM on November 27, 2021 [8 favorites]


As you say, Elder.

I had wanted to see this because I am the kind of huge nerd that it was made for, plus I always thought that Adam Driver should star in a Kristin Lavransdatter series and this was probably the closest anyone would come to that. I say I had wanted to see it. I don't much want to now.

He of all people should understand that creating is an entirely different skill than marketing. Why did he think that marketing had done a great job with this? Is it perhaps because he is completely submerged in the business and seeing everything entirely from an industry standpoint instead of how normal humans encounter things? I'm not saying the man isn't a genius, because he is.

Compare how this was received (before his remarks) to how his House of Gucci was. People are receiving it as a camp classic; Twitter is full of jokes about it. Is it actually good? I don't know -- people can't seem to decide -- but I still want to see it, because it looks like fun. And the millenarians on their phones are making it look that way.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:22 AM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


That’s right, us millennials killed napkins and cable and now we’re coming for your movies!
posted by glaucon at 5:33 AM on November 27, 2021 [15 favorites]


Countess Elena - absolutely delighted at the thought of Adam Driver as Erlend. You may have been the mefite who got me onto Kristin Lavransdatter, no?

I got ads for it on podcasts, which I found odd. The ad copy was always the same, something about "Jodie Comer's going to get an oscar for this one," which, sure. But if I was somehow intrigued enough by the ad to actually walk into a theater, I would walk right out again and demand my money back at a graphic rape scene.
posted by snerson at 5:36 AM on November 27, 2021 [7 favorites]


What if no one really cared about yet another all-white macho medieval dress up movie? Doesn’t that mean that the world is actually a better place now?
posted by snofoam at 5:41 AM on November 27, 2021 [53 favorites]


Maron said that he thought the time period and action in the film would have been a draw for younger audiences.

“I agree with you. Particularly with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver and this new girl called Jodie Comer.


Matt Damon is 51 years old. Ben Affleck is 49. Adam Driver is younger at 38. The "new girl", Jodie Comer, is 28. All that energy that Hollywood spends telling women that they are too old might need to be redirected.
posted by rdr at 5:44 AM on November 27, 2021 [64 favorites]


Are millennials here the ones snorting Tide pods or the ones who name their houseplants because they can't afford to have children and their landlords won't let them keep pets to substitute for children?
posted by acb at 5:47 AM on November 27, 2021 [35 favorites]


I think they're the ones who can't afford to buy their own houses because of all the smashed avocado on toast they eat for breakfast.
posted by flabdablet at 5:55 AM on November 27, 2021 [24 favorites]


Best of the web, indeed.
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:55 AM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Ridley Scott Blames Millennials for ‘The Last Duel’ Box Office Failure

What, no hate for Boomers who fully intend to wait for it to hit the torrent networks and then judge it for themselves without paying him a cent?

I feel so left out.

you wouldn't download a bad review
posted by flabdablet at 6:03 AM on November 27, 2021 [29 favorites]


I have only a glancing knowledge that this movie even exists, but I love a good MeFi snark thread!
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:06 AM on November 27, 2021 [34 favorites]


I guess I would say to Ridley that there’s a difference between making a movie you feel good about and acknowledging that it didn’t connect with audiences as you hoped, and blaming the audience for not showing up. I had some mild interest in this film, which I only knew about because YouTube pushed the trailer into my recommended queue (those damn devices) but now my Gen X apathy has fully kicked in, so it isn’t just the millienals.
posted by nubs at 6:13 AM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


It's finally time for gen-x to step out of the shadows and save the day.
Again.
posted by signal at 6:13 AM on November 27, 2021 [17 favorites]


What, no hate for Boomers who fully intend to wait for it to hit the torrent networks and then judge it for themselves without paying him a cent?

Or boomers who took one look at the previews and recognized junk when we saw it? Ridley needs to look in the mirror and recognize why people stayed away.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 AM on November 27, 2021 [8 favorites]


“No. Disney did a fantastic promotion job,”

I had not even heard of this movie until this moment
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:28 AM on November 27, 2021 [130 favorites]


I was as blown away by Alien as any other teen who saw its first release, and Blade Runner likewise, so Ridley Scott entered my consciousness as a director of considerable skill. But the last thing I've seen that he was involved in was the initially intriguing but ultimately appallingly cliched Raised By Wolves. So while I have very much enjoyed Scott's eye, I suspect his taste in scripts is not what it once was, and I will be approaching The Last Duel with very little in the way of preconceived expectations.

Disney's marketing was certainly nowhere near strong enough to surmount the high stone walls and battlements of the advertising-resistant castle I've chosen to live inside; this MeFi post is the first I've heard of this film.
posted by flabdablet at 6:28 AM on November 27, 2021 [20 favorites]


I'm still laughing kind of helplessly at the phrase "The millennian".

Also I'm another person who had not heard of this movie, at all I think, until hearing about this Ridley Scott gaffe. And I do indeed get most of my movie advertising via the Internet (and a wee bit via, like, bus, taxi, and subway ads here in New York City), which means, yes, my phone. It sounds like the digital promo was lacking.
posted by brainwane at 6:31 AM on November 27, 2021 [6 favorites]


By an odd coincidence, his last good movie is the same age as the oldest millennials.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:37 AM on November 27, 2021 [14 favorites]


To be fair I probably wouldn't have watched it anyway, because it seems like I would be bored.

Also, while I generally hate the idea of casting stars to draw in audiences because it often results in really poor casting choices, I did laugh at them thinking Matt Damon and Ben Affleck would draw in millenial audiences. If anything, it's the opposite effect for me, a millenial; I tend to judge "prestige" projects that they're attached to as bland and out-of-touch, maybe even unfairly sometimes.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:38 AM on November 27, 2021 [12 favorites]


A quick flick through the most heavily seeded theatre cam rip currently indexed by The Pirate Bay reveals it to be of particularly low quality even as those things go and defaced by the usual advertising watermarks, so I won't be bothering with it. Wikipedia tells me that the digital release will happen in a couple of days, so I'll wait for that instead.

And I've just hit-and-run the cam rip swarm, thereby reducing its availability by 0.2%. You're welcome, Ridley.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


I did laugh at them thinking Matt Damon and Ben Affleck would draw in millenial audiences

I loved Jodie Comer in Killing Eve, so she's the draw for me on this project. Damon and Affleck I can take or leave. They're both solid, reliable journeyman Hollywood and I've seen everything from excellent to meh from them depending who they've been working with, but neither has ever made me completely forget that I'm looking at Famous Actor the way Comer can.
posted by flabdablet at 6:46 AM on November 27, 2021 [7 favorites]


Ridley Scott can film some amazing Medieval set-pieces, and Kingdom of Heaven was another film that had some fantastic visual elements. However, I think Scott gets too wrapped up in the history to write characters that are both of the period in which the film is set, but also compelling to a modern audience. In KofH, Salah ad-Din and the other Saracens came across as very believable, while Balian d'Ibelin seemed strangely anachronistic and out-of-place (it didn't help that Orlando Bloom is a bit of a lightweight for that sort of role). Only the two main villains seemed to be having any fun with the material, and that was by chewing all the period-accurate scenery.

Seeing the trailers, I couldn't help but think this film might have similar inconsistencies in tone, and knowing that there is a graphic rape scene as well doesn't make me especially interested in finding out.

Scott's best historical film (in my opinion) is The Duelists, where the historical and biographical details around the two main characters are mostly sketched in, and the narrative focuses on their implacable hatred for each other.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:49 AM on November 27, 2021 [18 favorites]


Also, MATT DAMON!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:49 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


Gen-X here.
Was intrigued by the previews, read a few articles, then went to Wikipedia and looked up the historical events the movie was about.
Once I knew how it was decided, there was no need to see the movie.

(Not that I'm a spoiler-phobe. There can be great artistry in retelling stories the audience already knows, such as The Green Knight or much of Shakespeare. But they're not marketed the way Last Duel was.)
posted by cheshyre at 6:50 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


With apologies to Harper’s:

Number of online ads I saw: 0

Number of physical ads: 0

Number of movie theaters which are safe to visit during a raging global pandemic: 0

Number of options for legally streaming: 0

Number of millennials pushing 40 who are probably only streaming after their kids go to sleep: a lot more than zero.

Responsibility accepted by the rich white guy with the most control: 0

Credibility of his excuse: 0
posted by adamsc at 6:53 AM on November 27, 2021 [123 favorites]


There isn't much here that would draw a younger audience, which mostly appears to want superhero movies. This should have gone right to a streaming platform. Disney fucked up.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:54 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


a movie where you see the same graphic rape scene twice in its entirety

Yeah, the minute I read some review (on Vox, maybe?) where it was made clear that this is what happens I was like, "REALLY??!!?? That's the kind of movie you felt was absolutely necessary to shoot in 2020 and release in 2021???! Ya didn't have anything else on your plate? WTF dude."

And I had been considering seeing the movie, because a Ridley Scott costume battle flick = sure, why not. He does spectacle pretty well.

Also, FTA - "“This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. There is a misdirection that has happened"

Duuuude. I'm not entirely sure what he's going on about here, but I'm really confident that it's not Millenials that are getting "misdirected" by Facebook.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:55 AM on November 27, 2021 [56 favorites]


Oh, I agree that Comer was amazing in Killing Eve. I would be more drawn to a movie where she wasn't listed third after Matt Damon and Benn Affleck, though.

Like, I want a movie starring Jodie Comer, not a movie where the two blandest casting choices possible fight over whether or not one of them raped her.

hey're not marketed the way Last Duel was

It was marketed?

/snark :D
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:56 AM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


Millennial here who doesn't want to watch any movie where people dress up in medieval costumes unless the title begins "Monty Python and the".
posted by downtohisturtles at 6:56 AM on November 27, 2021 [26 favorites]


As a Gen-Xer who never overcame the apathy, I just read through the entire Wikipedia entry for Generation X which was such an interesting reminder of some of the reasons I ended up the way I am. (It’s a really good read.)
posted by Glinn at 7:03 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


I'm really confident that it's not Millenials that are getting "misdirected" by Facebook

ooh ooh ooh a chance to do pedantry in a mefi snark thread ooh ooh ooh me sir me sir pick me sir

(ahem)

The word "Millennium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "annus" and means "a thousand years". "Millenium" has one N, and means something else.

Given Facebook's well known bias toward promotion of total assholery, it might well be millenials getting misdirected by it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:03 AM on November 27, 2021 [13 favorites]


There isn't much here that would draw a younger audience, which mostly appears to want superhero movies.

I'd say it's more that younger audiences want something that's either different and imaginative or fun, and this sounds like neither.

It's pretty unfair to say that millenials just want superhero movies. The studios leaned very heavily into superhero movies after their initial success, because running a formula into the ground is what big media corporations are about, but there have still been other successful non-superhero movies in that time.

For example, Dune seems like it's on its way to being a success, even in a very bad year for movies. Unlike this one though, I actually knew about it and it actually looks interesting (despite uh, problems).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:07 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


The next time one of my projects goes awry maybe I can blame millenarians?
posted by brainwane at 7:10 AM on November 27, 2021 [8 favorites]


Or millipedes.
posted by flabdablet at 7:11 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


so, 'Kingdom of Heaven' has a sequel. Now all we need is the 872A.D. prequel where Harold Blue-tooth switches the bones of St.Winifred causing the Anglo Saxons to secretly plot amongst themselves.

This Gen X'er stands with millennials who know who the fuck Monty Python and the ever eluding mysterious Judge Dee, were.
posted by clavdivs at 7:11 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


The man is 83. He's had a hell of a career and directed a lot of movies - some great, some not so great. But wholly apart from the film's failure itself, I think this interview must pretty much put the final flourish of curlicues on his perception in Hollywood as someone who has lost touch with modern audiences.

He clearly has not done himself any favors here.
posted by Naberius at 7:12 AM on November 27, 2021 [12 favorites]


millii veni vici
posted by clavdivs at 7:13 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


I can’t remember the last movie I saw in a theater and I don’t miss it. Between cellphones, concession prices and Covid, I’m way happier watching movies on streaming services with a low-cost bag of popcorn and a 24 oz. drink that doesn’t require a forklift.

And no remarks about “whys that old guy crying?”

Thanks, kid. I’m never going to rewatch Iron Giant without remembering that.

Also, turns out the last bastion of decent theater experiences (Alamo Drafthouse) is run by assholes, so, yeah, I’m done.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 7:14 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Thank you, Mr Scott, for introducing me to that Pauline Kael review. Don’t agree with most of it but it was interesting all the through.

Unlike your latest film, which I had forgotten I had seen.
posted by q*ben at 7:17 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


Soundtrack for the thread
posted by flabdablet at 7:17 AM on November 27, 2021


Why did he think that marketing had done a great job with this?

I don’t think I’m wildly disconnected from society, despite my best efforts, but… this thread is the first signal I have received that this movie exists at all.
posted by mhoye at 7:20 AM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


The next time one of my projects goes awry maybe I can blame millenarians

git reset —millennials
posted by mhoye at 7:21 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


Dear hero director with a theory about which generational cohort caused your recent flop,

So your movie is not a superhero movie. So that means you wanted women. And apparently you were hoping to cast it to draw women. Okay:

I can't keep track of who is kinda rapey anymore but isn't Ben Affleck kinda rapey? Wait. Is that Casey? Right: it's definitely Casey because we liked that New England house-burned-down movie and then it turned out Casey was bad so then we felt bad for liking that New England house-burned-down movie.

However, I'm pretty sure both Ben Affleck and then Matt Damon also got tarred somehow with the crimes of Casey for some reason. Because they're all Massholes? IDK, so much rape in Hollywood, sorrs, I truly cannot keep it straight. Even had none of that happened, who can begin to stand Ben Affleck at this point? And Matt Damon is in everygoddamnthing anymore.

Plus now I hear there's a rape scene that gets played tWiCe? Look, I did not even watch Twin Peaks back in the day because all the rapiness got to me. I do like that actress from Killing Eve but it's a show about two women with a weird cool freaky fraught bond/enmity. I don't want to see the actress I love from that in carboncopy creepyguy jack-off movie about prettyfightlady vs rape crew. Fuck off forever with your FemmeNikita shit.

I haven't been to a theater for like two years. Am I going to break my fast with your movie? I never heard thing one about it and it has chain mail and heaping helpings of Game of Thronesness and snoresfest Ben Affleck? I'ma get Omicron from sitting in the dark staring at your dick for two hours?

Pass.

Affectionately,

GenX
posted by Don Pepino at 7:28 AM on November 27, 2021 [62 favorites]


Spoiler
It was the milliners all along.And they would have got away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids.

posted by flabdablet at 7:28 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Milliners could not be reached for comment (but they tip their hats to this thread)
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:32 AM on November 27, 2021 [37 favorites]


Gen X here. I'm interested in seeing this film someday. I've barely heard of it at all except for a couple skimmed headlines that talked about its disappointing box office numbers. Based on Rdiley's recent films, I don't have high expectations.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:34 AM on November 27, 2021


Unlike your latest film, which I had forgotten I had seen.

I didn't see the movie either, but for a few seconds on seeing this post, sort of thought I had, when in fact my brain seems to have extrapolated the whole thing from the previews I saw when it came out. Not the first time this has happened; Function of age, perhaps, and I doubt I'm alone.

I did think the casting choices were ill considered. For whatever reason, some actors, even good actors, are just not credible in period pieces. I don't think it's down to just familiarity/movie star status, though that does play a part. What, then? Has any cineaste written on this? Just curious.

As to the bigger issue - any creative work is put out with hopes of praise but at risk of indifference or contempt. The bigger the effort, the greater the disappointment, but you kind of have to suck it up and carry on. Better luck next time.
posted by BWA at 7:38 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


Am I so out of touch?

Ridley Scott has a point; the Young People do engage with media in different ways. And it's a shame that the spectacle of a large movie screening has been lost. People like Scott are artists and have a reason to be mad their medium is falling out of fashion.

Villeneuve engaged with this question in a much more productive way for Dune. The memetic line is
Frankly, to watch ‘Dune’ on a television, the best way I can compare it is to drive a speedboat in your bathtub
Lynch also covered this really well back in 2010
Now if you play a movie on your telephone you will never in a trillion years experience the film. You will think you will have but you will have cheated. It’s such a sadness that you think you’ve seen a film on your fucking telephone! Get real!
They're both saying something similar, but they're saying it in a constructive way. Not "it's the youngs fault my art has failed". But rather "hey, you may want to watch this one way but I'm telling you there's a better way and you should see it that way if you can".
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on November 27, 2021 [14 favorites]


The only reason I know this movie exists is because of articles about Ridley Scott complaining about millennials. I didn't know what it was about or who was in it until this mefi post. I never saw a teaser, trailer, or ad of any sort about it, not on youtube, or facebook, or whatever garbage platform is supposed to be algorithming this stuff in my face. On top of that, "Medieval minor nobles toxic masculinity rape Roshamon" doesn't sound like the kind of non-threatening christmas madlib movie about a baker/ad-copy writer/city-person who meets a farmer/inn owner/baker during a snowstorm/private jet was grounded/visit to estranged family and together they learn the meaning of friendship that I need in the end of two years of isolation and pandemic.

Maybe he should have tried making a different movie. And advertising for that one on my phone.
posted by mrgoat at 7:41 AM on November 27, 2021 [15 favorites]


Sounds like the casting AND marketing AND lack of streaming options during a pandemic were, shall we say, millstones around this film's neck?

Please excuse me -- when I get in this mood, my mind just keeps looking for excuses for wordplay, even when other people are steadfastly contributing to the substantive discussion. It's all just grist for the mill.
posted by brainwane at 7:42 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


Gen x person here who watches a lot of movies and have been to a theater recently (for Dune and French Dispatch) and who had general awareness of this because I consume a lot of movie related content, and a movie centered around rape that isn’t 100% about the woman’s experience is a hard no for me. There’s so much to watch and I'm not giving this my time.
posted by jeoc at 7:43 AM on November 27, 2021 [43 favorites]


The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything.

Do we not have a massive student loan crisis that's basically underpinning everything that's fucking this generation's ability to amass wealth? Fucking Schrodinger's millennial.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:45 AM on November 27, 2021 [20 favorites]


"hey, you may want to watch this one way but I'm telling you there's a better way and you should see it that way if you can"

As much as I can agree with this (I do like going to see movies in the theatre in theory) I don't usually $40 worth of catch plague while people talk over the movie and the floor's all sticky and my popcorn at home is better agree with it.
posted by mrgoat at 7:45 AM on November 27, 2021 [14 favorites]


I became interested in seeing the film based on Scott's temper tantrum and hey, it's Ridely Scott. The plot and characters may not be great, but surely the visuals will be.

Then I read this nugget of info:
a movie where you see the same graphic rape scene twice in its entirety

Nah, I'm good, there's so many other options these days, there's no need to subject yourself to that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Now if you play a movie on your telephone you will never in a trillion years experience the film
Is this a size thing? Because I recently watched the Hubble IMAX movie on a phone plugged into a GearVR on a huge screen on the Moon, and at times it was overwhelming.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:51 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


which mostly appears to want superhero movies.

So your movie is not a superhero movie. So that means you wanted women.

I mean, I'm glad you found time in your busy schedules to take gratuitous swipes at a whole genre of movies, but if you're going to complain about someone else as being out of touch, maybe don't go out of your way to dismiss a massively popular cultural phenomenon while doing it. Seriously, I'd be willing to bet a small amount of money that Scott actually complains about that somewhere in the interview and it just didn't get quoted in the article.

Further more, and not for nothing, but of the people I talk about superhero movies with regularly roughly half of them are women, and they're pretty grouchy about how much people (both people who like and people who dislike the genre) try and pretend that women who like superhero movies don't exist.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:56 AM on November 27, 2021 [12 favorites]


I agree with you mrgoat; movie theaters are often bad experiences. Talking people and sticky floors are annoying but honestly have been part of the theater experience long before moving pictures. To that we now add people holding up their cell phone flashlights. But for me the real problem is the 30 minutes of ads at the start of a movie. That and how many theaters don't even bother to get the projection and sound right. (And don't get me started about LieMAX). I don't go to a lot of movie theater screenings.

But last month I got to see Dune in IMAX at the Metreon. At a private screening the Dunepod guys arranged, the day before the official release. It was glorious. Everyone was there for the film event and were entirely quiet for it. The projection and sound were perfect. The movie was great and designed for IMAX presentation. It was an Event. I felt very lucky to be there.

VR headset movie presentation sounds interesting. Does the motion tracking work well enough that when you turn your head it feels like looking at a real screen? You can't really duplicate full surround sound with just headphones but I bet it'd be pretty great if there was a subwoofer in the room somewhere rumbling along.
posted by Nelson at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


Also:
my popcorn at home is better agree with it

Holy shit this is so true. We've been making popcorn at home for the past few months and it is so much better than the bland movie popcorn. Being able to try (or cook) different types of butter and flavorings has us sold on never ever buying movie popcorn again. The best part is getting the mix right so it's just a touch of salt and butter, instead of the greasy salt mine from the movies.

For premade stuff, we like the Amish Buttery Topping and for homemade try this coconut oil recipe, though we're partial to kosher salt from grinder. Although usually we just toss a few spoonfuls of kernels in a paper bag in the microwave and put some of the Amish stuff and salt on it. The important part is experimenting with your microwave so you figure out how many spoonfuls of kernels produce the most popcorn with the least amount of unpopped kernels. A major factor seems to be letting the glass plate in the microwave cool off a few minutes after 2-3 bags. Also, ever so slightly burnt popcorn can add an interesting flavor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2021 [8 favorites]


As far as I’m concerned, I’ve never had one regret on any movie I’ve ever made. Nothing.
Kingdom of Heaven? Exodus: Gods and Kings? Someone to Watch Over Me? Hannibal? White Squall? 1492: Conquest of Paradise? Fuckin’ Robin Hood? The Counselor?!?

I didn’t make any of these, and I begrudge the sixteen hours or so I invested in them collectively.

It is a common failing of artists to be unable to distinguish their next from their worst. When you are as prolific as he is and your ratio is running about one classic per ten schlockfests, it’s not a good look, though.

I have long been fascinated by his estimates of how much work he has left in him. The guy will be 84 this week and his IMDb page lists seventy movies upcoming (as producer). By comparison, Tarantino turned 58 this year and he has one; Wes Anderson is 52 and he also has one. The Coens, in their sixties, have one; likewise the Wachowskis, in their fifties.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:00 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Yea, no, Ridley, sorry. Trying to sell Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, two of the most American, mainstream, okay-but-not-great actors as medieval French noblemen was your first mistake. Was Vincent Cassel not answering his phone that week, or something?

The visuals looked interesting and I'll watch anything Jodie Comer does, so based on that if I were still walking distance from a movie theatre I might have given it a go. But Damon and Affleck have just got more cringey as the decades roll by and I seriously question whether either of them would be able to disappear into these roles. That he also chose, in the Year of Our Lord 2021, to use two graphic rape scenes to tell a story about how rape affects the lives of all the men involved makes it that much less appealing.

Scanning through his filmography, the only works of his I really enjoy came out shortly after I was born (honourable mention for the Kingdom of Heaven director's cut). As for this one, I'll probably grab it off the torrents for Jodie Comer's performance and some curiosity about the visuals. So if he wants to go blaming generations this is another datapoint for including Gen X.
posted by myotahapea at 8:06 AM on November 27, 2021 [17 favorites]


Yeah, casting Damon and Affleck was a mistake. Sort of like trying to make Matthew Broderick a medieval French thief in Ladyhawke. He's just wrong somehow. He never escapes the perception of being a 20th century American kid pretending it's the middle ages and he's French.
posted by Naberius at 8:13 AM on November 27, 2021 [17 favorites]


The almighty algorithm must have me more dialed in than I thought, because as someone who loves costume dramas, and a recovering Gladiator Bro of the Xennial cohort, I was made highly aware of this one well ahead of time, and was genuinely surprised how empty the screening I attended was. The two rape scenes were two too many for certain, but of a piece with a film depicting a social order that had no legal mechanism for or general interest in a woman's consent to sex. I think the point of the last few frames of this picture are that the social order that would develop in the ages ahead grew out of this one, but maybe I'm giving Scott too much credit. Catch me in the right mood, and I will still sometimes insist that Kingdom of Heaven was good, actually.

The performances, costumes, sets, and fight scenes were all excellent. To me, the horror of the movie is that this thing we call the law is largely justifications after the fact for the pride, privilege, and fucked up behavior of weak, grasping, petty men who believe the world was built for their satisfaction first, last, and forever. From that point of view, these embarrassing complaints about "the millenian" could be considered the final coda of The Last Duel. Say less, Ridley.
posted by EatTheWeek at 8:17 AM on November 27, 2021 [16 favorites]


VR headset movie presentation sounds interesting. Does the motion tracking work well enough that when you turn your head it feels like looking at a real screen?
Yes. Well, my old GearVR doesn't really, but something more modern works great, though depending on how good your eyesight is you might still get some screendoor effect even on high end gear. It also needs high enough resolution video to look good; 4K is fine for a cinema sized screen, but IMAX and up you want more than that. Caveats for me are mostly about the lack of peripheral vision, how goofy I look with the helmet on, and that the best value headset is made by facebook.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:18 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


Or boomers who took one look at the previews and recognized junk when we saw it? Ridley needs to look in the mirror and recognize why people stayed away.

a quick glance reveals that it got overall pretty good reviews.

But I do entirely agree with what ricochet biscuit just said about ...

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve never had one regret on any movie I’ve ever made. Nothing.

whut!?!?
Hell, I'll even throw Gladiator into the pile. For all of its award winning drama and fury, I found it profoundly foolish as only a big deal Academy Award Winning movie can be. The overwrought true story (which was completely fabricated) about a slave who saves a fucking empire. That's some weirdly weird politics.
posted by philip-random at 8:20 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


I’d never heard of this film until I saw a screenshot of a Twitter that was a screenshot of a TikTok calling it a rape Rashomon, which is pretty funny in “Tell me you’ve never seen Rashomon” way.

I have a friend from Boston who starts shouting “Masshole for life!” whenever she gets drunk and I’ve always thought that’s probably Ben Affleck all the time.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:21 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


Matt Damon was great in The Brothers Grimm, but then you had a director who just gets wierd casting. He also didn’t have a ton of action movies under his belt. Ben Affleck is also good, in my opinion, but he’s definitely best suited to modern roles.

And Adam Driver just creeps me out and I can’t figure out why.

And lastly, it’s about an event with no history or cultural relevance outside of France. What, exactly, did you expect? Forget Millennials, what lesson did you expect anyone to learn other than “Rape is bad”, which I hope we already know?
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 8:23 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


My desire to see a movie does not intersect in any way shape or form with my phone. I don't want to watch movies on my phone. This complaint doesn't make sense.

However, this millennial, has a modest, comfortable viewing setup with good sound, legit picture. I also do not have to arrange childcare during a pandemic to see movies at home (pandemic withstanding, this changes the entire goddamn cost of going to a movie so much that its A Thing).

I have not liked theatres for a very long time, and being able to recently watch Dune in the comfort of my own home and be able to enter the discourse of "did you see this last weekend?" with a few friends, was more valuable.

I saw the trailers for this movie, and will likely see it...but not immediately. My desire for seeing movies immediately upon release was broken a long time ago by the presence of many 2nd run 'beer theatres' in the town i went to college and grew up/live in. All throughout my entire young adulthood I watched movies 2-4 months after their release date, and...it was no big deal. It still isn't a big deal most of the time.

I'm perfectly comfortable with critiques of my generation, attention spans, cell phones in general, and the current media landscape. This kind of complaint the way Scott phrased and framed it is fucking garbage and grating. It's the least useful take or analysis for why I did not see your movie.

Fuck. Off. Ridley. Scott. I've got a laundry list of grievances against your generation too, but your generation is going to die first, and then it will be quiet for a few years and I can watch my movies six months after a release date in the comfort of my own home without hearing a goddamn peep about it.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:32 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


So, I didn’t see The Last Duel, because i’m meh on Affleck and of all the Ridley Scott movies I only really like maybe 2-3 of them, but (and I can’t believe i’m saying this) the “Kingdom of Heaven” diector’s cut is quite good.
posted by thivaia at 8:35 AM on November 27, 2021


I’m just not going to watch a movie with a graphic rape scene in it, let alone two, let alone that then focuses on the fight two men get into over it, let alone *on the big screen* for fuck’s sake.

Even if I were totally gung ho about seeing movies in the theater right now AND about seeing this movie, I still would not be like, “oh, the one with the brutal rapes? I’d like for those images to fill my field of vision. That’s something to see in the theater!” If there’s a movie for phone viewing, this is it.

After all, even if I wanted to see it in theaters, who am I going to watch it with anyhow? I’m not watching it with my female friends or my boyfriend, that’s for sure, not with multiple graphic rape scenes, and that’s who I go to the movies with.
posted by rue72 at 8:37 AM on November 27, 2021 [21 favorites]


Pauline Kael seems a very interesting critic. I want to read more about her and maybe also about the Strauss-Howe generational theory, for different reasons though.
posted by nicolin at 8:42 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


If I hear one more crusty old white man say “millennials” when he means “teenagers,” I will scream.
posted by knownassociate at 8:58 AM on November 27, 2021 [47 favorites]


We really have to figure out how to stop them from thinking that "All 20-30-40 year olds are bad people who are unfair to me personally and the cause of all problems" is a thing you can or should say in public.
posted by bleep at 9:11 AM on November 27, 2021 [19 favorites]


Can I just get it off my chest that I'm extra annoyed that it's a terrible movie because I really enjoyed the book it's based on? It gives a really clear breakdown of how bonkers the idea of judicial dueling is without dwelling overmuch on the sexual assault that the duel is based on.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 9:12 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Producer: "No Ridley, it's one of those: it's this and that and so, so"
posted by clavdivs at 9:12 AM on November 27, 2021


This movie couldn't have been intended for zoomers... right?
posted by Selena777 at 9:12 AM on November 27, 2021


Pauline Kael seems a very interesting critic. I want to read more about her and maybe also about the Strauss-Howe generational theory, for different reasons though.

Strauss-Howe generational theory
posted by Brian B. at 9:12 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


People like Scott are artists and have a reason to be mad their medium is falling out of fashion.

Sad, yes.
Mad, not so much - that's entitlement.

I think a lot of books and movies have come out over the past several centuries dealing with those two artistic/human reactions to not having one's work appreciated by others, or to loving a world that is going out of fashion. I don't think millennials are the ones who haven't learned much from them.
posted by trig at 9:26 AM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


The only reason movies are going out of fashion is because they stopped making them entertaining. That's nobody's fault but the people making them.
posted by bleep at 9:38 AM on November 27, 2021 [6 favorites]


I've also seen no advertising for The Last Duel and had no idea it was playing. I had heard a while back that it was rapey though, so I wasn't exactly looking out for it.

I've been assuming Scott is creatively out of juice since he made the fifth and sixth films in a series thoroughly murdered by sequels. And the last time he teamed up with Matt Damon I thought it was thoroughly competent, like if you gave a good workaday tv director unlimited money.

The Ridley Scott thing that I have been hearing lately is that there's going to be a new Blade Runner tv series, which doesn't exactly scream "vital creator who still has things to say."
posted by rodlymight at 9:42 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


The genre of Blaming the Youth Today may be the most consistent in human history, and so I always enjoy seeing someone stumble into it. In the sense of, I can't believe they walked into that trap despite being reasonably intelligent people! Who were accused of being unappreciative youths in their day! Hilarious!

This is immediately followed by the fear that it is something you just can't avoid doing past a certain age and that it will catch me too.
posted by emjaybee at 9:43 AM on November 27, 2021 [25 favorites]


Wow, that line about millennials not wanting to learn anything is the perfect illustration of how "every accusation is"--or at least can be--"a confession." The poor old dude is an artist who clearly wants to keep reaching audiences, but refuses to learn how to adapt, and so blames those audiences rather than taking a look at himself.

Kinda sad, really.

PS. I liked Bladerunner.
posted by rpfields at 9:43 AM on November 27, 2021 [16 favorites]


If I hear one more crusty old white man say “millennials” when he means “teenagers,” I will scream.

I think you may be on to something.

I’m early Gen X and easily recall that folks born a few years earlier than me, all the way back to the end of WW2, are Boomers. But for the life of me I can’t keep straight the supposed generation breaks of those younger than I am. In fact, until quite recently — to my mind — Millennials were teenagers.

Heck, I’m amazed that my two nieces are about to graduate college, when it seems like only a few years ago they were proudly showing Unkie Darkstar their princess dresses and asking for pony rides around the living room. Fifteen years goes by fast, y’all.

So every now and then I have to go back and look at the generational demarcations just to calibrate how old some of these folks are:
Boomers: 1946-1964. Age 57-75.

Gen X: 1965-1980. Age 41-56.

Millennial (Gen Y): 1981-1996. Age 25-40.

Gen Z (Zoomers): 1997-2010. Age 11-24.

Gen Alpha: 2011-present. Age 0-10.
This is the challenge with trying to use a generational nickname to make a “kids these days” argument, because when you’re 84, anyone under 55 was a kid to your adult self at some point in your life.

I can’t help but recall that older people have been complaining about the failings of “kids these days” for literally thousands of years. I mean, technically, Ridley Scott isn’t even a Boomer, but ironically is a member of the “Silent Generation”. His quote has some major Grandpa Simpson energy.
posted by darkstar at 10:01 AM on November 27, 2021 [22 favorites]


This seems like yet another result of the Boomer generation in general being completely unable to come to terms with the unavoidable fact that time continues to pass and that retirement is part of every generational career cycle and that it's past the time to let the next generation take the wheel.

Mr. Scott, you are eighty three years old. I understand that artists can still put out fantastic works in their later years, and trying to do that, trying to keep that creative spark alive is something I am wholeheartedly behind, but the band has been playing for at least ten years now, time to get off of the stage. Blaming "These kids and their dratted cellphones!!" while you put out a film that was at best going to be a character study and at worst a meaningless "study" as to why rape is bad for men.

To quote a famous savant: "I hit my dinger, it's time to hang 'em up."

Disclaimer: Blade Runner might be my favorite movie.
posted by Sphinx at 10:02 AM on November 27, 2021 [9 favorites]


Oooh I do love a good shit-talking thread! I'd remark that Ridley Scott since ca. 1991 has gotten far more press and money than his creative output during that period has warranted, and in particular the movies for which he's received accolades have been extremely mediocre. He jumped the shark with Gladiator. I mean a lot of them haven't even been bad, just . . . forgettable.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:03 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


The plot is bad. Seriously, the plot is bad. It's rapey and that'll turn off the female side of the audience right there, so clearly it wasn't meant for the likes of me. And If a movie features actors that I like but the plot is bad, I'm most likely not going to go see the movie because actors I like does not trump "this plot is terrible." I had heard of the movie so at least some marketing got through to me, but it didn't sound like it was promoted much, plus Covid, etc. But even if those weren't factors, THE PLOT IS BAD.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:04 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]




Ridley Scott is right about one thing. Blade Runner was ahead of its time. It might have flopped, but it changed everything. Just like The Minority Report changed every science fiction film afterwards. Back to Blade Runner, though. I've always imagined the film took place in the same film universe as Alien. It's those two franchises that should have been blended together. Predator was always the wrong fit with Ripley's story.
posted by Beholder at 10:12 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


That’s right, us millennials killed napkins and cable and now we’re coming for your movies!

You'll never get our plastic straws you bastards!
posted by kirkaracha at 10:15 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


That Pauline Kael review of Blade Runner seemed fairly accurate for the most part. I'm someone who's always loved the film but I'm not sure I can enjoy it the same way now. Some of it is nitpicking though:

The picture treats this grimy, retrograde future as a given—a foregone conclusion, which we’re not meant to question. The presumption is that man is now fully realized as a spoiler of the earth. The sci-fi movies of the past were often utopian or cautionary; this film seems indifferent, blasé, and maybe, like some of the people in the audience, a little pleased by this view of a medieval future—satisfied in a slightly vengeful way.

(Ok maybe fair point on the self-satisfied attitude.)

The dialogue isn’t well handled, either. Scott doesn’t seem to have a grasp of how to use words as part of the way a movie moves. Blade Runner is a suspenseless thriller; it appears to be a victim of its own imaginative use of hardware and miniatures and mattes. At some point, Scott and the others must have decided that the story was unimportant; maybe the booming, lewd and sultry score by Chariots-for-Hire Vangelis that seems to come out of the smoke convinced them that the audience would be moved even if vital parts of the story were trimmed.

Is it really suspenseless? Guess I will have to watch it again.
posted by viborg at 10:32 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


I haven't been able to find the quote, but I feel like Ridley Scott, with his entitled railing against the young whippersnappers who refuse to acknowledge his genius and interact with it on his terms, could learn a lot from listening to Henry Rollins, who talked about how as the grandpa of the genre the best thing he can do is get out of the way of the next generation of artists and do what he can to provide a platform for them.
posted by myotahapea at 10:32 AM on November 27, 2021 [9 favorites]


Pauline Kael seems a very interesting critic. I want to read more about her and maybe also about the Strauss-Howe generational theory, for different reasons though.

Strauss-Howe generational theory
posted by Brian B. at 9:12 AM on November 27 [+] [!]


This on the other hand seems like mystical pseudoscientific nonsense, and it's no big surprise that it would be promoted by the likes of Steve Bannon.
posted by viborg at 10:36 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


This seems like yet another result of the Boomer generation in general being completely unable to come to terms with the unavoidable fact that time continues to pass and that retirement is part of every generational career cycle and that it's past the time to let the next generation take the wheel.

"Retirement" is a relatively recent human invention. Some people do great work up until their deaths very late in life. I agree that it's dumb to blame younger people for your work not speaking to them, but there's no such thing as an age at which an artist should just stop to let the young folks take over. Besides, they're already taking over. Ageism in art - and everywhere else - is a thing, as shown once again by a Metafilter thread where people feel free to insult Boomers, no older Mefites trash millenials, and if you bring it up to the mods, they'll call it a both sides thing.
posted by FencingGal at 10:50 AM on November 27, 2021 [13 favorites]


Tail-end boomer here, and as others have noted, this isn't so much a generational thing as it is this guy believing that he's entitled to have a hit and/or Oscar nom/win. It's not like I was into rapey costume dramas before Game of Thrones, but that series sure made me leery of that sort of thing afterward. And I'll go to the theater to see a movie, but I was cutting down on theater-going even before the pandemic, and it has to be something that I was actively looking forward to for me to go now, usually angling for an early-afternoon-weekend showing to get a lighter crowd. (Arguably, that would be The Last Duel for any showing, but as I said, that's on the no-fly list, and House of Gucci seems like not my jam either.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:51 AM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]



Gen Z (Zoomers): 1997-2010. Age 11-24.

Gen Alpha: 2011-present. Age 0-10.


WTF are we starting at the beginning of the Greek alphabet to describe all subsequent generations now? So after Gen Alpha will be Gen Beta?
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:56 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


Sorry, too busy watching these medieval dudes instead.
posted by needled at 10:58 AM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


you wouldn't download a bad review

"Honestly, I just clicked on that link and the thing did it all by itself."
posted by straight at 11:25 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


WTF are we starting at the beginning of the Greek alphabet to describe all subsequent generations now? So after Gen Alpha will be Gen Beta?

We should name them like tropical storms. Generation Archibald, Generation Bertha, Generation Charlie.
posted by LindsayIrene at 11:26 AM on November 27, 2021 [22 favorites]


Once they started using X for generations we were basically stuck with the alphabet system. Apparently. On the upside I'll definitely be dead before the second GenX happens.

What will really fuck it up is if we seriously expand lifespan length, because what will generations even mean if you live 200+ years? But again, I'll be dead so I don't have to figure that out.
posted by emjaybee at 11:28 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


I had not even heard of this movie until this moment

So...Ridley Scott: completely out of touch or so in touch he knows just what to say for an interview to get those rage clicks and generate some buzz about his movie?

Most plausible theory: an interviewer who knew how to bait Scott into giving him the clickbait quote.
posted by straight at 11:31 AM on November 27, 2021 [9 favorites]


Count me in as someone who’s interested in the judicial duel piece, and could be interested in a takedown of structural misogyny movie, but I don’t trust that a movie that lingers on the graphic rape and the combat is going to be that. You could have accomplished the demonstration of innocence by having a shot of Marguerite trying to flee, and then focused the entirety of the combat on Marguerites face instead of glorifying the combat. I strongly suspect, from reviews, that is not what happened, because Ridley Scott is a little in love with spectacle.
posted by corb at 11:33 AM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


Boomers: 1946-1964. Age 57-75.
(18 years)

Gen X: 1965-1980. Age 41-56.
(15 years)

Millennial (Gen Y): 1981-1996. Age 25-40.
(15 years)

Gen Z (Zoomers): 1997-2010. Age 11-24.
(13 years)

Gen Alpha: 2011-present. Age 0-10.
(10 years)

There's some serious generation inflation going on here. I thought a generation was supposed to be closer to 25 years, i.e., the time to grow up and have a child of your own.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:34 AM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Hadn't realized it was based on a book. Sounds worth while. (More background on history to book to film here.)
posted by BWA at 11:38 AM on November 27, 2021


This on the other hand seems like mystical pseudoscientific nonsense, and it's no big surprise that it would be promoted by the likes of Steve Bannon.

Bannon made a theology out of it, as mentioned in the link. In that regard Trumpism is really just an extension of books like Generation X. I agree it is nonsense regarding the generational identities, not unlike horoscopes, but this stuff is now taken as a kind of fact by most, and calling someone by their generational label is supposed to settle arguments these days. There is some pretty good criticism in the link too:

The sociologist who developed cohort theory, Norman Ryder (1965) was particularly critical of those who over-generalise from cohorts. He argued that ‘The fact that social change produces inter-cohort differentiation and thus contributes to inter-generational conflict ... cannot justify a theory that social change is produced by that conflict’ (Ryder in Onion, 2015). Ryder argued for very specific perimeters for making cohort-based generalisations, taking into account the specifics of geographical location, education, gender, race, occupations, etc., as a way of more rigorously defining a cohort and its characteristics.
posted by Brian B. at 11:48 AM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


Pauline Kael seems a very interesting critic.

She got 2001 and Blade Runner quite wrong. A few others, as well, but calling those films unimaginative are fairly glaring mistakes for a professional critic, unless the goal was to be abstractly contrarian for its own sake.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:51 AM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Though if Scott had bleated that he was being cancelled he could've gotten all the likes and retweets and hoots and blatts or whatever other ding-dong tomfoolery you whippersnappers are getting up to on your rappin frappin consarned dee-vices

(Okay, another late-stage boomer here, constantly cycling between amazed/amused/appalled/mortified at the utter lack of self-awareness of the generation (mostly mine) that beseeched its juniors to CARPE DIEM! and CHANGE THE WORLD! and that now goes fucking ballistic every time the youngs do exactly that.)
posted by hangashore at 11:54 AM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


Boomers: 1946-1964. Age 57-75. (18 years)

Maybe from a numbers standpoint, but no one born after 1960 has a damn thing in common with Boomers. Too young to remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Too young to remember JFK. Too young to remember MLK. What do I remember? Scooby Doo, Kiss, the oil embargo, Pacers, Mood Rings, Cassettes, Jimmy Carter. Too young to be a Boomer. Too old to be Generation X. I'm the Flock of Seagull's generation.
posted by Beholder at 12:05 PM on November 27, 2021 [30 favorites]


but there's no such thing as an age at which an artist should just stop to let the young folks take over

As two current FPPs about Sondheim should be able to attest to.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


The genre of Blaming the Youth Today may be the most consistent in human history, and so I always enjoy seeing someone stumble into it.

Is it possible this was a calculated play for (even negative) publicity for the movie...ya know, since it's obviously tanking really bad and could use any kind of attention.

I can't see Scott wanting to do that on his own, but maybe his handlers at Disney told him to say this?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:24 PM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


No one born after 1960 has a damn thing in common with Boomers


They kept on extending the cutoff for the Boomers — it used to be those born after the war and before 1960. When they started naming post boomer generations, rather than just talking about the “baby bust”, they started changing the definitions. It was all rather fluid until we reached the current nomenclature (including the backward looking “greatest generation “). The original idea of a post war baby boom made some demographic sense, everything else seems like marketing or whipping up inter-generational animosity.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 12:26 PM on November 27, 2021 [13 favorites]


Abigail Nussbaum, a very fine critic in general though best known for her writing about science fiction, thought the movie in question was pretty good but not the kind of movie that was ever going to be a big financial success. She felt that retelling the rape was not necessary but not enough to torpedo the movie.

I will portentously announce that as a Gen Xer I was not raised to believe that a movie's financial success mirrored its artistic worth and so the whole "my movie didn't make a bunch of money so I must defend its honor by getting mad at millennials' thing seems weird to me.

Also, I bet in the future there is going to be a lot more space for smaller, better movie theaters that don't have to run, like, three car commercials before the film. There are several in Minneapolis - some arty, some late-run.

I am not much of a moviegoer so it may well be that more contemporary movies are made to be watched on biggish TVs rather than movie screens, but if you're talking about older movies that were imagined for the movie theater, well, Tarkovsky and La Dolce Vita and Once Upon A Time In The West and movies of that general type will amaze you on the big screen. Being overwhelmed by the large movie happening big and close is really different from watching it on a TV, even a good TV. At this point, I've been able to watch most of my favorites in the theater and on big modern televisions and I mean, they're still great on the TV screen but you are transported in the theater.

Also consider: The bathhouse of the spirits in Spirited Away. A big bathhouse of the spirits is even better than a TV-sized one.

Ageism in art - and everywhere else - is a thing, as shown once again by a Metafilter thread where people feel free to insult Boomers, no older Mefites trash millenials

And this is why "generational analysis" is basically death to understanding - it quickly polarizes. At least in the part of metafilter I frequent, it is deeply uncool to say negative things about millennials and basically okay to casually generalize about boomers although really stupid analysis isn't cool either. So it's just another sides-taking thing that flattens history. You either go with "everything is worse now because cell phones, boomers are smart and good" or "everything is getting better, the youths will save us because they are more politically savvy and morally better, unlike our sad Young Boomer/Gen X selves" and loose all framework to talk about how different times and places are different from one another and produce different things.
posted by Frowner at 12:32 PM on November 27, 2021 [14 favorites]


The baby boom that created the boomer generation had a legitimate impact on their childhoods and young adult lives. There were a lot of younger people compared to previous decades and there was enough money for them to be a market worth pursuing. Similarly, a reason that Gen X is overlooked is that they are numerically smaller, the usual dates being from when the birthrate started to fall through to when it really picked up again. I think that means that Millennials are the echo boom. Part of the problem that I think Scott may be having is that he's forgetting how old he is, and both how old the "young people" are and how their tastes are going to drive consumption not people within 20 years of his own age.
posted by plonkee at 12:44 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Scott's best historical film (in my opinion) is The Duelists

I straight-up thought that was the film we were all talking about here for a distressingly long time. That's how entirely unaware I was of this other film.

It was pretty confusing for me ("wait, how old is the film? Why would millennials cause a forty year old film to be a failure?!??")
posted by aramaic at 12:48 PM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


Millennial (Gen Y): 1981-1996. Age 25-40.

Re: generations: this does seem weird to me. I was born in '81, and I was in the middle of Gen X then. Millennial wasn't a thing yet, and no one called me "millennial" until a couple years ago. It seems odd that I both aged up a cohort, and am now in the same cohort as people whose first phone was an iPhone 3, let alone have used a rotary phone or acoustic coupler. Y'all, I think this "generation" thing might not have any real meaning at all. It's almost like people are born every year, and arbitrary buckets are just a way to pit people against each other.
posted by mrgoat at 1:07 PM on November 27, 2021 [30 favorites]


no one born after 1960 has a damn thing in common with Boomers. Too young to remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Too young to remember JFK. Too young to remember MLK.

Not really true, sorry--someone born in '61 would have been seven when MLK was assassinated, and the Beatles had most of their career after Ed Sullivan--I'm old enough to remember "Hey Jude" being ubiquitous on radio, as well as Star Trek (TOS) in its original broadcast, the first moon landing, and Woodstock. More crucially, to cite another and more important generational touchstone, I'm old enough to remember when college was relatively affordable and financial aid for it was much more in line with the actual costs.

If you're arguing that generational divisions are largely arbitrary, though, I'm with you there--a perusal of the birth rate in the United States shows that the rise in the birth rate that started in about 1940 (in other words, not after the war) really peaked in 1950, didn't reach its previous level until the late 60s, and didn't stop declining until about 1980.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:14 PM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


No one born after 1960 has a damn thing in common with Boomers

Try even earlier. I was born in 1958, and I have zero (okay, maybe 0.04) in common with what we generally type as a “boomer”. My mental yardstick is centered around Vietnam. If you sweated-out the draft, if you stood an actual chance of going over to Vietnam, you’re a boomer. And even that’s probably too wide a net.

I just know I keep getting lumped in with boomers and it pisses me off. Hell, I didn’t even have to register for the draft, that’s how safe I was.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:15 PM on November 27, 2021 [13 favorites]


Maron said that he thought the time period and action in the film would have been a draw for younger audiences.

I'm not sure which is funnier. Going to 58-year-old Marc Maron for reassurance that younger audiences should have liked your movie, or that the "younger audience" in question are people in their thirties.
posted by Gary at 1:22 PM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


I didn't know that the Strauss-Howe generational stuff was linked to Bannon and the like, but it makes an awful lot of sense.

Approx 30+ years ago in my late teens I had a brief but intense fascination with both the Generations book by Strauss-Howe, and perhaps a little earlier, Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. Both books offer a broad re-framing of the world and both are so brash and assured in their ideas that when you're 18, you think you've discovered heretofore unknown secrets of the universe.

Both Strauss-Howe's generational theory and Rand's objectivity have just enough surface logic to sucker readers into thinking they're smart, but both fall apart under the light of day. Unless you're a right-wing man-child in a perpetual state of adolescence, that is.
posted by jeremias at 1:23 PM on November 27, 2021 [12 favorites]


Ridley Scott can film some amazing Medieval set-pieces, and Kingdom of Heaven was another film that had some fantastic visual elements.

I sort of liked KoH, but it's one of those movies that's almost great, but it's just missing some intangible things that could make it great. I have not seen it, but apparently the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven is a huge improvement, and there was quite a lot of buzz when it was released several years ago. And yes, Orlando Bloom is a rather dull actor and should not have been cast as the lead.
posted by zardoz at 1:27 PM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such"

-- Ridley Scott explaining his casting decisions for a movie on ancient Egypt, where he chose white actors for all the main characters, but had all the servants and criminals played by Africans.

Ha ha, time's up ya old racist goon.

Or, to quote Roy Batty from Scott's own "Blade Runner":

"Tick tock! Tick tock! Tick tock! How much time do you have left? And how do you spend this precious time?! By touching, feeling, learning, seeing?! By knowing more of what there is to know?! Or by policing other people’s hopes and dreams – deciding who gets to see what, know what, go where? What’s your first thought, policeman?"
posted by Borborygmus at 1:31 PM on November 27, 2021 [30 favorites]


Up til now I hadn't seen it because I'd never heard of it. From now on I will not be seeing it because it looks dry and funless.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 1:33 PM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


So after Gen Alpha will be Gen Beta?

No, Beta already got killed in the marketplace. Next will be Gen VHS, obvs. Coincidentally, VHS will be "retro" by then instead of merely slow, fragile, expensive, crude and annoying.

arbitrary buckets are just a way to pit people against each other

Is this not entertainment? Are you not entertained?
posted by flabdablet at 1:42 PM on November 27, 2021 [6 favorites]


That’s right, us millennials killed napkins and cable and now we’re coming for your movies!

And blood diamonds, because we see no point in, and can't afford, a pointlessly expensive engagement ring. Won't somebody please think of the warlords.
posted by kersplunk at 2:24 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Ridley Scott is a vastly over-rated director, but he must be an incredible businessman because he has made so many movies in the past two decades. And apart from two (gladiator and the Martian) they have sank without trace. Barely existing on streaming services. A footnote to his early work, in the case of Prometheus). He has churned out so many ho-hum movies that’s it’s just incredible that he keeps being given chances to make more.
posted by The River Ivel at 2:41 PM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


Gen X: 1965-1980. Age 41-56.

Except for Billy Idol. Even though he was born in 1955, he’s still a member of Generation X.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 2:55 PM on November 27, 2021 [21 favorites]


Ridley is in The Silent Generation (born 1928 - 1945). From Wikipedia, “The Silent Generation were about "working within the system." They did this by keeping their heads down and working hard, thus earning themselves the "silent" label. Their attitudes leaned toward not being risk-takers and playing it safe.”

This may explain casting Damon and Affleck, they seem safe for all generations with a consequence of being on the dull side. If he’d cast Jay and Silent Bob, I’d go see it.
posted by waving at 3:01 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


I really only need one medieval dress-up film per year (plus the annual Christmas rewatch of The Lion in Winter), and The Green Knight was it. Glad to give this one a miss on cheap plot grounds alone, but it's nice that it counts towards my Old Xennial culture-killer quota.

I share above commenters' disappointment in the wild waste of potential that was Raised By Wolves. "Robot Mom Who Screams People To Death" is my personal favorite mary sue, and I would happily watch a supercut of all Mother's scenes from RBW, but really nothing else.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 3:24 PM on November 27, 2021 [6 favorites]


Ridley is in The Silent Generation (born 1928 - 1945). From Wikipedia, “The Silent Generation were about "working within the system." They did this by keeping their heads down and working hard, thus earning themselves the "silent" label. Their attitudes leaned toward not being risk-takers and playing it safe.”

Presumably this 'silent generation' would include among others MLK Jr, Jack Kerouac, Mario Savio, Allan Ginsburg (author of 'HOWL'), and Hunter S Thompson? The SILENT generation, haha.

This stuff really is like astrology. I put more stock in astrology tbh.
posted by viborg at 4:21 PM on November 27, 2021 [10 favorites]


One way of looking at the boomers is that there are actually two demographics peaks (not true in all countries) - which can vaguely be catagorised into two groups: "the hippies" and "the punks". At the moment the hippies have mostly reached retirement age, the punks mostly not.
posted by mbo at 4:26 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Are boomer punks a distinct population from Xer punks?
posted by acb at 4:31 PM on November 27, 2021


Well boomer punks invented punk ...

Seriously though it's more about the music of your teenage years
posted by mbo at 4:35 PM on November 27, 2021


I was born in 1959 (one of the Boom's peak years here in Canada), which made me just the right age (seventeen-eighteen) to embrace Punk when it broke.

The fact that I didn't, that I mucked around for a few years with the likes of Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull before finally seeing the light (feeling the spit?) is a topic for a different discussion.
posted by philip-random at 4:37 PM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


Born 1962 and it's an effort vs reward thing for me. King Crimson is way more fun to listen to. Punk is way more fun to play.

And then there are The Chats...
posted by flabdablet at 4:47 PM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


Parenthetic on life in Middle Ages: just finished Terry Jones' book on the era. Turns out, surprise, much of what we think we know about life then is, um, rather inaccurate. Well worth a few hours if you're interested.
posted by emmet at 4:53 PM on November 27, 2021 [7 favorites]


No one born after 1960 has a damn thing in common with Boomers

'64 here and while I don't always like to admit it, I have a lot more in common with Boomers than Gen X. I was already married with a house and kid before ever ever heard the term Gen-X.
posted by octothorpe at 5:01 PM on November 27, 2021 [2 favorites]


I knew about this film because it was heavily marketed on Microsoft Solitaire.

Which is exactly where you go to market to Millenials.
posted by DebetEsse at 5:52 PM on November 27, 2021 [15 favorites]


Try even earlier. I was born in 1958, and I have zero (okay, maybe 0.04) in common with what we generally type as a “boomer”. My mental yardstick is centered around Vietnam. If you sweated-out the draft, if you stood an actual chance of going over to Vietnam, you’re a boomer.

If this is true, there are no female boomers.

I was also born in 1958, and I identify as a boomer. Although boys exactly my age weren't at risk of being sent to Vietnam, we had older brothers and friends. I grew up hearing my parents fight about whether my brother should go to Canada. The war was a huge part of my childhood even going back to grade school. One older friend once told me that she thought the real cut-off was who remembered the JFK assassination - which I do remember.

Although I identify as a boomer mostly because that's what the categories say, I also think these demographic stereotypes are bullshit. My teenage years are complicated in terms of generational experience because I was a Jesus freak (another boomer thing and I always want to emphasize that it was not like today's evangelical Christians - we were late-stage hippies). I definitely think of myself as too old for punk rock, but I think that's partly because I got married and had kids at a very young age. There are huge variations in what members of these generational cohorts experienced.
posted by FencingGal at 6:04 PM on November 27, 2021 [5 favorites]


Unlike (it seems) everyone else in this thread, I've known about this movie forever, and it is right up my alley as far as historical dramas go. There's a bit of a misunderstanding in this conversation: this was always a Ben/Matt flick - they co-wrote it and produced it, and it was originally going to come out before Trump was President. Ridley Scott wasn't even the original director for it.

Honestly, I think the flaws in the production are that Ben/Matt wanted to score another Good Will Hunting (but this time as historical Massholes!) and then production hell kicked in, followed by COVID-19, and then Ridley Scott tried to change it around to fit his own auteur needs. I would have gladly seen it, but I also think that a gratuitous rape scene is...uh...very 2015 in its mindset. That's enough to set me off of it.
posted by gwydapllew at 6:05 PM on November 27, 2021 [11 favorites]


Ridley Scott is right about one thing. Blade Runner was ahead of its time.

Well, that and that it was his third movie (Alien was his second). If he had stopped at three, he would be a figure of mythic status, an unparalleled and unprecedented science fiction visionary. Instead he has chosen to spend the following four decades frittering away all his goodwill with tedium. Lucas did pretty much the same thing around the same time, followed by a few others* over the years (current reigning embarrassment Zack Snyder began his career with the entirely passable 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, and has made basically nothing watchable since then).

*Doing this at half the pace seems to be James Cameron, who made anywhere from three to six great movies, a couple of okay ones, and for a quarter century now hopes we're all as invested in underwater documentaries and many many more hours of Avatar sequels as he is. Is there anyone on earth who really eagerly anticipates a bunch of followups to a movie released the year Michael Jackson died and scarcely mentioned since then?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:58 PM on November 27, 2021 [7 favorites]


That’s right, us millennials killed napkins and cable and now we’re coming for your movies!

The Millennian came down like the wolf on the fold
And their iPhones were streaming in gleaming rose gold
- The Destruction of Cinema
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:06 PM on November 27, 2021 [14 favorites]


I have maintained for quite some time that the notion of generational cohorts itself is reasonable but that the membership function (and the corresponding time periods of generations) is more properly taken as a fuzzy indicator. Which seems to resolve most objections to their use if not also being a more well-grounded concept.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 9:00 PM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


He should’ve slowed his roll - ‘House of Gucci’ is performing pretty well, apparently.
posted by Selena777 at 9:13 PM on November 27, 2021


*Doing this at half the pace seems to be James Cameron, who made anywhere from three to six great movies, a couple of okay ones, and for a quarter century now hopes we're all as invested in underwater documentaries and many many more hours of Avatar sequels as he is. Is there anyone on earth who really eagerly anticipates a bunch of followups to a movie released the year Michael Jackson died and scarcely mentioned since then?

I will go out on a limb and say YES, that Avatar II will be amazing and it may very well overtake Endgame as the top-grossing movie of all time. The 3D was novel at the time, and people went to Avatar out of a curiosity, but since the implosion of 3D, it'll be a harder sell.

It’s just that the 3D in Avatar was so damn impressive, even if the script was otherwise lacking; and it was definitely lacking. It’s not the same movie in 2D, so going to the theater is key; that’s why it made so much money.

As for the current ambivalence, I think people felt a little duped at the anti-American and anti-military themes of Avatar, which IMHO is why there was such a backlash against it.

Having said that, all James Cameron has to do is repeat the same formula from the first one, but he’s had a decade to work out even better technology and CGI, so he might very well raise the bar yet again. Even with his clunky writing (god I wish he would let other people do the screenplay).

Apologies for my James Cameron fanboy gushing in this Ridley Scott thread.
posted by zardoz at 9:55 PM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


millii veni vici

Nay:

Veni, vidi, verti, cessi.
posted by y2karl at 10:09 PM on November 27, 2021


Quit the millennial bashing – generationalism is bad science

"The ubiquity of generations can also be attributed to their value as a commodity; promoting generations and generational differences is big business. However, the idea of generations is really a modern form of snake oil – an easy way to explain the ills that plague organisations, institutions and society as a whole. Indeed, there are companies that have built their entire brand on the basis of shifty generations science, including market research firms and consultancies, and self-proclaimed generations ‘gurus’ who encourage differentiating people based on their assumed membership in one generation versus another."
posted by nikoniko at 1:16 AM on November 28, 2021 [13 favorites]


I think people felt a little duped at the anti-American and anti-military themes of Avatar, which IMHO is why there was such a backlash against it.

That's interesting. Is that a thing? From my perspective (as a non US person living among people who are not particularly fond of the US) my main impression was the usual imperialist white saviour / noble savage story which I didn't experience as un American at all so I'm intrigued that other people did.
I do like the movie despite its flaws because of it's very strong setup. I really cared for the characters for the first half of the story.
posted by Zumbador at 3:11 AM on November 28, 2021 [3 favorites]



Quit the millennial bashing – generationalism is bad science

Excellent article nikoniko. Thanks for sharing. It particularly grinds my gears when people refer to US generational categories as if they are a global phenomenon.
posted by Zumbador at 3:22 AM on November 28, 2021 [4 favorites]


Great article nikoniko.

I just wish they hadn't chosen that clickbaity title that goes against everything the author of the actual article says and engages in exactly the kind of generational warfare the article itself is so careful to avoid.
posted by FencingGal at 4:47 AM on November 28, 2021


They sucked his brains out!: "Pauline Kael seems a very interesting critic.

She got 2001 and Blade Runner quite wrong. A few others, as well, but calling those films unimaginative are fairly glaring mistakes for a professional critic, unless the goal was to be abstractly contrarian for its own sake.
"

She was a critic and was paid to give her informed opinion. She didn't make a mistake by not liking those, she just had a different opinion on them than you did. I remember reading her review of Blade Runner when it came out and I was mad at her at the time but she's not wrong in some of her points:
Ridley Scott isn’t great on mise en scène—we’re never sure exactly what part of the city we’re in, or where it is in relation to the scene before and the scene after. (Scott seems to be trapped in his own alleyways, without a map.)
posted by octothorpe at 6:03 AM on November 28, 2021 [15 favorites]


I read the headline and made popcorn, and am indeed entertained! I think I saw an ad for this somewhere, but may be confusing it with another Matt Damon period piece. Or maybe that one was Tom Cruise? (No-one should be relying on me to ensure that their films are successful or noticed.) And maybe the ad algorithms knew I watched Game of Thrones to the end and decided not to bother me with this. I can hope.

On the generational divide, I'm mrgoat's age, but pegged myself as Generation Y as soon as I learned that generations were a thing - my siblings were younger, and I'd missed a bunch of 80s cultural references that were important to the slightly older cohort. So, there's plenty of wiggle room in there.
posted by mersen at 6:08 AM on November 28, 2021


I was born in 1958 ... Hell, I didn’t even have to register for the draft, that’s how safe I was.
Even though I was only born one year earlier, and, as it turned out, also did not have to register for the draft, that doesn't mean we didn't sweat over it. My high school friends and I discussed it frequently and we're basically in three camps a) enlist, b) sweat out the draft and take what you were dealt, c) sweat it out and go to Canada if you lost the lottery.

But though I might fit chronologically, I don't fit most of the Boomer stereotypes, so I too find the classifications annoying.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:49 AM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]


The reviewers I tend to watch all really liked this film, which surprised me because the advertising didn't make it look that great. I was particularly turned off by what looked like stunt casting of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in silly but grim medieval wigs.

That's certainly not the first time this has happened. I was pretty turned off to Shang-Chi until reviewers started raving about it. I actually watched it and really really enjoyed it. Maybe I would really enjoy this too. But that's not the fault of Millennials, that's the fault of marketing. And Ridley Scott has been in this business long enough to know that.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 7:06 AM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]


Like a few others, I had no idea this movie existed before this thread. I did see Dune recently, and had some vague awareness before it’s release that someone was making a new movie of Dune (and I suspected, correctly, that it would not feature Sting). I thought it was mostly OK, but it didn’t really impress me in either direction beyond that.

Before reading this thread, though, I had no idea Dune was released in theaters.
posted by nickmark at 7:54 AM on November 28, 2021


Pauline Kael seems a very interesting critic.

She once lost her job at McCall's magazine in 1966 for a scathing review of The Sound of Music. She called it a "sugar coated lie we like to eat" and apparently referred to it as "The Sound of Mucus."

Obit.

Kael wrote her first review - of Chaplin's Limelight, which she called "Slimelight" - in 1953, at the age of 33. She was, from the first, deadly serious. "I regard criticism as an art," she later wrote, "and if in this country and in this age it is practised with honesty, it is no more remunerative than the work of an avant-garde film maker."

She queued as a paying customer to see films rather than feel obligated by the hospitality of the studios. In her first 10 years of reviewing, her honesty earned less than $2,000. In the meantime she worked as a seamstress, cook and ghost-wrote textbooks.

For several years she broadcast without pay for the Pacifica radio-network and from 1955 until the early 1960s she programmed the Berkeley Cinema Guild Theatres. She also lectured in film at universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

posted by Brian B. at 8:45 AM on November 28, 2021 [11 favorites]


WRT fear of the draft: Simply coming of age after the draft formally ended was no guarantee of being free from that fear. Jimmy Carter reinstituted selective service registration, whether as part of his Tough On Commies thing or something else I don't know, and when Reagan was elected he did some ferocious saber-rattling; a lot of young men were convinced that he wanted to start or provoke a war in Central America during his administration.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:24 AM on November 28, 2021 [3 favorites]


I find criticism less than useful when it appears to be mostly an excuse for the critic to act uncritically pleased with themselves for slinging playground insults masquerading as "clever" turns of phrase.

"Slimelight"? "Sound of Mucus"? "Chariots-for-hire Vangelis"? Come on. It's not clever, and it's not art. It's just tedious waffle.
posted by flabdablet at 12:05 PM on November 28, 2021 [3 favorites]


There's something vaguely amusing about Scott's gripe about the millennian refusing to be taught coming from a guy who makes such a big point about refusing to engage with criticism or doubt.

The Kael review is a pretty good representation of her strengths and weaknesses as a critic, showing both sides in abundance. Kael was, at the time, likely the most influential US film critic and thus in some sense the most important, for better and worse. Influential not just from her position covering film for The New Yorker, when that meant having an outsized say on success for the widest variety of films in the US, both foreign and domestic, but also as having a major influence on other critics across the country who sometimes gained positions through help of Kael and/or took to the profession with Kael as their main inspiration.

While for others Kael was the focus of their animosity for what was wrong with criticism, whether for having sided with the also complicated Andrew Sarris during the time when he and Kael had a legendary (well, legendary in criticism circles at least) dispute over the so called auteur theory Sarris was revising from French critics back in the sixties and seventies, championing the director as primary artist/author of a film and creating a "pantheon" of greatness which Kael would have none of, or for other issues with her methods. (The back and forth over auteur theory to some, showing the faults of both Sarris and Kael to some, while garnering acolytes for the two main combatants all of which still lingers over writing about movies.)

Hollywood recognized stature and courted Kael to briefly go west to work with the industry, which didn't take, and many directors and stars also sought her out for debatable ends, some in appreciation perhaps, some to win her approval for their careers being likely as well. At the time the Blade Runner piece came out, the importance of Kael's writing itself had already peaked but was still considerable while her broader influence on film writing culture was still growing as her acolytes were finding positions of their own.

Kael had some pronounced tendencies as a critic that are apparent in this piece but even more notable when viewed across her body of writing. She was a detail oriented critic, but one interested primarily in how the movies conformed to her desires, which had a strong sexualized associative element to them. This can be seen in the titles of her collected writings, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I Lost It in the Dark, Taking It All In, etc. you can see that aspect in the Blade Runner piece in this bit: There are suggestions of Nicolas Roeg in the odd, premonitory atmosphere, but Roeg gives promise of something perversely sexual. With Scott, it’s just something unpleasant or ugly where the statement assumes some value for "perversely sexual" that isn't elaborated on, and really can't be, but is somehow wielded against Blade Runner for lacking in contrast, and in this note: As Zhora, who has found employment as an artificial snake charmer, Joanna Cassidy has some of the fine torrid sluttiness she had in The Late Show. and the surrounding remarks which are a fairly typical example of the kind of detail Kael praises throughout her career and claims as a major factor in what makes movie watching enjoyable, even while movies are often "trash" in her signature essay on criticism, Trash, Art, and the Movies.

Kael tended to prefer a strongly "masculinized" perspective in her favored films, where she'd champion, sometimes questionably, directors like Walter Hill, Sam Peckinpah, Brian DePalma, and James Toback, as well as tending to celebrate moments of strong visceral impact of violence or sexuality. She pulled out all the stops in championing Last Tango in Paris, for example, demanding extra space from The New Yorker to provide for her piece, which gave the essay a prominent place in film writing. Her writing fit the scene of the early seventies well, where both sex and violence where freed from previous constraint of censorship which suited Kael's sensibilities admirably.

At the same time though, that interest in detail and wanting movies to conform to her tastes also creates some problems, some of which is perhaps more apparent in hindsight regarding some of the films and their directors who are now seen as more problematic, but also in how the focus on detail could obscure the larger whole, even when there is arguably some truth in the detail. You can see that in the Blade Runner piece where she mentions: There’s a subject, though, lurking around the comic strip edges: What does it mean to be human? and treats that as a missed opportunity by the filmmakers rather than its obvious theme because she's too busy tracking down other flaws in detail she doesn't ever put together into a coherent whole. She notes, for example, a fascist subtext to some of the elements, and also notes the resemblance of the setting to German expressionist films and the tone to 40s "noirs" , but doesn't try to stitch those elements together into either something the filmmakers are using for a given end or for a criticism of a possible subtext that invades the film in a holistic way. It just remains details.

The penultimate paragraph of the piece shows how Kael's attention to detail works for her, calling out the lack of sense in some of the plot choices and how that effects her sense for the movie, but not examining if there were some other way to feel about them if she didn't expect the movie to conform to her tastes. (This bit on the character of Rachel from an earlier paragraph is almost funny for how ill-suited it is to the film: Her role is limply written, though; she’s cool at first, but she spends most of her screen time looking mysteriously afflicted—wet-eyed with yearning—and she never gets to deliver a zinger. I don’t think she even has a chance to laugh. Kael likes "zingers" so a movie that doesn't deliver them is missing out, no matter what that film is doing otherwise.)

The bit octothorpe quoted earlier points to another quirk of Kael's, where the use of "mise en scène" is not wrong exactly, but empty, mise en scène is basically just saying everything we can see in the film, which she praised just sentences before when talking about the sets and look, so the mise en scène is "extraordinary" and "can't be ignored" but also Scott is not good with it? You can suss out a way to make sense of the quote by just focusing on the "not sure" part of it, but it is a thing Kael does fairly often, say something that is suggestively empty and allow the reader to fill it in as they wish. Likewise art, for Kael, according to her Trash, Art piece is "the expressive use of techniques", which is no definition at all. Kael claimed to never rewatch movies and relied on her prodigious memory to compare films across the years, where her sense of detail does stand out in capturing some of the designs and key moments of films over the years. That sense of engagement is what drew her readership, along with the snark, but it is also her limitation as a critic and in this case leads to why she misses the mark in either praising or damning the film.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:07 PM on November 28, 2021 [21 favorites]


Unlike a lot of people, I kept hearing about this film well before the release. I read that all of the male writers threw up their hands and didn't write the "woman's point of view" part of the script (because, supposedly, they didn't they they could offer the right perspective). To me, that made it sound like the picture was going to be a disjointed mess. (Looking at the credits now, I don't see a woman's name listed among the screenwriters. I think the article I read said something about the actress writing her own dialogue, or something like that, but whoever did it, didn't get credit for it.)

I saw the trailers with the terrible, horrible wigs.

I knew this was a Matt and Ben vehicle, and while I feel less fondly about the duo than I did the past, they're in the take-it-or-leave-it category these days (i.e. either one of them being in a film is not a qualifying or disqualifying reason for seeing/not seeing a movie). All that said, I don't think I'd cast either in a French period film, but I'm willing to admit I could be wrong about that.

I am older than these terrible millennians who watch movies on their phone. In theory, this should have been a movie right up my alley: historical action drama focused on a duel! That's just calling my name.

I love movies with swords and costumes and swashbuckling. Throw in some politics and philosophical discussions about the legal system and justice and I'm itching for a chance to throw my money in your direction.

Except...

I'm a woman and there is no way in hell I'm going to waste my time (and risk my health during a pandemic mind you) watching multiple takes on a rape scene. Nope. No way, Jose. Not in a million years. Sorry Ridley, but if you think there's an audience for this, you old, entitled ass, I'm here to tell you you're dead bang wrong and so out of touch it isn't funny.

I mean if Jamie Boy could figure out enthusiastic consent in 1942, telling Lady Margaret that she had to say his name three times before he'd come to her--not to mention giving her access to his sword while they were forced to share a cabin--then Ridley, I expect you to be able to make a movie in 2021 that doesn't just replay a rape scene over and over from the perspective of different men. Grow up and get a clue, you out-of-touch old idiot. And quit whining. This is the movie you chose to make, you can damn well deal with the consequences of your failure.
posted by sardonyx at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2021 [11 favorites]


(Looking at the credits now, I don't see a woman's name listed among the screenwriters. I think the article I read said something about the actress writing her own dialogue, or something like that, but whoever did it, didn't get credit for it.)

Apparently Nicole Holofcener (who won an Oscar for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, among other things) wrote the third narrative in the screenplay. Also apparently she was brought in last, after Damon and Affleck had already structured and started working on the project, and she said they first presented it to her as "a sword fight movie".

That NY Times interview makes it look like they (first Damon and Affleck, and then all three) talked with a lot of people and groups to try to do right by women's and rape survivors' perspectives. But Holofcener says "We had to show some scenes twice, but it was necessary. We had to see the rape twice, as disturbing as it was to watch" [emphasis mine], and I wonder whether they stopped to consider - really consider - that that "had to" is actually not going to feel so imperative to an awful lot of people, who in this case have the power to avoid the experience. Maybe they went ahead knowingly because they felt it was an important film worth making even for a small audience; maybe they just felt too attached to their idea to stop. Or maybe they genuinely felt it would be a huge hit, which would seem to speak of an incomplete understanding of how rape, and a rape-saturated culture, affect people.

I do wonder how much their age factors into this. I'm younger than Damon and Affleck and much younger than Holofcener (and Ridley). I feel like growing up I could expect any number of books, movies, and TV shows, whether classics or pop hits, to depict violence specifically against women, often in detail, and like I was supposed to just accept that as the normal, and even desirable nature of media for teens and up - the way that today we can expect to see tons of non-sexual (or at least less overtly sexual) violence, oppression, and cruelty in probably the majority of TV shows and movies, whether it's presented as something to enjoy or as something educational that it's morally important to confront. Like that was part of being a sophisticated reader/viewer - looking at this stuff with distance, through intellect rather than emotion - and something we should all just learn to do. In recent years there's been a growing recognition that actually, all that exposure has its own often traumatic and oppressive effects. But that's a recent movement, and I wonder if this team of not-young creators managed to just completely miss it, or not understand how deeply felt it is.

(I haven't seen the movie and don't find it appealing.)
posted by trig at 1:52 PM on November 28, 2021 [11 favorites]


Agh. My aging eyes. I skimmed the credits and thought I saw Nicholas, not Nicole. My mistake. But it's one that I think is kind of natural. With a movie like this, I just assumed it was a man's name as the lead writer. That just goes to show where my perceptions are when it comes to this movie.
posted by sardonyx at 2:02 PM on November 28, 2021 [2 favorites]


Just to defend Kael a little... I don't think she's wrong about the movie; it's just a matter of weighting. But weighting is key to how we evaluate movies.

In Blade Runner, the sets and the atmosphere are turned up to 11. And Kael recognizes this! She calls the set design extraordinary, and says "a visionary sci-fi movie that has its own look can’t be ignored—it has its place in film history." It's just that, for her, that's not enough to make it a great movie. For many of us, it is enough. We remember and treasure how it made us enter that strange dystopic world, even if the story is just The Robot Story told once more. (They always either rebel or take over.)

She does have a complaint about the sets: "The air is so rotten that it’s dark outside, yet when we’re inside, the brightest lights are on the outside". And she's right, it makes little sense. But if you give in to the movie, it doesn't really matter, any more than the list of goofs on any movie's IMDB page actually ruin it.

I used to read her reviews, and I don't recall that any sf movies were her thing. That's fine; there were plenty of other sources that would tell you if an sf movie was good.
posted by zompist at 3:16 PM on November 28, 2021 [3 favorites]


That Kael review reminded me of why I wasn't a fan of her writing. (I am just old enough to remember reading her reviews, but it was at the end of her career; my perspective would probably be different if I had experienced more of that.)

I was aware that this was a film with rape as a central plot theme, but I wasn't aware that the rape was shown graphically, twice. Unless a movie is genuinely amazing, that is probably not something I'll choose to watch.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:48 PM on November 28, 2021


Tangential to the merits of this movie, it's kind of rich that Scott thinks any movie is worth risking COVID to see. There are several movies from the last year that I'd have plunked down CDN$20 to see in a theatre (and in fact would still do so) where there NOT A PLAGUE GOING ON but to release it only to the giant germ boxes and then complain about millipedes is the height of clueless entitlement.

(To be clear, Scott's film is not one of those, even now that I've heard of it.)
posted by suetanvil at 8:40 PM on November 28, 2021 [7 favorites]


and then complain about millipedes

I don't know if that's autocorrect or intentional but it's not bad
posted by trig at 9:24 PM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]


Stupid and repulsive. Whatever contortions they went through in the screenplay development, it felt like "here's what an 80 year old man thinks is a progressive take on rape." I had this shit explained to me 30 years ago.
posted by fatbird at 12:03 AM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Web rips are available via torrent sites now.
posted by flabdablet at 12:47 AM on November 29, 2021


Damon is dead to me now that he's shilling for crypto.

I mean literally, as an actor, I don't think I can ever watch him in a movie again without thinking of this smug asshole claiming that buying crypto is some heroic adventure and telling me to "embrace the moment and commit."
posted by straight at 1:42 AM on November 29, 2021 [6 favorites]


Those Crypto ads from Damon are pretty embarrassing and they seem to run before every movie now, right after the 25 minutes of trailers.
posted by octothorpe at 4:20 AM on November 29, 2021


Millennials are anyone born between 1980 and the end of the world
posted by Jacen at 6:21 AM on November 29, 2021 [7 favorites]


I'm much older than the people who are the focus of his misplaced ire, and I lost interest in Ridley Scott movies somewhere between [checks IMDB] "1492: Conquest of Paradise" and "Gladiator." Is there an "OK Boomer" reply for people his age?
posted by fedward at 9:19 AM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Is there an "OK Boomer" reply for people his age?

From memory it's something like, "Anything you say, Pops." However, the risk of indulging in age-related scoffing is a tendency to hate oneself for getting old later in life, then followed by blaming the younger generation for it.
posted by Brian B. at 11:17 AM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


When I read "millennial" or "millenian" I hear it to the tune of Robbie Williams.
posted by brainwane at 11:17 AM on November 29, 2021


However, the risk of indulging in age-related scoffing is a tendency to hate oneself for getting old later in life, then followed by blaming the younger generation for it.

When one person on a group text used a GIF of Jamie Lee Curtis crying, "I'M OLD," in Freaky Friday, another pointed out that we're older now than she was when that movie came out. Time is relentless.
posted by fedward at 11:29 AM on November 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


When I saw that Matt Damon and Adam Driver were in a movie about knights, I was 100% sure it was a comedy in the Your Highness vein. Then I saw a promo picture and my suspicions were confirmed.

It turns out I was wrong?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:53 PM on November 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


I ended up downloading and watching this -- with some judicious deployment of the skip function -- largely as a result of this thread and for Jodie Comer's performance. And while it was well-executed, so I guess "good" for a certain value of the word, I definitely didn't enjoy it. By the end I was essentially hate-watching because I'd already spent two hours on it and really wanted to see at least one of these awful dudes die.
The subject matter is interesting and someone mentioned upthread that the book it was based on was good, but I don't think this is a story which benefits from dramatisation -- or needed screenwriters with more skill than Matt and Ben in order to do so. Every character save Marguerite and whomever Marton Csokas played was repellent on some level, in addition to the already mentioned rape scenes there's at least one other which is questionable at best on the consent front and Damon/Affleck were very "Damon/Affleck Go Medieval". (I could go on but this isn't a FanFare thread.)

Even setting all that aside I'm not sure how anyone saw this film as a draw for "younger audiences". Perhaps if it were made in France, where the events carry more cultural significance it could be expected to draw a wider viewership, but a rapey period costume drama featuring a couple middle-aged leads who have been darkening screens since before most millennials were old enough to watch their films is ... not the draw Scott and Maron seem to think it is. If anything in this formula would put "millennial" asses in seats I'd think it would be Kylo Ren and Villanelle "this new girl called Jodie Comer" (seriously, mate?), and once the 'medieval minor nobles toxic masculinity rape Rashomon' word-of-mouth got round that might not even be enough.

Most plausible theory: an interviewer who knew how to bait Scott into giving him the clickbait quote.
It's either that or an absolutely genius marketing strategy by the distributors. Wind him up and watch him go.
posted by myotahapea at 1:55 PM on November 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


We went through a back catalogue of shows on SBS On Demand (excellent service!) recently and every ad break had an ad for this. It did not look the slightest bit interesting, and the snippets of Sir Mullet Damon, Darth Brody, and Neck-Corset-Girl looked like they had been left on the cutting room floor of some ill-considered Game of Thrones vs Excalibur fan film. Utter dreck as per Ridley's current wheelhouse.

Edit: Oh and I forgot Ben Affleck as...some kind of muscular pageboy? How do they literally even with this film?
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


When one person on a group text used a GIF of Jamie Lee Curtis crying, "I'M OLD," in Freaky Friday, another pointed out that we're older now than she was when that movie came out. Time is relentless.

When I read "millennial" or "millenian" I hear it to the tune of Robbie Williams.



This is just a note to let you know that Robbie Williams, the bad boy of Take That, is now 47.

You're welcome.
posted by darkstar at 5:41 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'm still laughing kind of helplessly at the phrase "The millennian".

"There will be a substantial reward for the one who finds why the millennians failed to come."
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


If we're still choosing sides, sign me up for Generation Jones.
posted by Devoidoid at 8:25 AM on November 30, 2021 [3 favorites]


gusottertrout -- thank you for that fascinating Kael analysis!
posted by brainwane at 10:19 AM on November 30, 2021 [2 favorites]


However, the risk of indulging in age-related scoffing is a tendency to hate oneself for getting old later in life, then followed by blaming the younger generation for it.

The first time I genuinely caught myself in the act of thinking the exact phrase "what is that HORRIBLE CRAP the young people are all listening to these days" I laughed and laughed and laughed.
posted by flabdablet at 2:01 AM on December 1, 2021


which IMHO is why there was such a backlash against it.

Total derail, but at least in my circle I’m pretty sure the backlash was because it was absolute drivel with just enough production value and hype to make otherwise discerning moviegoers waste money on it, then gripe.

Also TIL Pauline Kael isn’t a household name any more.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:27 PM on December 3, 2021 [2 favorites]


Now on FanFare.
posted by brainwane at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2021


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