Have you ever talked to someone obsessing over something he has seen in a movie, book, video game or comic book?
People can go a bit overboard in expressing their hatred for something that angers them, which begs the question, “Should it anger them?”
When you get down to it, it seems ridiculous to get so emotional over something that isn’t physically hurting you.
But for these people, it seems extremely real and they have to let out their opinions any way they can, mostly online through social media or message boards.
Where does all the emotion come from?
It comes from deep within us, based on our love for a certain storytelling medium.
For me, that’s movies, and I know many other people who share my love for film.
We have discussions about a film’s narrative storytelling, characters, subtle hidden meanings and how all of the above affects us.
But we also come across people who see things about a film differently than we do. An example is the Coen Brothers’ 2007 film, “No Country for Old Men.”
I came across someone who saw the film and just flat-out hated it, saying it was about “nothing,” the ending “made no sense” and that he didn’t get the “action-thriller” he was hoping for.
I asked him what he thought the ending was about; he just said, “I don’t care.”
Then, I told him I loved it. Before I could say why, he practically yelled in my face that I shouldn’t like it and said I was stupid for liking it.
This does not solve anything. I was only willing to share my thoughts after he shared his own, and he wouldn’t let me. You can take two things from this encounter.
One is, film can be whatever you want it to be— that’s what makes it a great art form. “No Country for Old Men” is obviously not just a thriller with a psychopathic killer, but more of a dark, quiet look at how the criminal mind is getting worse, whether we understand it or not.
But to some people, it could very well just be about a killer chasing somebody and someone trying to stop it.
Another example is the ending of Francois Truffaut’s 1959 film “The 400 Blows.”
One could look at it as just a boy staring into the sea before turning back, while another can see it as a metaphor for facing an uncertain future.
It can be both.
The other thing to take out of the encounter is that if you differ from someone else’s opinion of a film or a book, talk about it. Find out why.
If you can explain your side well, the other person will understand, and you can learn a thing or two about each other.
But don’t just shun the other person because his opinion differs from yours.
I think some people practically explode over fiction making its way to our reality because they let it get to them in a way that was never intended.
But then, there’s the group that can get really angry about stories based on real events and people.
“American Sniper” is a war thriller-drama based on Marine sniper Chris Kyle’s life and what he went through in the Iraq War.
Many people argued it didn’t truly depict his autobiography and complained that the actor, Bradley Cooper, underplayed the part.
I think “American Sniper” is a riveting film, but I know there were some things added to make it a more compelling story. In depicting a real person and what he went through, is that fair?
Probably not, but when has any film or book captured the true form of the person or events?
What’s important is that they capture their essence.
Look at “Amadeus”—are we really going to be angry that we don’t see Mozart working as hard as he should on his music or that Salieri wanted to murder him despite hardly any evidence of truth regarding the matter?
Facts can be fudged and characters probably won’t be as true as they were as people, but if the emotional journey can overtake us, those are among the last things to think about.
There are always going to be people out there who will harshly express their opinion.
It’s important to show our passions for our favorite art forms because that’s how we show how much it means to us, but it’s also important to offer and share our opinion rather than demand it or force it to be said and heard.
You can let it be heard, but don’t force it down people’s throats.