New Moon Backlash!

I absolutely expected some comments from pissed off Twitards for my scathing review of “New Moon”. Fanatics, especially young ones, can’t stand to hear opposing viewpoints on the things that are precious to them. If you have time, I recommend reading all of the comments, including some nice and thoughtful words in my defense. But one comment in particular ranks as the most emotional, off-topic and hilarious response to my writing I have ever come across.

Jessica Baxter, What follows will likely not make it to your blog [Ha! -JB]. In fact, it shouldn’t. Your entire review of New Moon is dark and angry. But I believe you were this way before you saw the film. Read the following 15 quotes from your review of the movie which is the tone of your entire review. Notice the slant of your focus. I don’t believe it came from the movie. I believe you’ve been carrying this around for a very long time. Take all of these quotes personally… “a story so rich with anti-feminist ideology.” “Bella-as-a-battered-woman interpretation” “been more comfortable staring directly into a stripper’s backside. I’m not even joking.” “drives older folks absolutely fucking nuts.” “Excuse me while I go have a panic attack.” “joy ride with one of the Port Angeles rapists.” “a cue to become an adrenaline junkie.” “save her stupid ass from” “bloodthirsty monster to homosexuality.” “seeing as how she has such a boner for men who want to hurt her.” “I was once a brooding teenager who dreamed of gothic romance.” “that Joss Whedon did for female empowerment.” “a slightly condescending and bigoted sauce.” “so much worse than the Backstreet Boys.” “and drink up the messages like poisoned Kool-Aid depresses the hell out of me.” Even the name of this site makes a statement… “Film Threat”. I’ve never heard of you before today. How many of your reviews are like this? How many dark movies do you “love”. Is it possible this is a general theme in the way you look at the world every day? Look at the bi-line of the name of your site. “Truth in Entertainment”. It is not uncommon for the damaged soul to take a smug attitude against the truth. And I think you know the truth is, what you write is simply opinion, nothing more. [Well, yes. That’s what a review is. -JB] You stand behind an attitude like this in order to hide your insecurity as a person. You pride yourself with your use of language. But Jessica, this review contains some very revealing clues to your unhappiness in life. The cruel way your were treated as a child. Being abandoned. [Actually, my parents never left me alone. I often wished they were more hands-off. -JB] Feeling alone, even in a crowd. Being misunderstood. Being exposed to things a child should never have to see or endure. [Like Catholic School? -JB] Your anger. The beatings. [Was I beaten?!…Oh my god…-JB] The bitterness. May I suggest you allow your therapist to read it from a professional point of view. It might help him/her help you. And keep writing like this, maybe in a more private setting. It can bring much of the buried anger to the surface where it can be dealt with in a healthy way. I’ve worked with people on these issues and worse for many years. You will likely respond with anger asserting that your observations come from a rational point of view. Defensiveness and denial are common in people with such a damaged inner child. Don’t just give in to it all. Don’t let all of this be your “excuse” in life for loneliness and loss. Let someone help. It will take courage, but it will be worth it. Please believe me. I will not come back looking for a response. This is not a topic for public discussion. [Then thanks for dragging my imagined personal issues out into a public forum, dickwad. -JB] This is not about me. Just a suggestion from one who sees the truth. And in this case, it has nothing to do with “entertainment”. Seye

I find it particularly interesting that Dr. Freud here a) doesn’t understand that I was, in fact, mostly joking and b) considers feminist ideology and not liking the Backstreet Boys to be a sign of mental illness. I wonder how he/she even came across the review in the first place since they had never heard of Film Threat and included the name and mission statement of an outlet I just work for as part of my analysis. What compels someone to write something like this based on a negative review of a popular movie franchise? Consider my mind boggled.

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11 Comments

  1. Very strange indeed. I guess this sort of response is a good thing? I’m jealous because nobody ever comments or even reads my own movie reviews, except for a handful of friends. :) But it does remind me of a time when I mocked Insane Clown Posse fans on my blog when it was public, and got some entertaining responses from the faithful. Middle America is so passionate!

    Of course you realize that you’ll now be expected to write feminist-slanted reviews of all culty movies aimed at girls. Perhaps “The Lovely Bones” will be your next hit?

    • I read your movie reviews. Is there a place to comment on your site? I also love your lists of 9. I’ll take on “the Lovely Bones”. That one will be tough because I love Peter Jackson as a director but I hated the book SO much.

  2. I personally just didn’t get why you chose to get so offended by the movie, especially considering your admitted lack of knowledge about the material. Your review really seemed to be more personal than critical, and you failed in where I believe the first rule of a critic should apply: be unbiased.

    Other than that, you brought up a lot of points and showed them in a way that should influence the easily persuaded. I admittedly looked you up, though not as a “obsessive fan”, but as someone who quite hates biased journalism of any sort. In fact, being a male, it’s fairly likely I already fall out of the attended demographic, yet I’m apparently a lot more perceptive of what the author and in this case the director was attempting to get across than you are. So many elements of your review are simply ignorant. One of them I can point off that seems to show you just weren’t paying attention and instead were too busy putting your own spin on what you thought it was saying was your quote, “She makes ridiculous declarations like “I don’t really like music” just to sound rebellious.” You might have realized by now if you were a very perceptive person that music is a big theme between the main characters, and in this case, Edward has been characterized as a “musician”. So, it would make sense to have someone who has trouble being reminded of someone, to go that route.

    I can guess you don’t understand any form of psychology, as your narrow-minded view on the world is appalling to me. It’s as if the world revolves around you when you speak. I know that a lot of critics can get that way, but yours is an extreme case. You sure do fit in with the rest of the average haters, quickly assuming its a abusive relationship. My question to you there would be, how do you think someone would react to having to be so close to someone when they wanted to kill them. It’s comparable to the human id on a larger scale, always wanting to do what it desires, but in this case fighting the basic nature of existence. She simply sees him for what he is and has sense fallen in love with him, which shows how mature she is. She’s able to look beyond the threat. She’s quite different from most modern girls who are obsessed with fashion or other similar things. I just don’t get how so much seems to warp in your head.

    Other than that, many other points you make seem to come from nowhere. You said she just sat in her room for months. You can call it bad directing if the point didn’t reach you, but you should fact check yourself before you begin throwing accusations. It seems quite obvious that it was merely to show the frozen state of mind she was in and the passage of time. My wife showed me the book after, and for several pages, there’s simply the month written on one page each, showing that for Bella, her life kind of stopped when her love left. She still went to school like normal. Why you come up with such ideas and choose to verbalize them without proper fact checking is beyond me.

    To quote you: “Bella takes this opportunity to become a complete and total hypocrite. “It’s wrong,” she lectures him about being a werewolf. “It’s not a lifestyle choice,” he retorts. “I was born this way.” Leave it to a Mormon to compare being a bloodthirsty monster to homosexuality. I bet Stephanie Meyer even thinks that’s a really open-minded viewpoint.” This just further gives me insight into your own mind and shows how biased your review was. First off, your way of retorting to this, “Leave it to a Mormon” is so hypocritical, when you argue Meyer is so heavy-handed against feminism and other elements dear to you. And to top it all off, I asked my wife to look it up real quick, and that quote is written by a screenwriter, not Meyer, so using it to attack her just makes you look that much more ignorant, especially to anyone with a brain enough to realize how biased you’re being to your own viewpoint. Last on that, I remember quite well from watching it that she wasn’t even lecturing about him being a werewolf. Once again, if you were any sort of credible reviewer, you’d have realized Bella wasn’t even talking about him being a werewolf. I don’t remember particularly, though you’ll note I admit it rather than making things up like you do, but I believe she was either at that moment referring to her pre-conceived idea that he was the monster she’d heard about killing people (IE not resisting like the Cullens do), or she had yet to even realize he was one and was simply referring to him joining Sam’s gang like they’d discussed before.

    Your use of heavy-handed language, angry retorts and a slew of cursing to top it off just shows to me how unimportant your review becomes. You have not tact, no panache, and most of all you fail to either be unbiased or fact check anything you say, since so many of your retorts are assumptions on how you decided to perceive it, not facts of the movie. I’m sure the people who hate the hype surrounding the books will eat it up, love you for your shallow observations, and proclaim your correct observations, but that’s nothing to be proud of. The hype that comes with these type of books brings out the simple-minded on both sides, and we see humanity at its most worst and most self-centered form. You just fail into this with your review, which is simply the worst thing anyone wanting to be a credible critic and not simply another of the millions senselessly spouting there opinions.

    I don’t know how anti-feminist you seem to find these books, though I know my wife would disagree with you, as she quite enjoys the books and has done panels where she debated someone supposedly pointing out the “negatives” of the books you keep going on about, and has completely proved every point said against them with references and quotes to the contrary. She’s even caused some large haters to to concede they didn’t realize what they were going on about. And most importantly, I believe she’d be anything but anti-feminist herself. She’s an optometry student who hates the idea of being restrained, is direct and powerful with what she does, and hates when others make comments that they’re surprised she doesn’t want to have a baby and just be a mom. She’s a true, intelligent woman, and I love her dearly for it. I just can’t understand how someone like you can be so obsessed with what you want to think that you can be such a contradictory to my wife on the enjoyment of the books. My wife loves them because Bella is so strong, refusing to accept money from Edward and his rich family, instead insisting on earning her own way. That may not be evident in to movies as much, but you shouldn’t have assumed you knew everything about Meyer and proceeded to make judgments that are completely unfounded.

    I hope you take more time to review something you intend to slant with such vigor in the future. It personally came off to me as immature, ridiculous and (once again) self-centered.

    PS. I love that your vote either allows you to agree with you or make yourself sound like and idiot. It may be in humor the way much of the movie was, but if not, good god it makes you look even more childish.

    • “I just can’t understand how someone like you can be so obsessed with what you want to think that you can be such a contradictory to my wife on the enjoyment of the books.” I don’t even know your wife, dude. A movie review is ALWAYS the critic’s opinion. Otherwise, it would just be a summary of the movie. You disagree with me. That’s fine. Let it go.

      • It’s very true. And I am sorry that it turned a little long. When I get into writing something, I end up putting out an essay length block in ten minutes. Really, I don’t mind when critics have opinions, I just got a little miffed because your critic mostly focused on bashing the opinions and morals of others and never really touched on the pacing or other elements of the movie besides its message. You just had an opinion and wanted to express it, but I think it may have taken over your review in this case. From what I’ve read, it isn’t necessarily your style, so it could just be in this case.

        Sorry also, as there’s no need to compare you to my wife. I was merely validating my point. I just didn’t see how someone like her could like the book if it was really as anti-feminism as you say. I really only came on to your review when checking some at Metacritic.com and saw you gave it a 0 of 100, and thought that was pretty harsh by critic standards, to rate that it had no entertainment value whatsoever. It was only after going to the review then that I got upset about the reviewing style in this particular case. Anyway, sorry again if you feel it was misplaced, and good luck with future writings.

      • It was actually a zero out of 5 on Film Threat. But I suppose, percentage-wise, it’s still the same as 0 out of 100. It hit some buttons for me for sure and it’s the first movie I’ve ever given a zero to. Frankly, I probably would have given it 1 star if it hadn’t been so over-hyped. But I thought it would be fun to give zero stars to something I knew had such a large pre-existing fan base. And so far, it certainly has been quite entertaining.

        Again, I haven’t read the books and it’s possible that they aren’t as anti-feminist as the films seem to be. But several of my friends have told me that the books are even more anti-feminist. Regardless, I think a good movie adaptation should stand on its own merits apart from the book. If you need to read the book to really “get it”, the movie has failed.

      • In searching on this a bit, I found Meyer had done a response to why she hadn’t believe she was putting anything anti-feminist in her book:

        “When I hear or read theories about Bella being an anti-feminist character, those theories are usually predicated on her choices. In the beginning, she chooses romantic love over everything else. Eventually, she chooses to marry at an early age and then chooses to keep an unexpected and dangerous baby. I never meant for her fictional choices to be a model for anyone else’s real life choices. She is a character in a story, nothing more or less. On top of that, this is not even realistic fiction, it’s a fantasy with vampires and werewolves, so no one could ever make her exact choices. Bella chooses things differently than how I would do it if I were in her shoes, because she is a very different type of person than I am. Also, she’s in a situation that none of us has ever been in, because she lives in a fantasy world. But do her choices make her a negative example of empowerment? For myself personally, I don’t think so.

        In my own opinion, the foundation of feminism is this: being able to choose. The core of anti-feminism is, conversely, telling a woman she can’t do something solely because she’s a woman—taking any choice away from her specifically because of her gender. “You can’t be an astronaut, because you’re a woman. You can’t be president because you’re a woman. You can’t run a company because you’re a woman.” All of those oppressive “can’t”s.

        One of the weird things about modern feminism is that some feminists seem to be putting their own limits on women’s choices. That feels backward to me. It’s as if you can’t choose a family on your own terms and still be considered a strong woman. How is that empowering? Are there rules about if, when, and how we love or marry and if, when, and how we have kids? Are there jobs we can and can’t have in order to be a “real” feminist? To me, those limitations seem anti-feminist in basic principle.”

      • I don’t think the story is anti-feminist because Bella chooses love. I fully understand the idea of doing anything for the person you love. However, I take issue with the way Edward treats her. Again, it may be different in the book, but in the films, particularly the first one, she spends an awful lot of time telling her what to do and he’s not even very nice about it. It’s very much him that is dictating the relationship. He decides when they get together and when they break up. He decides who she should and shouldn’t hang out with. He tells her how and when to lie to her father. He says it’s for her own good, but that is also what many wife-beaters say. She chose to love him and after that, it seems, she has no more choices. All of her decisions from that point on are black and white because her new mission in life is to be with Edward. That’s why it seems like an abusive relationship. When she finds him in Italy, he tells her he lied to her and also smiles when he says how easy it was to deceive her. I found that moment, as well as many like it in the first movie, very sinister.

        I’m not saying a woman shouldn’t choose family. But she won’t even consider other options. And she’s only 17 when she meets Edward. Still a child, really. Too young to fully understand everything the world has to offer her but just the right age to think she knows everything. What few decisions she is allowed to make seem very rash and based completely on emotion. Again, I understand loving someone and that love becoming your life, but you should lose sight of who you are or stop making your own decisions because of that love. A love like that, as her father points out, isn’t healthy.

      • Sorry, that was a bad place for me to leave off. I got busy with some work at an art gallery.

        I understand what you mean here. It’s true. There’s a lot to be said especially in the movie, to things that don’t come off as necessarily the best way to do things. I think the problem is that she is described as such an abnormality in the way she makes decisions, the way she chooses to put others before herself. Meyer stated that she chose to do it that way so that it could make sense her choices not to react like most people that age. And of course, I believe the book did make a better case of their love seeming true and not quite so teen “ohmygawd I’m in love”. I don’t know if she thought of the character as a role model by any means, so in that she was merely trying to make a convincing character. I think she succeeds in that, but as you’ve pointed out, her personality might not be ideal to some.

        Other than that, I see a lot of what you say about Edward seeming aggressive in the movies, but I think it has a low more to do with the way they try portray the vampires still and unmoving. It was similar to Surrogates which was in theaters a few months ago. The movie felt stiff, but it was because they wanted to give the feeling of people navigating robotic bodies which wouldn’t show the particular range of emotion. I guess in the books it’s different, because they actually explain that as vampires they no longer have the need to behave like humans such as blink, twitch, or fidget. They don’t get uncomfortable and they make little motion more than necessary. Very inhuman. I think without knowing things like that, the acting could easily come off in other ways, as it’s very cold.

        Though the part of him telling her that in Italy is quite off from the original tone it seems. I didn’t really think about it, having prior knowledge of events to happen, but apparently in the book, he doesn’t say all that until they head back and instead mentions it in her bedroom. Also as my wife just pointed out, when he’s telling her this, he’s supposed to be emotionally distraught, beating himself up and hating himself for putting her though it. In that context he says he lied to her, but when he says how easy it was to deceive her he means that he wasn’t sure about doing it in the first place. He was simply wanting what was best for her but expected her to fight it. Instead she simply stood there. He seemed to decide that her love for him simply was a passing human emotion and that she would grow out of it. He seemed to think that she could easily be too young to understand the choice of being with him.

        Actually, Meyer apparently stated that while the first book is very much about falling in love, the following books are meant to make out whether that love really is more than just a teenage romance. Also, she’s supposed to be realizing more what making that choice could actually be. Even more-so in the third. In fact, you might be happy to know before some events happen, apparently in the fourth she chooses to not necessarily change yet, instead beginning to realize she might like to try things like going to college for awhile. Really, she does a good bit of growing up through the books in the areas she was lacking. I don’t know how well any of this will transfer to screen, if what apparently has come across now isn’t so good.

        Other than that, I guess I don’t see most of the things Edward does as abusive because I understand his way of thinking, his desire to protect her overwhelming his sense of letting her live. I’m that way with my wife, though the need to protect her from traumatic dangers is less important. Also apparently in the book, it becomes well pointed out that his character flaws are his over-reacting to things and being too controlling. Its actually something his character works on through the series, especially the third, as she tells him off a lot. Bella’s character is actually a lot more confusing in the movies, as some parts of her personality are missing, like her relief in the first movie to getting to the “bad vampire” and finding out that her mother wasn’t there. It was noted as strange in the book and commented on, because she didn’t react with anger or fear to being tricked. Rather she was merely happy her mother was safe since she knew she couldn’t have probably saved her. Those elements, which are arguably missing from the movie, are what I believe begin to show she has a deeper maturity in her that is built upon as the books go by.

        I dunno. I think I like to play the middle-man in arguments, but I can simply see why I don’t believe the intentions were what they may seem in the movies. They’re pretty basic stories, and the writing is arguably no Hemingway or such, though I believe there’s a lot to be said about any author. They seem to be, for the most part, cheap entertainment with little more thought behind them than that.

  3. well written review. found it on metacritic. had to read the one with a 0/100 score! i don’t get why my friend loves this shit so much. i don’t give a rats ass about twifags, feminism, etc etc. but my friend is a middle-aged, very smart woman who loves this shit. it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. oh well.

    anyways. you’re a very good writer. i hope you go far.

    peace,
    matt

  4. fast reply. i see 0/5, but yeah, 0/any amount.

    but yeah, i agree. there’s a lot of books into movies that i like the movie more. my favorite example is the hobbit. love the cartoon. inspires a nerd like me. but the book left me feeling tired.


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