We're no different than any of you. We love controversy. It's controversy that tends to stir up the most engaging discussions in people. Every year, there are countless issues within the film industry. Some of them are because of a specific film, while some are because of something that an actor or a director did or said. We hear about genres changing and/or evolving, film franchises ending too soon or being drawn out too long. We hear heated discussions about race, gender, and religion. This year has not been more controversial than any other, but we thought it might be helpful to catch you up on everything happening in the industry right now. If you were looking for something to be mad about, we're sure you can find something to your (dis)liking in here.
Film is devoured by such a wide range of people that it generates great discussion because everyone has a say. You don't need to be a film expert to partake in these controversies. You just need an opinion, and we all know that everyone has one of those. So, in this piece, we wanted to run down the most recent and relevant controversies. These are all things being discussed in the industry as we write. There's a chance that you feel some of these are overblown or past their due date, but that doesn't mean they're over for everyone. Although we intend to simply present both sides of the controversies, some "issues" are just too ridiculous for impartiality, so forgive us. Here are the 15 Most Controversial Things In New and Upcoming Films Currently.
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15 Fast And The Furious Drama
The Fast and the Furious cast have been in full marketing mode since the release of the eighth installment. This is a well-oiled machine that has learned the art of sneaky promotion. It started right after the film was shot when stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson used social media to stage...er...present their "beef" to the world. Now, we have more going on. It started with Michelle Rodriguez who we think might have been just speaking her mind and not promoting the film. But, she said that if the franchise doesn't start honoring the female stars, she'd walk. After that, Tyrese Gibson sent Dwayne Johnson a shot across the bow on social media, stating, “If you move forward with that #Hobbs Movie you will have purposely ignored the heart to heart moment we had in my sprinter,” Gibson wrote. “I don’t wanna hear from you until you remember what we talked about. I’m on your timeline cause you’re not responding to my text messages – #FastFamily is just that a family…….. We don’t fly solo.”
14 Scores From Cinemascore
With the recent news that Darren Aronofsky's Mother! received the dreaded F from Cinemascore, making it one of only about a dozen films to achieve the feat, people have been talking about how that's possible. Is Mother! really that bad or is Cinemascore broken? Maybe the answer is somewhere in between. First, we'll get into Mother! but it is a divisive film, as intended. Now, Cinemascore judges the target audience's reactions not the quality of the film. While films like Monster Trucks and Norm of the North get an A and a B, respectively, The Witch and It Comes At Night get a C and a D. Basically, if you're looking for a place to tell you how good a film is, Cinemascore is the devil. If you want to know what the general targeted audience thought of the film, it's great.
13 Rotten Tomatoes Controversy
As the leaves change color, we leave behind one of the worst box office summers in history. There's been a lot of talk about why that is. Are we seeing the fallout of movie pirating? Is the general film fan souring on summer blockbusters? Or are movie review aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes to blame? This last question is what some producers and studios are asking. Many suggest that a bad "fresh rating" can convince fans to stay away from a film. But isn't that number just the aggregated scores from actual people and critics? Yes. Is there a major differential between critic scores and audience scores? Apparently, no. At least, not according to a study conducted by Yves Bergquist from the Data & Analytics Project at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center. This study also found that box office results and negative scores at Rotten Tomatoes don't correlate. So, it appears that Rotten Tomatoes and the critics aren't to blame. Crazily enough, moviegoers just don't want to risk spending exorbitant theater prices to watch a movie that looks bad.
Ever since the very first audiences watched Mother!, there has been constant noise about the film. Some fans love it. Some fans hate it. But few are in-between. There is outrage about the film's ending, criticism about the marketing, outrage about the outrage, and more. But, above all else, there is discussion about the film. It is controversial. It is original and it is being talked about. What more could the people behind the film want? Not every movie has to make a billion dollars in theaters to be successful. Fans always chirp Hollywood for not being original enough. But when the average film fan sees a film that goes against the grain, they freak out. Like it or love it, let's celebrate people thinking outside the box. Not every film will be straightforward nor should they be.
11 Netflix Controversy
Although the streaming issue is not a new one, this year brought in quite a lot of new discussion as Cannes and Netflix butted heads in a big way. There were boos for the Netflix logo at the festival, talks of bans and threats of pulling all Netflix content. The topic is complex in France because Netflix doesn’t work the same way there as it does in North America. To further matters, many traditionalists feel that streaming services threaten the theaters. While we won't try to say who is correct in this fight, we will say that streaming is a ship that is on the move whether people like to admit it or not. It may not be Netflix that is driving the ship the whole way, but it'll get where it's going.
10 Another Halloween Film
Every genre has its purists, the people who say that any sequel, any reboot, or any rehash will damage the purity of the original. You have definitely heard the refrain "You're ruining my childhood." While we don't buy into this because we have a stop button on our remotes and we also have the power to walk out of a theater should we hate a film, we understand that many others don't like Hollywood's insistence on attempting to catch lightning in a bottle twice...or even more than that. When it was recently announced that avid Gordon Green and Danny McBride will pen a new Halloween sequel, one that will feature Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and will be from Blumhouse Productions, some people started humming and hawing. This film pitch has some fans worried because of how many Halloween sequels there are already and how convoluted the timeline and continuity is. This film appears to follow the events of Halloween 1 for sure (possibly Halloween 2 as well), meaning it will ignore H20, Resurrection and all the other sequels. Check us off as being excited.
9 Hellboy Casting
When news broke that Ed Skrein had been cast as Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy film, fans who knew about the character's origins raised their eyebrows. You see, Daimo is a Japanese-American soldier and Skrein is not. The controversy didn't last all that long, though, as Skrein took it upon himself to back out of the role, something we haven't seen a lot of. Along with making the decision, Skrein also released a statement, saying, “It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voice in the Arts.” The actor who replaced Skrein, Daniel Day Kim, has said, "I applaud the producers and, in particular, Ed Skrein for championing the notion that Asian characters should be played by Asian or Asian American actors… He could not have addressed the issue more elegantly and I remain indebted to him for his strength of character.”
Whitewashing is an issue every year in film, so it should be no surprise that 2017 was a year marked by it. Recently, we've seen the issue pop up with Hellboy, as discussed, and Death Note, among others. Although the casting was announced a while ago, Death Note is a film adaptation of a Manga series, an adaptation that features no main characters of Asian descent. That seems like a glaring misstep in this age. The creators of the Death Note film, rather than keep it the Asian story, it is based on themes of the culturally relevant death god, moved the setting to Seattle, changed the Asian names to anglicized names but kept everything else. Cultural appropriation isn't wise at any time, but it's especially dumb at a time when this issue is a hot button.
7 Wonder Woman
There are two sides of the Wonder Woman argument. Some say that the film should be celebrated as one of the better superhero films ever made, a win for female-led and female-directed films and a step in the right direction for more female-centric storylines. Then, there are those who say that the film was overrated and basic, that the film was not positive for feminism but only s*xualized the hero. Well, we don't have enough space here to go through it all, but we will say that Wonder Woman was by far the best superhero film in recent history. While Logan was great as well, the other recent films Like Dr. Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy II had us desperately seeking something new. We will add that the criticism about Diana's (Gal Gadot's) good looks are also ridiculous. Hollywood is dominated by beautiful people of all sorts. Why does no one question Thor's looks or Captain America's or Iron Man's or any other male superhero? We love that people have different opinions on films and welcome criticism, but every once in a while the criticisms get so loud and, seemingly, unwarranted that they become hard to ignore.
6 IT Is Hurting The Clown Industry
Last year, it was American Horror Story. This year, it's the new It film. The entertainment industry is doing no favors for the clown industry. But this is not a new issue. At least, for Stephen King, it's not. Ever since It was first published, many have credited the book for the growth in coulrophobia, the fear of clowns. There are even those that suggest the fear of clowns didn't even exist prior to King's 1986 novel, but that's just not true. Evil clowns have been around for a long time, even in the entertainment industry. The Joker was created in the '40s, the real-life John Wayne Gacy was a killer clown in the '70s. King himself has long said that he just wanted to create a story that would play on the real and existing fear of clowns. Kids have always been scared of clowns, and it will always be that way. Yet, while It might not have created that fear, this film certainly isn't going to make that fear go away anytime soon.
5 The Dark Tower
When it was first announced that Stephen King's epic gunslinger story was being turned into a film, fans were immediately skeptical. How could all that be crammed into The Dark Tower? Well, the answer came and it was clear—it can't. This movie was a disaster. Really, it was a disaster from the start. Behind the scenes, there was talk of major studio interference, expensive reshoots, test screenings that were miserable, and so much more. Although the movie moves at a decent pace and the stars are very, very capable and quite good, there's almost nothing of substance in the film. For a movie with such high hopes and such a large following, this is perhaps the biggest disaster of the year.
4 Changing Genders
The topic of switching genders in remakes of famous films has been a hot topic for a while now. Last year, we saw it get rather heated with Ghostbusters. There was the announcement for 2018's Ocean's Eight, which features a pure female team and, recently, we've heard about the upcoming Lord of the Flies. Now, switching genders of the cast may get its criticism in some places for the right reasons, but we do agree with the Lord of the Flies decision. If only because this is a story that so many people have read in school and have been taught to ignore, switching the genders might help refresh the story. If the film is bad, however, no gender switching can save it. Yet, if it's done well, the message might hit home better than if it was just another rehash of the old film.
We've already delved into this issue a bit when discussing the reviews of The Witch and It Comes At Night, but there is some hearty discussion going on currently about the new age of horror and if it exists at all. It seems, based on some of the debate, that a great many people are not encouraged by an apparent shift in the horror genre. Some call this a shift into a new genre called post-horror. Rather than focusing on pure jump scares, as is tradition, many modern horror films are creating dread through atmosphere and concept. Now, some argue that a shift has not occurred at all, but those people seem to ignore clear trends in the genre. There is a new movement, like it or not. Just as the horror genre went meta for more than a decade, many new horror films are using horror as a context or the backdrop while they explore human issues. You can say that horror films have always done this, but it is much more common and blatant today. We will agree that marketing hasn't yet caught up to this shift or trend, and until they do, the average fan will be upset and feel deceived, whereas critics will continue to be surprised and optimistic.
2 The Beguiled Slavery
After Sofia Coppola's take on a remake of the 1971 film The Beguiled was released, some people criticized her for erasing one of the side characters from the original book and the film. The character was Mattie (Hallie in the film), an African-American slave. Critics of the move claimed that Coppola was side-stepping the controversial character rather than face it head on, but the director answered back in a statement. In that response, she said, "I did not want to perpetuate an objectionable stereotype where facts and history supported my choice of setting the story of these white women in complete isolation, after the slaves had escaped. Moreover, I felt that to treat slavery as a side-plot would be insulting. There are many examples of how slaves have been appropriated and “given a voice” by white artists. Rather than an act of denial, my decision of not including Mattie in the film comes from respect."
1 The Dark Universe
Early this summer, Universal announced that it would be going back to its monster-movie roots. It introduced a new franchise that would be interconnected and led by some of the industry's biggest stars. One of the leaders of this new franchise is Alex Kurtzman. He was also named as the director of the first film to be released, The Mummy. Then, The Mummy came out and was horrible. The film was just an irresponsible piece of work. It felt rushed and silly, far too action-packed with absolutely no substance. They tried to set up the entire franchise and all the connections too early and seemed to forget that they needed to make a quality film first and foremost. Now, when Kurtzman is asked what's next for him in the franchise, he says, "You know the truth is, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I haven’t really decided. Is the honest answer." When you remember that he's supposed to be one of the captains of this boat is when you realize that the whole thing could be doomed.
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Sources: Wikipedia; Rotten Tomatoes; Variety; IMDB; THR
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