You know, I normally let this stuff go. I sigh and roll my eyes and keep on scrolling.
But, every once in a while, one of these bigmouths with a platform sticks its head up and vomits so forcefully in my face I hafta reciprocate.
So, here we go …
I ignored David Young’s March 29 opinion piece for www.screencraft.com entitled, “The Film Bro: Who Is It And The Best Films To Help Break Bro Behavior” the first time I saw it. But then it ended up in my email inbox and, like a good masochist, I clicked the link.
Break the behavior? That sounds serious.
Hmm, I thought to myself, what the f— is a “film bro?” According Young, a “film bro” is a type of film lover who enjoys the wrong kinds of … films.
Oh, Ben, you and your hyperbole.
This self-appointed arbiter of right/wrong/good/bad cinema isn’t really lecturing us on what we should be watching. Not even the butt-sniffiest of narcissists would do something like that.
Yeah, you’re probably right.
I’m sure he didn’t mean it when he wrote, “Some people may find themselves trapped in an echo chamber that supports only specific types of cinema…. [N]ot everyone’s tastes are solely based on their likes. Instead, these preferences can be shaped by societal expectations and traditional conventions associated with certain film genres.”
The result of said echo chamber, Young posits, is the super real term “film bros.” Something he assures is “often referred to.”
Am I the only one who’s never heard this phrase?
A “film bro,” Young explains, is a person who pretends to be a movie-lover but who actually has “shallow knowledge” and “limited, singular taste” in movies.
Young doesn’t define how many movies one needs to have watched or just how much cinema history one needs to know to qualify them—in his eyes—as a true cinephile … but he does say that the “film bro” prefers movies which portray, “toxic masculinity”—whatever that is—and “gray morals.”
Young doesn’t define “gray morals,” so we can only assume it means any type of behavior he and his trendy socio-political lynch mob disagrees with.
Young refers to “film bros” as “guys,” so I’m not sure if ladies can be film bros.
But, if we’re labeling and castigating people solely on the kinds of art they enjoy, let’s at least not be sexist about it. If there are “film bros,” then we must allow for “film hoes.”
Wait a minute!
Young continues, “You know these guys: To them, a film made more recently rarely makes the cut, and when it does, it’s dark and gritty.”
Who knew enjoying dark and gritty movies made me such an a-hole.
“This leaves out a lot of modern or diverse perspectives, narratives, and characters, limiting their ability to enjoy other types of film,” Young states. “As a result, their understanding of the art is relatively shallow and informed by a very narrow point of view.”
So, choosing to watch only one type of movie is the cause of filmbroism?
According to Young, watching lots of crime movies makes one a “film bro.”
Guess my wife is a “film bro,” too, that b!#$%.
[Whoops, I mean film “ho.”]
Just wait’ll she gets home. I’m gonna sit her down and make her watch The Joy Luck Club on repeat until she swears never to see Gone Girl again.
“They probably swear by John Carpenter’s The Thing, Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, and other auteur works without knowing much about films outside these genres,” Young writes.
Oh, great, now I’m a jerk for loving The Thing?
Young concedes Apocalypse Now and Reservoir Dogs are good movies.
How kind of him.
But … oh, there’s always a big sweaty but involved with these people … he says that if your “friend” (wink wink, nudge nudge) only watches movies like The Dark Knight or Fight Club, they’re probably stuck in an echo chamber.
Young’s beef seems to be with commercially successful movies.
If only there was a name for that. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Young goes on to say that watching only these types of movies reinforces what he calls “film bro mentality.”
Somebody get Washington on the horn!
Below is Young’s sample list of “film bro” movies.
If you or anyone you know has seen these motion pictures, call your local poison control center immediately.
Tell them David Young sent you.
They’ll know what to do.
According to Young, movies that make you a bad person include: Goodfellas, Godfather, Joker, Donnie Darko, Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Dark Knight, Apocalypse Now, Inception, Wolf of Wall Street, Inglourious Basterds, American Psycho, Drive, Shawshank Redemption, Usual Suspects, Nightcrawler, Trainspotting, Reservoir Dogs, Big Lebowski, Se7en, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, Schindler’s List, Taxi Driver, and Snatch.
I enjoy some of those movies but I also love romantic comedy, family drama, and French films. Does that make me like only half a “film bro” or maybe two-thirds?
Is there a blood test I can take? I need to know how broey I am! Help!
Young then goes on to present a “film bro movie case study.”
[Am I really spending the first sunny Saturday of Spring on this?]
To sum up the “case study” Young claims “film bros” enjoy Goodfellas and Godfather because of the male characters and “wanton violence,” and The Wolf of Wall Street because they identify with the lead character and his—ope, there’s that phrase “toxic masculinity” again.
“Film bros” ignore, Young assures, the lead’s gay bashing and charismatic narcissism (wink wink, nudge nudge) while idealizing his criminality.
This next one kinda threw me.
Young cedes Schindler’s List is a powerful movie but it’s on the naughty list because it … lacks diversity.
He goes after Joker, which is a super popular thing to do, but I was surprised about his kvetching over Fight Club. According to Young, these types of movies fail at recognizing mental health issues.
I would argue that, if you’re looking for information on mental health, you should prolly read some scholarly articles or see a shrink—not go to the theater.
“[A] film bro looks at movies like Fight Club, American Psycho, or even Joker with the hope of romanticizing what mental illness really means for someone experiencing it,” Young states. “They idolize men whose battles with society and self are riddled with violence, doubt or anxiety, and vicarious fantasy indulgence.”
Here I thought watching Joker and Fight Club was a calorie-free, nonalcoholic way to unwind after a long week of enduring work and bills and loud opinions from self-appointed behavioral experts.
SIDE NOTE: I love how, layered in Young’s op-ed, ScreenCraft has links to articles like screenwriting Wisdom from Fight Club and why Tarantino is so awesome.
Hey, that must make them “film bros,” too!
As if this super definitely real thing were a disease, under a heading entitled, “How to keep ‘film bro’ from spreading,” Young writes, “It’s not wrong to love good movies.”
Well that’s a relief!
“The movies that film bros tend to like are celebrated for a good reason—many of them were made by the best directors of all time. (But) [t]hey shouldn’t be the lone determiner of anyone’s taste,” he continues.
Young posits that it is “unhelpful” to think good movies consist of “men, gritty, violent worlds, dark humor, or … high-octane action.”
Unhelpful to whom?
I can’t imagine only watching one type of movie anymore than I could only listen to one type of music. But, if someone does, who geevs a sheet?
Who’re they actually hurting?
Are we saying if you only watch silly comedies you’re stupid?
Or if you only care for romance movies that you’re somehow lacking as a human being?
What about horror films? I have a friend who only watches horror. Is he a psycho?
[Now that I think of it …]
Instead, Young writes, “[Y]our film bro friend needs to expand their taste and understand why the movies they like are considered great films.”
“Needs?” When did we start treating choices in entertainment like entrance exams?
What’s next? You must be this familiar with art films to exist in society?
And why would Young assume the folks who watch these films don’t understand them?
I’d argue that making broad generalizations about certain groups of people is far more sinister than re-watching Die Hard.
We use to have a name for that kind of behavior.
Young continues by urging the morally upright among you to pull your “film bro” friends and family aside and give them a good talking to.
Sit these offenders down in front of flicks that feature, “a new, diverse perspective.” Something other than, “masculinity or violence.” In order to, “open the eyes of your film bro friend.” And lecture them on the, “complexity of the films they already know.”
It’s a big responsibility, policing other people’s tastes in art … but Young knows you’re up to the challenge. In fact, he suggests the following replacement films for weaning your “film bro” offender off his toxic pleasures.
Instead of V for Vendetta—a movie he assures is a “film bro favorite”—you should force them to watch Promising Young Woman.
Instead of Synecdoche, New York, make them watch Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
No more Goodfellas for you, broster, you get a steaming dose of Sorry to Bother you.
Get outta here, There Will Be Blood, it’s time to watch The Favourite.
Why watch Fight Club when you can see I Love You Man instead?
I’m kinda surprised Young hasn’t included I Love You Man on his no-no list.
Young closes by stating that, “a skipping record repeating similar movies and genres over and over doesn’t allow for growth as a movie lover.”
It’s your growth as a movie-lover Young’s really interested in here. Honest.
And he’s super concerned about your mental wellbeing because, if you don’t love the kinds of movies he approves of, well, you’re just not well.
Speaking of skipping records, we’ve heard this speech before. And we’ll continue to hear it for as long as America continues to consist of a vocal majority which thinks complaining is the new heroism.
Truth is, these types of backhanded good intentions are nothing more than covert aggression masquerading as concern.
Most folks I know watch movies to escape reality. They wanna laugh or cry or feel excitement and forget about their stressful lives for a while.
So, instead of pretending your rage and snobbery at a certain segment of society is you just really wanting to help … how about you watch what you wanna watch and I’ll watch what I wanna watch and we can both choose to not be jerks about types of art we don’t enjoy.
That’s not so hard, is it, bro?