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May 29 2014

Not all directors of frat-boy movies

Among the NotAllMen crowd are those persecuted neglected deprived dudes Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, who are furious that a movie critic – a woman – suggested that frat boy movies might have effects on some boys’ ideation about women. By a funny and startling coincidence, Rogen and Apatow specialize in frat-boy movies.

Actor Seth Rogen has taken issue with a suggestion, published in The Washington Post, that his films — most recently the frat-boy comedy “Neighbors” — contributed to Elliott Rodger’s bloody rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., on Friday.

Rogen was responding to film critic Ann Hornaday’s column, in which she wrote:

as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry he grew up in.

“How dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage,” Rogen tweeted to Hornaday. He added: “I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed.”

Oh yes? You know what? I find Seth Rogen’s entire view of and portrayal of women in his movies horribly insulting and misinformed. Mind you, his portrayal of men is equally insulting, but he does make men the center of the universe while women are the dim little satellites that hobble around them.

Rogen isn’t specifically named in the piece, but his movie “Neighbors” is.

Hornaday wrote that Rodger, who is the son of movie director and producer Peter Rodger, grew up in a world dominated by Hollywood visions of manhood and adolescence.

How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?

How many indeed; but you’re not allowed to ask questions like that. You’re allowed to treat movies as capable of influencing how people think about the world ONLY IF you are praising them. Doing it the other way around is heresy and blasphemy.

Apatow even trots out that old favorite about click bait.

apa

Judd Apatow @JuddApatow

Remember everyone – ads next to articles generate money. They say something shocking and uninformed & get you to click on it to profit.

Uh huh, and that applies to all material we don’t like, but not to material we do like. Also, Judd Apatow makes movies pro bono. He doesn’t take a dime for himself. This being so, he doesn’t the least bit tailor his material to a mass audience. Nope, not Judd Apatow.

#NotAllFratboys

17 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin Kehres

    Methinks Rogen protests too much.

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    That Judd Apatow tweet.
    It’s rare to see a lack of self-awareness of such epic proportions.

  3. 3
    funknjunk

    What always bothers me about these issues is that people seem to be trying to preclude conversation… I don’t see anyone saying “x”, therefore you can’t make any more phrat movies. I see “maybe we should have a discussion about this” type of a comment and then people flipping out. Rogen and Apatow might be decent at what they do, but thinking is apparently not something they do regularly.

  4. 4
    theoreticalgrrrl

    Seth Rogan, seriously?

    Have you seen Seth’s comedy “Observe and Report”? The one were he rapes an unconscious woman?
    http://jezebel.com/5204177/is-date-rape-funny-seth-rogen-explains-it-all-for-you

    Tiger Beatdown has an even better critique:
    http://tigerbeatdown.blogspot.com/2009/04/um.html

  5. 5
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    The problem is that the current mass media are a puerocracy with a severe confirmation bias. They make almost no movies focused on women. When they do, they give it a small budget, because it’s ‘risky’ to market to only one-half of the species. Then it doesn’t make a huge amount of money, because it had no budget, and no marketing, and was released in sixteen screens with a combined local movie-going population of 837 and two peripatetic hedgehogs with a movie addiction.

    And they say, “Oh, look, evidence! Women-movies – excuse me, ‘chick flicks’ – don’t sell!”

    And since they ‘don’t sell’, they won’t risk any money on them, so the next time they try it, they give it a smaller budget, because they can’t risk so much this time…lather, rinse, repeat.

    I think it’s a mistake to think they don’t know this. They just don’t give a shit. They can make a lot of money with their No Girls Club, and they can make all the stupid puerocratic propraganda they can churn out, about how schlubby guys totally always get the hottest women, and if they don’t it’s a huge injustice…where’s the downside? They get the money, the power, and they can do it while keeping women out as much as possible, except as repositories for their porn-addicted tiny subset of acceptable sex.

    Win-freakin’-win, brah. *high-five*

  6. 6
    theoreticalgrrrl

    Oh, and the rape scene is played for laughs, just in case you thought they made it clear it was, like, a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing because according to the actress who plays the unconscious woman:

    “‘I’ve played a few bad characters in my day, but I think she’s the worst. She works at the makeup counter, and she’s very proud of that fact. She’s really vain, she’s really bitchy, and I always imagined she was incredibly stupid, too… She loves to have a good time. A bit of a party girl. What helped me get into the role were these long fake green press-on nails I’d put on every morning. They sort of render you helpless, so there’s something about that quality that was like, “Oh. This is a person who can’t really do anything.’
    Oh, and:
    ‘I’m so grateful I was cast, but when I read the script, I thought, “Well, this is Warner Brothers. This is a studio movie, so this is all gonna be softened up. It’s a comedy, right?” So when we were shooting it, even the date-rape scene—or as I refer to it, “The Tender Love-Making Scene”—I just thought, “We’ll shoot it, but it’s not gonna be in the movie. I don’t have to worry about that one.’ And yet there it is.” – http://tigerbeatdown.blogspot.com/2009/04/um.html

    Her character is bad and stupid because….she works at a make-up counter and is vain and likes parties and wears green press-on nails, yet Seth Rogen’s character, who commits rape on an unconscious woman, not so much.

  7. 7
    theoreticalgrrrl

    Her character is bad and stupid because….she works at a make-up counter and is vain and likes parties and wears green press-on nails, But Seth Rogen’s character, who commits rape on an unconscious woman, not a bad guy at all.

  8. 8
    Bernard Bumner

    How dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage…

    A) Seth, you’re 32 – what are you doing “getting girls” in movies?
    B) Nowhere in the column is a simple cause and effect relationship between Seth Rogan movies and mass murder postulated.

  9. 9
    MyaR

    Copied from FB:

    It’s (they’re?) the movie version of hipster misogyny — it’s entertaining because I don’t believe in the things coming out of the mouth of the character I wrote! It’s satire because I, outside of the context of the actual movie, am telling you that you should be condemning the character I played for whatever bad characteristics he embodies, but he’s still going to get the girl, because shlubby man-children I identify with deserve hot chicks, too, even if it’s sorta sad that women I actually know might get treated shittily by guys who identify with the character I play, because those guys are taking the wrong message from the media I have created that skewers misogyny so subtly most people cant tell that the protagonist, whose persona is much like my public persona, is not meant to be emulated but condemned. Shorter version: hipster misogyny — it’s not misogyny because I say so.

  10. 10
    MyaR

    OK, I generally ignore both Rogen and Apatow, so I just read the plot summary of ‘Neighbors’. Holy shit, that sounds like some weapons grade crap.

  11. 11
    Pliny the in Between

    People who deny that constant exposure to a particular set of stimuli can’t alter people’s perceptions clearly know nothing about how brains actually work.

  12. 12
    iiii

    This is a few years old, but it still seems relevant:
    http://thehathorlegacy.com/why-film-schools-teach-screenwriters-not-to-pass-the-bechdel-test/

  13. 13
    quixote

    “How dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage,” Rogen tweeted to Hornaday. He added: “I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed.”

    Because of course the most important thing in this whole horrible chain of events is for Rogen and Apatow not to be insulted. That would be bad.

  14. 14
    Ace of Sevens

    Observe and Report was a critique of toxic masculinity. We aren’t supposed to admire Ronnie. We’re supposed to be horrified that society encourages people like him. The idea that Ronnei isn’t some loveable loser, but is incredibly dangerous because of the messages he’s absorbed from the broader culture about sex and violence is sort of the point of the movie.

  15. 15
    Rabidtreeweasel

    It seems like they, Apatow and Rogen, want some kind of special sticker that says that they are the exception to the rule that states that culture influences media which in turn further establishes cultural norms. But that is a silly exception to want if they expect their films to keep selling. The thing that keeps people going to see their stories is that they are culturally relevant.

    On a slightly related personal note, I was watching Knocked Up with a good guy friend (a guy who actually IS a “nice guy”) who noticed I was becoming uncomfortable during the film. I hadn’t said anything, and even though I knew it was making me feel bad I was forcing myself to laugh at the parts that were clearly meant to be funny. About ten minutes in, he stopped the movie, and he asked me, “This is reminding you of your ex husband, isn’t it?” And I really had to consider it for a moment before I realized that yes, that was precisely why I was so unhappy. I didn’t want to watch Entitlement: The Movie because I had lived it. This friend realized why the movie was problematic, and as far as I know he’s stopped watching those types of movies. He told me the experience ruined it for him, in a good way, and that he didn’t know he’d have ever become aware of the problems in those films if he hadn’t watched me watch that movie.

  16. 16
    punchdrunk

    Thank you, Ace of Sevens, I think Observe and Report is one of the most subversive, least understood movies of the last decade.
    The rape scene *is a rape scene*, the slapstick violence *is brutally violent*, the character’s heroism *is a dangerous disconnect from reality*.
    There’s a lot to be queasy about, and it’s intentionally pitched to that.

  17. 17
    theoreticalgrrrl

    Manohla Dargis of The New York Times:
    “if you thought Abu Ghraib was a laugh riot you might love Observe and Report.”

  1. 18
    Guest post by Rabidtreeweasel on Entitlement: the Movie » Butterflies and Wheels

    […] a comment on Not all directors of frat-boy […]

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