Culture / Film

How much is too much: Are we ruining movies with our obsessive anticipation?

ruining movies

Maybe, as someone who works in media, the issue is that I'm too chronically online. But for the past year or so, certain films haven't landed the way I'd have hoped. Now let me be clear, the movies in question aren't small indie productions, rather those giant honking Hollywood vortexes that suck huge names and hype-y production companies into their orbit.

You know the ones because we've been talking about them non-stop for months. Sharing leaked paparazzi images of leads neon-clad and rollerblading along beach boardwalks. Tweeting the latest updates in a press tour feud. Writing Instagram captions about actors' questionable Italian accents; and on TikTok analysing side-by-side images of stars madeover in situ against the great rock legend they're portraying.

Is it a simple case of filmmakers overpromising and under delivering, or is the lead up, with its circus of hot takes, anticipation and intense scrutiny bound to make a 2 hour and 3 minute film feel, well feeble?

And if so, are we, the people of the internet, incapable of allowing any detail to be left to the imagination?

This morning, images of Jacob Elordi on the set of Sofia Coppola's Priscilla began to do the rounds. Given that we'd only recently dipped into the world of Elvis Presley thanks to Baz Luhrmann's biopic, there was bound to be some comparison between the two projects. However, on Twitter, users are already sharing their condolences for Jacob Elordi's career and dismissing Coppola's film, despite it being in production for a grand total of four days. Imagine how people will feel about it by the time it eventually premieres in 2023? I'd hazard a guess and say personally, I won't want to go 10 feet near it.

Don't get me wrong, the whole business of speculating has been fun; kind of a like a sugar high. When that picture of Adam Driver in a cable-knit turtleneck sweater surfaced, I shared it immediately. And the memes around #spitgate kept me fuelled for weeks. But just as hunting down your presents early will rob you of the joy that comes with opening them on Christmas morning, like all sugar highs, our greed for details and sneak peaks are guaranteed to crash when we're strapped into the sticky leather seats of the cinema.

The sport of spectatorship has become an entirely new form of entertainment, threatening to eclipse the film itself. And it's not just us stoking the flames, but directors too. Was there a day in 2021 when Denis Villeneuve wasn't running his mouth about a Dune sequel? And all before Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya (barely) appeared on our screens? We listened to Olivia Wilde tell the world that Don't Worry Darling would centre female pleasure so many times, she had us convinced the film would single-handedly solve the orgasm gap. When the film fell short, we were angry and "how could she be so deluded?" Reality is we just drank the kool aid.

Maybe we just like to feel involved in the process. Like to entertain the idea that if we make enough noise our opinions could influence Greta Gerwig's creative direction. And perhaps this is reason enough to sacrifice opening our presents on Christmas Day. Or is it really that deep? Probably not. It seems more likely a reflection of the internet, and its appetite for newness to keep it ticking over. That and our role as its stewards to continue feeding it.

Either way, I can certainly feel the fatigue seeping in...


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