It’s Pretty Black and White to Me

My husband and I walked out of a movie last night. As a general principle, I try not to walk out of anything. The action makes a statement I rarely feel strongly enough to make about an event I have chosen to attend. Occasionally, though, I am compelled to make an exception. The movie was Horrible Bosses. It took maybe thirty seconds for us to realize we had made a horrible mistake by paying out good money to go to the show, something we rarely do (go to the show, that is, not make horrible mistakes – we do that on a regular basis.) We did end up giving it twenty minutes or so, hoping it might get better, but when it became obvious it was only going to degenerate further and further, we both agreed we couldn’t keep sitting there taking in what we were seeing and hearing another minute.

Unfortunately, we were on the far side of the theatre from the exit, and up near the top, so a subtle, graceful departure was not really an option. I had commented to my husband as we were entering the building that, although we’re just in our early forties, going to the movies made me feel really old these days. So getting up, going down the stairs, and crossing the room in the glaring spotlight of the movie projector (do they still have movie projectors??) casting both our slinking images up onto the screen in high-definition did not help. And when we went to the young guy at the concession stand to see about getting a refund, the mortification level just kept rising.

Friendly enough, the Galaxy employee asked us which movie we had seen and what we didn’t like about it. His dumbfounded look when he realized we didn’t love this particular movie, or find it as hysterical as he had, did not help the situation any. I lamely explained that yes, we could see that there were elements that were humorous, and that we weren’t complete and utter prudes, but this one was just a bit much for us (an understatement, actually, but he really didn’t need to know that). To his credit, he did give us a full refund, but his inability to comprehend our failure to grasp the brilliance and hilarity of this movie remained obvious. I’m sure we were the subject of much popcorn stand discussion after we left. Since this is a small town and the only theatre in it, we may not be going to the movies again anytime soon, but I don’t for one second question the decision we made to leave. To go in the first place without taking the time to find out more about the movie yes, but leaving, no.

The entire experience was discomfiting and disappointing. This person’s reaction, though, is what has been weighing on my mind all day today.

According to Focus on the Family’s Plugged In Online Movie Review of Horrible Bosses (http://www.pluggedinonline.ca/) the movie contains “Nearly 250 profanities, vulgarities and obscenities, including well over 100 uses of the f-word (a good-sized minority of which are paired with “mother”), 40 s-words, 20 misuses of God’s name (often combined with “d‑‑n”) and half-a-dozen abuses of Jesus’ name. We also hear 20 or more exclamations of various exceptionally crude slang terms for both the male and female anatomy, often in the context of sexual acts. “F-ggot” and “gay” are used as derogatory slurs.”

I can see how someone would find this movie funny, but what blows me away is that that same someone could be incapable of comprehending that others might find it offensive. As Adam Holz says in his blog post, Jennifer Aniston and the new F Word, “Meanwhile, public sensitivity over the film’s other 250 or so vulgarities—its pornographically inclined dialogue about male and female anatomy, and its protagonists’ brainstorming about offing their bosses—doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the level it would have been 25 years ago. 

And without taking anything away from the fact that pejorative slurs are hurtful and wrong, that’s pretty telling, too.”

Anyway, lesson learned. Tonight we are going to spend the evening with friends watching the old Jimmy Stewart movie, Harvey. Now there’s a film (and star) I can easily grasp the brilliance and hilarity of.

At the risk of sounding really, really old, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Back when things somehow seemed a little more black and white, in more ways than one.

Press on, my friends. Press on,

Sara

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