A lot of times, when I talk about my disconnect with modern media (specifically, modern storytelling), it can come across as a dislike of its grimdark nature. To be sure, I am not generally into gritty stories. They don’t do a lot for me, though there are one or two that I can enjoy. Yet I’ll admit that I prefer stories about good guys and that shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones don’t push many of my buttons. If my only complaint was of a thematic nature, I think it’d be easier to explain. Furthermore, it’s easy to get sidetracked by discussing morality and whether good characters are “boring” or bad guys more “interesting”, and all of that is worth talking about. It’s just not what I’m always talking about.
Another element of my disconnect is more nebulous. There are plenty of movies and books that I love that get little to no respect, and that’s not such a big deal. Except it happens more and more, and I can’t help but feeling as if I’m out of tune in a deeper way than I can easily explain.
To put it another way, I loved Battleship. Seriously, loved it. And not in the “It’s okay because it’s cheesy” way. No, I genuinely think Battleship is a great movie. One of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years with solid story, acting, direction, and adventure all the way around.
I’m also the guy who liked Green Lantern quite a bit.
And I’m on record as saying that Pacific Rim is a phenomenal film from top to bottom. More than just a dumb movie where robots punch monsters, it’s actually a very smart movie where robots punch monsters with crackerjack pacing, great characters, and a story that is thematically deeper than most people will ever give it credit for.
I adore Real Steel, which is probably the only boxing movie I can sit through, but is also better and more heartfelt than most people will ever acknowledge.
And, just to add an extra level of controversy, I think both Ghost Rider movies (while neither being more than good) are better than nearly all the Marvel superhero films (which isn’t meant as in insult as I find the Marvel films mostly acceptable still).
This is me. These are the stories that have spoken to me, that I can actually watch over and over again, and each time I do, I usually find something new to enjoy about them. There’s no point in denying I’m the odd man out, and that I stand in a very weird place. I accept that easily enough. But as a professional writer, I also have to worry about stuff like that sometimes.
And believe me, I do worry about it.
I sometimes wonder if it’s even wise to admit that I loved Battleship. If someone stumbles across the blog, deciding if they want to buy one of my books, will that admission turn them away? If I say, without irony, that Battleship is a slambang film with a solid story and worthy character arcs, am I undermining my artistic credibility? It’s one thing for me to say that Man of Steel or Star Trek: Into Darkness aren’t very good movies. It’s another to stand beside a much maligned story and say that I not only liked it, but that I think it is far superior to either of those films.
Battleship makes more sense, has a more logical character arc, and just a hell of a lot more heart than anything in Man of Steel.
There, I said it. It’s on the record, and I’ll live with whatever consequences that come.
I don’t think it needs to be a competition. It’s perfectly fine for people to love Man of Steel and ridicule Battleship. It’s all opinion in the end. But as the guy who stands by Battleship (the only guy who stands by Battleship as far as I can tell) it can be a hell of a lonely place sometimes. Being a professional writer who strives to understand stories and why people like them makes it scarier too.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,