29 September 2008

Carmike and 'Fireproof' (or, Kung Fu Pander)

Some anonymous commenter, henceforth referred to as "Jackass" "Eva," accused me of “caving to The Man” the other day. It’s not clear if Eva's saying that because I was trashing “Fireproof” based on its ridiculous preview or because, after 17 years of working in a field that underpays people and is suddenly trimming its work force, I took a private-sector job.*

Most likely it’s the latter (to which I’d answer “up yours, Eva”). But I’d like to think it’s the former, because of the potential irony. In my book, Carmike Cinemas, caved to The Man by showing “Fireproof” on its largest screen, when anybody could’ve told you that “Eagle Eye” would be the No. 1 movie this weekend. (Final numbers: “Eagle Eye” rang in at $29.2 million, “Fireproof” at No. 4 with $6.5 million.)

Carmike is making marketing decisions based on broad stereotypes about the South, the Bible Belt. And being headquartered here in Columbus, Ga., it should know better. Or maybe it does know better, but it’s simply pandering to power brokers wielding a cross.

“Fireproof” stars Kirk Cameron, and for some, that’s enough to kill it right there. But he’s allegedly not terrible, despite how he looks it in the preview. That aside, the movie tells the story of a firefighter who is trying to salvage his marriage based on Biblical principles. That’s not a horrible premise, I guess, even if it’s more suited to a Lifetime movie than a Hollywood release. But when Hannah Goodwyn of the Christian Broadcasting Network reviews the film and says it doesn’t meet her "very high standard of what a movie should be" entertainment-wise, you know it ain’t very good.

Of the top five best movies of the year, three are based on comic book characters (“The Dark Knight,” “Hellboy II” and “Iron Man”) and the other two are animated (“Wall-E” and “Kung Fu Panda”). Funny thing is, you’d think comic-book heroes would offer the same black-and-white stereotypes that a film like “Fireproof” embraces, with “Love God/Hate Sin” roughly equating to “Hero Good/Evil Bad.” But the heroes of those three films are complex and fallible, and in some cases antiheroes. And that’s why people can relate to them. They offer real heart, real soul.

"Eva, I'm sorry
But you will never have me
To me, you're just some faggy girl
And I need a lover with soul power
You ain't got no soul power"
--of Montreal, “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider”

*Corporate culture is interesting, by the way, and not necessarily bad. My employer, for instance, charges 50 cents for diet sodas, but 60 cents for regular ones, in an effort to encourage healthier habits. And either way, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the 75 cents I used to have to pay. Which adds up when you're (a) paid peanuts, and (b) addicted to caffeine.


amanda said...

How do you know your anonymous commenter was a girl? (A faggy girl, at that) When I was reading it yesterday, my inner narrator was saying the comment in a gruff, low, manly voice.

I get free coffee, by the way. Starbucks. Whoop whoop. And I am no longer paid peanuts (moved on to pretzels, the other airline food).

Allison Kennedy said...

You go, Brog!

Barnes said...

Probably a guy. I just love that soul power bit from of Montreal. And it's funny to mess with people's possible insecurities.