What actually is the complaint here?

A US television adaptation of the classic romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral has been eviscerated by critics, amid complaints that it portrays British women as “catty” and “classist”.

Telling truth to power is something we shouldn’t do now?

25 thoughts on “What actually is the complaint here?”

  1. It’s just occurred to me. Artistic criticism isn’t really artistic anymore, is it? It’s political. To critique a film or a book is to analyse its politics, where all is political. Christ it’s tedious.

    It’s what makes Mark Steyn’s reviews so interesting and readable.

  2. Edward Lud,

    Oh, absolutely. The female Ghostbusters is a good example of that. Utter trash, but critics gave it good reviews, while mentioning toxic masculinity on the Internets.

    I remember watching Cars 2 with my kids and thinking out was quite a good, fun film. Panned by the critics. Why? I suspect because it exists in the world of Nascar which is sport for The Wrong Sort of People.

    I’ve switched to youtube reviewers like Red Letter Media and Comic Girl 19 who seem to come from flyover country and just care of a film is any good.

  3. Edward – Yarp. It’s all either wokier-than-thou political commissars trying to work out how many transwomen can twerk on the head of a dildo, or shameless shilling for Disney-Marvel-Fox’s latest McDonald’s-tier CGI capeshit product. Barry Norman wept.

  4. “or shameless shilling for Disney-Marvel-Fox’s latest McDonald’s-tier CGI capeshit product.”
    It’s not a cape, it’s a cloak.

  5. What is truly fascinating is the modern belief that an author puts their own words into the mouths of the characters. Clearly, there are times when that assumption is correct, but there are probably more often times when it is wrong. How on earth would you write the story about bad people, naming for example, Hitler, Stalin, Nicola Sturgeon, Pol Pot, Dominic Grieve. Polly Toynbee et al., without putting words into their mouths with which one disagreed? What a novelist or storyteller has to do is to make the characters words and behaviour consistent with themselves, not with some politically-correct agenda.

    Oh, wait a minute, Dear old Adolf was a vegetarian who didn’t smoke or drink, never drove (except, allegedly, the first VW), loved dogs, was good with children (except the ones he starved to death or poisoned, gassed or had shot) and was a Real Socialist in the sense that almost all shared the misery equally, some ate their pets, and the elite flourished.

    “Eva, is this muesli organic? Bring me my orange Jews …”

  6. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Yeah, Batman’s not the “Cloaked Crusader” is he?

    Probably not allowed to call him a Crusader any more either.

    I saw The Favourite when it came out and although I thought Olivia Coleman and Rachel Weisz were both excellent, I really didn’t understand the film. I asked a friend who’s a feminist type if I was missing something and she said “No, it just didn’t make sense.”

  7. Isn’t this likely to be because of way film studies degrees are taught, which in turn was influenced by English Literature degrees? Where the focus is much more on the cultural or psychoanalytic politics of the work, and very little on what, on the balance of probabilities, the author actually intended the meaning to be, nor on the work’s inherent aesthetic value beyond the political ideas being projected onto it? If my hypothesis is correct, them film studies is a worse than useless degree, since it renders critics incapable of providing a useful review of a film’s qualities to inform potential moviegoers.

  8. > Probably not allowed to call him a Crusader any more either.

    A neo-liberal extreme right wing vigilante Nazi fascist whom it is not safe to punch…

  9. Critics in the USA are exactly like journalists in the USA: They write for each other, not for their paying audience.

  10. What is truly fascinating is the modern belief that an author puts their own words into the mouths of the characters.

    That’s a weird modern phenomenon. A couple of months back an FBPE Twitter mob descended on me and they found the excerpt of my novel I put online in which a character is distressed and angry. Their response was to tell me *I personally* was very angry at the world and needed to calm down. They could tell the difference between a character in a novel in a specific situation and the author at large. Bizarre.

  11. Isn’t that how the original portrays them?

    On the subject of pushing woke subjects the original handled the gay couple and the deaf character well, didn’t feel forced and characters actually worked in context of film.

  12. I once watched Princess Mononoke (for those of you who have not seen it… a Japanese animated film with an environmental story) with a “woke” friend. I found it a rather boring film and hugely overrated. Upon sharing my thoughts following the film his face descended into a complete lack of comprehension as he exclaimed “but it has a really good message!”

    These people genuinely find films that just show their political beliefs back to them captivating works of art. It’s astonishing.

  13. MBE EngLit is crazy lefty. I know this first hand as I was a bit naughty and helped the Mrs by doing her OU work when she was unwell. Proud to say I got 75% for one essay – I set my mind to pretentious lefty bollocks mode and used a lot of words like ‘heteronormative’ and ‘patriarchical’.
    The whole approach to viewing literature now is to put on a pair of Guardian goggles. One work I’d never heard of was Wide Sargasso Sea – on the reading list. In Jane Eyre Mr Rochester was basically a good sort and kind to Jane but who fucked up by keeping his loony Mrs locked in the attic and not mentioning her. Clearly this is evil! So Jean Rhys (Dominican born feminist anti-colonialist) wrote a back story to the Rochester / Bella thing explaining how he is basically the devil. Fuck it’s a turgid bunch of commie crap. And therefore gets 5 star reviews and is required reading.
    Deduce what you will.

  14. Mal Reynolds, you’re right.

    On the other hand, I like 13 Hours, Where Eagles Dare, the Guns of Navarone and Harry Brown.

    On the other other hand, I also liked Michael Caine in those Len Deighton adaptations and I think the BBC Tinker Tailor series from the late 70s is a masterpiece.

    On the other other other hand, anything with Cary Grant makes my afternoon.

    I suppose my point is that there are times when I enjoy having my prejudices reinforced just for grins, times when I’m open to have them bashed about a bit and times when Cary Grant is the only answer.

  15. @Witchie, Tim Newman

    What is truly fascinating is the modern belief that an author puts their own words into the mouths of the characters.

    As one of Niven’s laws state :-

    “There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author. The term is ‘idiot’.”

  16. “Auteur”‘s a sophisticated word for you, Dennis. You all right? How are your feet?

    Patrick, my ex-missus was all over that stuff – specifically Wide Sargasso Sea, Foucault, Jean Rhys and others – 25 years ago. I divined at second hand it was poisonous, which is my excuse for saying I did not read it. But it was one of the things, the ex-missus, her academic environment and her behaviour, which started me on a long course of therapy, self-therapy in fact since, as then a young man I knew no better in the face of stroppy, entitled females (having been raised as a traditional Anglo-Sax male to be polite and deferential to ze ladeez), to get to grips with the range and depth of what these people were then trying to achieve, with what they had achieved and with what they have gone on to achieve.

    In short, it is as you describe and has been for a long, long time. Bear in mind, the university lecturers then were in their forties and fifties. So the poison predates my story by at least two decades.

    They, and the horse they rode into town on, must be dealt with.

  17. @BniC August 9, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Isn’t that how the original portrays them?

    “catty” and “classist”/snobby – yep that’s my recollection too. Very entertaining and funny too, all achieved on a low budget.

    Imo it’s similar genre to Fawlty Towers minus the slapstick.

    If anyone wants to watch:

    Torrent Magnet Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) [BluRay] [720p] [YTS.AM] 1Gb

    Torrent Magnet Four Weddings and a Funeral S01E05 WEB x264-PHOENiX[TGx] 287Mb

  18. @ Pcar
    Catty, certainly; but the most classist was the American “she only sleeps with men richer than her”. IMHO the least classist was Tom (who didn’t have to worry about it unless HM dropped in for tea with his parents).

  19. Dennis, He Who Reads Books

    Only someone like you, Lud, would fancy themselves sophisticated for knowing what the word ‘auteur’ means.

  20. Dennis the Peasant

    Actually, Lud, 30+ years ago I had a series of articles published in a short-lived cinema magazine. Film Noir, German Expressionist, Akira Kurosawa, Edward D. Wood Jr., etc.

  21. Dennis, Killer of Media

    The magazine was doing little more than breaking even and the publisher decided to close it and get out of publishing all together.

  22. The author writes, the artist paints…, to create another world. The quality of this work is, in essence, how well it works to suspend disbelief. To what purpose is quite another matter: it may be didactic, to show the world from an unfamiliar perspective; cathartic; for the author’s pleasure in exhibiting skill in the art; or maybe just a job that pays well.

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