Life imitates art: 10 movies that gave us a bad cultural hangover
Art imitates life, and life imitates art. Often to incredibly annoying and occasionally dangerous extents.
It was the year 2002. “Amelie” had just come out the year before, and young Americans everywhere were just starting to get in on this whole “Social Networking” thing with a little site called “Friendster.” I shit you not, literally every girl you knew at the time described herself as “an Amelie type” and every guy you knew specified that he was looking for “an Amelie type.” It went on for years. I had to grow my hair out for fear I would be mistaken for one of them. It still goes on, though primarily in the form of BuzzFeed listicles about being whimsical or right-brained or introverted or whatever other inane, scientifically inaccurate personality determinant they’re on about at the time.
There are few things in the world more excruciating than having to listen to someone tell you how whimsical and/or deep they are. If I were to make a list, it might only rank under having to watch bad performance art with a straight face, but still over the unduly tan.
In other words, GET OFF MY LAWN AND TAKE YOUR GODFORSAKEN GNOMES WITH YOU.
2. High Fidelity
“High Fidelity” was like the dude version of “Amelie,” in that, for a while, every guy on earth thought he was Rob Gordon, which, coincidentally meant that the entire world revolved around him, a sad juvenile douchebag still trying to be a freaking DJ. A popular pick-up line at the time became “So, wanna come over and see my record collection?” And every ex you ever had also got the bright idea to look you up and demand that you explain why you stopped dating them. THANKS, “HIGH FIDELITY.”
On the one hand, this movie led to fellas dressing really well for a hot minute, and the resurgence of swing music and it being cool to like Louis Prima a lot. Which was really a boon for me.
On the other? “You’re so money” became a thing that people said. Also, “Vegas, Baby.” It was wrong, and let us never allow this to happen again.
If you haven’t seen “10,” it’s basically about how the Dudley Moore character, gets all fed up with his wife’s unreasonable demands that he not allow the porn producer across the street watch them bang with his telescope or call her a “broad” all the time. He then becomes obsessed with the beautiful, young Bo Derek. Anyway, things happen, and they bang, because although Bo Derek is married, it is an open marriage (because she is a free spirit) and she is somehow sexually attracted to Dudley Moore. Then, he gets all mad when the fantasy dissipates and he hears Bo Derek being honest with her husband about the fact that she just banged him, and he goes back to his mean harridan wife, but with a new set of glorious Bo Derek-inspired wisdoms and seduction techniques, and all is well!
Aside from being FREAKING RIDICULOUS, “10″ popularized the idea of grading a person’s looks on a scale from 1-10. Which is kind of an asshole thing to do when you think about it. In addition to that, it inspired the fad of white ladies wearing corn rows. Cultural appropriation, much?
Plus, obviously, the whole annoying “gross old dude gets hot young thing, hot young thing teaches him how to live again” trope. Ugh.
5. Fight Club
The movie and book “Fight Club” undoubtedly inspired swaths of ‘angry young white men” to reclaim some supposed lost masculinity, and then, I guess, vote for Ron Paul. While it was a good movie, the subsequent obsession was not only annoying, it was dangerous. Not just because people started trying to have their own “Fight Clubs,” but because lots of idiots also tried to implement their own versions of “Project Mayhem.”
Luke Helder, a college student, started planting pipe bombs in mailboxes with the supposed goal of creating a “smiley face” pattern around the United States. In 2009, a guy who had started his own “Fight Club” detonated a bomb outside an Upper East Side Starbucks, claiming he was inspired by “Project Mayhem.”
Seriously people, it’s just a movie.
6. The Matrix
“Men’s Rights Activists” have a weird obsession with this movie, and are constantly talking about blue pills and red pills. Even one of the MRA subreddits is called The Red Pill. Oy.
But also, like “Fight Club,” “The Matrix” has also inspired a criminal following. It was so popular for a time that many attorneys were using what was deemed “The Matrix Defense.” Probably the most famous one was the D.C. Sniper, who supposedly thought he was actually in “The Matrix” and that nothing was real. In San Francisco, “The Matrix Defense” worked for a man who dismembered his landlady, and claimed to be “stuck in the Matrix”– he was deemed not guilty by reason of insanity.
7. Say Anything…
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, STALKING IS NOT A ROMANTIC GESTURE.
If Lloyd Dobbler existed in real life, you would have a restraining order against him. In fact, I think you would have a restraining order against most John Cusack characters, because many of his characters seem to be actual stalkers characterized as hopeless romantics. That’s kind of his thing. He made stalking look romantic. It is not. Do not try at home. I have seen it done, and it doesn’t work.
8. Garden State
I have not seen “Garden State” because I find Zach Braff to be incredibly annoying and smarmy. However, what I can tell you is that it was another one of those ridiculous Manic Pixie Dream Girl movies where a woman serves to help a man “find himself” some how, and, according to my co-workers here at D&T, led to a lot of people all of a sudden liking The Shins.
9. The Craft
Remember after “The Craft” came out and all of a sudden half the girls in your grade thought they definitely had magical powers?
10. Gone With The Wind
“Gone With The Wind” is widely considered one of the most romantic films in cinematic history. It’s still a huge deal, and even if you’ve never seen it, you can probably at least quote some of it. However, it clearly romanticized slavery, and the relationships between slave-owners and slaves, making it seem like they were really just a family. Which is problematic, especially when you consider the fact that people now are still trying to make the case that slavery wasn’t all that bad.
To boot, this “romantic film” involved a woman getting “put in her place” through rape. Yeesh.