This is in reply to Robert Lopez's Nov. 1 "What's the Deal with Airline Peanuts?" column criticizing the film "Jackass." I had several problems with his column.
First, the writer employed several attacks on the movie's fans by calling them "preadolescents," and insinuating that they aren't the type of people to read the paper or read anything at all. Neither of these two statements is true.
According to www.drudgereport.com almost half of the audience was made up of males ages 17-24, ruling out preadolescents. I enjoyed the movie and I "read." I would imagine all the other college students who saw the movie "read" also.
Secondly, the writer complains that "Jackass" made a lot more money than some other critically-approved movies and concludes that this shows our generation is in a "sad state." The writer does not seem to take into account that the movie "Jackass" already has a large fan following due to the fact that it was already a television show for some time, unlike all the other movies he mentioned. He also seems to conclude that this is somehow unjust. People are just more likely to go watch a movie for which they have seen a preview. I don't think there is any sort of cosmic injustice going on here.
The writer also quotes many film critics who concluded "Jackass" was a terrible movie. These people are wrong in their assessment because they based their remarks on the film's content and not the intent of the film. The intent of the film is to shock the viewer and to make the audience laugh - it accomplishes both of those things, so it is not a "bad" movie.
"Jackass" is a film that connects very well with its audience. People have already gotten into trouble imitating the film's stunts; one person actually stood up and urinated in the theater while the film was still running (which I also read on The Drudge Report - see, I read).
A lot of people laughed really hard while watching the movie - this I witnessed myself. The only part of the DAILY NEWS article I would even slightly agree with was the critic's comparison of the movie to "Fight Club," a film that also connected extremely well with American audiences. "Jackass" is indeed very much like a real-life fight club.
The writer finally says that it would be difficult to explain the artistic values of "Jackass," implying that maybe there are none. This reminds me of the story my art history professor told us, about the artist who was expecting people to come view his art, so he went and got a urinal and sat it on a pedestal, making it art. The artist - not the viewer - defines what art is.
Art is art whether it makes sense and whether we like it or not. Who is to say what is good art and what isn't?
Enjoying art doesn't require approval, and is ultimately up to the individual, not some critic.