It’s one thing for a film to denounce, criticize, or poke fun at a particular group of people. It’s something that can be risky enough, even if it’s a satirical film that exposes individuals or groups who deserve the criticism and who might not even realize they’ve been criticized. But it’s a whole different thing when a film looks directly at viewers and encourages them to do so, attacking them even though they have invested time and money in the film.
This usually comes in two flavors. A serious film may criticize a certain segment of its viewers, or specifically criticize a plot that all people are capable of. Comedy, on the other hand, tends to criticize the viewer for more trivial matters, often with a brief commentary that cheekily breaks the fourth wall. The films below all fall into one of these categories, with all 10 making some kind of judgment on those who choose to watch them.
Blond caused a stir when it was released on Netflix and instantly became one of the most controversial and talked about films of 2022. It throws aside the idea of being a conventional biopic Marilyn Monroe and instead uses her tragically short life story to criticize misogyny and abuse in the film industry.
It is possible to see Blond He also criticized viewers at the time for being part of that system and wanting to satisfy their insatiable desire to see Monroe on screen. The scene where Monroe films the famous subway The darn seventh year shows the crowd of men watching her while there is more than one scene showing an audience watching Monroe’s films on screen (and later imagining her having a traumatic encounter with John F Kennedy also on a cinema screen). Whether this criticism extends to specific viewers Blond who were curious to see warts and all the stories about Monroe are also up for debate.
‘Fun Games’ (1997 & 2007)
Michael Hanke addressed both versions of Funny Games (the first an Austrian film in German and the near-identical remake in America and in English), both qualifying as films that explicitly appeal to their viewers, as each film is a dark, cynical take on a home invasion thriller.
The premise of two evil young men breaking into a house and terrorizing the family inside sounds like something that could be an entertaining horror/thriller film, but Haneke does it on purpose Funny Games as miserable as possible. To make it even clearer, one of the villains is aware that he is in a movie, looking at the camera and making comments to the audience about how he follows a “typical plot structure” for a thriller. Haneke aims to make you feel bad about seeing characters suffer on-screen and undoubtedly succeeds in that regard.
“The Cabin in the Woods” (2011)
The hut in the forest In the end, it’s about much more than just a cabin in the woods. This becomes quite clear in the first few minutes of the film when we are shown that there is a very specific reason why a group of young people were manipulated into staying in a secluded cabin in the woods where the horror film genre tells us that it is an attack is inevitable.
To say much more would be too revealing, but the way The hut in the forest commenting on the formulaic, gory nature of horror films at the end is uniquely clever and darkly funny. Of course, as a horror fan, you also have to be willing to laugh a little at yourself, because the film doesn’t shy away from challenging horror film viewers as well as the filmmakers of the genre.
“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001)
Jay and Silent Bob fight back was the first film dedicated to the two supporting characters created by Kevin Smith (who plays Silent Bob himself) for the original employee in 1994. They appeared in three other films between then and 2001, and were generally fun to watch in small doses or as supporting characters.
Smith may rely on self-deprecation a little too much in his more recent films, but back in 2001, it was still fun to scoff at the idea of a Jay and Silent Bob spinoff. As such, we get one on the nose where Ben Afflecks Character says, “A Jay and Silent Bob movie? Who would pay to see this?
‘Sucker Punch’ (2011)
There is no clear consensus as to whether sucker Punch succeed as a cleverly subversive film that critiques the very idea of sexualizing women in action movies that are generally appealing, or whether it falls into the trap of doing so. It remains one of Zack Snyders the most divisive movies, maybe because of that.
However, an interview with Snyder shows that this criticism of viewers was intentional when he said, “The girls are in a brothel performing for men in the dark… the men in the dark are us.” Whether the criticism was well conveyed to the audience may be another matter (or perhaps how receptive an audience would be to the criticism), but at least the intent was there.
“Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives” (1986)
The sixth of 12 Friday the 13th Movies (if you count his 2003 duel with Freddy Kruger and the 2009 remake), Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason is alive shows the series from its silliest side. By this point, Jason Voorhees had been killed and brought back so many times that it couldn’t help but be viewed as a bit silly.
The film picks up on that, with a joke at the expense of the people who keep coming back Friday the 13th Series again and again, for several sequels. As a grave is being filled, a character looks into the camera and says, “Some people have a weird idea of what entertainment is.” Honestly, he couldn’t be wrong.
‘I Tonya’ (2017)
I Tonya examines the history of Tony Harding, a young figure skater whose career was plagued by scandal and controversy. It examines the story from multiple angles, raises doubts about the truth and shows instances where Harding first broke the fourth wall in a playful way.
As the story progresses and gets more serious, her fourth wall breaks as well. She suggests that audiences are only there to hear about her most infamous “incident,” and that viewers and viewers alike vilified her for being portrayed by the media. Such moments can make viewers feel guilty because they saw the film for the wrong reasons.
“The Simpsons Movie” (2007)
After almost 20 years on TV The simpsons finally came to the big screen in 2007 The Simpsons Movie. It of course took the opportunity to joke about it, with a scene where Homer is seen in a movie theater and calls everyone there “huge jerks” for paying to see an Itchy & Scratchy movie, when they can watch him on TV for free.
As he does so, he points to the camera and encourages viewers to do the same The simpsons. Given the diminishing returns of postseason 8, of course The simpsonsand the fact that The Simpsons Movie was an increase in quality, maybe the viewers weren’t so stupid as to ignore the TV Simpsons and watch the movie upgrade instead.
Scar Face (1983)
It may be a stretch to convene the iconic scene scarface where Tony Montana has an outburst in public, an attack on the audience itself… but the reading is there.
Montana scolds at a restaurant when told to leave, telling the silent patrons that “normal” people need scapegoats they can look at and single out as “the bad guy”. If it’s also aimed at the audience, maybe it’s a commentary on how we like outright villains in fiction and real life scarface challenges that simplicity by making a villain with few redeeming qualities the film’s protagonist.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street is a decently funny crime comedy for a good chunk of its run. In his final hour, things get more serious, but ultimately Jordan Belforts The punishment for his white-collar crime is fairly lenient considering the damage he’s caused.
He ends the film as a motivational speaker, addressing a crowd who look up to him and want to know how they too can get rich. The last shot of the film is not on Belfort; it’s up to his audience. Read one way this audience might represent us: the viewers of The Wolf of Wall Street. Then the credits roll and we sit with this disturbing thought.
NEXT: “Blonde” & Other Times A Big Movie Star Played Another Big Movie Star
https://collider.com/blonde-9-other-movies-that-call-out-their-audience-for-watching-them/ ‘Blonde’ & 9 Other Movies That Call Out Their Audience For Watching Them