1983 debate: “Star Wars is brutalizing children .... making children dumber ...”

Psab keel

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
John Simon just comes across as an elitist snob like a lot of film critics sadly.

It is possible to like films that may not be considered high brow and not have it betray your intelligence. There's a lot of schlock I enjoy but I am also aware it's garbage. That awareness makes all the difference.

Star Wars (at least the OT) to me is very clever and well made. Given it's still going strong after 40+ years is a testament to its quality. I'd never even heard of Tender Mercies until I saw this video clip from a few years back. I doubt most people other than die hard film buffs would even know it existed.
 
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vader45

Sr Member
This guy clearly does not know how to sit back and enjoy himself. He has to be the one to really pick apart movies and seem to look down on them if they are not to his high standards.

Surely he does not have the same understanding of films if he thinks star wars is poor writing, acting and character development then we do
 

rileyreplicas

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Seems to me he just did back in 1983 what people do now, he gave a contrasting opinion so he would stand out from the crowd of other reviewers. You see it all the time now, someone says white, the other guy will say black just to be different. Sad thing is by doing things like this people that are of that mindset usually do get the attention they want and are even have their profile elevated.
 

gedmac66

Sr Member
John Simon just comes across as an elitist snob like a lot of film critics sadly.

It is possible to like films that may not be considered high brow and not have it betray your intelligence. There's a lot of schlock I enjoy but I am also aware it's garbage. That awareness makes all the difference.

Star Wars (at least the OT) to me is very clever and well made. Given it's still going strong after 40+ years is a testament to its quality. I'd never even heard of Tender Mercies until I saw this video clip from a few years back. I doubt most people other than die hard film buffs would even know it existed.
Agree with everything you’ve said Psab, but whilst not considering myself to be a die hard film buff - I’ve seen Tender Mercies (many, many years later on t.v.) , happily still as a ‘stupidly childlike’ adult - and it’s a pretty cool film.
Not OT ‘Cool’ , but..., apples & oranges eh! ;)
 

Psab keel

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm sure it's a fine film and I'm a fan of Robert Duvall and lesser known movies in general.

I'm just critical of John Simon's take on Star Wars. Brutalizing children? C'mon you grinch of a man! Where is your sense of wonder or do you not have any?

Despite being an adult with "child like sensibilities", I'd say I turned out alright, despite being "brutalized by the stupidity of Star Wars."

In TPM documentaries George Lucas can be seen wearing a black t-shirt that has a direct quote from a negative review from the trilogy from back in the day. Love it!
 

Zombie_61

Master Member
Seems to me he just did back in 1983 what people do now, he gave a contrasting opinion so he would stand out from the crowd of other reviewers. You see it all the time now, someone says white, the other guy will say black just to be different. Sad thing is by doing things like this people that are of that mindset usually do get the attention they want and are even have their profile elevated.
So, you're saying he was ahead of his time?
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thegnome

Well-Known Member
Another thing is that if Star Wars is so horrifying why is it that pretty much very little kid plays COD? Again the studies that say the opposite are a good weigher of facts. The thing though is that the kids play them every day so they are more violent because of that.
 

Funky

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Here's my take-away:
This film has no nutritional value.
There's no lesson to be learned.
It's not realistic.

Now, Tender Mercies, well, that movie has all of the above. Great flick for the kiddies!
 

joberg

Master Member
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many people offended about anything and everything these days:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

Bigdaddy

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many people offended about anything and everything these days:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
That's always been the case, it's nothing new. What's new is the ability to broadcast your state of offendedness to the world from your pocket. ;)
 

clmayfield

Member
If you were to look at dialogue by itself, yes, he is right. But I think he is looking at the movie very superficially. When you start looking at archetypes and subject the OT to Jungian analysis, you see that the trilogy is very carefully architected. It is not difficult to see now that Lucas does not write dialogue very well (Shakespeare, he ain't), but the story in the OT had incredible structure. The structure of the prequels was also very good, but I don't think that story was executed as well as the OT.

Star Wars is very good vs. evil and it came at the tail end of the 70's where Spaghetti Westerns and The Godfather portrayed grey characters. I love grey. I think there is a place for the Lord of the Rings and I think there is a place for Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones being good doesn't make LOTR bad. They are simply thematically different. There is room for enjoying both.

No doubt, the imagination of Star Wars influenced many in my generation to go into the science field even though Star Wars, at its heart is more fantasy than science fiction. But it stimulated the imagination of kids like me and got them to "think bigger." That is a good thing and clearly, he was wrong about the negative impacts.
 

Laspector

Sr Member
Wait a minute! No one actually talks like Shakespeare or ever did. If you went back in time I sincerely doubt those people talked in prose. So, I don't think the dialogue argument holds up.

However, you are right, he ain't that good at it.
 

clmayfield

Member
Wait a minute! No one actually talks like Shakespeare or ever did. If you went back in time I sincerely doubt those people talked in prose.
That's right. We are into realism these days. A lot of Shakespeare dialogue has a meter to it. David Milch takes a page or two from Shakesepeare (he was the producer for "Deadwood," "John From Cincinnati," and "Luck" among others). He often includes poetic monologues that aren't realistically how people speak, but are beautiful.

Whether the comparison is Shakespeare or Quentin Tarantino, dialogue is not one of George Lucas' strong suits. Harrison Ford had the greatest quote of all in regards to this: "George! You can type this ****, but you sure can't say it! Move your mouth when you're typing!'" I love that. And that's the guy who "made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs."
 
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