The past few years have seen some very impressive movies in geek genres. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy wowed audiences, WALL-E delighted people of all ages, and The Dark Knight and Iron Man breathed new and impressive life into the superhero genre. The fact that these movies showed a high level of quality makes one wonder, “Why did they bother?” After all, if anime has taught us anything, it’s that geeks will watch anything.
Geeks adore going to the movies. It is demonstrably impossible to make a movie that geeks won’t rush to see — and on opening night, no less. There’s no red flag, no warning light, no klaxon that will keep geeks from going to see a new geek-oriented movie. It could be the third part of a trilogy in which they hated the other two parts, but there’s no way they can not “see how it ends”. It doesn’t matter, they will be there. (If there is some geek outrage reason why they might be looking unfavorably towards a movie, all that means is that they’ll only go to see it once.)
Part of this is because geeks have a unique way of mitigating a lack of quality: they merely lower the bar. They will happily declare that they are going to see something that they expect to be complete garbage and then, if it turns out to be only 99% garbage, they’ll announce themselves satisfied. They’ll even go so far as to declare a movie to be “good” if it was only 90% garbage.
In the case of a movie that is so awful they can’t lower the bar enough to give it a passing grade, they still have a chance of redeeming the experience. The television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured its cast making wisecracks to the screen while a terrible movie played. The geeks will tell everyone they know that the movie was so awful, they and their friends started shouting jokes at the screen and everyone around them was cracking up. These stories, like most stories of geek craziness, are not true.
Opening night is important for geeks because it’s vital they see the movie before anyone can “spoil” it for them by telling them things like, “This movie is really not very good and you shouldn’t see it.” The same geeks that will search the Internet for the tiniest molecule of information about an upcoming movie are terrified of someone “spoiling” it for them by telling them that Iron Man wins in the end.
They also won’t bother to check with critics for supposedly the same spoilerphobic reasons, but also because critics “never like the movies I like”, which any other person might interpret as an indication that their taste is probably awful. This is a shame because time and time again, not just one critic but a collective of them can completely pan a movie, but geeks will go see it and then will hop on to Internet forums and blogs and complain about how awful the movie was, as though nobody had even tried to warn them about it.If it turns out that the geek not only likes a movie but adores it, look out. You will never hear the end of it. As has been demonstrated countless times, the geek will spare nothing in declaring his love for the movie. He’ll demand action figures, shirts, and of course sequels. An example of this is Fight Club, which had a theme of individuality and anti-materialism that geeks never tire of quoting to each other endlessly on their Macbooks.
For a geek, a movie is the absolute zenith of entertainment. No matter how good the comic book, novel, or television show is, if it becomes a movie, then it has reached the absolute height of success. Graphic novels are especially in need of becoming movies, according to geeks, even though they already exist in a visual medium (and, more often than not, were specifically created for that medium.) This is partly because watching Batman crash through a window is better in “real life” than in the comics because then they don’t have to use their imaginations as much, but it’s also because if the comic becomes a movie then there’s a better chance of it (and by association the geek) scoring some of that delicious mainstream acceptance.
Like deluded Johns who think the hookers they pay really do love them, geeks LOVE movies!