Do memes help movies? | Chatt-Mag

A good example is the scene in “Marriage Story” (2019) in which the central couple in the film have a screaming match. When a clip was uploaded, it mostly sparked arguments over whether the acting was good. But soon, people reused four stills from the scene – culminating with Adam Driver drilling a hole in a wall – into a ready-made comic book, which could refer to anything: frivolous real-world arguments, esoteric debates from other corners of the internet. In some circles, the pictures have become so familiar that any of them could be used as a benchmark joke; they were as immediately readable as a picture of Don Corleone sitting behind his large desk, or of Rocky walking up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Being the target of contempt for the Internet is de facto not a bad thing.

The image of a crying Platt is already an oft-repeated joke, and his pushing is, to a very large extent, derision. (On Broadway, “Dear Evan Hansen” swings between a tragic play on morality and a light coming-of-age story, but the adaptation is a tonal pile-up – “A Very Special Episode: The Musical: The film.” ) But being the target of contempt for the Internet is de facto not a bad thing. When a meme travels far enough, the underlying film can earn what feels like cultural currency. The very fact that the images are not part of any intentional advertising actually gives them a note of authenticity. They resonate, perversely, on their own merit. Is there a better form of contemporary advertising?

Sometimes success of a movie meme comes from the fascination with a high-profile project that went horribly wrong – like the 2019 film “Cats,” whose quirks and downcast visuals caused people to buy tickets just to stay mouthed. gaping. gaping. But memes don’t always represent a desire to watch hate. Studio Arty A24’s releases, for example – “Uncut Gems”, “Midsommar”, “Lady Bird” – are often both critically loved and manic. “Parasite,” which won the Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars, has sprouted a number of blockbuster screenshots. The suggestive power of the meme has less to do with the quality of the movie than with the appeal of the moment. The best are like the images of Adam Sandler’s character in “Uncut Gems,” which is at the same time pathetic, repulsive and deeply sympathetic: they capture something unique in the film, but also familiar feelings (a bit of hopelessness). , of disgust). self) who live outside of it.

This turns out to be a great way to focus our attention. When people cry and yearn for the old-fashioned video rental store, part of what they lack is a place that has distilled the world into a room with hard boundaries – unlike the modern media landscape, which by contrast and by design, never ends. It’s remarkable how well a meme can squeeze individual works out of this sea of ​​undifferentiated content, turning them into the digital equivalent of a cooler talking point. This ritual hardly represents a challenge to the power of traditional advertising and publicity; it might help a movie grab the attention of some influential gossip classes, but so far “Dear Evan Hansen” has yet to recoup its budget. Yet: what is fascinating is to imagine what impact this could have on the future.

About William Moorhead

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