I’m a big fan of film. I’m even pretentious enough as to go so far and call them “films” rather than movies. In truth, some movies are just movies. Big budget productions that have little to no artistic value, thin plot, too many big names and attractive faces reciting dialogue that could have been written by a slightly-above-average seventh grader — that, to me, is a movie. Movies are made every day, and I enjoy them just as much as everyone else. Not everything needs to be poignant or dramatic or ethereal. Having fun while watching a movie is just as important as being moved by one.
OK having said all of that, I just wanted to say something about the importance of supporting certain films/movies/pictures/what have you. I love going to the theater on opening weekend to support a film I believe in, something that matters to me, even if just on the surface.
I recently went to see “Captain Marvel” on its opening weekend mainly because I wanted to support a female-led comic book movie — Marvel’s first, in fact — but also because I am just flat-out in love with Academy Award winner Brie Larson, who starred as the titular role of this latest blockbuster.
Going to see a film in theaters on opening weekend is your way, as a customer, of saying, “I support what this stands for, what this means, and I would like to see more like it.” It’s your way of voting for what it represents. This is why I have gone to see “Black Panther,” “Lady Bird, Disobedience,” “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Love, Simon” — to name a few — on opening weekend. I wanted my presence, the money I spent on the ticket, to show to production companies that films starring people of color, films about LGBTQ characters, and films made by women are films that matter, and more of them should be made.
It is, after all, a business, one that is always trying to soak up as much money from its consumer as possible. Opening weekend, the total made at the box office, lets those in charge of green-lighting our big screen favorites know that we like what we saw, and thus, we would be willing to spend more money on something similar, something that will evoke the same emotions, something that will make us feel represented.
I truly do believe representation in media matters. I felt a certain way my whole life and it took a long time before I saw myself reflected in characters of shows or movies or books I was consuming when I was a teenager. I saw gay characters on TV and in movies, but never main characters, and almost always in stereotypical roles — the flamboyant gay best friend, the struggling, confused lesbian who will either return back to her heterosexual life or die before the credits roll. Seriously.
It is much better now than it was 5-to-10 years ago when I was consuming often problematic media. Diverse, openly gay and bisexual characters on TV are becoming more and more commonplace, and thanks to shows like “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Fosters” and “Shameless,” transgender storylines are being shown earnestly as well. People of color have more representation available thanks to recent films like “Us,” “Girls Trip” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”
If you have never experienced under representation or misrepresentation (like when a white actor is cast in a non-white role), this may not matter very much. It may not even cross your mind.
But for those underrepresented parties, films like “Crazy Rich Asians” and shows like “Sense8” can mean absolutely everything. This is why I make a point to see these films on opening weekend. Next to going out and writing these stories myself, which I have dreamed of doing my whole life, this is my small contribution, my way of voting YES for representation. Tweeting about your favorite shows or giving them five-star ratings on Netflix is another easy way to do this. I support films made by and about women and films that aren’t lacking in diversity. I want all those big-wigs in Hollywood to know it.