Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: Hulk Vs. The GIRLS Criticism

Hulk's surprised by the vitriol leveled at the first episode of GIRLS.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: Hulk Vs. The GIRLS Criticism

SO THREE YEARS AGO, HULK SAT THERE PERPLEXED AS ALL HELL AS LUCA GUADAGNINO'S I AM LOVE RUSHED ACROSS THE SCREEN.

IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THE FILM, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST BIZARRELY CONSTRUCTED FILMS HULK HAS EVER SEEN. RAPID CUTS. SEEMINGLY RANDOM CAMERA POSITION. AVID FARTS. AND IT'S NOT SOME TONY SCOTT FEVER-DREAM EITHER. THIS ALL HAPPENS IN A TIGHTLY CONSTRAINED EUROPEAN DRAMA. MORE BOTHERSOME IS THAT THE AESTHETIC IS RARELY CONSISTENT AND CONSTANTLY FLUXING IN LOGIC. AND THEN THERE ARE THESE BOOMING, ORNATE MUSIC CHOICES. THE ENTIRE MOVIE JUST SEEMED LIKE ONE OF THE MOST NONSENSICALLY THROWN TOGETHER THINGS HULK HAD EVER SEEN. ALMOST A SLAP IN THE FACE TO EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER CARED ABOUT THE VALUE OF TRADITIONAL FILMMAKING. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WAS MOST SMASH-INDUCING WAS THAT THE FILM WOULD HAVE THESE RARE MOMENTS OF SUBLIME GENIUS: THE SIMPLE TASTING OF AN IMMACULATE DISH. A SURPRISE FIRST KISS. A HUGE REALIZATION DONNING ON ANOTHER CHARACTER... THESE MOMENTS WERE ALL BRILLIANT, BUT SEEMINGLY SO OUT OF PLACE WITH THE CHAOS AROUND IT. IMMEDIATELY AFTER WATCHING HULK SAT THERE RAGING AND WENT HOME TO READ MORE.

WHY DID HULK DO THIS? BECAUSE HULK HAD JUST HEARD SO MANY WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT THE FILM THAT IT ALL SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE. SURELY, EVERYONE ELSE DIDN'T LIKE THIS MOVIE IN THE SAME WAY, RIGHT? BUT MOST PEOPLE SEEMED TO LOVE IT CALLING IT "BEAUTIFUL", "UNIQUE" OR "OPERATIC" (PROBABLY CAUSE THERE WAS A LOT OF OPERA IN IT... SIGH.) BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL HULK CHECKED AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. BEAKS OVER ON AICN WITH TILDA SWINTON (THE FILM'S STAR) THAT HULK REALLY CAME TO UNDERSTAND.

BEAKS DESCRIBES THE FILM SIMPLY: "[I AM LOVE] is anathema in this age of pure calculation; it's about getting drunk on the potential of the medium."

AND SUDDENLY IT MADE SENSE. THE DIRECTOR WAS TRYING TO FIND THINGS. TO BE WILLFULLY OBTUSE IN THE SEARCH OF SOMETHING BIGGER. MAYBE LIKE THE THREE SUBLIME MOMENTS HULK MENTIONED EARLIER. AND IF THAT WAS THE GOAL? IT CERTAINLY WORKED. AND DON'T GET HULK WRONG EITHER, HULK STILL ISN'T A FAN OF THE FILM. HULK WOULD NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS APPROACH A FILM LIKE THAT.

BUT WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS PROCESS OF GOING HOME AND READING WAS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT. HULK LOOKED AT WHAT A WRITER HAD TO SAY, LISTENED AND CAME TO UNDERSTAND. AND WHEN HULK DID THAT, HULK SAW THAT THERE WAS INDEED A WAY TO SEE THE FILM IN A POSITIVE LIGHT. EVEN IF HULK DISAGREED, THERE WAS A WAY TO SEE IT AS SOMETHING SENSIBLE, OPTIMISTIC AND EVEN DOWNRIGHT POETIC.

IT IS OFTEN REASONS LIKE THESE THAT MR. BEAKS IS ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE CRITICS. HE SO CONSTANTLY COMES AT MOVIES FROM A DIRECTION HULK NEVER THINKS OF AND HULK ADORES THAT. SO WHY IS IT WHEN WE THROW AROUND THE NAMES OF OUR FAVORITE CRITICS THE PHRASE HULK USUALLY SEES ALL THE TIME IS "I USUALLY AGREE WITH..." WHY IS THAT THE MAIN CRITERIA IN CRITICISM? LOOK, HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT AGREEMENT HAS REAL VALUE IN THE PURE "CINEMA PURCHASE GUIDANCE" SENSE. BUT CRITICISM IS ABOUT FAR MORE THAN DECIDING WHERE TO SPEND YOUR OCCASIONAL 14 BUCKS. IT'S ABOUT BROADENING HORIZONS. LEARNING. GROWING. ALL THOSE TOUCHY FEELY WORDS WE'VE GROWN TOO CYNICAL FOR, BUT REALLY THEY'RE THE THINGS THAT MAKE US FEEL HAPPY AND ALIVE. THAT'S THE KIND OF CRITICISM HULK SEEKS OUT REGULARLY.

SOME OF THE BEST THINGS HULK'S EVER READ DAVID FOSTER WALLACE'S INCREDIBLE ESSAY ON LYNCH MAKING LOST HIGHWAY. OR TARKOVSKY'S BRILLIANT BOOK SCULPTING IN TIME (A PERFECT WAY TO DESCRIBE FILMMAKING). OR THE THE INCREDIBLE KIESLOWSKI ON KIESLOWSKI. THE IDEAS IN THESE BOOKS ALWAYS CAME FROM A PLACE FAR BEYOND HULK'S SENSE OF CINEMA. HULK NEVER THOUGH LIKE THAT BEFORE. AND HULK REMEMBERS PEOPLE DISMISSING EACH AS "PRETENTIOUS" BUT FOR HULK, THEY WERE ALL FORMATIVE. RESONANT. AND LIFE-CHANGING.

SO WHETHER IT ANY OF THESE BOOKS OR A DISCUSSION WITH MR. BEAKS, WHEN HULK UTTERLY DISAGREES HULK ALWAYS FINDS IT BEST TO STOP, TAKE HULK'S ARGUMENT-HAT OFF AND SEEP INTO THE POSITION OF JUST WANTING TO LISTEN. BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN HULK ACTUALLY LEARNS SOMETHING...

SO WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?

YESTERDAY / LAST NIGHT SOMETHING HAPPENED TO HULK IN REAL-LIFE CONVERSATION, ALSO HERE ON BADASS AND ON THE INTERNET AT LARGE, AND IT WAS SOMETHING THAT KIND OF REALLY, REALLY BOTHERED HULK. AND THAT WAS THE DISCOURSE THAT CAME OUT OF THE NEGATIVE BACKLASH TO LENA DUNHAM'S GIRLS. HULK WAS OF COURSE EXPECTING SOME, BUT IT WAS ABOUT 100 TIMES MORE HEATED THAN HULK EVER EXPECTED.

LOOK. HULK IS FAR BEYOND THE "HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE A THING HULK LIKES!?!?!" STAGE IN HULK'S LIFE. SO LET'S NOT EVEN GIVE IT CREDENCE. AND HULK FREELY ADMITS TO LOVING THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF THE SHOW AND HAD ARTICULATED A FEW REASONS BEFORE ON THIS VERY SITE. BUT WHAT HULK ENCOUNTERED WAS SOMETHING FAR, FAR MORE INTENSE.

IT WAS VITRIOL. SOMETIMES ANGRY. SOMETIMES CASUAL. SOMETIMES DISAFFECTED.  AND OFTEN MEAN. IN THE WAKE OF SO MUCH CRITICAL ADORATION AND THE FACT THAT PEOPLE WERE SO QUICK TO LABEL DUNHAM "THE YOUNG FEMALE VOICE" TO WATCH... WELL, PEOPLE JUST HAD TO ARTICULATE WHY BOTH SHE AND THE SHOW WERE PRECISELY NONE OF THOSE THINGS IN THEIR MINDS. AND ALMOST EVERY JUSTIFICATION AS TO WHY ENDED UP BEING NOTHING MORE THAN SERIES OF STRAW-MAN ARGUMENTS THAT ARE RARELY DIRECTED AT ANYTHING OTHER THAN YOUNG, CREATIVE WOMEN FROM GOOD FAMILIES.

THAT SEEMS LIKE AN INTENSE CHARGE, HULK KNOW. BUT HULK FOLLOWS DISCOURSE LIKE THIS FREAKING EVERYWHERE. AND SADLY, THIS ONE IS TRUE IN ABOUT 80% OF WHAT HULK SEEING. IT SO CASUAL AND SLIGHT THE PERSON ARTICULATING IT BARELY SEES IT. BUT JUST EVEN HINTING AT THE OLD "SEXISM" CHARGE IS AKIN TO LIGHTING THE MATCH IN THE POWDER KEG. AS SUCH, EVEN OUR BADASS THREAD (WHICH MEREDITH DID AN AWESOME JOB WRITING UP) GOT PARTICULARLY UGLY, REAL FAST.

BUT BEYOND OUR MUTUAL SITE, IT WAS REALLY THE SUDDEN, SHOCKING VITRIOL OF A NUMBER OF CLOSE, PERSONAL FRIENDS OF HULK'S THAT HULK REALLY FOUND UNNERVING. IT WAS LIKE SUDDENLY THEY WERE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. THEIR ARGUMENTS SEEMED SO OUT OF CHARACTER FOR THEM, BUT HEY... THERE THEY WERE.

HERE IS A RUN-DOWN OF SOME THOSE ARGUMENTS.

1. THIS SHOW IS NOT FOR ME / I CAN'T RELATE

HULK REMEMBERS THE FIRST MOVIE HULK EVER RELATED TO. IT MIRRORED EXACTLY HOW LITTLE HULK GREW UP ON THIS MOISTURE FARM IN THE DESERT PLANET OF TATOOINE AND ALL OF SUDDEN THESE TWO DROIDS SHOWED UP AND CHANGED HULK'S LIFE FOREVER. YOU SEE [SARCASTIC JOKE GOES ON]. THE GENUINE POINT IS THAT IDENTIFICATION IN THESE SORTS OF DIRECT TERMS IS MEANINGLESS. WE DON'T RELATE TO OCCUPATIONS AND STATUS. WE RELATE TO EMOTIONS. WE EMPATHIZE WITH PEOPLE GETTING CRAPPED ON IN LIFE. AND REALLY? 20-SOMETHINGS FRESH OUT OF COLLEGE WITHOUT A JOB? THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S NOT PRETTY UNIVERSAL? ... OKAY.

2. YEAH, BUT THE SHOW IS ABOUT WHINY 20-SOMETHINGS WHO THINK NEW YORK IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

YES. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT. BUT THE SHOW IS OFTEN LOOKING AT THEM WITH A CRITICAL EYE. BUT UNLIKE, SAY, A SHOW LIKE IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA WHICH MAKES THEIR SELFISHNESS OVERT AND THUS ONE BIG JOKE, THERE IS A GRAY LAYER TO THIS ONE. MEANING THE THEORETICAL PROBLEM OF GIRLS IS THAT IT ALSO HAS AN UNDERSTANDING EYE TOWARD ITS WORLD. IT'S NOT OUTRIGHT CONDEMNING BEHAVIORS YOU MAY FIND CONDEMNABLE. IT IS TRYING TO HUMANIZE THEM. TO HULK, THE EFFECT IS AN HONEST APPROACH TO PEOPLE WHO ARE TOTALLY WHINY, YOUNG NEW YORKERS, BUT WHO, AMAZINGLY ENOUGH, CAN STILL HAVE VERY REAL, TEXTURED, WELL-OBSERVED AND RATHER FUNNY LIVES.

3. THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MINORITIES ON THE SHOW; IT'S RACIST

... OKAY. THIS ONE IS A LITTLE TOUGH. AND THE REASON IS NOT BECAUSE IT'S SOMETHING THE SHOW IS "GUILTY OF." IT'S BECAUSE IT'S NOT THE RIGHT FRAMING ARGUMENT FOR A SHOW THAT HAS AIRED ONCE. HULK IS NORMALLY CONSCIOUS OF A SHOW'S RACIAL POLITICKING AND SENSIBILITIES AND... WELL... IT JUST HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT GIRLS WORKS RIGHT NOW. IT JUST DOESN'T. AFTER SIX SEASONS? YEAH MAYBE. HECK, HULK DOESN'T REMEMBER SEX AND THE CITY GETTING A LOT OF FLACK FOR THIS WHEN THAT SHOW'S TRACK RECORD WAS BEYOND ABYSMAL (AND MICHAEL PATRICK KING'S REBUTTAL TO THE CHARGES WAS TO MAKE AN EPISODE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE BEING RACIST TO WHITE PEOPLE. IT'S OKAY. MPK'S NONSENSE IS NOW BEING APPROPRIATELY CALLED OUT FOR THE CRAP ON TWO BROKE GIRLS).

BUT THE LARGER POINT IS THAT IT'S OFF TOPIC. ESPECIALLY WHEN THE SHOW IS REALLY TRYING TO FOCUS OTHER UNDERREPRESENTED IDEAS. AT BEST IT'S NOTHING MORE THAN A VALID QUESTION FOR THE SHOW'S FUTURE (AGAIN, ONE EPISODE). AT WORST? IT'S AKIN TO WONDERING WHY DO THE RIGHT THING DIDN'T DO A BETTER JOB COVERING THE INTRICACIES OF THE STOCK MARKET.

IT'S JUST NOT WHAT THE SHOW IS ABOUT. AFTER ALL, WE DIDN'T MIND THAT THE ENTIRE CAST OF FREAKS AND GEEKS WAS WHITE.

4. LENA DUNHAM'S TOO YOUNG TO BE GIVEN THIS SUCCESS.

WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING? NOTHING, THAT'S WHAT. BUT IF YOU DON'T THINK PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY MAKING THIS ARGUMENT THERE ARE A LOT OF 30-SOMETHING BITTER GUYS OUT HERE WHO HAVE NON-STOP GRIPED ABOUT HOW DUNHAM GOT A CRITERION TREATMENT FOR HER FIRST FILM. AND THAT'S THE LEAST TROUBLESOME OF WHAT THEY'VE HAD TO SAY.

5. BUT THERE ARE OTHER MORE DESERVING FEMALE WRITERS

WE AS A CULTURE REVERE ABOUT 50+ MALE FILMMAKERS AT THE GIVEN MOMENT, PROBABLY A LOT MORE COME TO THINK OF IT. AND WHAT? THE OTHER 50% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION HAS TO FIGHT OVER THE ONE "GIRL SPOT?" IS THAT HOW THIS IS GOING TO WORK? A GROUP OF PEOPLE CAN'T CELEBRATE DUNHAM BREAKING THROUGH AND GETTING INDIE/HBO SUCCESS BECAUSE SHE'S NOT DESERVING OF BEING THE ONE? COME ON. THAT'S JUST NOT VALID AND WE ALL KNOW IT. IF THERE ARE OTHER GREAT FEMALE WRITER/DIRECTORS, DUNHAM'S SUCCESS WILL ONLY HELP GIVE THEM A SHOT.

6. YEAH, BUT IT'S JUST SOOOOO A CASE OF NEPOTISM

CAUSE SHE'S SPIELBERG'S DAUGHTER? NO. SHE'S NOT. SHE'S THE CHILD OF A COUPLE OF NEW YORK ARTISTS. SO WHAT? HECK, IT WOULDN'T EVEN MATTER IF SHE WERE SPIELBERG'S DAUGHTER. HULK RECENTLY SPOKE ON THE MATTER WITH THE KIND AND VASTLY KNOWLEDGEABLE MARC EDWARD HEUCK (WHOM YOU CAN ALWAYS READ HERE) AND HE PUT THE TOTAL REFLEXIVITY OF THE NEPOTISM ARGUMENT INTO PERFECT LIGHT, CITING HOW WE NEVER SEEM TO MIND THIS WHEN IT'S THE BLISTERINGLY-TALENTED FILMMAKERS LIKE DUNCAN JONES AND JASON REITMAN, BUT SOFIA COPPOLA? YUP. THAT'S NEPOTISM AT WORK!

LOOK, SEXISM ISN'T ABOUT THINGS INHERENTLY COMING FROM SEXIST PLACES. NO ONE ACTUALLY THINKS THEY'RE SEXIST. SEXISM IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE WAYS WE DON'T REALIZE WE'RE REACTING TO SOMETHING ALONG GENDER LINES. THE WAYS WE ARE BEING BIASED WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT. AND YES, THE NEPOTISM ANGLE ON SOFIA AND DUNHAM IS ABSOLUTELY A DOUBLE STANDARD.

7. YEAH, BUT IT STILL WASN'T WORTH THE HYPE

NOTE: CRITICS ARE NOT ARBITERS OF HYPE. THEY HAVE PERSONAL OPINIONS. AND YES, CRITICS GET EXCITED ABOUT THINGS. THEY OFTEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF BEING ON THE FRONT LINES OF DISCOVERY. BUT AS SUCH, PLEASE REALIZE THAT THIS JUST MEANS THEY ARE THEREFORE ALWAYS HONEST. THINK ABOUT THAT. THERE'S NO PRETENSIONS ONE WAY OR THE OTHER YET. THERE IS ONLY WHAT THEY SEE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THEY DO NOT SIT AROUND TOGETHER DECIDING HOW THEY WILL EACH PARTICIPATE IN PROMOTING THE HYPE. THEY EVEN TRYING TO BREAK OFF AND FIND THEIR OWN PERSONAL ANGLE AND MOTIVATION IN EACH PIECE OF WRITING. THEY SIMPLY LOOK INWARD, FORM AN INTERNAL RESPONSE AND EXTERNALLY ARTICULATE IT. AND WITH GIRLS, THE CRITICS RESPONDED TO SOMETHING ABOUT THE SHOW BEYOND ANY POLITICAL NONSENSE. THEY RESPONDED TO THE SHOW BECAUSE THEY SAW SOMETHING THEY LOVED. AND TRUST HULK, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO LIE IN A REVIEW IN THE NAME OF HYPE. IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.

SO HULK HAS A QUESTION: WHY DO WE THEN SLAM BACK AT CRITICS FOR OVER-HYPING THINGS IF THEY DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO CONTROL THE GLUT OF TRENDING CULTURE, BUT CAN ONLY SUPPLY AN HONEST OPINION? OF ALL THE NONSENSE CHARGES AGAINST CRITICS, IT IS THIS ONE THAT HULK UNDERSTANDS THE LEAST.

8. PEOPLE JUST WANT TO SUPPORT A WOMEN'S SHOW

... NO... WE DON'T JUST WANT TO SUPPORT A "WOMEN'S SHOW." ONCE AGAIN, SOCIETY COMES TO THAT UGLY CROSS-SECTION OF TOPICALITY AND PRESUMED MOTIVE. IS THE FACT THAT A LOT OF US ARE WRITING ABOUT THE GENDER ROLES AND THAT IT'S "A GOOD SHOW ABOUT WOMEN" THE SUBJECT OF CONVERSATION? YES. THAT IS THE SUBJECT. BUT THAT IS NOT THE MOTIVE. THE MOTIVE FOR A CRITIC TO WRITE ANYTHING IS NOT IN IDENTITY, BUT IN DELIVERY. THE SHOW CAME AND IT DELIVERED IN OUR ESTIMATION. IT IS NOT SOMETHING WE JUST DECIDE TO LIKE.

WHENEVER HULK GETS ACCUSED OF THIS KIND OF THINKING, IT IS ALWAYS HULK'S INCLINATION TO TURN IT BACK AROUND TO SOME BASIC AND SADLY TRUE PSYCHOLOGY: THAT IT IS SAFE TO ASSUME THAT ONE CAN ONLY PRESUME THIS "I WILL ONLY OPERATE EITHER FOR OR AGAINST WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO" MODEL IS HOW THE ACCUSER VIEWS OPERATION OF THE WORLD. OH THE ACCUSER ALWAYS TRIES TO REMOVE THEMSELVES. AS IF THEY ARE THEY ARBITER OF GENUINE REACTION AND EVERYONE ELSE IS JUST A PUPPET TO WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. THIS IS ACTUALLY A DEEPLY COMMON THREAD OF HIGH GRADE SOLIPSISM. OR... GULP... A TRAIT OF SOCIOPATHY. BECAUSE IF A PERSON BELIEVES THAT'S HOW PEOPLE BEHAVE IN SOCIETY, THAT THEY ARE SO WILLING TO DISREGARD THEIR GENUINE REACTION IN THE NAME OF CULTURAL TRENDING, THAN HULK SORRY BUT THAT IS THEREFORE HOW THEY BELIEVE SOCIETY (READ: INCLUDING THEMSELVES) BEHAVES AT LARGE.

THE RESULT IS PEOPLE GOING AROUND SEARCHING FOR THE ONGOING SUSPICION OF CONFIRMATION BIAS IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE, THUS RESULTING IN... YUP! THEIR OWN UNIQUE FORM OF CONFIRMATION BIAS! HULK SORRY GUYS, BUT IT'S TRUE.

AND IT FUCKING SUCKS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE THINGS FOR GENUINE REASONS.

9. [INSERT BLINDLY SEXIST STATEMENT HERE]

HERE WE GO.

THE TRUTH IS THAT HULK DOESN'T WANT TO GET INTO AN ARGUMENT ABOUT ANY OF THESE ARGUMENTS 1-8. THEY'RE ALL EQUALLY UNINTERESTING. MOSTLY BECAUSE THEY'RE JUST STRAW-MEN ARGUMENTS THAT DON'T HOLD AN OUNCE OF THEORETICAL WATER AND WOULD NEVER BE LAUNCHED AT SHOWS THAT WERE DIRECTED BY A 24-YEAR-OLD MAN. OF COURSE, PEOPLE MAY CLAIM THAT THEY'RE NOT DOING THAT, BUT REVEAL TO HULK HOW MANY OTHER SHOWS GOT THIS KIND OF IDENTITY-BASED SCRUTINY AND HULK WILL BUY YOU A COKE.

AND THE SUCKY-AS-SHIT TRUTH IS THAT SO MANY WOMEN IN THIS ONLINE CRITICAL BUSINESS ARE SURROUNDED BY THESE KINDS OF ARGUMENTS AND COMMENTS ALL THE TIME. THEY'RE PRACTICALLY SWIMMING IN THEM. AND EVERY ATTEMPT TO SAY SOMETHING AND BATTLE CAN ONLY SEEM TO DIG THE WHOLE THING INTO A DEEPER HOLE WITH YOU GUYS. AND EVEN WITH THE MOST GRACIOUS PARTICIPANTS, SOMETIMES YOU GUYS DON'T EVEN SEE IT. IT ALWAYS TURNS INTO THIS LIST OF SMART MEN TELLING WOMEN THINGS ABOUT HOW SOMETHING REALLY WORKS. AND IT RARELY FEELS LIKE DISCUSSION.

AND YESTERDAY, THESE KIND OF COMMENTS WERE EVERYWHERE. AND LAST NIGHT THEY FINALLY CAME TO BADASS.

HULK'S GOING TO CALL OUT ONE IN EXCHANGE PARTICULAR. HULK NORMALLY WOULDN'T BUT THIS ONE CALLS FOR IT. THE COMMENT THREAD BEGAN WITH ANONYMOUS COMMENTER HARDCORE TROLLING BEFORE BREAKING THIS LITTLE BIT IN RESPONSE:

ANONYMOUS COMMENTER: You know, equality of the sexes means that women are able to be criticized just like men. It doesn't mean that we have to treat every woman like she's in the special olympics and claim everything they do is amazing.

If a man made this show you wouldn't be praising it so much.

---

 

MEREDITH: Yeah, I don't need anyone to tell me what equality of the sexes means. You'd better fucking believe I don't expect or want anyone to treat me or any other woman like we're in the Special Olympics. I just expect actual discourse rather than shitty trolling comments with no explanation or frame of reference.

If a man made this show I'd be fucking impressed.

---

 

ANONYMOUS COMMENTER: Good post. No, great post. That was an amazing and groundbreaking post. Best post of the past 20 years.

(pats on head. gives cookie)

---

OKAY.... THIS IS THE SADDEST THING THAT HULK HAS EVER SEEN ANYONE SAY ON BADASS.

IT IS SYMBOLIC OF EVERYTHING HULK STANDS AGAINST. IT'S RUDE. IT'S FLIP. IT'S DISRESPECTFUL. IT'S SELF-CENTERED. IT'S DETACHED. IT'S BELITTLING. AND IT'S SEXIST AS SHIT.

IT IS SOMEONE SO UTTERLY TRAPPED IN THEIR OWN DISPOSITION THAT THEY CAN LITERALLY NOT SEE WHEN THEY'RE BREAKING OUTSIDE OF IT.

AND IT'S JUST HEARTBREAKING.

GOING BEYOND THE PUSH-PULL DEBATE OF GENDER POLITICS. THERE'S JUST ANOTHER LEVEL TO IT AS WELL.

GUYS, WE SPEND HOURS WRITING THESE ARTICLES FOR, LIKE, NO MONEY AND WE DO IT JUST TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY. TO CONNECT. HULK COULD HAVE DONE A MILLION OTHER VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TONIGHT, BUT THE ALTERCATION WAS SO UPSETTING THAT HULK DECIDED TO STAY UP TIL 6 AM AND WRITE THIS ARTICLE. HULK IS LITERALLY GETTING UP TO WORK TODAY IN TWO HOURS. BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT. IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT HULK HAD TO WRITE IT.

HULK ISN'T LOOKING FOR ANY SYMPATHY MIND YOU. HULK FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT THIS SITE WORKS AS A BIT OF A "SERVICE" TO YOU, BUT WE GENUINELY STRIVE TO MAKE IT FEEL LIKE MORE THAN THAT. WE WANT YOU TO CONNECT AND FEEL AT HOME. TO FEEL LIKE LIKE YOU CAN HAVE A GREAT CONVERSATION AND GET SO MUCH MORE THAN A "NEWS BIT" OR A CHEAP LAUGH.

 

SO WHEN YOU COME AT PEOPLE WITH RUDENESS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION HULK JUST WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT, ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL, IT FEELS LIKE THIS: IMAGINE YOU INVITED PEOPLE OVER TO DINNER AND SPENT HOURS COOKING. YOU WERE REALLY HOPING THEY WOULD ENJOY THE FOOD. BUT INSTEAD THEY SHOW UP, SKIP THE FOOD, RAID YOUR LIQUOR CABINET, THEN SPIT IN YOUR FACE... YEAH. AND HEY, WE'RE FUCKING PROFESSIONALS AND WE CAN OBVIOUSLY TAKE IT (YOU CAN'T WRITE ON THE INTERNET IF YOU LET IT AFFECT YOU TOO MUCH) BUT WHEN YOU ARE DISRESPECTFUL IN COMMENTS, THEN WHAT HULK DESCRIBED IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING ON A FIGURATIVE LEVEL.

THE OLD INTERNET RULE APPLIES. JUST IMAGINE HOW YOU'D ACT IF THIS WAS A REAL-LIFE INTERACTION.

10. OKAY, OKAY FINE... BUT WHAT WE REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND IS HOW COULD YOU LIKE THE SHOW? I MEAN, IT'S JUST NOT GOOD!!!

THE REAL ANSWER OF WHY GIRLS IS ANY GOOD IS BECAUSE AFTER THREE EPISODES IT MANAGES TO ARTICULATE SOMETHING FEW OTHERS SHOWS DO, LET ALONE ATTEMPT. GIRLS IS ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAPPING AND FRAGILITY OF THE YOUNG FEMALE MIND. IT'S ABOUT THE CONTRADICTIONS AND ETHOS OF YOUNG FEMALE SEXUALITY. AND WITH BOTH OF THESE SUBJECTS IT TREATS THEM HONESTLY, BLUNTLY AND WITHOUT FEAR. AND IT DOES THEM WELL.

THIS IS A FUCKING RARITY.

LENA DUNHAM HAS A FEARLESS SENSE OF HONESTY (JUST WAIT FOR THE NEXT FEW EPISODES). EVEN IN TINY FURNITURE (A FILM HULK IS NOT A FAN OF BY THE WAY) SHE STILL MANAGES TO SHOW SUCH PROMISE WITH HER BRAZEN, SELF-EFFACING VOICE. SHE'S COMPLETELY UNAFRAID TO PAINT HERSELF AS OUT OF CONTROL AND PROBLEMATIC. SHE IS A MASTER OF DISPLACEMENT AND DEFLECTION. AND IT IS WONDERFUL. AND HULK HONESTLY BELIEVES THAT VOICE MEANS SOMETHING. SHE'S GROWING AS A FILMMAKER AND STORYTELLER AND ONLY SEEMING TO GET BETTER. HULK THINKS THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF GIRLS ARE SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL. IT ARTICULATES A FEW IDEAS THAT FEW SHOWS DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO ATTEMPT.

SO YOU CAN TEAR DOWN THE WALLS OF THIS STATEMENT, WITH ALL THE REASONS THE SHOW IS TERRIBLE IN YOUR VIEW.

AND THAT'S FINE. HULK DISAGREES, BUT REALLY FINE.

ALL HULK ASK IS THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHY WE CHERISH WHAT IT DOES. BECAUSE WHAT IT CAPTURES IS SOMETHING SO RARE THIS DAY AND AGE AND A HUGE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE SEE IT TOO. AND IT'S OKAY THAT WE DO. IT HAS VALUE THAT IS SO FAR BEYOND A SIMPLE LAUGH OR CHEAP ENTERTAINMENT. THESE ARE SOME BIG, INTERESTING CONCEPTS AND WE ARE HERE TO FEAST ON THEM. IT'S OKAY THAT WE WANT TO DO THAT.

JUST AS IT'S OKAY TO UNDERSTAND THAT I AM LOVE IS A FILM GETTING DRUNK OFF THE POSSIBILITIES OF CINEMA.

BUT IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND THAT, WE CAN'T FORGET TO LISTEN.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, LISTENING IS A HUGE PART OF WHAT WE DO HERE AT BADASS. WE TAKE THE COMMENTS VERY SERIOUSLY AND VALUE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. HECK, HULK TRIES TO RESPOND TO EVERYTHING Y'ALL HAVE TO SAY AND DOES SO WITH JOY. HULK ALWAYS SAYS THIS IS ABOUT CONNECTING TO PEOPLE AND HULK MEANS IT. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE HAVE EMAILED AND CONVERSED THROUGH THIS PLACE.

IT'S FUNNY... SOMETIMES HULK GETS A LITTLE FLACK FOR NOT FLYING HULK'S BADASS FLAG ON THE SITE ENOUGH. FOR NOT GETTING ON WITH THE SMASHY-SMASH AND FUCKING UP THE STUPIDS. WHICH HULK TOTALLY UNDERSTANDS. AFTER ALL, HULKS ARE HULKS.

BUT THE OTHER THING HULK LOVES ABOUT THIS SITE IS THAT WE EMBRACE THE FULL-SPECTRUM OF WHAT BADASS HUMANITY MEANS. SURE, WE WILL SPEND HOURS TALKING WITH YOU ABOUT THE GENIUS OF WARREN OATES, THE SUMMER OF 82, THE JOYS OF JOHN CARPENTER, THE LURID INSANITY OF THE DAILY NEWS CYCLE, AND CELEBRATE THE MILLIONS OF CULT FIGURES US DUDES ADORE. BUT AT BADASS WE HAVE EQUAL ROOM IN OUR HEARTS FOR THE JUDY BLUMES OF THE WORLD. FOR THE KATNISS EVERDEENS. AND HOPEFULLY THE LENA DUNHAMS TOO.

ISN'T THAT STUFF FOR GIRLS?

WELL, ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT A WHOLE LOT OF WOMEN READ BADASS, AS WELL. AND A BETTER QUESTION WOULD BE "IS IT FOR MEN?" BECAUSE REAL MEN ARE ADULTS. THEY HAVE A SENSE OF UNDERSTANDING. TO DO THAT THEY LISTEN AND TAKE OWNERSHIP. THEY BEHAVE AS HONORABLE MODELS FOR OTHERS. THEY STAND UP FOR THINGS THAT MEAN SO MUCH MORE THAN SIMPLY WHATEVER IS GOOD FOR THEM OR OTHER MEN... THAT'S WHAT BEING A REAL FUCKING MAN MEANS.

IT'S NOT HARDENED COP. IT'S NOT THE MUSCLE-BOUND ACTION HERO. IT'S THE QUIET DIGNITY OF "ENTERING YOUR HOME JUSTIFIED" AS A CERTAIN AGING COWBOY ONCE SAID. AND IT'S PART OF BEING AN ADULT.

DO YOU KNOW WHO HULK THINKS IS THE BIGGEST BADASS IN ALL OF FILM AND LITERATURE?

ATTICUS FINCH.

WHEN HULK THINKS ABOUT THAT MAN, AND EVERY SINGLE THING HE EVER REPRESENTED, HULK STARTS TO WELL UP A LITTLE. THAT'S JUST A LITTLE HONESTY FOR YOU. THERE IS NO CHARACTER WHO HULK THINKS STANDS MORE FOR THE NOTION OF DECENCY IN THE FACE OF INDECENCY. FOR GRACE IN THE FACE OF UGLINESS. WHAT'S MORE BADASS THAN SOMEONE DOING THE HARDEST YET MOST MORAL THING, EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE?

AND OF COURSE, HE ALSO REMINDS HULK OF HULK'S GRANDFATHER. SOMEONE WHO ALSO UNDERSTOOD THE IDEA OF RESPECT AND NOBILITY IN THEIR BONES.

... AND THE OTHER THING ABOUT ATTICUS FINCH WAS THAT HE WAS NEVER AFRAID TO JUST LISTEN.

WITH KINDNESS,

-HULK.

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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