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Celebrity Slam - These kids today!

November 23, 2021
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An underappreciated subgenre of Slammable offense in today’s Hollywood is the “out of touch famous person says/does something that illustrates just how out of touch they are” moment. We don’t get as many of them as we used to – we assume that has something to do with PR teams being much better at keeping their clients from wandering down those particular paths – but every once in a while, one of them slips through.

We’ve got a good one for you this week, featuring venerable film director and cinematic icon Ridley Scott. The octogenarian filmmaker has a big week ahead of him, with his new film “House of Gucci” going into wide release – by all indications, it’s going to be quite … something … to behold.

Alas, old Ridley wasn’t about to allow the focus to remain fully on his upcoming project. Not when he has an axe to grind regarding his last film, the commercial bomb that was “The Last Duel.” The film, while receiving solid reviews, did absolutely nothing at the box office. Some would argue that the provocative nature of the film, as well as the less-than-stellar marketing campaign behind it (not to mention the ongoing issues with theatrical releases and the pandemic), contributed to the lack of sales.

Nope. It’s the millennials.

In an episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast that dropped on Monday, the host was speaking about how impressed he was that Scott had two massive movies coming out in such a short span of time. This led to a discussion of the absolute thud that “The Last Duel” made at the box office.

Scott claimed that he was perfectly happy with the way that Disney – which acquired Fox after the film was already in the can – marketed the film, claiming that while he was concerned that the media behemoth would undersell the movie, he ultimately felt like they did “a fantastic job,” adding that “the bosses loved it.”

So whose fault is it, Ridley?

“I think what it boils down to — what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these f—king cellphones. The millennian [sic] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you’re told it on a cellphone,” he said.

He went on to add “This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. This is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.”

He followed up by talking about how he stood by the film, how filmmakers should be their own critic, yada yada yada “The Last Duel.”

Obviously, literally nothing he said mattered after he blamed the failure of his $100 million medieval Rashomon he-said-he-said-she-said sexual assault epic on the “millennian.” That phrasing is objectively hilarious – it couldn’t be any funnier if he was shouting it at children playing on his lawn or at some random cloud he was shaking his fist at.

There are any number of factors that could have contributed to the flop, but to zero in on “the youth” while blaming cell phones and Facebook? Come on, man – you’re a cinematic treasure, but you have to be better than this.

(This is where I will note that I actually thought “The Last Duel” was an excellent film. I will also note that I was in no way surprised to hear that it did poorly at the box office. This kind of movie is a tough sell under ideal conditions, let alone when many people have yet to return to theaters.)

I wasn’t expecting Ridley Scott to go full Grumpy Old Man, but nor am I surprised that he did. The dude is on the verge of turning 84 (maybe he already is, depending on when you read this) – there’s probably a lot about the world he doesn’t care for. He’s spent plenty of time ruminating on dystopias, after all – the “Alien” films, “Blade Runner,” etc. He’s a brilliant and accomplished filmmaker, an artist of vision and style.

He just also happens to be a stodgy old crank who has decided that his (and by extension the whole world’s) problems are in fact the fault of, well … those damned millennians.

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 November 2021 09:37

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