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American Sniper certainly has made the entertainment headlines this week. With its record-breaking opening and stellar A+ rating on Cinemascore, it is clear that a good amount of moviegoers love Clint Eastwood's latest film. However, not everybody is reacting positively.
Now, I am not referring to the people who have reviewed it negatively based on its storytelling and artistic merits. I have absolutely no problem with anybody who hates American Sniper as a film. What I do have a problem with is high-profile individuals who make snarky, disrespectful comments about the film's supposed political agenda and then sloppily try to justify their statements.
Let's start with Michael Moore, who tweeted this on Sunday:
I could go on and on about how the snipers of the U.S. military are anything BUT cowards, but let's go a bit further. About five hours after posting this, Moore tweeted:
Now, this was tweeted hours later. It seemed to me (and plenty of other people) that Moore was originally chastising the military for "invading" Iraq and calling snipers like the late Chris Kyle "cowards." After he naturally received backlash, he slapped together a second tweet to undo the damage. Sorry, Mr. Moore, next time you should think about what you say before typing it.
After even more backlash ensues, Moore tweets this:
Moore denies that his tweet had anything to do with the film. Well, if it didn't have anything to do with the movie, why did he happen to tweet it on the same weekend that American Sniper broke records? And even if he wasn't referring to the film, he still blatantly stated that snipers in general are cowards, which is still an insult to Chris Kyle and every sniper in the military. Once again, people like Mr. Moore should think about what they are about to say before doing so.
The same goes for comedian Seth Rogen, who tweeted this:
The movie he is referring to this Nazi propaganda film where a German sniper shoots down allied soldiers.
Fast-forward to one day later and Rogen tweets this:
What Rogen doesn't understand is that people weren't upset over him possibly not liking the movie. They were upset that he drew comparisons between a Nazi sniper who worked for Hitler and killed heroic soldiers and an American Sniper who protected his fellow man in anyway possible against armed and dangerous Iraqis. It may not have been his intention, but Rogen basically insulted Chris Kyle's memory by comparing him to a Nazi. He thinks the backlash is about his opinion on the film when it was about how he disrespected the memory of an American hero. Mr. Rogen, a simple "If you were personally offended by my comments, I am sorry." would have sufficed. Sloppily justifying your statements just makes you look bad.
Furthermore, HitFix author Drew McWeeny's tweet reads:
"I'm not surprised 'American Sniper' opened so well. Fantasy films are huge at the box-office these days. #yeahIsaidit"
Of course, he faced backlash for this tweet, as many people naturally thought he called the film's pro-military motifs and its brutally honest portrayal of Chris Kyle's story "fantasy." As a result, he wrote a rather lengthy article on HitFix explaining why he was allowed to dislike the movie.
Why do people get so much more angry and defensive about any based-on-a-true-story that involves the military, and why do they feel some special need to attack anyone who dislikes these movies for any reason?
Just like Rogen, McWeeny ignores how people thought his comment disrespected the military and assumes people got angry because of his opinion on the film. He goes on and on about historical accuracy and the experience of a war movie, all in an attempt to defend his tweet. McWeeny then writes:
What worries me is that at a certain point, if you say that what a film is about is more important than the actual artistry of the filmmaking, then you're talking about propaganda... aren't you?
No Mr. McWeeny, nobody criticized you for not liking American Sniper. They are criticizing you for being so glib about the true story of a brave man and calling it "fantasy." That's the bottom line, plain and simple.
Between the snide comments and the awkward retracting of statements, Twitter is starting to look like a three-ring circus lately. You know the old phrase "look before you leap?" Well, there should be a new phrase that everybody that tweets should abide by: "think before you tweet."