Monday, June 06, 2005

Girly X-Men Unite Against Cinderella

Why do so many Gen-X men hate Cinderella Man? My wife and I watched the film on opening night and we both thought it was fantastic. But an astonishing 16% of men ages 30-44 slammed the movie with a 1 rating (out of 10) on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) site. By comparison, 56% of all IMDB users rated the film a 10, for an overall average rating of 8.4. This will put the movie solidly in the IMDB top-100 movies of all time if the rating holds up after more votes come in (about 1600 votes were cast as of this post). Older men (45+), young men (under 18), and women were far more positive; but 18-29 year old men also comprised the next harshest group with 4.2% of them assigning a 1 rating. What could account for this disparity? I can think of a few reasons why some people might really hate this movie:
  1. They hate underdog-must-win sports movies. Ok, fine. But why would this apply to men more than women? Also, 1-ratings for several other popular films in this category occur at a much lower rate among 30-44 year old males—from less than 1% for Rocky, Hoosiers, and Seabiscuit to 1.6% for Miracle and 2.2% for Chariots of Fire.
  2. They mistakenly thought the movie was about a boxer turned drag-queen and were disappointed by the truth. (!) Possible, but not likely!
  3. They are huge fans of "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV show (the film's villain, Max Baer, was the real-life father of the actor who played Jethro Bodine). Again, why would this affect men and not women?
  4. They are angry liberals, upset by the film's exposure of their silliness in equating today's economy and GWB with the Great Depression and Herbert Hoover (5% vs 20-25% unemployment, no "Hoovervilles" in Central Park, etc.) Same story—why wouldn't this effect women as well?
Actually, I think Frederica Mathewes-Green's NRO article today may hold a clue to the real reason some men hate Cinderella Man:
Cinderella Man is not really a movie about boxing, it's a movie about what it means to be a man. In the character of Jim Braddock, we can read what today's audiences are wistful for: a man who works hard to support his wife and kids, who teaches his kids to be honest, who communicates his delight in his wife with every glance. As Mae says to Jim in a late scene, "You're the Bulldog of Bergen, the Pride of New Jersey, you're everybody's hope, you're your kids' hero, and the champion of my heart." Do they make them like that any more?
That's definitely a major subtext of the movie and it must be darned uncomfortable to hear for men who are derelict in their familial duties. It will be interesting to see if the IMDB voting trend continues.

UPDATE: After 2 weekends and 3200 total votes, 1-ratings by 30-44 year old men have fallen to 9% of total votes for that group--but that's still far higher than "normal". Interestingly, 6.4% of 30-44 year old females are now giving Cinderella Man a 1 rating. Also, note that the original post was made before the Russell Crowe phone-throwing incident. It's hard to predict how that will affect the movie's ratings or box-office performance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"He is champion of my heart, but I am captain of my soul."