Josh Hadley continues to take a look at the issue of industrialized plagiarism.
As illustrated last week, Industrialized Plagiarism is pretty much the only thing keeping Hollywood afloat at this point. If they were not able to reuse, repurpose, regurgitate and reacquire ideas there seemingly would not be ideas at all and do you know who’s fault this Industrialized Plagiarism is? YOURS. Yes, YOURS. You allow it. You okay it. You make excuses for it. YOU ARE THE REASON PLAGIARISM IS SO RAMPANT. You assault those who bring up the plagiarism and you pardon those who commit it so yes, it truly is YOUR fault. How do I justify that? For one, look at last weeks column. I have written about racism, sexism, war, politics, gun nuts and a variety of real world and serious topics but what is the one that gets me the most hate mail ever? Talking about Industrialized Plagiarism in Hollywood and movie god himself Quentin Tarantino. You people take your love of plagiaristic art more seriously than you do your love of guns, your hate of other races or even your sexual desires. You people have your priorities all fucked up. Anyway back to the bullshit…
The next time you see some obvious clone TV show or a movie is that all references you are able to let those in Hollywood know of your disapproval, don’t go, don’t watch and most of all point it out. Yeah, that is the most important part, don’t sit silently and grimace, let others know that this TV show/movie/game/book/comic/song is indeed plagiarized. There is a strange stigma that is attached to people like myself and Mike White (http://www.impossiblefunky.com) when it comes to this kind of endeavor though; we are labeled as nitpickers, doomsayers, unjustified critics or the one I like the most – angry children that are jealous of those who have a greater degree of success then ourselves. I love that one as it actually shows more about the person using it then it does for the person it is aimed at. The reason I love that last one so much is that it not only attempts to dismiss our LEGITIMATE claims outright but also tries to paint us in a light tainted by motivations other than those based in the facts we are loosing upon the world… in other words it’s not plagiarism, you are just jealous that such and such is a better filmmaker/writer/artist/programmer/thinker than you are… NEEEEEEAAAAAAAAH. The validity of our arguments gets pushed aside in favor of pointless distractions meant to cloud the issue and remove credibility, which shows two things about the person making the “jealousy” claim rather than about those of us with the wherewithal to see what others refuse to see.
1: It shows the caster of the stone to be someone that has no real counter-argument so they intend to distract with smoke and mirrors. If they could refute the claims made of plagiarism then why don’t they? Why do they choose instead to engage in games of misdirection in place of facts that support their side of the argument?
2: They use the aforementioned misdirection in a blatant attempt to either force you to defend yourself therefore dropping the question(s) you raised or they get you on the defensive and you lose your credibility in the claims you already brought forth.
What I don’t understand is this desire to excuse plagiarism by the fans; I get it that those that do the plagiarizing want it excused and made good, it gets them off the hook, I just don’t get why the fans follow this very same course. You really like a movie and then you find out that most of it is unoriginal at best and plagiarized at worst… so why is your first reaction to get indignant and angry at those who gave you the necessary facts to see this rather than point that anger at the person who did the plagiarizing? Why is it my fault for showing you that these movies you loved are stolen, plagiarized or otherwise not what you initially thought they were? Should you not be angry at the James Cameron’s and Quentin Tarantino’s out there that can’t seem to do something unless someone else did it first? Why am *I* the bad guy for pointing these things out? How am I at fault for seeing what you failed to see? I was hurt and even angry when I first read about Cameron’s theft of the source material that become The Terminator but once I read up on it my anger shifted to actually blaming he who committed the fraud, not he that simply exposed it.
Hollywood gives you people what you want and those that can’t think up something original feed into that the same as you do by either refusing to see the truth before you or making excuses as to why it’s okay for someone like Tarantino and not okay for Mattei. Why did Michael Bay get torn apart for The Island being a complete rip-off of Parts: The Clonus Horror but yet Tarantino is continued to be defended with every excuse imaginable about how Reservoir Dogs is not the same as City On Fire? No one disputes that The Island is a rip-off so why the rage directed at that but the pass on Reservoir Dogs? I can tell you why; because people like Reservoir Dogs and Tarantino more then they like The Island and Michael Bay. It’s that simple. Bay is a huge budget director with a known lack of storytelling skills and Tarantino is an indie director that is quite good at telling a story so he gets a pass from you people and in turn you attack me for being the one to yell “That guy has no clothes”. The modern moviegoer is so jaded and cynical about movies that those who think like I do are viciously gored for doing the job that a screenwriter/editor/director should have done. Why are we too picky if we pick out plot holes that should have been tackled from the script stage? Why are we over-analyzing a film for seeing that it makes no sense or that it’s riddled with errors? As a viewer do I not have the same ability to pick apart bad art as I do to appreciate good art? Why should I be the villain in this saga when it all comes down to someone (the filmmaker) not doing their job or at least doing it via stealing?
Tarantino gives you people what you want. Tarantino is soft minded material with a high minded style. He condenses the movies you never heard of into a format that is more palatable for you to digest and by proxy you get to see yourself as a cinema buff since you know that Lady Snowblood and the like are referenced in his movies. You are also allowing it not just by the way you attack his legitimate detractors but also by being the film snobs you are, yes I said it, you are film snobs. Most of you would never watch a film like They Call Her One Eye or The Blood Spattered Bride on their own but when Tarantino “homages” them you feel as if you are on the same level as he who has watched and appreciated them. It’s a cinema arrogance really and Tarantino feeds right into that. I know critic after critic that will defend his use of “homages” and praise them yet had never even heard of the movies in question prior to Tarantino. When terms like “Original Screenplay” is uttered in reference to Tarantino I just sigh and roll my eyes, there is nothing original there and you don’t just allow for it that it is the truth, you make up reasons why it’s okay. I see this issue in black and white, there are no grey areas here, theft is theft, plagiarism is plagiarism. Tarantino is the same as Mattei or The Asylum. When White Wolf Games sued over the movie Underworld I was in agreement that the producers of Underworld very much appropriated White Wolf’s product, although a judge disagreed I see that movie as the plagiarized work that it is and so should you. The fact that I liked the movie does not earn it a pass from me.
About the Industrialized Plagiarism itself in Hollywood as stated above, you vote with your dollar. The Island is a great example, in all honesty I think it’s one of Bay’s best movies and easily his smartest and most inventive… it is also his least successful film to date in no small part to the controversy about the films parentage in regards to Parts: The Clonus Horror. Remember after Friends was such a huge hit in the 90’s and every network did their own clone version? Well, you people voted with your viewership and most (if not all) of the Friends clones vanished within 6 months. You saw these things as being an inferior version of something you liked. You need to do that more. Stop renting or buying the Asylum Mockbusters, all you are doing is feeding them and making them grow stronger and reinforcing the unoriginality that is modern Hollywood. Call out Tarantino for his lifts and not me for showing them to you. The next time a slasher sequel comes out with the same plot as the previous entry (Paranormal Activity I am looking in your direction) don’t give them your money. Demand originality and end Industrialized Plagiarism in Hollywood. Just stop this cycle of domestic violence that is Industrialized Plagiarism. Don’t tell people you walked into a door or that Tarantino is just stressed and he really loves you. Maybe he will make something mostly good and take you out to dinner. Find a movie that is original and file divorce papers to Industrialized Plagiarism. Stop letting the Tarantino’s get away with it. Stop having a double standard about plagiarism in Hollywood. If you call Bruno Mattei a thief, call Tarantino one too.