Seth Rogen Was Devastated By Bad Reviews For Green Hornet & The Interview

Slash Film

Michel Gondry’s superhero film “The Green Hornet,” adapted from the 1936 radio adventure serial and subsequent 1966 TV series, was not well received when it hit theaters in 2011. The film currently has an unremarkable 44% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and falls frustratingly between high-energy superhero parody and crass, low art comedy. “The Green Hornet” was written by its star Seth Rogen and his frequent writing partner Evan Goldberg, and the two seemed to feel that Rogen’s slobby screen persona would be enough to freshen up an otherwise pat vigilante story.

Rogen and Goldberg also united in 2014 to direct the controversial film “The Interview,” a movie about a pair of “Daily Show”-style news comedians (Rogen and James Franco) going to North Korea specifically to assassinate Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) under the subterfuge that they will be interviewing him. The film attracted ire from Korea, seeing as it indirectly threatened a dictator’s life, and Sony balked at releasing it. It did eventually come out — on Netflix — to lackluster numbers and generally warm reviews; “The Interview” also remains largely unremarkable, with a 52% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

No one can shield themselves from criticism, and no piece of art should be removed from critical consideration, but Rogen — in an interview with the “Diary of a CEO” podcast — wanted it known that negative reviews can sting, and sting deeply. Indeed, Rogen feels that if critics knew how much their reviews can hurt, then critics wouldn’t be so quick to lambaste or dismiss a movie. He doesn’t bother to acknowledge, however, how badly some critics fare in the general cinematic discourse.

Rogen Vs. Critics

Seth Rogen made an open plea to critics, asking for leniency. As an artist, he didn’t like hearing from professionals that his works didn’t communicate what he intended:

“I think if most critics knew how much it hurt the people that made the things that they are writing about, they would second guess the way they write these things. […] It’s devastating. I know people who never recover from it. Honestly, years, decades of being hurt by [film reviews]. It’s very personal. […] It is devastating when you are being institutionally told that your personal expression was bad. That’s something that people carry with them, literally, their entire lives and I get why. It f***ing sucks.”

Rogen admitted that bad reviews for “The Green Hornet” were easier to stomach than those for “The Interview,” as the former was a mere studio genre picture, and the latter was more of his own personal vision. Rogen could also take comfort in the fact that “Hornet” opened to a respectable sum for the type of movie it was. That took the edge off a little:

“People just kind of hated it. It seemed like a thing people were taking joy in disliking a lot. But it opened to, like, $35 million, which was the biggest opening weekend I’d ever been associated with at that point. It did pretty well. That’s what’s nice sometimes. You can grasp for some sense of success at times.”

The opening was closer to $33 million, but Rogen’s point remains. Also, “The Interview,” in being shunted to streaming, lost a lot of money as a result, leaving Rogen with no box office to look to. It was, it seems, just not a success by any measure.

Developing A Thicker Skin

Seth Rogen also pointed out that negative reviews feel very personal, and that the real hurt comes from being rejected by one’s professional colleagues. He eventually admitted that he has a thicker skin now:

“When I was younger I really did not have as much perspective as I do. […] Now, I do not carry it with me as much as I used to.”

Rogen has seemingly fallen into a common groove of anti-critic thinking that commonly appears on social media. Critics are not Olympian millionaires who look down their noses, hoping to find movies to trash in a misguided sense of superiority. Many critics are passionate cinema lovers who have seen enough movies to understand what “works,” what has been done before, and how a great piece of art feels. Critics are artists themselves, using the art of others as their creative medium. Critics spend their time analyzing and considering a filmmaker’s messages, pondering ideas the filmmakers may not have intuited.

One might also say that every piece of art — in any medium — might be considered an antidote or a criticism of the art that came before it. Every Steven Spielberg film is a positive review of the works of John Ford, while every Lars Von Trier film is a criticism of Hollywood positivity. “The Green Hornet” is a sendup of superhero tropes, pointing out that characters like Rogen’s character aren’t necessarily well-suited to the superhero lifestyle, but are also capable of redemption. The message seems to be that being a vigilante can force righteous behavior out of people. It mocks, but is ultimately positive toward the Green Hornet character.

In Defense Of Criticism

When a critic gives a bad review to “The Green Hornet,” they are communicating their honest frustration with the film’s less successful elements, perhaps bristling at its overall blunt lack of thought; the messaging isn’t terribly novel, and the execution not terribly exciting.

No critic with a modicum of professional integrity will slam a film with the express purpose of trying to make a filmmaker feel bad. A good critic is carrying on a conversation about what does and does not function about a piece of art. They are in a constant state of reassessing their beloved medium, and seeking out its most positive examples. No critic enters a movie hoping to hate it. It’s amazing to be impressed or taken entirely by surprise.

Seth Rogen would also do well to realize how often critics are stung in return. We are attacked for our opinion on movies, positive or negative. We are often accused of being killjoys, or of misunderstanding movies. We’re often called contrarians. In many cases, we are even accused of corruption; it’s frequent that critics are assumed to be accepting bribes in exchange for a positive review. Seeing as a critic is nothing without their honesty, such a bribe would never be taken. It also implies that a positive review from a single critic is worth a great deal of cash to a studio, which I suspect is not the case.

Critics see many, many movies and understand that each one requires a great deal of toil. But a critic cannot judge a film merely by the amount of effort that went into it; if a car breaks down, one cannot take peace in the fact that manufacturers worked hard to make it.

Read this next: The 10 Best Comedies Of The Last 10 Years

The post Seth Rogen Was Devastated By Bad Reviews For Green Hornet & The Interview appeared first on /Film.

/Film – Seth Rogen Was Devastated By Bad Reviews For Green Hornet & The Interview
Author: Witney Seibold
Go to Source
March 12, 2023

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