Ethan Hawke Shows The Value in Pride

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Seeing the negativity aimed at The Marvels reminded me about watching Ethan Hawke before a screening.

With The Marvels taking in a disappointing $47 million opening weekend, people seemed quick to mock. After all, it’s the lowest opening in the MCU. 

And while complaints over a weak main villain or questionable CGI have their place, much of the criticism came before the film was released. It doesn’t help matters when the star of the film Brie Larson seemingly took a swipe at white male critics. 

What’s missing from the talk is how much film viewing has changed, especially following COVID-19. Streaming has taken over as stores like Best Buy announce they will stop selling DVDs after the holidays. With streaming, you wait weeks, not months, after premiering causing viewers to question spending $30 per person for a ticket, candy, and soda. 

While those are valid concerns the industry must face, what’s disappointing is the unnecessary negativity. Sure, it’s easy to put down a Marvel film. The Marvels’ was the target for many even before a second of footage was released. The sad part is we forget the hundreds, if not thousands, of people working hard on these films. None who thought, “I can’t wait to make a crappy film.” 

In sports, fans on one side root against the opposing team. With all the joy over a film’s failure, one has to wonder who the winners are. It’s not like The Marvels’ box-office failure means something else succeeds. So why are we cheering? 

Last March, I attended the SXSW red carpet premiere of The Last Movie Stars, directed by Ethan Hawke. It’s a documentary about the journey of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward as they became movie stars. 

I’d interviewed Ethan before and eagerly arrived early. While setting up my camera, I noticed Ethan discreetly approach the theater. Nobody seemed to notice as the Hollywood celebrity stood in the road looking at the theater marquee with his film in lights and taking a picture. The amount of pride radiating from him was palpable. One might have thought he’d just directed a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. 

He quietly walked away to prepare for his official red carpet entrance, the crowd around him was still unaware of the legend in their mist. As much as I wanted to film his visit, I decided it was too personal of a moment for him and settled on a photo. 

I can only imagine young Iman Vellani, who plays. Ms. Marvel reacting with similar pride whenever she sees anything relating to The Marvels. Yet all the buzz is how it’s the biggest failure in the MCU. 

Criticism is a part of life. Unfortunately, it’s also a way to gain views online. It used to be if something wasn’t your thing, you didn’t watch it. Now, everyone has to share their thoughts even before giving it a chance. 

We need to show more pride in the work we do. Let’s hope there never comes a day when someone can’t look at the work they did and glow with pride. 

Content ©2023 Greg Staffa/The Staffa Connection. All Rights Reserved

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