Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Watchmen" Critics Inspire Passionate Response By Fans (NSFW)

I just finished reading a looooong comment thread on a conservative movie critic's website regarding her review of Watchmen. The reviewer, Debbie Schlussel, starts off by saying if you are going to see "Watchmen," "'re also probably a moron and a vapid, indecent human being." She says that the movie was marketed to kids, and goes on to list, in detail, every gory scene in the movie.

As you can imagine, the response was swift and severe.

Personally, I don't believe Watchmen was marketed to children. I also don't agree with her assessment that if you watch the film, you are an indecent human being.

Here is a sample of the responses to her post:


"I am a 17 year old female and I freaking love Watchmen I am a comic book nerd and I am not twisted I have always watched cartoons Yes voilent ones and read oh you guessed it voilent comics too I am not messed up for life I get high grades at school and I have normal friends but you know what I'm stuck with stupid self loving bitches like you telling me that what I like is wrong."

"this is one of the rare times i wish i lived in communist china where cunts like you got aborted with a coat hanger."

"hey fuck you you dumb cunt! if you can say what you want about the greatest movie of all time i can tell you that you are i dumb fuck who doesnt know shit about comic books! they didnt make this movie for people like you or little kids! they made it for comic book nerds like myself who enjoy graphic violence and swearing and rough sex scenes! so shove it up your dick hole! fuck you!"

"Someone needs to call the nice men in white coats on this bitch."



"Do the world a favor and sterilize yourself you dumb, mouth-breathing cunt."

"But seriously, you need to get punched."


and so on.

This reminds me of the opening of another Watchmen review by a female critic:

"Hey, fanboys. Yeah, you guys, the ones who flooded my inbox with e-mails after I trashed Zack Snyder's "300," wishing birth defects on my unborn children and suggesting that perhaps my husband isn't _ ahem _ keeping me satisfied."

If you go on the film site Rotten Tomatoes, there is usually a thread attacking every negative review of Watchmen:

"The plot made little sense to you becuase your stupid and old. It was not made for you. It was made for my generation full of intelligent young people."

"It's obvious that some of you cant handle the greatness of this film (or refuse to enjoy it for no apparent reason)"

Stupid people have a hard time following the film "Watchmen." Certainly anyone who found this film too "talky" falls into that category. I'm gratified that not everything (including action/fantasy genre) is being made just for RETARDS any more. Let the lowest common denominator go to stupid, cheap, ****ty movies. Let the budgets go to nifty fare like this"

You Suck!"

You sir are a fool with the intelligence of a pile of excrement."

"you are a turd minus the brown"

"stfu guy. man i hate reviewers who think they need to use rarely spoken words by anyone in an attempt to validate his opinion. freakin jerk offs at the wall street journal"

Reviews like this are unfair and unjust..
They should be removed when EVERYONE disagrees with them."

This literally goes on for the majority of the negative Watchmen reviews on eleven pages.

I guess it just goes to show that some people passionately love this graphic novel and movie.


  1. Ah, the joys of the internet. The ability to say anything you want without the fear of retribution or having to be decent. Where you are always right and those opposed to you are always wrong.

  2. Wow.
    Scary stuff.
    It's moments like this -- when a bunch of fine, fine, fine gentlemen get together and throw around words like "bitch" at some poor women they don't even know because she didn't like a movie -- that I am PROUD to be a comics fan.
    Yea, verily.

  3. I know I shouldn't have laughed that those comments, but I did. Then again I did like Watchmen, so I'm apparently a "a moron and a vapid, indecent human being"

  4. It's interesting how some people believe that reading an opinion that doesn't agree with theirs allows them to be abusive.
    I can sort of get it in the Debbie Schlussel case. Se did start the name calling.
    Now, wishing birth defects on an unborn child just because someone didn't like 300? That's just absurd!

  5. But isn't this sort of the (sad) Internet norm?

    I've read through several reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and if any Top Critics dared to speak ill of any comic book movie (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk) then the fans go nuts.

    I think Watchmen is only more noticeable because it's getting overall worse reviews than other movies. (And because it was hyped to hell)

  6. ... or passionate a-holes.

  7. The reviewers don't understand movies or comics. They are obviously cretins who deserved to be drowned in a moldy cesspool of their own press clippings. Along with Alan Moore, who must also be a philistine.

    [Note, sarcasm. I know there are some readers who've made Val's life difficult over issues of opinion and humor]

    I haven't seen the movie yet. Considering the box office and the passionate fan reaction, does that mean there's going to be a sequel?

  8. I know how fanboys can get, but I was still a little disappointed to read the responses to that review. From just gleaming your entry, it sounded uneccessary and dickish.

    Then I went and read the actual site.

    The dickish thing there is the reviewer herself. First, she calls anyone who likes the movie a moron, but then she goes and calls commenters morons EVEN WHEN their posts weren't abusive towards HER. The first couple I read were educational, trying to explain about the comic and that she got the wrong impression from the marketing (which she did there), and she goes and calls them idiots. And she loves to use the mantra "IT'S MARKETED TO KIDS! WAKE UP!"

    So, upon reading that, I no longer view the commenters as the bad guys. Could they have held the maturity line in the face of closed-mindedness? Absolutely. But, simple fact is while the woman is entitled to her opinion, automatically assuming anyone who has the opposite is beneath her and the rest of "decent society"? That's just a whole new level of wrong.

  9. Anonymous2:13 PM

    Of course, the problem is that this type of reaction clearly fuels the reviewer's bias. I'll go ahead and agree that it is "vapid and indecent" to call curses down on someone who has been "vapid and indecent" in their writing. An "Eye for an Eye" only works four times, maximum. heh.

    Fanaticism is absurd, and I laugh heartily. *blargh*

  10. "Considering the box office and the passionate fan reaction, does that mean there's going to be a sequel?"

    I absolutely believe that there will be some way a sequel is made out of this movie. If I had to guess, it would coincide/have synergy with the release of a new graphic novel. Making a sequel Watchmen GN without Moore's involvement will be controversial, but I'm willing to bet it's at least been considered.

  11. Wow. Not only is the vitriol absolutely disgusting, it's almost as stupid as the reviewer's "critique." How did you manage to get through all the comments? I felt lobotomized after a couple scrolldowns.

    "A few lines of dialogue by the character "Rorschach" deriding "liberals and intellectuals" doesn't excuse the nearly three hours of poison here. In fact, the movie kind of has a peacenik-themed ending and "message" regarding nuclear weapons. If this move is "conservative," who the heck needs liberal?"

    Say what?!? Was she expecting Superman Shrugged? Reviewing: you are doing it Wrong. And how is she convincing herself that a marketing plan that includes blue condoms is marketing for kids? "OMG they put a trailer for an R rated movie in the TV slot with the highest viewership ratings"? Of course, none of this justifies calling someone a cunt. Commenting: you are doing it Wrong.

    I like the little corners of the internet where I can forget how stupid and vindictive people can be. Roger Ebert's posts about Watchmen are insightful and enlightening, and lots of the comments had interesting things to say. Of course, what do I know? I'm a "moron and a vapid, indecent human being" who "deserves to have my sister torn apart by dogs." (No wonder the name calling was extra vitriolic. Nobody reacts well to name calling.) That's one reviewer whose opinion I won't be consulting, nor will I be looking to talk to her readers.

  12. sigh...why are those that take it upon themselves to represent comic fandom usually the very worst examples of it?

  13. I haven't seen Watchmen yet - but I imagine there's a strong chance that it may not be my cup of tea (I sort of think comic / graphic novel film adaptations work better if at least the TIP of the tounge is "in-cheek")

    HOWEVER - while I don't think the nasty comments are completely warranted - the geek-baiting from a lot of reviewers is an obvious ploy to attract attention.

    I found myself being offended by the Salon review of The Dark Knight, calling it a teenage boy's idea of a grown-up movie (or some such)... and I didn't even care for TDK. (see above)

    I got where the reviewer was coming from, but I still found it obnoxious.

    As far as Watchmen being marketed to children? Bullsh-t. I've got a 9 y/o son at home, who was pretty upset that I didn't let him watch Dark Knight or Iron Man -and the Watchmen commercials didn't even register for him...

  14. Debbie is not...well, not the sharpest pencil in the box, so I'm not surprised.

    That said, rabid fans scare me.

  15. Anonymous3:07 PM

    I don't think the movie was marketed to children, but they also didn't make it clear that it wasn't a kid friendly movie. Regardless, I don't feel particularly bad for parents who took their children without doing any prior research.

    As far as the reviewers go... the Anne Coulter approach to drumming up trouble never fails when fanatics are involved. I have little doubt that Ms. Schlussel is smugly smiling at her computer believing that these comments proved her point. Which is sad.

    However, I get where a lot of the commenters are feeling. Most comic fans that I know constantly feel the need to defend the medium against those who label it as "kids stuff." It didn't help that Ms. Schlussel attacked the movie and it's audience (which was an exceptionally classy move). Watchmen is one of those books that really proves that there is more to comics than capes, masks, and onomatopoeia. While I am not going to say Ms. Schlussel should have to enjoy Watchmen, her failure to comprehend the movie suggests that she might not be quite as intelligent as she thinks she is.

  16. I only have one question... "You are a turd minus the brown."

    What the hell does that even mean?!?!?

    I've never heard this, I really genuinely, without sarcasm, want to know.

  17. "I guess it just goes to show that some people passionately love this graphic novel and movie."

    I laughed when I read this line :)

  18. Out of respect for you, I will not express my opinion on Ms. Schlussel, other than to say it's negative. However, I have held that opinion for at least as far back as when she started making appearances on Stern's show.

    She represents the shrill, strident portion of conservative commentaters.

  19. I don't know if there will be a Watchman 2, as the screenwriter is trying to drum up second-time watchers just so the movie will seem like a success:

    Although the second-to-last line of that open letter pretty much had the opposite effect on me.

  20. I am on AICN all the time and some of these comments remind me of what I read on there sometimes.

    I have to see that rude assholes and casual or moderate misogyny often offends me, but the really dumb body part puns and the way over the top stuff does entertain me. Especially when I already don't like the target.

  21. "Making a sequel Watchmen GN without Moore's involvement will be controversial, but I'm willing to bet it's at least been considered."

    I was thinking the same exact thing.

    While in the case of Debbie's review the reviewer is clearly at fault for starting the controversial tone I think in general comic fans have this need for Watchmen to be good, justifying even the worst parts of the film. Thus when someone gives an honest, negative review of the film it's generally met with criticism. And if subcultures breed the ugliest criticisms then comic nerds are meanest of all.

  22. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Nice to see that Watchmen is shattering comic book stereotypes, while Watchmen fans are working overtime to reinforce them. Legitimacy, here we come!!

  23. While I'm in no way defending the (not very surprising) fan response, a little context on Debbie Schlussel. She's a complete nutjob that used to be a frequent guest on Howard Stern. Aside from having the most annoying voice short of Marianne from Brooklyn, she says incredibly vile and ignorant things on the level of Ann Coulter. Her ad hominem attack from the interview is not an exception. When you act that way, you may not deserve the response you get, but you can't exactly be surprised when you get it.

    RE: A Watchmen sequel. Yes, if it continues to do well enough, there's nothing to stop Warners from making a sequel and I assume they'd go for it.

    But - and it's strange to say this about a movie that opened in February with $57 million - it's by no means a success yet. It underperformed according to what it was tracking.

    More importantly, let's see what the dropoff is this weekend. I've heard estimates as low as a 75% drop. Watchmen has to show some legs before they make a sequel.

    I hope that it does do well - not because it was a particularly good film - but because it will make it more likely that films based on anyone other than Batman, Superman or Iron Man get made.

  24. "Considering the box office and the passionate fan reaction, does that mean there's going to be a sequel?"

    I don't know how widespread this was, but some of the newspaper publicity hype before Watchmen opened specifically stated that there wouldn't be a sequel. It was an interesting move and probably a pretty smart way to separate it from the pack (and preemptively claim that a lack of sequel didn't mean a franchise failure).

  25. "I guess it just goes to show that some people passionately love this graphic novel and movie."
    Naaa it just shows some people kinda liked the movie. I could get called a whole string of words not safe for work arguing about anything to a large pool of people on the internet, and the people raging don't even really care that much they just want to be heard.

    Is this really still unknown and shocking to so many people?

    If I did not know better I would just assume it was nerd rage and continue to avoid those comic freaks, sadly I do know better and it has little to do with fandom here really. Hell a hardcore fan wont even like the movie.

  26. I just got done reading her post and I have to ask... What did she expect to happen? If you go on the attack someone is going to counterattack and try and be more insulting.

    I don't know who she is and I will forget her name later but I did find her post insulting to me and offensive to women. Why is every girl a whore to this person?

    If I called one of the posters here dumb the odds of them calling me something worse are very good.
    If however I call every girl in a comic book a whore I would have to wonder if maybe I was A) trying to show I am morally superior B) Have some issues with women and there sexuality.

  27. Wow. She's wrong about the marketed to children thing. I mean, it's rated R, after all. But evidently, it is marketed to the childish.

  28. PS- The original reviewer is, indeed, a clown of some sort. Not the delightful, entertaining at children's parties kind, but the doleful, slightly menacing kind hiding in the shadows in a soiled costume, waiting to jump out at passersby, screaming weird, insane gibberish at the top of her lungs.

    And like attracts like.

  29. Ahhh, too scary for words, too ridiculous to be simply entertaining, and too accurate a depiction of in-group anger to not be both scary and ridiculous.

    I think that I'm most frightened by the overwhelming number of fans who don't understand that the conspiracy theories that are the under-pinning of this novel are, in the film, intentionally out-of-date. Nixon and the Military/Industrial Complex? Uhhhn... it's not so much Oliver Stone as a parody of Oliver Stone in that sense. Just like the latex nipple-costumes are a parody of Joel Schumacher's BATMAN films of the same era. Do kids today believe in that stuff? Are they so far behind the times as to actually buy the social criticism of 50 years ago as anything other than a fiction today?
    "Who watches the Watchmen?" Well, it's nice to know that Val is watching the watchers...

  30. To be fair, the reviewer comes across as pompous. I have no problem with someone not liking a movie and saying. I do hate it when someone has the audacity to say "If you don't agree with my views, you're a horrible human being."

    That said, most of the folks defending the movie are making the point for her. Heck, after reading those responses, I'm almost embarrassed to say I liked Watchmen.

  31. I wonder what conspiracy theories Mr. Berry is referring to. The MIC prediction has been fulfilled or is Mr. Berry so ignorant or stupid as not to see that?

    Regardless, the Reagan 80s were terrible and he was certainly a terrible president on a purely policy basis.

  32. I saw this first on Colleen Doran's blog. Ignored it then. Saw it here. Still ignoring.

    There's too much stuff to read. The only review I searched for was Ebert's. Read that, and his follow-up on the blog, where he viewed it a second time. Checked the RT meters, that's that.

    This lady is trolling. That is, she is posting a contentious review, and then fanning (ha!) the flames of internet trolls so that people will stop by the site and check out the train wreck / avalanche.

    I saw the movie, thought some parts were a bit much, liked how they compressed the graphic novel, and will probably purchase the super-deluxe DVD with the Black Freighter / Under the Hood additions.

    Geez... I wonder, if Howard the Duck had been released now instead of in the 1980s, would there be fanboys foaming at the mouth over critical reviews? Probably. Every movie is somebody's favorite.

  33. What's funny to me, is that while I will never condone the horrible and hateful comments these protesters posted, the reviewer actually threw the first stone with the "Moron and a vapid, indecent human being" comment.

    I'm really sick of this. People are so fricking unintelligent that the only way they can show dislike of a situation to to reduce people of a differing opinion to poisionous objects.

    You don;t like something? Then comment on what you don;t like without isulting the people who may like it. You disagree with a reviewer's column about a movie you like? Then point out what you feel the reviewer was wrong about and counter her points with points of your own.

    Once either side lowers themselves to insults and threats, I don;t bother reading. I think all of them are children without proper sandbox social skills. Sheesh.

  34. I think we're getting away from the point at hand. Beyond the fact that, yes, in this particular instance the reviewer is the one who "started it" there is a very ugly side to comics culture on the web, and this is a reflection of that. Internet tough guys exist everywhere of course but it seems to be almost uniformly present on comics blogs and websites about the medium. What is it about this particular subculture that breeds this attitude? I don't have an answer to that. There seem to be a lot of antisocial, or at least socially inept, people who read comics, so it's not like these are the kinds of things those people would say to your face. So maybe this is their outlet. It's sort of like cosplay or LARPs; if you don't like the person you are, or envy the kinds of people who are popular or social, it's easy to escape into something else, and the internet is a good mask for that.

  35. Anonymous2:46 PM

    I equate this backlash to Debbie "I wann be Anne Coulter" Last Name's (i am on post-surgery vicodin, things leave my mind quickly) review to the "What Did Rush Say This Time" BS.

    Only the anal really care.

  36. Marketed to children still means "someone with a mask and a cape."

    That's frustrating.

    It's pretty easy to see that it was given a look that bears no resemblance to kids movies and they wouldn't have let it get the R if they wanted children to see it in big numbers,
    but there's still people who think a mask and a cape has to be for kids.

    I' mean, there's really only even one cape.

  37. Good for the fans. Normally I'm against this kind of vitrol from fans over some critical review, but this lady took shots directly at the fans of the movie. It's only fair that those fans get to take shots back at her. Are most of those shots tasteless and offensive? sure but this is the internet, what do you expect?

    I too want to know what a turd minus the brown is. Is that like what happens when you drink to much grape gatorade?

  38. "Internet tough guys exist everywhere of course but it seems to be almost uniformly present on comics blogs and websites about the medium. What is it about this particular subculture that breeds this attitude?"

    It may be the particular internet fan ghettos I spend my time in, but I actually find a lot more trollish behavior, unjustified name calling, and stupidity on the more mainstream sites like newspaper article comments. I'm not even talking about Youtube comments here.

  39. I don't condone those sort of responses. I am pretty sure that she would have gotten the same sort of responses even if she hadn't been as overtly hostile in the first place. I am pretty sure her intent was to stir that stuff up.

    When people spew vitriole or make sweeping and uninformed attacks on things, I don't think there is anything anyone else needs to say in the way of name calling or an attack to make them look stupid.

    I also don't think it merits a reaction beyond a sincere counterpoint. Once they show that they are only interested in spewing, you can stop wasting your time. Name calling and hostility NEVER make or reinforce a point, and they never make you look smart.

    That's my opinion anyway, even on the internet, even with anonymity.

  40. Wow.  Even Debbie Schlussel, a truly reprehensible human being, doesn't warrant attacks like these.

  41. Can't stop laughing at the "greatest movie of all time" comment someone wrote to that poor reviewer.

    I mean...come on. Don't you think a movie needs to at least be around for more than 2 weeks before being considered "the greatest movie of all time"?

    Its only been like a year & a half since Iron Man was "the greatest movie of all time" and less than a year since The Dark Knight replaced it as cinema's crowning achievement.

    I love comic books. And even enjoy the occasional comic book inspired movie. Comic book fans, however...not so much sometimes.