Looks Like David Hayter Will Not Be Invited to Take Back the Night

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As Videogum noted, one of Watchmen‘s scribes, David Hayter, has posted an open letter on the internet imploring fans to see the movie again this weekend to keep box office up and therefore make studio heads feel confident in green lighting future Watchmen-esque projects.  Much of Hayter’s argument requires him to indulge in a little self-congratulatory ego masturbation, because that’s how you make a convincing argument.  For example:

I’ve seen it twice now, and despite having run the movie in my head thousands of times, my two viewings still don’t’ allow me to view the film with the proper distance or objectivity. Is it Apocalypse Now? Is it Blade Runner? Is it Kubrick, or Starship Troopers? I don’t know yet.

I’m gonna go for d) none of the above.  And also, Mr. Hayter: Kubrick is a filmmaker, so he probably shouldn’t be in a list that consists of movie titles.  But maybe that’s a stylistic choice irksome only to me, so I won’t dwell.

I certainly agree with his sentiment that, particularly when it comes to the film industry, you cast a vote every time you purchase a ticket.  It’s rather tacky that he has to be the one to make this plea for audiences to see Watchmen again; the movie’s as much his (ridicu)baby as it is Snyder’s, so Hayter’s essentially one of those parents with those awful bumper stickers on their vans about how their child’s on honor roll or Mensa.  Except whenever he has you come over and babysit, he makes you pay him.  He’s wrapped the ugliest sales-pitch sweater in a box with lovely pity-party ribbons and glossy sophisticated-taste paper as if that makes what he’s giving you any better.  Thanks, but no thanks.

But when Hayter gets to his climax, in which he uses a particular scene from Watchmen to articulate how the movie’s supposed to be dark and challenging yet ultimately rewarding as entertainment, he completely shits his (crazy) pants:

All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story. With its utterly raw view of the darkest sides of human nature, expressed through its masks of action and beauty and twisted good intentions.

[…]

And yet… You’ll be thinking about this film, down the road. It’ll nag at you. How it was rough and beautiful. How it went where it wanted to go, and you just hung on. How it was thoughtful and hateful and bleak and hilarious. And for Jackie Earle Haley.

Trust me. You’ll come back, eventually. Just like Sally.

david-hayter-monster

Rape, y’all!  Watchmen is just as enjoyable rape, which we all know is a TOTAL BLAST!  And if you don’t like Watchmen, don’t worry: the stockholm syndrome will kick in soon enough, and then you too can strangely romanticize it for stealing your last shreds of innocence!  Thanks, David Hayter, everything makes sense now!

And by thanks, I mean gross.

And you’re disgusting.

Sadly, there’s simply no way to salvage his comments.  At best (and I’m truly stretching here), this is a painfully epic brainfart where Hayter is reveling in his fanboy love of Watchmen without recognizing how any text, regardless of medium, that narratively uses a near-rape as an instigator for a years-later romantic tryst speaks only of the authors utter disdain for women.  There are plenty of other ways to intelligently parse the various shades of moral gray without employing a rather disgusting display of misogyny, but that didn’t stop Alan Moore.

I unfortunately suspect, however, that this is Haytner’s way of defending Watchmen from any criticism, as if disappointment in the movie is simply a passing phase, one inevitably remedied by another viewing.  In itself, that notion is self-servingly limited and rather stupid, but to liken it to the rape/romance of Carla Gugino’s Silk Spectre by Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Comedian is downright foul.  Audiences should always be encouraged to be open to new experiences in any art, but that should never come at the cost of trivializing sexual violence against women for a few more tickets.

Frankly, Mr. Hayter, if that’s your platform for coaxing audiences into the theater, I’d prefer to never watch Watchmen again.

Yuck.

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