July 21, 2008

#23 The Cinema

Malaysian people love going to the cinema. It goes hand in hand with their affinity for shopping malls and provides them with an affordable source of entertainment. A trip to the cinema also provides Malaysian people with afterthoughts, conversation points and activities for the following week. Trips to the cinema are fundamental to the personal development of Malaysian people.

The desired Malaysian cinematic experience must revolve around a new movie. This is essential because the Malaysian person must be able to claim he is the first to watch the movie. Being among the first to watch a new movie and claiming so is a momentous occasion in the life of the Malaysian person. It is a story he will relate over the course of many years. It is even better if tickets for the new movie are acquired through media contacts or competitions because the Malaysian person will be able to show his extensive networking and ingenuity (and also cost efficiency).

The Malaysian cinema experience must include a gallery of characters that enhance the movie's enjoyability. The usual suspects include; the film connoisseur who will audibly critique the movie's every frame and scene ("The director could have done better here, more is less when it comes to pathos."), the sound technician who feels the need to amplify the movie's scenes with loud gasps and piercing laughter, the mobile messenger who is inseparable from his cellphone and needs everyone to realise his importance and the amorous duo eager to outdo the onscreen paramours. It is not advised that you reprimand or display any form of contempt for these cinemaphiles because their presence provides the DVD and Blu-Ray industry with a reason to proliferate.

The movie itself, is not the reason why Malaysian people go to the cinema. It is the post cinematic experience that Malaysians enjoy the most as opposed to the movie. Assuming they have been one of the few to watch a new movie, they now have to conduct a concerted effort to inform others of their privilege. They will also provide biting commentary and incisive reviews based on popular sites such as IMDB which contains movie ratings from celluloid experts much like themselves. If this person has a blog, it would provide optimum effect and maximum exposure. In fact, attending an advanced screening of a movie is a great reason to start a blog to relate the Malaysian's experience to the world at large. Malaysians are natural and sophisticated auteurs as well as critics of movies. The world would be less enlightened if their opinions were not made available publicly. Who better to wax lyrical on the merits of character development vs. sweeping cinematography than the 14 year old girl next door?

Among the things the Malaysian person will critique are the movie's actors ("He was too stiff, I think Keanu would've been better suited to exhibit some emotional depth"), the setting ("I think the cold, dark tone contrasted strongly with the hedonism of the `70s"), the script ("Where was the plot going? I think they lost direction halfway through") and basically anything they can criticise that will make them sound smart. It is also important for a Malaysian to be able to paraphrase lines from the movie and pass them off as their own ("You DO NOT talk about Thai Club") as well as relate how their life is similar to the character in the movie ("Oh. My. God. It's sooo like my life right now. It's all so drama, but all so real. Seriously").

Given the thriving pirated DVD business in Malaysia, film studios must release movies before industrious pirates do. This therefore allows Malaysians the opportunity to watch movies even before the country from where the film originates. Of course, this is a huge significance and point of pride which you must acknowledge as well as the Malaysian's undisputed judgement of a movie which is nothing short of philosophical.


Jamie said...

Just found this blog. Loving it! Keep those kickass posts coming!

B.H. said...

Hi Jamie,

Welcome to the blog. With your addition, the readership of this site has just increased by 100%. We hope to hit double digits sometime in 2010.

Come back soon!


Anonymous said...

This is exactly like the format of 'Stuff White People Like'. Good good.. Keep it up man!

B.H. said...

Hi Fali,

Really? We hadn't noticed but we're sure glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by. Tell all your friends!


synical said...

I miss the days when I could watch new movies the morning they're out... mostly because it's cheap (early bird prices) and I hate crowds.

NOW I only watch movies on Wednesday nights the following week because it's RM6.

B.H. said...


Thanks for the nostalgia trip. I actually watch a lot of movies when I'm back home. It's still relatively cheap to watch a movie in Malaysia compared to Australia ($11-$16).

I believe the alternative to braving crowds is a DVD collection. I'm slowly building mine.


synical said...

Frankly, I hate lining up more. People in front of me in line are slow and stupid.

You've got a point with the DVD collection, it's just that I'm the type of person that can only watch a movie once, and when I do happen across a movie I've seen before, I skip scenes. :P

B.H. said...

You know what I hate most? People who socialise at the ticket counter. Make a decision already. It's not like you're deciding the fate of the free world.

There are some movies I could watch countless times. Al Pacino films would do that for me.


starwish said...

I feel sad for Fali.

Singaporeans are similar to Malaysians when it comes to movies. They need to show off that they've watched the latest movies FIRST!

You know, in line with the "kiasu" attitude. Must be first in everything!

Suz said...

i dont like reading blogs commenting about movies i.e story lines, casts development etc. whats the point of writing that? its equivalent to a movie spoiler already. i hope im not upsetting anyone but i prefer to watch it myself and judge the movie on a natural ground, not thru others lorr...

B.H. said...

Starwish- A little irony in you. I like that.

But yes, the burning desire to watch a movie first and brag exposes the vapidness of small, insecure people with little else to be proud of.

We should be more sympathetic towards their plight.

Suz- No animosity whatsoever. After all this blog is all about taking the mickey out of people.

The reason why those blog entries exist is because a large part of the population are sheep. It would be anarchy if they had no one telling them what to do or think.

You are right on the money with your assessment. I only wish more people would be as stark.