Seth Rogen Fires Back At Film Critic Who Blames Neighbors For Isla Vista Crimes
Our country’s still picking up the pieces following the latest mass murder, this one occurring in Isla Vista, California that led to the tragic deaths of six innocent people. Gun-control advocates, mental-health proponents and other voices from the periphery are taking their stances in the wake of the horrible events. But one conversation surrounding the possible motives of the suspected murderer is edging into our entertainment world, as a Pulitzer Prize-nominated film critic is pointing fingers at A-list comedian Seth Rogen… and the Neighbors star is firing back.
The Washington Post on Sunday printed an op-ed from the paper’s film critic, Ann Hornaday, suggesting that the alleged Isla Vista criminal – 22-year-old Elliot Rodger – was influenced by the mainstream entertainment created by "white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny)." Hornaday didn’t stop there, however, and decided to target Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, specifically, by going after their hit comedy, Neighbors. Hornaday writes:
How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like Neighbors and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of "sex and fun and pleasure"? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, "It’s not fair"?
As you might imagine, Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow weren’t thrilled that Ann Hornaday linked their films – and Neighbors, specifically – as the potential cause of a mass murder. The two responded to Hornaday’s editorial on Monday, Tweeting:
Ann Hornaday makes a larger point about the absence of female voices in the filmmaking community and the studio system. She cites statistics from the report "Celluloid Ceiling" claiming that women represent "just 16 percent of directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors working on the top 250 movies of 2013; similarly, women accounted for just 15 percent of protagonists in those films."
Which is a larger problem, but not one that easily connects to despicable crimes like the one in Isla Vista, or to the existence of movies like Neighbors -- which is a descendant of Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, Back to School, Old School and similar movies that weren’t called out because they might have influenced a criminal. It is a difficult conversation to have, and one that’s even more complicated when it is waged on Twitter, condensed to 140 characters.
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