Standing Ovations Are Stupid As Hell
We’ve been hearing a lot about standing ovations these days, specifically at the Venice Film Festival, where the amount of time audiences spend on their feet clapping like trained seals has become a rubric for a film’s overall success; like the six-minute standing ovation for the Brendan Fraser-starring The Whale (sidebar: how is that the title?) or the 13-minute ovation for the new Colin Farrell movie The Banshees Of Inisherin. And then there was the paltry four-minute standing ovation for Don’t Worry Darling – which at least allowed the cast to quickly leave the cinema and clean any imaginary saliva off of their clothes.
Do we really need these wildly-prolonged standing ovations at film festivals? Why are guests of a supposedly classy European celebration of art acting like late ‘80s Hulkamania spectators, beating their hands raw for longer than the running time of “Freebird”? New Yorkers applauded for two minutes straight for health care workers in the spring of 2020 – so are we really saying that one Colin Farrell movie is roughly four times more important than the efforts of doctors and nurses during a global pandemic?
It’s time for the standing ovation to go, sorry. For one thing, it’s an annoyance for many audience members who were sitting perfectly comfortably before feeling pressured to rise to their feet – a point made decades ago by comedian/awkward fashion model Jerry Seinfeld.
Secondly, they’ve become completely and utterly meaningless; friggin’ Clerks 2 reportedly got an eight-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Will Smith got a standing ovation at an event where he literally assaulted someone less than an hour earlier. And in the world of the theater, pretty much every show, including notorious Broadway flops, began receiving standing o’s – arguably because the inflated ticket prices led audiences to celebrate whatever they just saw, regardless of its quality. This madness needs to end. It's just a bunch of weirdo theater kid peer pressure and if you don't think so, try starting a standing clap during a regular show and gauge in seconds, not minutes, how quickly it takes for you to feel like a jackass.
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Top Image: Warner Bros.