Film Features

Fuck TENET, All My Homies Hate TENET


I woke up Friday morning to two bits of news: One, that TENET was getting mixed reviews from UK critics, and two, that another family member, this one in Arizona, had died of COVID-19 complications. I’m totally chilling with not disclosing the exact death stats of my extended Latino family, but it’s safe to divulge that my family’s been met with, at the very least, two GoFundMe links per month. When you observe 2019’s theater-attendance statistics, the United States’ Hispanic population still reigns the overwhelming majority of film-goers, as they have for nearly decades now. When we observe the racial inequity of coronavirus, you’ll probably also note that not only are we being disproportionately infected, but already-taxing financial strife is being brought to ends so ruinous that we may as well be shot in the streets by the bundle. Surprise, surprise: there’s an endemic structure of racist-driven classism that fuels the world’s empires. 

Spring/Summer 2020 has been a stretch of nonstop getting shit on by those in positions of power. Sure, that’s the usual, but I mean, just metric tons of toxic sludge shit. It’s been a dehumanizing, debilitating gaslighting session of institutional proportions for every industry and worker, being told labor conditions are safe to ensure the health of stored capital, but I really take great ire with how Christopher Nolan has treated his latest as a monolithic savior. His films can account for over 50% of Warner Brothers’ annual international revenue and the guy’s claw is sunk in every exhibitor’s back-pocket like a high school boyfriend. It is a magnificent amount of leverage that explains why we’ve been tracking TENET’s fraught release for months now—it would have been delayed in a second had it not been for his influence over the fiscal year. Of course, he never made it about that. This was his crusade, his quest to have made the film that saved cinemas. This celluloid ideologue worldview, that Miss Rona is a be-all end-all threat to distributed art, could not be more detached from the gravity of reality. There’s certainly a conversation to be had, but not one that excuses the sociopathic hubris of a blind aristocracy.

AMC Theaters

AMC Theaters’ Socially-Distanced Seating Chart

We will not be covering Christopher Nolan’s TENET at Merry-Go-Round Magazine. We do not want to encourage our readers to seek the film out in dangerous conditions to contribute to a paltry discourse, we don’t want to entertain the Nolan fanboys who’ve ruined many a woman’s time on the internet, and we certainly do not want to feed into Nolan’s self-prophesied narrative of “saving our cinemas.” If you don’t like it, please, I implore you: go make your own website. Go learn something. Do something, anything at all but continually scream online as you all have been since two-thousand-fucking-ten. Oh, the incredible, life-changing things you all could achieve with that energy . . . Actually, shit, hold up, most of you are probably neo-Nazi chuds, nevermind, you have my full approval for screaming about Christopher Nolan movies instead, I take it all back.

If this reads as an American-centric piece, you’d bet your bottom dollar it is, but I’d feel similarly, if not exactly the same, if I lived in a region more responsibly equipped to contain a killer virus. I honestly don’t care about the pragmatic POV: how could you ignore the ugly principles that led us here? Look around you: are things *actually* getting better? Selfishly risk your life for the best sex you’ve ever had with the dating app pen pal you’ve grown acquainted with since March, selfishly risk it to take a distanced dip in your friend’s parents’ pool amidst a power-grid tripping heat wave, selfishly risk it to just step outside and ingest ash-infested air without a mask for five full seconds before returning to your plywood-walled apartment for the rest of your eight-hour, blue-light-soaking corporate shift. Do any of these things before selfishly risking your life and others’ by attending a rinky-dink AMC for some expensive-ass mid.

Make safe choices, stay indoors if you can, and try harder to repress the classism in your blistered brain by ordering take-out instead of eating out, Jesus Christ.

Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman is a Film Editor for Merry-Go-Round Magazine. Deserted in a video store as an infant, Kevin was raised on Fulci, Tarantino, Kubrick, and Whoppers. Now he's a graduate of Chapman University who acts as editor for Merry-Go-Round on the side: what a success story.


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