For instance, I've seen all four Transformers movies in the theaters. Now, none of them are really anything worth applauding, but the one I did attend that received one of the warmest rounds of applauds I've ever heard for a movie also just so happens to be the most insufferably bad movie in the whole series, Dark of the Moon. I seriously turned around in my seat and looked behind me at the people clapping, and I had to restrain myself from audibly asking, "... really?!"
But most recent examples would include the third Hobbit (by far the weakest of all six Middle Earth movies, and, again, also the only one that which was applauded by my audience in attendance after the fact), in which I did just shake my head and said aloud, "Don't applaud this...", though Unbroken, too, received an applause, which, while still annoying, didn't bother me TOO much, as it was at least a decent movie this time. In fact, thinking on it, I'm pretty sure the only other example of a decent movie I attended to getting applause after the fact was Avatar.
Returning to Middle Earth, though, I will say that, while The Battle of the Five Armies was the only one to get applause at the end, The Return of the King did have its awesome Legolas moment during the movie itself that received some good cheers (people sure do love their Legolas, much as they may oddly enough hate Orlando Bloom himself!). But depending on the audience and type of movie you're at, such crowd involvement at certain moments isn't as bad as clapping after it's done, because at least there you're just getting that invested into the movie. It's when the cheers begin as the credits start to roll that I'm really left scratching my head.
But seriously, it really is kinda odd how so few legitimately good movies get applause at the end. For instance, when a fucking turd like The Dark Knight Rises got applauded, I turned to my friend with an unimpressed glance and just said, "Not really." Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder where the hell this applause was for the infinitely superior The Dark Knight? Hell, of all of Nolan's movies I've seen in the theater, the only one in his entire track record that I would consider to be a legitimately and genuinely bad movie also just so happens to be the only one to get applauded for its efforts in the end.
I do love it, though, when one guy tries to applaud after a bad movie, but nobody else joins in, such as was the case after Man of Steel. People actually laughed at the guy that time. Guess it was a bit of a wiser crowd for once, perhaps?
But I dunno, there's really no actual point that I'm getting at here, just rambling about something I've noticed, and that continues to baffle me for a variety of reasons.
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