“Eurovision Song Contest” is a cute movie, I laughed at some of the scenes, but it’s a socially uncanny valley movie, and the uncanny valley thing but one thing gnawed at me… the leads are way too old for the roles. So old they feel weird, but in a revealing way… the plot of the movie has Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as a platonic singing duo, with Ferrell also trying to deal with his father’s disapproval, and McAdams trying to sexually entice Ferrell, since Ferrell is, as in most or all of his roles, asexual or sexually uninterested in women (a fantasy many guys who lack masculine identity and play too many video games have). Farrell and McAdams are having problems characteristic of the 16 – 24 year old set… the teens and young adults who haven’t formed proper identities yet and who are trying to make it in the arts business… and the movie is ambiguous about the age of the characters, but come on. Even with surgeries and procedures Ferrell and Rachel McAdams are ridiculous.
I checked and McAdams is 41, so she’s on the verge of infertility if she’s not already infertile… she’s way too old to be chasing a man-child. What’s her sexual past like? If she was 19 we could see her as a late bloomer but few hot or once-hot women age 30+ have no sexual past. Ferrell is 53… and still in his father’s shadow…? Has he not managed to evolve at all as a man? Ferrell, like Adam Sandler, specializes in man-child roles but even man-child actors must eventually move out of those roles. Ferrell and McAdams are in the social uncanny valley because they’re middle aged playing roles appropriate to teens and young adults, but their many cosmetic procedures also make them look unnatural, even with hollywood lighting and makeup. All acting is playacting but they feel off, even though they are funny. In the movie they have not managed to move past the problems that 20 year olds have and that is revealing about our society as a whole, which deifies youth and leaves little role for anyone who has left that period.
We see it everywhere… a key text to understanding modern society is Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. No one wants to move on from play. The key verb for video games is “play.” We as a society are addicted to entertainment and yes I include myself in the “we.” Turning politics into entertainment has f**ked our political system, and yes, your side has done this too. Social media is a form of entertainment and if you look at modern people, especially below age 30, they are on their phones for 8+ hours a day, mostly consuming entertainment. If you waste one day that’s fine, but many people waste many years on their phones, only to look up one day and discover they have aged without learning, developing, or evolving properly. Try to talk to the average person about a book you’ve recently read or they’ve recently read and see how that goes. There is a woman I have seen around my general area who I chat with… she asked me about my book… we talked… she said that she has a service that “summarizes” books in 20 minute audio chunks… that is okay for some books but the best books can’t be summarized that way.
“Eurovision Song Contest” is a manifestation of the inability to grow up promoted by our society. I get why we’re reluctant to grow up… for a guy, if “growing up” means marrying a woman, who will turn into a harridan, divorce him, and take half his money, while reducing sexual output… why would a guy want to grow up…? For a woman, she understands that men are biologically wired to prefer young hot chicks… and feminists have spent decades attacking the roles of wife and mother, while telling women the only way to exist is to compete like men in the corporate wage-slave world. Women are trained to ignore their maternal instincts and desire for children. Many women semi-successfully do just that, till they are deep into their 30s, when the kinds of men they could get in their 20s are no longer pursuing them. The ride stops, the men stop chasing them, and they don’t want to understand what happened to them. I have chronicled many media examples of this… the TV show “Sex and the City” is a glamorization of this sad process… of the inability of many people, particularly women, to grow up and understand that life is about compromise.
Instead, we sickly try to be youths forever, and in the process we stagnate without realizing it, as Ferrell and McAdams’s characters do. Things work out all right for them in the end (she magically get pregnant without much effort and has a kid without obvious complications, despite her advanced age). Ferrell doesn’t decide to lay a procession of busty legal teens, as many successful musicians would or do in real life.
Of course society has always advanced on the basis of a small percentage of the population who are engaged in innovation, while the rest of the population is engaged in stagnation or status games. Look at how many hot chicks innovate in any field versus the number who want more instagram followers, more attention from hot guys, etc. We can all choose whether we want to be pushing forward or falling behind. Movies and TV now tell us that to be over age 25 is to be dead, in terms of social roles, and that’s unhealthy for us as a society.
So… Eurovision Song Contest is a fun movie, probably not as good for Netflix & Chill as A Star is Born, but funny, and underneath the laughs it’s revealing of our cultural world, just not in the way it intends. We don’t have good roles for people to move into as they get older, especially women. Younger women think older women are gross and out of touch, and can’t understand that one day they too will be infertile and sexually invisible. When that happens, their main purpose will likely come from their family, but, if they don’t have one, they’ll become the many angry spinsters we all see, writing screeds about how badly men suck. Older guys want to keep chasing younger chicks, but the wall eventually comes for us, too, earlier for some guys and later for others. What do we do then? Kill ourselves? Reminisce about the days of younger-hotter-tighter until we can’t anymore? What of the family? A healthy society has roles for people of all ages. Our society doesn’t and that’s also strange because people are having fewer kids and the structure of the age pyramid is slowly inverting, with more old people and fewer young people. Movies like “Eurovision Song Contest” tell us that we should be having the same problems in our 40s that we do when we are 20, when we should be moving past the problems of youth and towards larger problems as we get older.
In a healthy society this movie would be starring up-and-comers who are young, not the old who have already proven themselves. It’s a metaphor for contemporary society where baby boomers still control the levers of power and own all the property, attempting to stifle the generation behind. I think Ferrell and McAdams are the awkwardly placed Gen X but here they represent the boomer tendency to strangle and smother whatever comes after. At age 53 Ferrell is more than old to play the father role to the 20 year old guy who is trying to make it in Eurovision. Inadvertently the movie gives us a perfect encapsulation of generational competition and our society’s failure to adapt to different stages of life. At 41 McAdams could also easily play a mom with an 18 year old daughter who is fumblingly chasing a musician. We accept ineptness in the young that we don’t accept in the old, whose maturity should have brought wisdom and skill, not just more bumbling.
I’m sure many who watch the film will feel what I am talking about even if they don’t articulate it this way.