“Why is this movie talking down to me?” is a criticism usually lobbed at “artsy-fartsy” cinema.
First off, the only people insisting it’s a virtue for a movie to speak to everyone are citizens of Marvelstan who can’t conceive of anyone disliking their beloveds for a reason beyond populist contrarianism.
Now, artsy-fartsy supporters might chastise those who can’t groove with their dope, but in what way do the “artsy-fartsy” movies themselves explicitly lambast disapproving audiences as lesser than?! We can’t fault a movie for the actions of a few of its proponents.
But we CAN fault a movie for acting like its audience is populated by idiots, because what’s more condescending than that?
And such examples rear their head a whole lot more in mainstream fare.
Case in point:
Near the beginning of Smile, as the horror first starts horrifying, the just-haunted lead character loses her cat Mustache (a suspicious disappearance; spooooooky). There are multiple mentions of Mustache throughout multiple scenes; “Where are you, Mustache?!” really sticks in the memory craw, you know? It’s also a chuckle of a name, so yay for that!
A few minutes later, she attends her nephew’s birthday party. He opens her present. Can you guess what’s in the box????
Well, if you somehow can’t connect the dots that the dead cat the kid pulls out is Mustache, THE MOVIE MAKES SURE TO CUT TO AN AESTHETICALLY GENERIC CLOSE-UP OF THE NAME TAG!!!
And nothing else in the movie mocks such mockable cliches, so you can’t use that as a lampshade defense; it’s the only moment of such comedy.
And and, the name MUSTACHE is made to be memorable!!! Do you really think we’re so inattentive that we need the cat’s identity literally spelled out on screen to realize what’s happened?
How fucking dumb do you think we are?
There are a myriad of practical production reasons as to why the movie may have required a justifiable quick-second insert here…