It's the last column of 2009, and one that follows on a maelstrom of commentary. I don't think I received a single comment or e-mail that didn't care intensely about Avatar one way or another. It's been fascinating and frightening to experience.
I feel as though movie fandom has taken a very extreme turn. Drew McWeeny noted back in May that it took a turn for the worse in 1999 after Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. "Fandom has changed profoundly in the last ten years, and it would be hard to argue that it's been for the better. Although I detest that sub-moronic oft-repeated metaphor about George Lucas 'raping my childhood,' I could be willing to agree that 1999 was the end of fandom's innocent optimism and the beginning of something rancid and self-entitled and angry, something that's more about tearing down and insulting than about celebrating or enjoying."
My professional experience is a lot shorter than McWeeny's, but I've felt a distinct change in the last year. Thanks to the Internet, I feel that fandom has expanded to the most unlikely of films, camped out, and become intractable. You're either for them or against them, with no middle ground of "I don't know. It was ok, I guess." There's little room for criticism. Everything from James Bond to Joss Whedon is a sacred cow. A casual Twitter comment about a film risks dozens of your online friendships, so imagine what a critical Geek Beat can do. No one seems to keep it in perspective. No one remembers that at the end of the day, fandom is supposed to be about fun. If you wear yourself out defending or attacking a particular film, I can't imagine you have a lot of time or energy left to enjoy anything.