Words: Ellen Kenny
A bizarre TikTok trend has led to teenagers being kicked out of cinemas- but why are they trying to go in the first place?
You may have noticed large groups of well-dressed teenagers in your local cinema recently. You might wonder who they are. Are they an all-boys private school on a summer trip to the cinema? Do these suited boys somehow own Cineworld?
These sophisticated lads are actually off to see Minions: The Rise of Gru, the newest blockbuster starring your mam’s favourite Facebook memes.
They are part of an internet trend known as the GentleMinions. The GentleMinions, who are mostly teenage boys, are attending the movie together in huge groups. Typically wielding a banana as an homage to their yellow icons, of course.
The Minions have been a meme for a long time now. They started as the lovable henchmen in the 2010 animation Despicable Me, and went on to have their own prequel movie explaining their origins.
The Minions were made to be merchandise, of course. More and more films are made with built-in by-products to keep the profits flowing.
The Minions are just one example of this, but Illuminations Pictures were truly prolific in their merchandising of the yellow devils. Between prequels, sequels, theme parks and video games, it was wall-to-wall Minions out there.
And then, for some reason, Minions became the mascot for middle-aged Facebook memes. Mothers couldn’t post about their friend’s birthday or their love for wine without including the Minions.
Between the raging commodification and memeification of the Minions, a counter culture emerged among younger Internet users. It started as typical lighthearted nit-picking in the Minions’ premise.
“If their purpose is to serve the most evil being on Earth at a given time, where were the Minions during World War II?”, “are the Minions immortal or do they have some disgusting form of reproduction?” were among the classic jokes.
This eventually progressed to an ironic worshipping of the Minions. Calling them the most sophisticated beings on Earth. Raging that “Minions” was snubbed for Best Picture at the Oscars. Faking attraction to the Minions (I mean I hope it was faked).
And maybe it was a bit of post-lockdown fervour, maybe it was inspiration from the fake-acclaim for failed superhero movie Morbius, but the joke only got deeper.
When Minions: Rise of Gru was released, people got very excited. So excited that they decided to don their best attire, spend extortionate prices on cinema tickets, and enjoy 90 minutes of Minions excellence.
Some of the GentleMinions simply sat in silent appreciation of the film. I imagine many GentleMinions simply filmed themselves in the theatre and left before the film actually started.
But a lot of the GentleMinions went a tad bit too far. Footage came out of rogue GentleMinions screaming in front of families who simply wanted to treat their kids to a film and leaving messes in their wake.
Some of the GentleMinions took it so far that cinemas across the UK are now banning any person who enters the cinema wearing a suit.
The GentleMinions are a microcosm of the way internet trends develop and affect real world events. Of course, it does just boil down to obnoxious teeangers being obnoxious, but in many ways, online culture is truly becoming… despicable.
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