Sunday, July 21, 2013

Everyone’s a Critic

   With the onslaught of summer blockbusters (and a few duds) it seems like everyone has become a movie critic these days. I don’t exempt myself from all of this, since I actually review movies here on this blog...and do so to the exclusion of all else over at The Boxed Office. Not being a professional (meaning nobody pays me to do these reviews), take everything I say with a grain of salt. However, don’t take that to mean that I think a person getting paid to do reviews should be looked at as speaking silver screen gospel. Some of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen have come from “professional” critics...which has me wondering why anyone is paying them at all!

   I’ve always wondered who the critics are reviewing these films for? It seems the more accolades they heap on some film about some person with emotional problems struggling with a love interest, the less the masses seem to care. People are going in droves to movies the critics see as a waste of film...mainly because they have no deeper life meaning than to just entertain the audience. I find this disturbing and odd...I mean, isn’t that the whole point of movies? Aren’t they supposed to entertain us? Perhaps I’m a part of the wrong “us” as I still haven’t figured out who these critics are catering to.

   Don’t misunderstand me. I have seen some great films that do not involve large explosions, wild stunts, or gratuitous amounts of blood. In fact, I’m an advocate for watching IFC (Independent Film Channel) as there are some excellent films to be seen from very talented people with unique vision. My point is that although these films are as profound as they are entertaining, they take nothing away from those films that are made, intentionally, to bedazzle the eyes and numb the senses.

   I think much of the problem is these professional critics enter every film, regardless of what type it is, with the same mindset they use to evaluate the more cerebral genre. I mean, if you’re watching “Schindler’s List” with the same mindset and expectations that you’re watching “Fast and Furious 6” with, then it’s no wonder your critique of the latter is unfavorable, in direct opposition to the majority opinion. It’s my belief that every film should be viewed through open eyes...meaning, judge it against what it intended to do, not against something it was never meant to be.

   Perhaps I need a degree in film watching to really know what I’m talking about? After all, the masses of moviegoers must be wrong in liking popular films because a critic, with a degree in film watching, knows better than the rest about what we should like, and what entertains us. Maybe that’s the mentality of some I have observed that read a review and decide, instantly, about the merits of the film being reviewed. I’m the type that must see a film in order for me to form an opinion about it. What someone else writes about it might be interesting, but I need to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to making up my own mind.

   I suppose that’s why I still read the movie section of the Boston Herald. I’m interested in how wrong their critic is when it comes to films. Now, of course there are some people that agree with his opinions, but when I see him give the “Lone Ranger” a B+ while giving “World War Z” a C+, I know he’s not playing from the same deck as me. Heck, he’s not even sitting at the same table. More disturbing than that is getting facts about occurrences in films totally wrong (I’ve seen this on more than one occasion).

   I’m no expert on films. I like what I like, and talk about the films I watch with a very simple criteria. I think the best films are those that draw everyone in, by providing something for the perfect ratio. A balanced mix of humor, drama, and action have proven successful with audiences. In the end, you must be your own critic and evaluate based on your own personal preference. Hopefully, we read from the same script and you find my reviews useful.


  1. Well said, as ever m'man! Movies—and indeed all forms of entertainment—are outlets for personal discretion. All have merit and value because so much goes in to them, they are masterful works of co-ordination, focus and passion.

    That is a point I am afraid all-too many movie reviewers simply miss. Also, I think the old model of reviewing films (Siskel & Ebert) is to review all movies for everyone. Today, our movies have become splintered into sub-genres and niche entertainment and should be reviewed as such.

    Excellent discussion point!

    Arthur Milano

  2. Sadly, everyone is a critic. Not me, I just watch the movies. Excellent post.