Monday, August 04, 2008

The Truth is Out There...

Entertainment Weekly has a fascinating post today from Whitney Pastorek about X-Files: I Want to Believe and the rising tide of critics and fans who have been defending this quality movie from the ludicrous and mean-spirited reviews it's been facing.

Here's a snippet:

...I sure as hell have been shocked by the dismissive, occasionally vicious beating it's taken from critics. My hometown Houston Chronicle, for example, gave it one star and called it "stupid, lackadaisical and schlocky." My mother, on the other hand, walked into an H-Town multiplex on Wednesday, and walked out calling the movie "wonderful."

So, what's going on? Are my mother and I just that stupid, lackadaisical and shlocky when it comes to our taste in movies? I'd like to think that's not true. And there are complimentary, thoughtful reviews from the likes of Roger Ebert, Salon.com's Stephanie Zacharek, and John Kenneth Muir to reassure me we're not crazy. More likely, I think this introspective little movie fell victim to a number of traps...

Frankly, I find this increasingly vocal (and publicized...) push back against the so-called critical consensus a fascinating thing. My own suspicion is that there are a number of folks writing today (and "counted" by Rotten Tomatoes as legitimate film critics) who boast very little understanding of film as art, film history, or even film techniques. The only thing they actually review are their own prejudices and expectations. People should object to ignorant, ill-informed reviews.

I sincerely hope the push back is the beginning of a trend...

3 comments:

  1. Amen! Just because you have access to a computer and are halfway literate does not make you a movie critic (or a book critic, music critic, etc., ad nauseum). Glad you are getting some recognition for your skills!

    As an aside, I've never once agreed with the movie critic for my local newspaper, and have to wonder if he's just on Disney's payroll or what. :-)

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  2. Thanks, Kim! When I read local reviews, I feel the same way.
    -JKM

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  3. I agree. I write a lot of reviews for a lot of sites, but do I consider myself a critic? No. Just a fan who (mostly) only writes about what I love. I would never compare myself to someone like you, Mr. Muir - and I mean no ass kissing when I say that! No, really! :)

    Seriously, your review of the X Files is what brought me here and your complete understanding and love of the genre is what keeps me coming back. I only hope that one day I can write as beautifully as you do... It's a ways down the road, but you know... a girl can dream!

    Keep it up!

    Also, I walked out of the X Files so moved by it that I'm still astounded by all the naysayers. It was an incredible experience of a film and I feel sorry for those who didn't get what I did out of it.

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