Friday, August 31, 2018

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the critics.”

HuffPo
Sarge’s recent post about listening to critics inspired me a bit.  Specifically to his question about why he listens to them, it’s because we think they’ll save us time, money, or frustration.  However, critics, even more so than mainstream media reps, write with all sorts of biases.  I tend to think critics can do a decent job on a review of a major drama or suspense film, but anything else, they’re pretty much useless.




Critics abound.  “Everyone’s a critic” as the saying goes, and that’s even more true today.  These days there are really no shortage of critics because of the low barrier to entry that is the internet.  It’s not just for film, but every aspect of life today through social media, online news stories with online comments, fashion, music, even YouTube videos.  Even comics on the web offer a reader the ability to say something about that day’s strip.  Who slams on a comic strip for pete's sake?  A lot of folks actually.

Blogging has opened up the critic avenue even more, and the Chant is no exception.  We’ve written about movies on here countless times.  I tend to hold these reviews with a little higher regard than mainstream or more established ones however.  Why?  Keep reading.

In my New Year’s Resolution post last January, I wrote that one of my resolutions was to stop reading the comments.  I have for the most part, but sometimes they’re extremely entertaining.  Tons of trolls out there, just creating hate and discontent and riling folks up, but there’s also a lot of idiots.  You know the saying that starts with “better to be thought a fool”?  Through the keyboard, these idiots get to open their mouths and remove all doubt as to their 1. position on a subject or 2. their supreme lack of intellect.   

The mainstream movie critics are also overwhelmingly male- upwards of 90%, and so the female point of view is almost completely unrepresented.  Movie critics like to think highly of themselves and their “contribution” to art, but they are of no more superior intellect than any other movie goer or reviewer.  They might be very versed in film, having watching thousands of movies, but again, that doesn’t make them smarter than you.  Sure, some are educated in film or journalism, but that doesn’t necessarily help them with what I find to be the biggest problem with critics- They aren’t you!  These critics don’t share your tastes, interests, background, life experiences, etc. all of which help you form your own opinions on an article, painting, film, cartoon, TV show, etc.  Chanters?  We have something in common, and I know some of you well.  Others I at least know how you think due to what has been written by you here before.  I'm interested in your opinions.  Others?  It doesn't matter.

Burge Media

I tend to believe that those snooty critics don’t really care much about comedies and action movies though, both of which I love.  They prefer to review and lend their “skill” to more sophisticated works of art like serious dramas.  That’s why Marvel movies, Transformers, Armageddon and Bruce Almighty were routinely ignored or lambasted, but rake in the dough that we are happy to pay.  They are entertaining, even if they aren't a critics cup of tea (with pinkie out).
Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors.    Earnest Hemingway
The internet has allowed a more diverse voice to critics however, women, the young, Joe the Plumber, geniuses and idiots, all are probably more represented now than before the internet.  They allow us mainstream people to filter out the mainstream critic and hear more useful reviews.  

When my wife and I spent a couple days at a B&B doing wine tastings, some of the best advice about the quality of a wine was this:  It doesn’t matter the points it’s been given, the awards it's received, or the hints and notes of this flavor or that, if you like it, it’s a good wine.  That’s more helpful for a wine you’ve already drank than some critic's commentary to help you find one, but the sentiment is the same.  Don’t worry what they think.

My apologies to Shakespeare for that title, but no, I don't wish them ill will.  No critic is perfect, but they can be useful.  Use them as you wish, but again, don’t let them stop you. 


22 comments:

  1. I ignore critics, as they do not judge movies by the same criteria that I do.

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    1. Makes sense, I don't know any critics who are badgers.

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    2. The last movie I was in the theater was Paddington, in 2016.

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  2. Speaking as a recovering member of the bar, I, and my brethren, are quite happy to share the scorn and derision which that fellow Shakespeare cast upon our noble profession. As to critics, unless they say a new movie is lousy, which I maintain over 90% are, I tend to disregard their commentary.

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    1. No lawyer is perfect, but they can be useful!

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  3. I like both Shakespeare and hemmingway, both were right for their time. New music and movies? Yech? But, did like Alpha. Not exactly "old Yeller" class but close. That and, grunt music. With a mix of country and classical.

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    1. I rarely pay to see movies, catching them either on base or on a flight, sometimes through Netflix, so I can be less critical, seeing how they aren't wasting my money. Dunkirk and Solo were worth my money, and the last ones I paid for. I will pay to see Operation Finale.

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    2. Saw the History Channel version of OF. Amazing men, doing amazing things, during crazy times. The US did not cover itself in glory over the post-war coverups.

      The scary thing is watching the actual Nazi hunters say with pretty good certainty that Hitler did not die in Germany. All those rumors over all those years seem to have some basis in truth.

      Seems like after the war, the US did it's usual thing of, "Whew, that's over. Back to peace." thingy that we do and did not do a lot of followup. As good as Nuremburg trials were, it seems it was just enough blood to sate the needs of a war-weary world. Only pre-Israel and then Israel seemed to really want eternal vengeance, rightly so.

      And, darned, the complicity of the Catholic Church in aiding and abetting these Nazi thugs was yet another dark mark against Mother Church, dangit.

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  4. Critics are somewhat useful. If they pan a movie it sparks my interest. Other than that, I've found the value and quality of professional critics to have fallen quite a bit from the days of Siskel and Ebert. And I disagreed with them around 60%.

    As to you, Tuna, you have a sniper's soul. Quiet, over there in the corner, watching, watching and then 'BLAM' with a comment or a post. Most excellent.

    Hope the cruise is/went well. Enjoy. Spend some time in the engineering spaces flogging the hamsters. Better yet, spend time with your wife enjoying life.

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    1. Cruise starts tomorrow evening. We came a couple days early to tour Lucerne Switzerland and take the edge off the jet lag. We also wanted to see the amazing views from Mt. Pilatus, a mountain supposedly infested with dragons. Didn't see any there, nor anything at all as the visibility was maybe 50 feet. Here's what we wanted to see: https://www.pilatus.ch/en/

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    2. Um, yeah, no, just... no. I'm a flatlander. Going to see my wife's Smoky Mountains in 1985, I asked if those things we saw north of Atlanta, GA, were the mountains, no, those were hills. Mountains? Hills. Mountains (at this point I was starting to get queasy)? Foothills. Mountains (urp!)? Mountains. Can we go home now?

      Enjoy the cruise, and happy anniversary. Don't worry about, well, I won't burn down the Chant while you're away. Can't say what those two AF guys will do...

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  5. Nice post Tuna, first one we've had from the deck of a boat cruising the Rhine.

    You bastard.

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    1. Well, it posted at the time I was actually cruising Lake Lucerne to get to Mt. Pilatus. https://www.myswissalps.com/boatlakelucerne

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  6. I've never met a bottle of wine and only one bourbon that I didn't like.

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    1. I don't think I'm that critical of bourbon.

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  7. I try to refrain from criticism mostly.
    I will on occasion point out blatant errors, like a lack of punctuation or spelling misteak.

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    1. I like that, well done. heh heh

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    2. And a side order of button mushrooms sauteed in a wine sauce.

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    3. What? No kidneys with a nice Chianti?

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    4. Bleh, organ meat, bleh, double bleh.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)