(Above: David Edelstein, Film Critic)
There are many movie critics (and I've done a few of my own). Yet I have always felt that criticism is false participation, and that the film critic input barely helps the average movie goer in appreciating a film, and does virtually nothing in helping the people that create films in getting better.
In a democracy based on capitalism, the success of a director is more financial than artistic. Nowhere is that more apparent than Lucas and Spielberg's contributions to film culture...that is to say they have created a culture that enjoys spectacle and 'splosions over great storytelling. great storytelling that companies like Pixar are overturning by using special effect of CG to actually further the story.
In all of this I have noticed a certain lack. There is no accountability for a critic, really. We as movie-goers have to assume that people like Ebert know what they are talking about simply because they can put their thoughts in such a way that makes us agree with them even when they have missed the point. They hide behind academic claims, they make comparisons between films that shouldn't even be connected in drawing contrast....the problems go on and on.
So I'm going to criticise the critics. Since what they do is akin to intellectual masturbation, I view my critiquing of them as creating a circle jerk; nothing will be accomplished and hopefully we'll all be so ashamed that we will just stop, and a new resurgence of film will grow.
I found a "Top 25" best critics list, and from this I will start.
First up is David Edelstein.
I admit, I have no idea who this is. Apparently he worked at the New Yorker (already I find this smug and self serving), and he wrote two whole plays ALL BY HIMSELF! He entered journalism after graduating from Harvard.
The uni-bomber also went to Harvard.
His greatest contribution to film has been the creation of the phrase "torture porn", it's genesis coming from watching Saw and Hostel.
*clap clap clap*
Bravo. In thirty+ years your only contribution that Goodreads, Wikipedia, and Complex.com have to say about you is you came up with "torture porn".
They used to call them "snuff films", but I guess "torture porn" really made you feel like the smug bastard you are.
I read one review of a movie we've both seen. Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Like every review I've ever read from any critic it's a breakdown of the plot (or a retelling of the trailer).
He starts off insulting the comicbook-movie genre and references 9/11.
Then he spells out Captain Americas feelings about the post 9/11 world, in case no one could figure that out. There's a subtle dig at America (the country), and Captain America's idealism with a movie quote used to prop up his smug feelings.
Then he tries to appeal to the "common man" by using a cliched colloquialisms and a look-down-my-nose-at-you sarcasm.
Of course there is the obligatory complaint about the action to make it seem like they don't ever watch demolition videos or Americas Funniest Home Video (now called Tosh.0).
Then he goes back to complaining about the effects in another paragraph.
He attempts to critique the actors, going so far as to mock Chris Evans body (apparently a biologically enhanced super-being should have the body of Woody Allen? Chris is all natural and you made fun of his body. Isn't that a shaming technique, or even bullying?), and further compounds looking like a chump by making it seem like he and Chris agree that Captain America is boring. He goes on to suck cock for that self serving Robert Redford (quick aside here: I've never seen a Redford movie where he portrayed anything but a smug, self serving I-Know-More-Than-You character. Watch Out of Africa, The Winter Soldier and see if he isn't the Sundance Kid all over again.) Comparing a movie to another movie is like comparing a Where's Waldo to Sherlock Holmes. Sure, they are both books, but complaining that Waldo doesn't have the same political intrigue as Holmes just makes you an elitist snob.
He finishes off the article by making a dig (rightfully or wrongfully) at Fox News, instantly polarizing the readers for no good reason aside from muck raking.
In summation this critic would not have prevented me from seeing, or encouraged me to see, any movie. I would be hard pressed to read anything he's done after this. Not because of bad writing, or even our differing views on the same film. I wouldn't read more by him simply because he didn't create anything new. He didn't offer alternatives, or say what might have worked better. He merely told us what he did and didn't like, and we accepted that as valid because...
I give Davy Wavey here a -3 our of 5 for usefulness.
Next up: Kim Newman (whoever that is).