The tables have turned, you critic bastards

By Logan Niehaus

“Oh it’s spectacular!” “What a triumph!” “Truly a masterpiece!” la di freakin’ da! You heard me, it’s complete and utter bullshit. These are just a few critic’s comments on some films over the past few years. These individuals tell us, recommend and completely discard different forms of media as they see fit. With literature and music there tends to be a more consistent consensus when it comes to placing judgment upon these items. Now, with movies we often face another problem, a problem that surrounds endless issues only growing with every new review. Like an asshole, everyone also has some unique opinion to offer as well.

You love or hate them, listen or don’t care, they’re critics and, as of late, they seem to be reproducing like pests in a roach motel. They try to tell us what to think, how to feel; regardless, film reviewers seem to be of a different breed. It’s unfortunate to watch someone badger, dissect and puke on something that may not deserve it. Now let’s get this straight, I am not advocating poor films or questionable criteria within film, I only wish to explain how these assumptions are reached and just maybe why they’re flawed at times.

It just seems like more and more these days we see reviewers rely heavily on gimmicks for witty pieces. The problem is these gimmicks get played out and often take away from anything worthwhile. It comes across as an inside joke nobody really gets or truly cares about. The best example is the garbage we see that comes out of People magazine. The reviewers rely on catchy one-liners and pretentious conundrums. Apart from being close-minded and uptight about anything and everything, the reviews are structured around two sentences of final thoughts. Regardless of interest in the movie or not, the reviews rely on great lengths of verbal drivel and cheap tricks of simile and rhyme. Hello, we are not in high school anymore. But seriously, it’s like these monkeys sit around in clown costumes seeing who can sling the shittiest ideas each day. The more lame, childish and self-defining they are, the more high fives are handed out.

Another phenomenon in film critiquing today is the use of websites to track different responses by critics to different movies. Such sites as and use trackers to show how films are being received. It’s sites like these that really allow us to see how flawed or inconsistent reviewers can be. A month ago upon the release of Final Destination 3, it was amazing to see a 41 per cent acceptance. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been a sucker for the Final Destination trilogy, but they simply haven’t changed since their inception and this proved even truer for the third one. On top of this, apart from being entertaining, it was terribly acted and the script was ridiculously written. It is frustrating to watch movies like Domino or Elizabethtown, movies that weren’t exceptional but obviously films with much better writing, acting and stories than Final Destination receive less than 15 per cent critique approval.

Is there something wrong here? Why is there a double standard of expectations when it comes to analyzing movies? Reviewers are more generous to movies that they expected to be terrible but are unrelenting when it comes to others they had higher expectations for. It’s like offering water boy duties to the kid who wasn’t good enough to make the basketball team in high school.

The film industry as a whole has been in a shambles over the past few years. Studios rely on the next big blockbuster to back the other shit they want to hammer out their ass the rest of the year. On the coat tails of the Oscars, problems with the film industry came to a head on Sunday night. George Clooney’s acceptance speech that ultimately said thanks for the consolation prize was an interesting one. Definitely happy after winning best supporting actor for his work in Syriana, Clooney obviously knew the award was the academy’s consolation for not awarding him in the best director category, for Good Night and Good Luck. It’s no surprise the audience and general public are well aware of the controversy surrounding this and other films. The same idea is seen with critiques and their lackluster approach when analyzing whatever is at hand.

This brings me to my contrived, self-consoling, collective conclusion. You’re probably wondering why I found it prevalent to go on about this for 800 words. Well, quite simply, over the past few years I’ve realized film is a medium of personal opinion. Just as we see critics bash or praise a film, we do the very same. Personally I do not rely on or really care what most people have to say about movies. Hell, even people at this paper post their opinions about films and music, but I still find myself rejecting, disagreeing with what they say. Much of the same can be said about my opinions and the stance others take on them.

For me, films tend to be one of three things: simply entertaining (regardless of quality), true quality work or a combination of both. We live in a time when we are judged for everything we do, so I say to you, screw everyone else. If you like sitting down to a night of Blue Crush, Cinderella Man or Elizabethtown, so be it, watch what you enjoy. What I am not trying to tell you is to swear off critics altogether because there are those who do have valuable opinions to offer, but take what they’re saying with a grain of salt and understand we all know what makes us tick and we’re not always going to agree with everyone else.

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