You may or may not have grown up with a Dad who loves Westerns. I did, and so I got an early education in John Ford thanks to John Wayne’s laconic take on the Western Hero. There was something about The Duke that seemed big, besides his frame. Like Elvis or The Beatles or Spielberg the first time you encounter a figure like Wayne he’s presented to you as a legend. Obviously these legends have the careers to back up the status but the initial impression of them as a legend will seal the deal and you will forever after be unable to think of them fully as people.
CGI has yet to define itself as a new color in the cinematic palette. This may not seem the case when you consider that any major blockbuster released by Hollywood is lousy with it. But let’s not take Hollywood as a guide in this instance. Instead, let’s just say that CGI is nothing more than digital matte paintings, digital make-up effects, digital animatronics and digital-digital, just to be safe.
Film Criticism is a tough racket from what I can see. As a film fan and maker there’s nothing more I love than a well-thought out and impassioned piece on a film or a filmmaker or film history or anything else you can put ‘film’ in front of, besides a truly great film of course. Just like in anything there are as many bad critics as there are good ones but typically critics are not judged on the value of their overall output, as an artist typically is, rather they live or die based on every new review they put out. It’s like stand-up comedy in a way: just because you laughed at the last joke does not mean you’ll laugh at the next one. Likewise you can agree with a critic on one film then turn right around on the same critic and call them all sorts of bad names if they, God Forbid, disagree with you on another.
Unfortunately most people don’t follow a critics output and that’s a shame. Critics are a resource to be consulted, much like moviefone. “Oh, looks like Ebert gave it two stars so what else is playing?” Not only does this fictional statement not take into account Ebert’s longtime dislike of a star-rating system but this fictional person probably didn’t read his review which may have highlighted aspects of the fictional film in question that might actually have appealed to the fictional person. And that’s the trouble with fictional people and people in general.
So I propose that we unshackle critics from the bonds of what’s-out-in-theaters and leave that to the marketers who are so eager to bore and annoy us with their tired techniques of getting-asses-in-seat-ery and let them talk about whatever they want. We’re not sure how this whole Internet thing is ultimately going to impact media, we’re just constantly caught up in its wake. So why don’t we let these know-it-alls actually share what they’ve discovered over their many years of watching films. If, say, one week they want to talk about Roadhouse and the next they want to talk about The Life and Death of Col. Blimp then we should let them. Sites like PressPlay have wonderful video essays on many great films, and yes I have one too, with plenty of wonderful articles to boot. I say we expand on this methodology and let film critics talk about films they actually want to talk about. I bet we’d all be better off because really, even if the Avengers was universally panned you know you’d still go see it. Now all you have to figure out is why you’d still want to go.