Monday, May 27, 2013

Criticisms Of Criticism: Findings and Quotes Part II: The Wrath of the Quotes

After dissecting Armond White’s “Do Movie Critics Matter?” in more detail, I found a few more standout quotes and statements that I think need to be addressed. As with the last one, there are parts which I agree with him on, but also parts that I heavily disagree with. 
“Over recent years, film journalism has—perhaps unconsciously—been considered a part of the film industry and expected to be a partner in Hollywood's commercial system. Look at the increased prevalence of on-television reviewing dedicated to dispensing consumer advice, and of magazine and newspaper features linked only to current releases, or to the Oscar campaign, as if Hollywood's business was everybody's business. Critics are no longer respected as individual thinkers, only as adjuncts to advertising. We are not. And we should not be. Criticism needs to be reassessed with this clear understanding: We judge movies because we know movies, and our knowledge is based on learning and experience.”
This one has parts that I both agree and disagree with.
While I have always considered film journalism part of the film industry (there is a reason why film schools have just as many film criticism classes as they do film production and screenwriting classes), I don’t necessarily agree that it has become a part of Hollywood’s commercial system. 
Hollywood and film critics have always been separate entities. While some critics might be bribed into saying something positive about a bad movie to make people go see an otherwise terrible film, those critics are the minority. Most critics will stick to their guns and beliefs and say whatever they want about a certain movie, despite what other critics or press might say. 
Sometimes those critics will do it through video, which lately has become a popular method for reviewing art of any kind, but that really doesn’t mean they’re selling out or buying into the system. It just means that they’re trying a different method of reviewing that more people can gain access to. 
And as for reviewing only movies that are currently in theaters, well yeah, that’s what people are most interested in. Even then, I’ve seen critics do video reviews of movies that have long been out of theaters, even on television by Roger Ebert. 
My point is that White makes some convincing arguments about art criticism in that quote, but there are also points to heavily disagree with. 

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