Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thoughts on film criticism

Recently, Armond White was on slashfilm's podcast where he declared that Roger Ebert destroyed film criticism... that he ruined it for good. He said a lot of other things too, for instance, that the internet is also destroying film criticism. He said that no one under the age of 30 should be allowed to review movies and no one under the age of 40 should be allowed to MAKE movies. By the end of the podcast, when he was asked to name some of his favorite film critics, he had no answer. He simply thinks that he's the only one with the right answers and everyone else is wrong. If you read up on Armond White, you would find that he's pretty much a contrarian. A contrarian who is a skillful writer, in some ways, but oftentimes, his "skillful writing" doesn't add up to much. His positive reviews mostly consist of bashing movies that he felt were not as good as the movie he's reviewed and his negative reviews consist of bashing anybody who thinks that the movie he's reviewing is good.

So it'd be safe to say that Mr. White is a troll, but that's not what I want to talk about here. What I'm more interested in is the fact that Armond White brought up an interesting point about film criticism today. How people are generally too soft on their critiques and someone like Roger Ebert simply gives too many positive reviews.

I thought about that and then I thought about what I do here. How my blog is just one of the many other movie blogs on the net that's filled with amateur movie reviews and news. But let me make it clear, I'm fully aware of my biases. I think it's dishonest to claim you're not biased when obviously there are gonna be some filmmakers that you prefer to others. That being said, I still think I come across as fair and as non-biased as I possibly can, but I can't help myself from liking what I like. I'm not even trying to be non-biased here, but I am trying to give an accurate repesentation on my views on the movies that I see. I try the best I can to break them down, tell you what I liked or tell you what I didn't like. I'm not telling you that my opinion is correct. And I admit that I may use the word "masterpiece" in my top 100 lists a lot but those lists exist solely so I can praise movies. I enjoy looking back at the movies I love and telling you why I like them, that's why I make those lists. At the same time, I like simply breaking down a movie and discussing the bad and good parts.

So no, I'm not a professional reviewer, I'm not a professional writer. I'm not trying to be anything I'm not here. I have no interest in becoming a professional film critic. I just like thinking critically and analyzing film. I also am an aspiring filmmaker. So I'm more interested in making films than writing about them, but I still really like writing about them. That's why I do what I do here.

Basically, all I'm trying to see is that I know how amateur this blog may be, but I find nothing wrong with keeping up with today's movie news and continuing to hone my craft while I review movies. My ratings system isn't 100% and sometimes I feel like they're arbitrary. I gave Inception a 9.75 out of 10, but now I wonder if it's too high.

I can review and analyze movies but I haven't quite perfected the art of giving them a number rating. The best thing I can do is rank them compared to other movies of its genre, a director's filmography, or a given year. So really, it's all about how I feel about the movies at the end of the year, but it's still important for me to write about them so I can see what I liked or didn't like about the movie.

Anyway, I guess I may come across as defensive here, but I think it's important for you all to get a better understanding where I'm coming from. I probably will tend to write more good reviews than bad because I am only interested in seeing the movies that I think I'll like. But I still am as honest as I can possibly can when I review them, whether or not I might change the ratings of the movies a little bit.

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