Saturday, November 22, 2008

Take that, rock critics!

We movie critics aren't afraid to get our hands dirty with some negativity. (Culture11)

The tendency in movie criticism, on the other hand, is to prize strong, brassy opinions. I don’t know exactly why this is. Perhaps the historical influences? Pauline Kael, of course, as well Siskel and Ebert and others, all set the tone for bold critical judgments. Or maybe it’s just that movie critics are a more cantankerous bunch. There’s a downside to this, of course — a love it/hate it mentality that gives everything a thumbs up or thumbs down without any nuance — but on the whole, I think a non-trivial number of negative reviews is a good thing for any critical sphere, and I much prefer criticism that’s prone to overstatement rather than middling, mushy non-judgments, and critics who, rather than blandly praising everything that comes their way as "just fine," seem to genuinely believe that their chosen medium is one that has the potential to be wonderful, wretched, and everything in between.

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