Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Armond's anger

Film critic Armond White is a contrarian (or what I might call a "dance fighter" of the first order and generally held among the best or worst in the critical spectrum, depending on who's doing the listing. This profile sheds some much-needed (for me) light on White's background and philosophy. While I'm pleased to note that White's negative takes on The Dark Knight and Wall-E agree with my own I'm more gratified to discover that his views seem to come from a deeply moral place, beginning with a childhood that mixed religion and a big dose of classic American and European cinema. (NY Mag)

If the discourse of cinema, as he claims, has reached “the bottom”—victim of Roger Ebert’s thumbs up/thumbs down Roman Colosseum–style methodology, excessive blurb-mongering, fixation on weekend box-office reports, sheer laziness, etc., etc.—the fault lies not with the movies themselves. There will always be good movies. The problem is with the messengers, the sold-out, the politically and historically indifferent movie-critic sheep who have abdicated the passion-filled mantle of Kael and Sarris.

To anyone who used to care about such issues, this can be a compelling complaint. As for White’s corollary to the argument, his however-immodest proposal that he, and he alone, remains to tell the … well …

“Shit, you’re writing a piece about Armond?” exclaims one well-known film critic who would just as soon keep his name out of this. “Armond’s smart and all, I get a kick out of him, but do I really have to see him looking out of the magazine like he’s the last angry, honest man in the film culture?”

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