This seemed to be a watershed year for the contrarian New York Press critic, whose New York magazine profile in February and anointment as the chief of the New York Film Critics Circle served as kindling to the blaze that erupted when White wrote a scathing review for "District 9" entitled "From Mothership to Bullship" that prompted several months' worth of comments that were passionate rebukes from both angry fanboys and cinephiles. (It didn't help he gave a positive notice to the widely reviled "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" the same week.) And yet, for one shining moment, White found a defender in Roger Ebert, who wrote that White's opinion was "often valuable because it is outside the mainstream" and chided the fanboys for becoming fans of the film before they had even seen it, as White had.
Of course, White's reviews are always reliable for entertaining comment threads, but Ebert's defense of White proved to be more so -- and the commenters were influential, as well. Ebert decided to change his mind the next day -- the headline of his article "Not in defense of Armond White" after a reader supplied him a chart of movies that White had liked versus ones he didn't. After discovering that White preferred "Transformers 2" to "Synecdoche, New York," Ebert concluded that White is a "troll."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
2009 Dance Fight!
A review of the best critic-on-critic controversies of the year. Anything involving Armond White is a sure bet. (IFC)