Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Response to the Kid in the Front Row's "Film Critics Suck"

The grievances in this post are at the heart of a problem that interests me more than almost any other. “Film Critics suck” is a big statement coming from a such a respectable and important blogger like the Kid. I think there’s a lot of truth and power behind his statement. Film criticism, for many, is seen as elitist and out of touch with the public. The democratization of the Internet and criticism has brought a new platform to ideas that make the critics in the print community less prestigious.

First, it’s important to get this image of the grumpy old white male critic out of our mind. There’s no doubt, they exist but there are many more voices out there now. We should be focusing on finding many different voices in the critical community so that all the anger and dissatisfaction has some truth and perspective to it.

Films are an art, a source of entertainment, but so is film criticism (at least non-authoritative film criticism). I also don’t think professional film critics should die and go away. I don’t think that complete critical anarchy is the solution. I think they should change and adapt to the culture around them. I think the voice should change from an authoritative one to a moderator instead. The film critic of tomorrow should be a professional film appreciator who can manipulate social media and today’s technology to bring the most interesting criticism to the public’s eye. Film criticism is a beautiful thing and if we can get people to see it, maybe they’ll change their preconceived judgments of the snobby film critic who hates things before he walks in the theater.

Critiquing art is essential. It’s an art of its own and deserves the respect to exist and thrive. People will pay and respect the most interesting voices. Its finding and utilizing these voices that is key to film criticism’s success.

Your idea of reviewing the review (and I suggest the reviewer as well) is an excellent idea. Perhaps a Rotten Tomatoes where we can judge film critics? A community to support the voices we love, and criticize the reviewers that need a little criticism of their own.

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