Ya’Meen?

What do you two look for when reading critiques?

I was originally going to write that question in to the two hosts at Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies. I likely still will. Considering I’ve benched another Anime Beyond Miyazaki entry, I decided to answer that question myself. What I look for when reading a critique is the same thing I look for when I read anyone’s anything, and that is their voice. I’m almost 1000% sure that anyone who is reading my blog has passed middle school, so I won’t go through the effort of explaining what that is because I’m sure you’re sure you know what it means. I will be the first one to point at that there is in all likelihood a gantlet of grammatical errors throughout the majority of my posts and that I consistently abuse the use of commas; with all that said however, I do believe that I have at least written in some sort of recognizable voice here.

One of my biggest irritants when reading fellow forum members opinions is if it either reads like A. Some sort of arbitrary checklist that a movie has to meet in order to be good or B. I am reading some sort of encyclopedia. I do not have a problem with the latter if I’m actually, you know, reading an encyclopedia. I just generally don’t see the worth in writing like that because ninety-nine times out of a hundred an actual encyclopedia already exists with the the same information in a more expansive format, the usually copy the worst preconceptions about encyclopedic writing (i.e. dull) and there is usually some haughty  attitude that follows like we should bask in your presence for blessing us with your so beautifully written droning about something you consider obscure.

If I’m asking what’s on your mind tell me how you reacted to it. I don’t really give a damn about the general consensus. If I did, I wouldn’t be asking you. I would be going directly to the source so they could explain themselves. Obviously, using other people/sources as references to how you may or may not have become illuminated on said movie is perfectly fine, however it should not dominate your entire mind-share. Use it as a seasoning or at the very most as an appetizer. Do not use it as a side dish. And Allah forbid you serve me that shit as the main course.

You talk to people to get different perspectives not condescended versions that already exists in far better forms. Tell me how it reflects of your life experiences and your emotions. Some of my favorite responses I’ve read at Mubi have been from various perspectives of women about the movie (500) Days of Summer which opened my eyes to something I would have never considered. My top 2 favorite ones are below.

The message I took from this film was that if a girl repeatedly tells you she’s not interested in a real relationship and only sees you as a friend, you have every right to still be pissed when she doesn’t fall for your basic Nice Guy™ ass. That JGL does such a good job of hiding Tom’s asshole qualities beneath his own natural charisma only makes it worse.

Further proof that your stalker and projection issues can be characterized as “sweet” and “understandable” by audiences if you are white male.

These both stand in an interesting contrast to the male viewers who commented, for both of those that liked it or hated it. The men who enjoyed it viewed it as their life put on screen. The guys who hated it said essentially that it was ‘hipster trash’ and many other euphemisms for that. The first quote is similar to a near constant divide in perception and blame over the film Blue Valentine, where the type of males dividing the aforementioned film always, without fail, go back towards the point that Ryan Gosling’s character was a good guy. Because clearly, being nice is the most important building block of a relationship. Just as certain aspects of white privileged, see the second quote, can make people assuage or even endorse certain traits that would be roundly denounced had the character been of a different race or even less attractive.

Those two quotes are exactly why I love diverging opinions because without them I wouldn’t be able to absorb different perspectives. I wouldn’t ever be challenged because all views would be homogenized. I would constantly be bored because everyone keeps repeating the same thing, except most people write like shit so I’m really just reading heaps and heaps of shit at a certain point. Unfortunately, most critical writers of film fall into varying skills as a writer that all say the same shit because they’re populated by the same people who were fed the same stream of films. I mean there’s a reason that the same 5 European countries, Japan, and America dominate all the critics’ lists. It’s not simply because they’re good or even ‘more good’ it’s because they get a better marketing push. In order to alleviate this problem we should strive for more nuanced, impactful, interesting, and obtuse reactions to films rather than going for the bottleneck strategy of just (keyword) debating how well the film meshes it’s ideas with it’s images.

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About panamaenrique

Afro-Latino film lover in NYC. I love blues, jazz, soul, funk, and everything else under the sun. Any questions, comments, or concerns about anything I say, feel free to hit me up. My contact info is there and I'll be sure to give you a lengthy response about what I said and why I said it.
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