So Fetch Daily

Dear Culture Critics:

Don’t hold back, but keep it civil. Yes, that’s right, I want to put an end to all of the negativity. Stop running everything down. You don’t like anything of what’s going on in the cultural field right now? Well, maybe you should look for another job then.

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12 thoughts on “

  1. See, I don’t think critics should move inside other people’s minds. Instead they should write what they see and discuss the film with their own (hopefully extensive) knowledge about the medium. This post clearly has a problem with criticism as a whole (re: ‘pretentious nonsense’) and feels like someone couldn’t deal with the fact that some critics don’t care about the new QT. Also, the fact that critics should only review great stuff flies in the face of everything criticism stands for.

    Btw I myself, think Django is a misfire (not because of its post-postmodernism), but mostly because it’s QT spinning his wheels again and churning out the same old tricks for 2.5hrs plus. A true critic should (whether they like the film or not) be able to discern this and acknowledge this to his readers.

    • I understand your criticism on my post on criticism but I have some comments.

      1) This is an open letter, which means it is supposed to be a little bit exaggerated and ironic (e.g. the way I call myself a ‘a culture snob with great taste’)
      2) I am, however, sick of all the negativity. I took Django Unchained as an example because a lot of people have seen this movie, but try reading my blogpost with another work of art (that you yourself like and critics killed off) in mind
      3) A culture critic is a journalist and journalists are supposed to be objective. So yes, I want them to keep their audience in mind when reviewing art
      4) Culture criticism differs, however, from ‘hard news’ journalism in some points and sure, they can add their opinion in their article (but only when they clearly state that this is their personal, subjective opinion)
      5) ‘they should write what they see’. Sure, but adding valid arguments would be nice. Writing: ‘I thought the film was boring and ugly’ won’t do it for me. This is probably what you mean with ‘and discuss the film with their own (hopefully extensive) knowledge about the medium’. If the critics I have in mind would do this (give valid arguments in an objective manner) there wouldn’t be a problem, but I have the feeling they’re often just being negative because they feel as if the work of art they’re reviewing is too commercial/made for the masses
      6) ‘The same old tricks’: you mean he repeats himself. I feel that with this movie, he is doing the same thing he did with Inglorious Bastards (and he has told the media that there will be a third movie that ‘rewrites history’. It is meant to be a trilogy). So he has done this twice. Repetition and alluding to other work is typical for (post)postmodern art. Maybe it’s time for something else? Sure. But I feel as if he has mastered this way of writing/directing and that after this third movie, he will move on to something else. The great Nouvelle Vague directors repeated ‘the same old tricks’ (and even plots) for numerous movies and they are still regarded as ‘masters of cinema’. The contemporary critics seem to forget that one of the features of ‘auteur cinema’ is repetiton. (One of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson, is also criticized for being repetitive, whereas I feel that ‘the typical Anderson characteristics’ are not corny and dreadful. He can play with these features and insert them into different movies, because that’s how he sees cinema and that’s how he sees his cinematic universes)

      Ok, I will stop babbling now.

      • I do realize it was exaggerated and meant as a certain provocation. Well, provoke it did. We see criticism a tad differently, ’cause I still don’t think a good critic can ever be objective (we all have different tastes) and keeping your audience in mind will lead to a watered down form of criticism. In the same way a film director shouldn’t feel the need to please his audience (or his critics). But yes, a critic should add valid arguments when reviewing and might want to keep things evenhanded. The critics I gravitate towards do this, so maybe that’s why I got all defensive. And there’s a difference between writing an article (which should be objective) and a review (which should not).

        Still, I don’t get why you have to defend QT. As far as I see it (just looking at RT or Metacritic or the 8 Oscar noms he scored) he doesn’t need any defending, it didn’t get ‘killed off by critics’. I think his detractors hate the way he’s being treated with kid gloves. Anyway, it just goes to show how he still can rile people up. And as far as repetition goes, I meant he’s been hiding behind the same postmodern wall since his debut, even the undercover angle in Django is a callback to Mr Orange. I’d like to see him stretch his brand, ’cause I don’t respond to it anymore. Which I still do with Wes A. If I were to review Django I would have to call the film on this.

        I have gone on for far too long.

  2. Well QT did get killed off by critics in Belgium, so maybe that is why I (in my turn) got so defensive.

    I have this love-hate relationship with reviews. It’s often seen as “cool, rock and roll” journalism, where it is ok to swear and roar. That’s why I said: don’t hold back, but keep it civil. I know that the whole “objectivity” thing is less important in a review, but maybe I should use a different term… Anyway, it should be clear in a review which parts are mere subjective and which parts are meant as an objective argumentation. And that’s not always the case. (you can compare it with the whole auteur-question where critics would go “I say that this director is a genius, because the evidence is on the screen”. Say what now? Arguments please?)

    I also wanted to criticize the fact that in a small country like Belgium (which is divided in a Dutch speaking area and a French speaking area, so these two parts are even smaller), some critics throw mud at artists who are only just beginning (but I left this piece out in my English version because this is mainly interesting for Flemish people). Give them a chance to evolve is all I’m saying.

    Glad you like Wes though 😉

  3. I think there’s a difference between film reviewing and film criticism. If you’re working for a medium like a magazine or a newspaper you have to water down your criticism, like Blueberry said. You give your opinion but you adapt to what you think that movie audience is. A children’s movie cannot be reviewed the same way as a blockbuster, or an art film. You shouldn’t look for the meaning of life in Brave, nor Blue’s Clues on the next Terrence Malick film.
    Film criticism is a different thing. It should be on specialized mediums and it has no obligation to talk down or sideways to its readers. The problem with this is that most of these guys go to Snobbery School instead of Film or Philosophy School. Hate for movies is a quality, and it shouldn’t be. Opinions are tainted by childish attempts to differ from their peers. Any critic would jump at the opportunity of being the first to badmouth a critically acclaimed movie, or the first to hail a shady underground production.
    In my country (Portugal), love for movies is a disqualifying trait to be a film critic and elsewhere it appears to be frowned upon. Someone shoud read more Bazin,

  4. I agree that the medium has a lot to do with it. I was (and perhaps that wasn’t entirely clear) writing about film reviewers who write for magazines and newspapers (high quality and popular). Film criticism in a specialized medium OR a blogpost is different because your adience is different.

    This whole “I want to stand out and I do so by being controversial and negative” is indeed popular within the snobbish film critic society. I think it’s time to stop hating because it’s “cool”.

    • I don’t think it’ll ever stop, because that gets attention. If I did a blog post saying “Citizen Kane is Shit!” I’d get a crazy amount of views.

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