Showing posts with label critics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label critics. Show all posts

Friday, March 31, 2023

At the Movies Again

Image by rosi capurso from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"We are not trying to entertain the critics. I'll take my chances with the public."
                                                                                               -Walt Disney                                                                                                                                                            
Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

I wrote a column in early January titled At the Movies. The subtitle was With apologies to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

As many of you know, but many may not given that it went off the air in 1990, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were film critics featured on a popular TV show called At the Movies which was the second version of a show that had started in 1975.  

Yeah, you're that old. 

A thumbs up or thumbs down rating from Siskel&Ebert was a RBFD at the time, not that they necessarily agreed. 

As hard as it may be to believe for those of you who have grown up Twittering, or those of you old enough to forget, intelligent, civilized, and often even light-hearted arguments among people who disagreed were once commonplace.

The column that I titled At The Movies was about how I had gradually gone from frequently going to movie theaters as a kid to eventually almost never going as a grup as ticket prices rose and movie quality fell.   

{And/or you aged out of the demographic cohort Hollywood makes movies and TV shows for.}

Methinks that's intended as an insult, Dana. However, I view it as a compliment. THBPBPTHPT!

Anyway, now that I'm retired, I confess that one of my favorite things to do is watch an episode of a "prestige" TV series while eating a low-brow meal. I have the palate of a 10-year-old boy, a 10-year-old boy from the middle of the last century. The Stickies all have fairly sophisticated palates and are gourmets compared to me.

Long story short, "Prestige" TV ain't what it used to be so I've had to resort to Rotten Tomatoes (.com) to find movies I might want to watch or unearth obscure TV shows that might be worth watching. 

Therein hangs a tale. 

If you read the reviews that were used to determine a given productions rating, as you might expect, given that the internet offers us the dubious blessing of too much of just about everything, Rotten Tomatoes offers no shortage of the opinions of movie and television critics ranging from the Hooterville Herald to the New York Times. 

Positive and negative reviews are tallied and a verdict is rendered. I have no problem with that although you must take your tomatoes with a grain or two of salt. The site also includes the collated views of everyday Joan, Joe, and J. Bagadonutses. 

If both groups agree that something is awful, it usually is. But if just the critics overwhelmingly endorse a movie or TV show, look out. There's a good chance it's going to suck sweaty socks.

{Everyone knows that, what's your point?} 

I've got two points. The first concerns the tendency of many of the critics to mention, in some form or fashion, that while the movie or TV show in question is mediocre and predictable at best, to declare that it could be worse, and bestowing what amounts to a sideways thumb.

"I give this move a sideways thumb. It's sort of stupid but one of the actors is really good, or the cinematography is amazing, or the special effects are great, etc.

Point two is because social justice. 

Cynical old fart that I am, I figured that the industry pays off the critics. But I went a-googlin' and the general consensus is that this isn't true. 

So I think the reason I so often read something like "It's sort of stupid but..." is because brutally honest critics will anger audiences and Hollywood alike. Also, they've got to write something beyond "this movie/TV show is stupid, don't waste your precious time" even if the resulting multiple paragraphs waste the reader's precious time. 

As to, because social justice, there's apparently no shortage of woke movie and TV critics lose in the world. 

This results in a given critic feeling compelled to inform us as to whether or not the production in question was made by and/or includes an adequate number of members of registered marginalized minorities, and if the plot is politically correct. 

I wonder if that's why so many movies and TV shows are saturated with nihilism or sex or violence... or all of the above. Since everything is politicized, is that why stylized, over-the-top sensationalism is such a popular form of entertainment? 

Is that what it takes to provide an escape from the stylized, over-the-top, all politics, all the feckin' time sensationalism endlessly pushed by the purple press and social media? 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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