Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I wrote movie reviews for the U of U newspaper once upon a time because it was something I'd always wanted to do. I thought being a film critic would be an awesome job. Who wouldn't? You get to see movies before they open and then write about them. And get paid for doing it. Didn't seem like there was any job that could be better.

Then I actually started doing it.

The more I did it, the less I liked it. My casual enjoyment of movies has already been ruined by years of film school but I started enjoying them even less when I had to start figuring out how to translate what I liked to a mass (sort of) audience.

I didn't like having to determine what worked about a movie and what didn't because what worked for me might not work for someone else and vice versa. At the end of the day, I felt like I wasn't going to convince anyone whether or not to see a movie. They can make up their own minds. They're (mostly) adults. Also, writing about movies brings out the absolute worst in internet trolls because they're all jealous that they don't get paid to do it but are thoroughly convinced that they can do it better than you. That was reinforced for me after I reviewed the new FRIDAY THE 13TH and basically said that it was an empty, paint by numbers remake. It had no heart, no grit and looked waaaaay too slick. Sure, it had some clever kills and solid nudity, which is what everyone wants from a horror movie, but they went for the sudden shock factor and cheap thrills instead of really trying to scare people. That was the crux of my review and one of the comments that I read basically said "this is the most classless review I've ever read and you have no future in journalism."

First of all, writing movie reviews is hardly journalism. Any idiot with Internet access can write movie reviews. Second, I felt I made a solid point about remakes and horror movies in general. And third, if you can show me what a "classy" review of FRIDAY THE 13TH looks like, please do. I'd love to see it.

You have to have pretty thick skin to write about anything for a mass audience, especially with the Internet. Internet comments are why the first guy writing film reviews when I was editor quit. He couldn't handle it. I just stopped looking at them and wrote stuff I was proud of and expected the EIC and managing editor to tell me if it was shit. They never did. But as soon as the year was over, I was over writing film reviews.

Ever since then, I've kind of looked at film critics differently. It used to be that everyone had a film critic that they trusted implicitly. If so and so said this movie was good, then by god they were going to see it. If they said it was the worst movie ever made, it was avoided like the plague. That's not the case any more.

Now that there are so many out there, it's a lot harder. I have a few that I read on a regular basis but I never trust them completely. I'll usually take what they've said and weigh it against my own opinion. Sometimes they line up and sometimes they don't. Rarely do I ever read a review and say, "Well fuck this guy. He doesn't know anything." Sometimes I do, but again, that's the writers opinion and I don't have to agree with it.

But then again, the Internet was invented for two reasons: To bitch about movies and share porn. And in that regard, it's done it's job remarkably well.

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