“And the Oscar goes to La La Land…. No! No! Wait! That can’t be right. It isn’t right. The Oscar goes to Moonlight!” “Huh?”
It’s complicated, this movie reviewing stuff. But maybe reviewing is simply a matter of telling persons who are busy what is better to see than to see something else, simply what NOT to see: “Don’t waste your time.” “It’s a waste of money.” “Don’t bother. See X instead.”
However, do I want a review, or a formal analysis of a movie? “Thumbs Up” or 5-Stars, or cultural response, production history, or values discussion?
What do you NEED to make you WANT to see a particular movie: old, new, classic, recent, color, black and white, documentary, drama, comedy, Netflix, Redbox, STARZ, Cobb Theatres; story, technology, actor or actress, theme, technique–and more, much more? Does the critic count for you? Explanation and evaluation?
“Critics would be useful people to have around if they would simply do their work, carefully and thoughtfully assessing works [of art], calling attention to those worth noticing, and explaining clearly, sensibly, and justly why others need not take up our time.” –John Gardner, On Moral Fiction (1978)
SO: Watch these movies for “greatness”–or NOT!”
UP IN THE AIR
P.S. I LOVE YOU
A GOOD YEAR
THE ENGLISH PATIENT
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
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“Art is meant to be experienced, and in the last analysis the function of criticism is to assist that experience.” –David Daiches (1956; 1981)