I take the art of film criticism very seriously, and am sad to see not just the death of newspapers and film reviews being written by interns who don’t know much about film, and they have no intention on eliminating that ignorance. I’ve been quite vocal for at least 10 years on how the internet has given the armchair critic the idea that their writing is just as valid as a professional, simply because it is available to the public and can’t get around the fact that it is of very little importance that they liked or disliked a film, but why they felt that way. I take notes in the theater on paper that uses out-of-print Pauline Kael to prop it up, books I’ve been reading over and over since I was 15 years old. I loathe those who mistake snarkiness and critical buzzwords for a legit review, not analyzing the movie but their knee-jerk reaction to plot points without ever being specific, and not realizing that their job is not only to tell their readers whether or not a movie is seeing, but having unique observations to share, which can be discussed even if the reader disagrees with the critic. But at the same time, I don’t take myself very seriously, and am quite aware of the elitist attitude inherent in being a critic, and what an insulated world we live in, so my reviews tend to be assertive but deadpan, while attempting to inform the public of what I’ve learned about how the studio and independent worlds work, such as how PR people often think of us as their employees, who they have to schmooze and manipulate into writing a positive article, treating us like a herd of cattle, and at the same time discrediting any effect we might have on the public’s reaction to a film, box office or otherwise. Also, I clearly like run-on sentences.
I want people to see good movies, whether it is because of me or not, and to open up their minds so they can look at a film from a new perspective. I don’t want them to feel condescended to, but rather have an open debate on a movie, and making the important distinction between argument and discussion. While my expertise helps me write about themes and ideas in a way that is occasionally accused as academic, I want nothing more than to have conversations about film with others willing to be open-minded and that there’s no such thing as right or wrong in an opinion, only the way you express it.
If you find the above to be high-falutin’ and pompous, that’s fine. And you’re probably right.
The OFCS welcomes Lippe as a member.