In today's New York Times, A. O. Scott writes about why critics often conflict with the public on whether a movie is good or not. After lamenting the success of Pirates and the Davinci Code, A.O. wonders why critics don't line up withe the public.
A.O. gets it fundamentally wrong here, "That, however, is the job of the Hollywood studios, in particular of their marketing and publicity departments, and it is the professional duty of critics to be out of touch with — to be independent of — their concerns."
Taking the 'objective approach' to reviewing films is exactly the problem. People go to a film because they want to like it. People do not randomly select films. People enjoy watching trailers because they help create expectations about what the film is about. To ignore the hype is to intentionally avoid being interested in the film's premise.
Critics should be fans of what they review or at least go into the movie viewing it from a fan's vantage. Not everyone likes horror films, in fact some people abhor them. If you don't like horror films, then they are all crap no matter how much a true horror fan loves them.
This is the place where most film critics fail. There are certain genres of films they love and others they hate. They won't tell you this, but you know it's true. No one you know likes all film genres. Critics that say they do are lying. Critics needs to stick to the genres they enjoy and review from a fan's point of view, not an objective point of view.
Action movies fans value aspects of a film that comedy fans hate. Critics try to rate a film on how both will like it. This is a fool's errand that can never succeed.Posted by michael at July 18, 2006 10:18 PM