image

Some people will tell you that there's no right way to watch a movie, read a book, look at a painting, etc. In deference to the popular notion of all outlooks being inherently subjective, I suppose that's technically correct - if you feel more comfortable watching your movies in the form of 7-second Vine increments while riding backwards over cobblestone streets on a llama, you're probably insane, but I suppose not technically wrong.

What I do feel comfortable in holding to, however, is that there is an intended way for a given work to be experienced, and not necessarily in the vein of "this sounds better on vinyl" or the idea that you need to speak ancient Greek to fully appreciate Plato. But most creative works are in fact made with a certain specific mode of presentation and experience intended. Movies, for example, are made to be watched in a semi-passive, if not submissive, fashion. The audience is meant to open themselves to what the filmmakers have presented, from start to finish, in the fashion of coastal rocks being washed over by waves; with criticism (good or ill) coming after, and resistance or detachment coming only when the film/filmmakers have abused or failed in their role (read: the movie sucks) .

Unfortunately, while the on-demand nature of modern entertainment has been a boon for film watchers in most respects, it has also fostered a poisonous culture dedicated to using the deconstructive tools of cinematic and literary academia - designed for use on artworks in an instructive post-experience/post-impact context - to bludgeon and brutalize perfectly good (even great) films to death for inconsequential sins of inconsistency colloquially called "plot holes" or "fails."

The current vanguard of this noxious practice is a YouTube channel called Cinema Sins, which essentially borrows Honest Trailers routine but trades actual insight for forced cynicism and opts not to even bother with the creative effort of arranging its thoughts into the form of a trailer. Instead, it's mostly a rundown of nitpicks (some of them are really a stretch) written as though they leapt fully-formed from a mind that is either incapable of giving itself over to cinematic viewing or heavily practiced at affecting the same.

Let me be clear: The tools of the film critic or the academic are of tremendous value in their proper setting. But just as a mortician's bone saw that can yield vital understanding of biology when applied to a corpse becomes a ghastly weapon when applied to a living being, so too does detached clinical nitpicking lead to little more than intellectual violence when applied to a film fresh from (or worse yet, prior to) the watching.

RELATED CONTENT
Comments on