MovieBob - IntermissionAbout Critics (Part II)MovieBob - Intermission - RSS 2.0
The fact is, while I can point to dozens of reasons - objective and otherwise - as to why Transformers or the most recent Pirates movie aren't very good ... some people are still going to like them. Maybe it's a musical cue, maybe it's a "one great scene" deal, whatever - every movie, even a terrible one, is loved by somebody; and much like my hypothetical Dog Show scenario, no one likes seeing something they love get knocked around for its technical failings by some critic. If the Twilight movies speak to you on some potent level, me pointing out how wretched its narrative structure and use of character development is probably feels kind of rotten. I understand that - I'm not going to stop doing it, but I understand.
This is why one of the best scenes in anything - ever - about a critic was the climax of Ratatouille. Anton Ego, an infamously picky food critic so clinically detached from whatever it was that made him a gourmet connoisseur in the first place that he appears as a kind of inhuman ghoul, has arrived to pass judgment on Remy the Rat's now-legendary cooking. Surprising his team, Remy's gambit is to prepare a simple dish of ratatouille - a "peasant dish," one of them comments. But Remy, aside from his extraordinary cooking ability, has a keen sense of perception - a single bite of the meal triggers a deep sense-memory in Ego, transporting him back to his rural childhood and a moment (one of many, we sense) that his mother soothed a difficult day with a similar meal. Reawakened, Ego's review is a rave that disavows his earlier approach (and also costs him his job, since ... you know, rats) - not so much as an admission of "guilt" but rather an acknowledgement that he isn't (and oughtn't be) the "final word" he'd considered himself to be.
In the end, all I'd ask of people is to keep in mind that, when feeling personally affronted by a disagreeing review from a movie critic, it's perhaps not a great use of time and resources being truly "put out" over it. Our function, in the broadest sense, is to give you something to think about - if "thinking" manifests as "disagreement," we've both still done our jobs.
... except people who still defend Transformers - those guys are just wrong :)
Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.