About Critics (Part 1)

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Well, Bob, I'm glad to hear that you read comments, but personally I tend to only comment on content that I strongly disagree with (this comment being an exception) or to answer questions posed in the article (or video or whatever). I imagine I'm not alone in this regard. There's probably a lot of people who watch your shows and enjoy them and don't feel the need to comment.

You say comment count is your only metric? Really? Don't you also have a view count or unique visitor count? I'd say that's a much better metric than comments. Just saying.

Thanks for recommending that film, I hadn't heard of it actually but I have heard of the man who directed it, Terrence Malick, having watched another film of his, The New World, and finding it visually arresting and memorable and yet very, very slow at times, even for my tastes and I love 2001 A Space Odyssey, which is a slow, slow, sllloooowwww film. Anyway thanks for giving me the heads up, I'll definitely be checking it out when it comes around to the UK.

Oh and as for your whole article, it's all opinion mannnn and whilst films and any other creative media can be superior or inferior objectively, relatively our tastes and preferences will determine our views, and those 'preferences' also determine, ultimately, whether we prefer to sometimes look at them objectively as critics do, or, just go along with our gut instinct and leave the thinking to others.

For instance, I just watched a Clint Eastwood film, "A perfect world", and my gut is "telling me" I loved it. Now if I step back from that initial experience, evaluate what was good (in short) that is the emotional connection created between the characters and the audience, the heart-warming energy and poignancy of the film, the fact we care for a 'bad man' who is yet also much more, and the fact all the technical aspects, the acting, cinematography, direction etc was top notch and much more then I'm obviously still going to love it. However it had it's warts: the climax was too drawn out, the "sub-plot" didn't feel as integral to the main storyline and some of the scenes perhaps could have been better paced, and yet these flaws are minimal compared to what is an excellent, emotionally moving film.

Now I love this film, not just because of how objectively good it is, but because I also like character films, films that aren't all about action and mind-blowing special effects (though I enjoy these just as much, when done right). Now to someone else who has less patience than me or whose more interested (or thinks there more interested) in spectacle or story etc then this film might not be for them and they might find it 'boring' or 'tedious' even though it is objectively none of these things. They'd be wrong objectively but right relatively according to their own preferences and experiences which shape those views. After all I'd say human feelings are all relative in their meaning and individual understanding and yet our definitions for them are all objective.

For example if I said I was bored we have a clear, definitive, universally held view of what a feeling of 'boredom' entails and yet people become bored for different reasons; what one might find rivetingly exciting the other mind-numbingly tiresome. It's all very confusing and difficult to reconcile and I'm running out of steam here so let me just end with a quote that I think sums it all up nicely and yet at the same time provokes more questions then it answers (isn't that the best kind of philosophical quote).

"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."- Nietzsche.

My problem, when I have one, is how things are said. Not to mention when we see political rants or attacks on people who like something, or even movies and directors that have already been panned in columns dedicated to them.

See, my basic attitude is that everything said here is correct about Critics and reviewers. The thing is that there should be a degre of professionalism, and that means oversight. Typically when critics and reviewers are given their spots on TV, the Radio, or in magazines and newspapers they go through this guy called an editor... probably one of the most hated jobs in media (in general) but also one of the most nessicary.

I think that the MovieBob columns, and a few other features like "Extra Credits" need to be queued up a few weeks ahead of time, giving editors something to run with while they look at the "newest" thing and can send it back to the guys producing it to be changed before it's put up, with a basic "change it or don't get paid" mentality that is pretty much the point. If we've got a five minute video dedicated to a movie, and two minutes are dedicated to ranting about another movie and director that was already covered, and another minute is dedicated to ranting about politics and insulting viewers who disagree with the critic, then we're only looking at two minutes dedicated to the subject matter with a bunch of potentially offensive garbage tied into it. The point of an editor is to say "fix this". With something like "The Escapist" it's a simple matter, if the critic only has two minutes worth of stuff to say on the subject, trim the production down to two minutes... there isn't a minimum length or a specific format that has to be fit, and that gives this site fewer excuses than many other mediums where a critic column might have to say fit a specific area of print in a newspaper.

That's my thoughts on the subject. When it comes to Extra Credits, I think the oversight needs to be to keep them on the topic of providing good information, not shilling for the industry while pretending to be "some of the guys", which is what a lot of it seems like to me. With MovieBob (which this is about) we need to drop the politics, comments on what morons viewers who disagree with him are, and of course to lay off of Michael Bay and "The Expendables"... I mean fine, Bob is a critic, it's fine to not like things and to speak his mind, however saying that someone who appreciated "The Expendables" is probably "the worst kind of person", and ranting about it in columns dedicated to other movies, or bringing Michael Bay up in relation to a movie he hasn't been anywhere near just to unleash a hategasm... that's not good.

Basically "The Escapist" needs an actual bona-fide editor, and probably several of them. With no offense to someone who might be actually doing that job already.... but if there is well, I think he or she needs to get it in gear.

You shouldn't even have made that article. Everyone who deals with criticism in such a silly and destructive way, as examplified by the things you answered to, is obviously not able to deal with a cultural column and should go back to reading/watching other stuff.

Last time I checked there was no obligation to listen to a critique whose opinions frequently annoy you.

Of course for a more clever person it would be more fun to listen to opinions that strongly disagree with their own, since they would not need a guy from the internet to confirm what they are already thinking... But then again, not a perfect world...

My only problem, Bob, is that you tend to get a little too preachy. Yeah, there are obvious cash-making movies, but there are worse sins to be committed with eight dollars and a jumbo-sized popcorn. When people get preachy it's usually because they think they know something that the audience could never possibly comprehend without the critic's help. It gets annoying, especially when you just want to know whether a movie is just good or bad on its merits and not the fact that it's a sequel/cash-in.

Good example: The Pirates movie. You pointed out that the director was not the same, and as such, it had a much different feel.

Bad example: The preaching about the homophobic stuff in The Hangover II. I can't think of a bro-movie that doesn't have some kind of gay joke in it. That doesn't make it right, but any decent person is going to know that.

Deathninja19:

Sexual Harassment Panda:

Deathninja19:
Sorry Bob but this doesn't even answer one of my criticisms of you. My main problem is that you seem hypocritical you hate certain films for being mindless and even insult their audiences but then rave about Pirahanna 3D because it has tits and blood.

I really lked you when I first started watching you but as the reviews went it seems that you started to get bitter, you mention everything surrounding the film (the audience, circumstances that lead to the film being made in a certain way, etc) and only give a token gesture to review the film itself.

I had hoped that this article would actually answer some of my complaints but it just glossed over the actual complaints people have and just responded to the most generic complaints people always have with critics. At the very least Bob please answer us why you think it's acceptable to insult viewers for liking certain films.

He's not doing anything that Yahtzee doesn't do and get praised for.

Personally I like the way he offers context and backstory for a films release, it's far more interesting than a simple tick-the-boxes rundown of a films technical merits...which is what alot of published critics would offer you.

I think there might be some growing pains here, because this feels like a relativly new format(to me at least). This isn't like reading an article in a newspaper with a name that you'll never remember printed at the bottom, this is critics as celebrities in their own right, on a level seldom seen before. I can see how to some that might mean that they have to permanently be diplomatic and tread on egg-shells...lest someone be offended. But, I don't see how you can have it both ways. If you want your critics to be larger-than-life and truly honest and uncompromising, you're probably going to have to develop some thicker skin too.

I do find it a little disconcerting that I watch more movies than movie-Bob...

I agree Yahtzee can be like this with the Wii but I don't see venom behind his statements like with Bob. And despite having a name like MovieBob he isn't a character, he is reviewing things straight whereas Yahtzee accentuates the negative for comedic effect. That's not to say Yahtzee is completly innocent he does go too far sometimes like the Sims and JRPGs.

I agree that extra information is a good thing, it can be used to back up arguements or even just add a little flavour to reviews but in Bob's case he goes too far adding too much, 5 minutes for a review is already a short time to talk about a film he should be using it to you know actually review the film.

Big name reviewers have actually been around a while from Siskel and Ebert in the US and Jonathon Ross in the UK and while they all make mistakes from time to time they still manage to critque films based on their own merits and not according to their bias. For example Jonathon Ross used to take his kids to see the films with him so he could talk to them and see from their point of view if the film succeeded in being entertaining. Bob has one point of view; Bob's, and he won't shift from it no matter how many times we ask him to see from our or other points of view.

The guys honest opinion is what you want. I like Jonathan Ross, but being on the BBC I'm sure he had to self-censor to a certain degree, it almost felt like listening to a politician or a footballer's post match interview at times. That kind of platform simply doesn't allow anyone to really be honest, no rocking-the-boat of any kind really.

I promise you that I don't agree with everything Bob says, sometimes I roll my eyes...but I never take anything personally, and I'm not sure why anyone else does. This is partly informative viewing, but mostly it's about entertainment, and the information is really yours to do as you please with. Frankly, I'm sure you have friends who are more incendiary that you somehow manage to brush off with ease, probably even have fun arguing with...

Therumancer:
My problem, when I have one, is how things are said. Not to mention when we see political rants or attacks on people who like something, or even movies and directors that have already been panned in columns dedicated to them.

See, my basic attitude is that everything said here is correct about Critics and reviewers. The thing is that there should be a degre of professionalism, and that means oversight. Typically when critics and reviewers are given their spots on TV, the Radio, or in magazines and newspapers they go through this guy called an editor... probably one of the most hated jobs in media (in general) but also one of the most nessicary.

I think that the MovieBob columns, and a few other features like "Extra Credits" need to be queued up a few weeks ahead of time, giving editors something to run with while they look at the "newest" thing and can send it back to the guys producing it to be changed before it's put up, with a basic "change it or don't get paid" mentality that is pretty much the point. If we've got a five minute video dedicated to a movie, and two minutes are dedicated to ranting about another movie and director that was already covered, and another minute is dedicated to ranting about politics and insulting viewers who disagree with the critic, then we're only looking at two minutes dedicated to the subject matter with a bunch of potentially offensive garbage tied into it. The point of an editor is to say "fix this". With something like "The Escapist" it's a simple matter, if the critic only has two minutes worth of stuff to say on the subject, trim the production down to two minutes... there isn't a minimum length or a specific format that has to be fit, and that gives this site fewer excuses than many other mediums where a critic column might have to say fit a specific area of print in a newspaper.

That's my thoughts on the subject. When it comes to Extra Credits, I think the oversight needs to be to keep them on the topic of providing good information, not shilling for the industry while pretending to be "some of the guys", which is what a lot of it seems like to me. With MovieBob (which this is about) we need to drop the politics, comments on what morons viewers who disagree with him are, and of course to lay off of Michael Bay and "The Expendables"... I mean fine, Bob is a critic, it's fine to not like things and to speak his mind, however saying that someone who appreciated "The Expendables" is probably "the worst kind of person", and ranting about it in columns dedicated to other movies, or bringing Michael Bay up in relation to a movie he hasn't been anywhere near just to unleash a hategasm... that's not good.

Basically "The Escapist" needs an actual bona-fide editor, and probably several of them. With no offense to someone who might be actually doing that job already.... but if there is well, I think he or she needs to get it in gear.

Hi, check out my title. Don't assume that because something is produced that doesn't match how you would handle it, that it hasn't already been through a quality control process. Bob will be the first to assure you that, yes, I keep a close eye on his stuff (I edit Intermission and produce both of his video series) and plenty gets changed. That said, I wouldn't dream of stifling Bob's creative voice. I don't always agree with what he says or how he says it, but I thoroughly respect his creative vision. The Escapist gives its content creators as much free reign as we can, so that they can express themselves without feeling like they have to fit into someone else's philosophy. We do have standards, of course, and in those instances when those standards are breached, things get changed. But by and large, we let people be who they want to be. An editor who imposes their voice on someone else is a bad editor.

Yes, Bob says things that piss people off. That's who Bob is. I could sanitize the hell out of his work and make it so that it makes everyone happy...and then it wouldn't be Bob's voice or thoughts anymore. It would be my version of his voice and thoughts. That does the creator a disservice and it goes against everything The Escapist stands for.

MovieBob:
MovieBob: About Critics (Part 1)

Here's why Bob has been ignoring some of your complaints.

Read Full Article

I dunno. In the past, I've found what you do "provocative" in that it raises interesting discussions, or asks that I see things from a different perspective. Lately, I'd have to agree that it's tended more toward "provocative" in the sense of "provoking people to disagree by overstating a point or phrasing it in an inflammatory way."

Yeah, it increases the number of comments... but does it increase your influence? You said your currency is your ability to incite a reaction, but remember quality over quantity here. Basically, if you settle for the latter, you eventually get neither.

And, of course, a lot of your detractors are doing the same thing: emphasizing a negative opinion, trying get that award-winning "zinger" that... well... I don't know. Maybe they think if they hit you in juuuust the right way, the folks at The Escapist will go, "Wow! Here's a guy who's got MovieBob's number--see how he called him out on that? We should drop Bob and hire this jackass!"

(Little fantasies like that motivate us far, faaaar more often than we will ever admit as somewhat-rational adults.)

Basically, don't fall into the trap that you've pointed out far too often: People find a "thing" that works, and then they distill their entire catalog down to only that "thing," and then just keep doing that "thing" until it kills them. And spewing creative hatred isn't even your "thing."

Ranting-with-a-point-that-makes-you-think is your thing, inasmuch as the point has always overshadowed the ranting. Hell, I'd bet that's exactly why they gave you Big Picture. Don't lose that.

The only thing I can think to comment is how sad I feel that a critic actually had to explain himself!I never got were the, 'everyone's opinion is equally valid' idea come from, considering that most ppl have little understanding of the basic themes in any piece of art, never mind any real appreciation for the artistry. What's worse, they often hate it when you try to explain it, and claim that analysing it some how ruins it (presumably because thinking hurts). These people then claim that there opinion is as valid as the educated critic. As Bob point out, critics opinions are INFORMED opinions.

Furioso:

Captcha: image

Seriously?!?! IS THAT A TRIANGLE?!

It's the Greek letter delta.

Δ ←Like that.

I don't know what that one after the G is, though. I've never encountered that one before

OT: About the elitist thing, I don't really know why it's become such a problem for people. It's actually a good thing in all forms of culture criticism to be an elitist, as it's the critics we turn to when we need an informed opinion about whatever field they specialize in.

Might as well scapegoat the hipsters. Everybody go blame them.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
The guys honest opinion is what you want. I like Jonathan Ross, but being on the BBC I'm sure he had to self-censor to a certain degree, it almost felt like listening to a politician or a footballer's post match interview at times. That kind of platform simply doesn't allow anyone to really be honest, no rocking-the-boat of any kind really.

I promise you that I don't agree with everything Bob says, sometimes I roll my eyes...but I never take anything personally, and I'm not sure why anyone else does. This is partly informative viewing, but mostly it's about entertainment, and the information is really yours to do as you please with. Frankly, I'm sure you have friends who are more incendiary that you somehow manage to brush off with ease, probably even have fun arguing with...

Oh no I don't take it personally mostly I just feel that Bob gets away with insulting people a lot of the time and I feel like I should call him on it sometimes. And no I have no friends that's why I'm picking a fight with a reviewer who neither reads or responds to me.

OhJohnNo:

Wolfram01:
Well I do agree with Bob here. I wish game critics *cough*IGN*cough* could take the hint and start slamming formulaic titles for what they are. Call of Duty... 7 is it? Seriously?

God, no. I like game critics the way they are, precisely because they aren't film critics and evaluate enjoyment rather than some misguided sense of artistic value.

CoD is the summer blockbuster of gaming, and game critics are superior to film critics IMO because they recognise the game is there to be played for fun, rather than marking it down because it isn't trying to present some deep message or moral dilemma.

That's not at all the point. A movie doesn't have to be The King's Speech to be a good film. I mean, look at the Fast and Furious movies. They are not good films. The plots suck, the acting is mediocre, the action is almost cartoony. But they are fun movies. That doesn't mean critics shouldn't slam them for what they are.

Call of Duty is one of the worst offenders in the video game arena for being formulaic and repetitive. They all have the same multiplayer and they all have pretty mediocre single player campaigns when you consider the scope of what video games have done - including single player FPS games. The franchise is pretty stagnant but people love it. People are also stupid. It should be slammed for being generic, for being yet another grey brown shooter, for having a same-old same-old multiplayer experience. That doesn't mean people shouldn't buy it, or like it, or play it. It just means it's not something to hold up as a shining example of video games... Games that are given 9/10 and 10/10 should be games we can all point to and say hey, look at that game. This is what video games are about, what they can be. CoD, as much fun as it is, is just a shitty action movie. It's fun, but it's dumb. I would think it deserves at best a 7.5 thanks to the amount of fun you can have, but otherwise..?

Also... how can a game critic possibly judge a game for enjoyment, something that is so personal and subjective? That doesn't take skill or knowledge. On that critera, my 8 year old cousin could be a great game reviewer. No, MovieBob is right. Reviewers need to delve into the nitty gritty details and look beyond if it's "fun" or not.

"Critics hate all popular movies." is not, in fact, a fallacy. It is merely false. A fallacy is a flawed article of reasoning, this is not an argument, and therefore cannot be or contain a fallacy.

"This movie is popular, therefore critics will hate it." is fallacious. As is the reverse. Truth is, I doubt there's any connection between critical opinion and box office takings.

Pugiron:
Should everyone Bob crtiques ignore him too?

There will be a Pirates 5, there will most likely be a Hangover part 3.

Praise and adulation from movie critics is nice but you know whats nicer? Massive piles of money.

Zhukov:
Wait, you read all those comments? All of them? Including these ones right here?

...

You poor man.

I guess he has to have something to do between watching terrible terrible movies or else his brain would implode.

Sadly, he has something almost as bad.

The thing about "Seeing too many movies" isn't, for me, an issue of a critic (in this case, Bob) being too harsh on a movie for being boilerplate. This is expected, and most critics will include some language such as, "another run of the mill *INSERT GENRE* film". If you like that genre, you'll probably like that film, regardless of its merits or failures. Calling out the cliche storms is a totally valid role for critics, to fight the dominance of "Explodinator 17: Back for More Reckoning" and "Hollywood People Meet Cute".

My issue arises from the weighting bias that occurs because of trope over-saturation. Let's say Bob (since this is his thread) sees a movie. This movie is a precise, very well made affair, but is a completely standard genre piece. Nothing new, but everything is very aware, lots of homages, trope winks, and is executed masterfully. Bob, in this case, might be tempted to miss that this is "the best *INSERT GENRE* piece of the year" because he's just seen 8256973426 movies in that same genre. (In Bob's defense, I've seen him, more often than not, note when these types flair up, at least tangentially, sometimes (mostly with horror) defending them outright.) Still, this temptation is going to arise, since the critic is going to be jaded, and may just unload their frustration onto the wrong damn movie.

More importantly, though, this inundation with convention can cause pieces that break convention to be inflated far above their worth. I hang around far to many film buffs to be fooled by phrases like "powerfully original" or "a backlash against the dreary normal". Just because it's not common, does not make it good. Some jackass who couldn't find narrative structure with both hands shouldn't be encouraged to continue "defying the mainstream" with his art-house crap. GIVE THAT MAN A BASIC WRITING CLASS.

Slightly off topic, sorry...

Anywho, back on topic, it's the inflated value of "different" that bothers me. A turd sandwich is different, but I'll take peanut butter every time. (Not to discourage a steak, mind you...)

k-ossuburb:

Furioso:

Captcha: image

Seriously?!?! IS THAT A TRIANGLE?!

It's the Greek letter delta.

Δ ←Like that.

I don't know what that one after the G is, though. I've never encountered that one before

OT: About the elitist thing, I don't really know why it's become such a problem for people. It's actually a good thing in all forms of culture criticism to be an elitist, as it's the critics we turn to when we need an informed opinion about whatever field they specialize in.

Might as well scapegoat the hipsters. Everybody go blame them.

Its subscript |2| so just absolute value reference 2. I don't know why.

I didn't see him address what a few people brought up on his Michael Vick or Fast Five videos. (Though granted, he may on future Parts) He's not just being a critic, he's insulting the fans directly now. THAT'S what pisses me off. You can hate on a movie all you want and I find those reviews entertaining, but insulting ME for enjoying something? Fuck you.

Oh good, you have read all my comments on how much I dislike you.
Good to know. Also unfortunate to know that all you seem to care about is that someone replied to it. Maybe I've been feeding a troll. If I had a built in audience as large as you have, then it would be pretty easy to get a shitton of replies by mixing in some flame bait.

We actually aren't so different. We are both film-makers and (i assume) consider ourselves a connoisseur of films like wine... Every aspect of the film intrigues me, from the writing, the character development, the blocking, mise en scène, shooting, acting, and the adaptation, etc, ad infinitum. I assume this stuff interests you too... but I rarely see you mention this stuff.
You seem to consider yourself the highest authority, and yet, you are either attempting to appeal to the lowest majority... or trying to get comments... ahem.

For someone who is so into film, you seem to have no insights. It's all mindless bullcrap that anyone who reads an entertainment newspaper and uses wikipedia can dig up in his spare time. Maybe you have taken too much on your limited plate. You have too many articles and video segments to write and create, too many films to see and too many comments to read. And (I am not sure if this is the culprit) it has taken a huge toll on your abilities. You need more sleep. More time to ENJOY your medium. More time to understand your role. Because it seems right now, that you aren't the best suited guy for this job, but rather the guy who was probably first to submit his work to The Escapist when they needed a movie reviewer.

I understand your desire to make a mark on the world... We all kinda look up to people like Roger Ebert who make a living doing this stuff. And yes, they kinda have samey reviews and critiques where we can pretty much guess exactly what they are going to say before they even say it. But that doesn't mean that your way to be a great personality is to disagree with them, flame your audience, have unpredictable opinions, or assault what is popular.

Maybe we also don't seem to understand that movies are both art and entertainment, and we need to take them in CONTEXT. I, personally, could never review a movie such as "Wanted" or "Shoot'em Up", because those movies are so far out of my focal point. The first time I watched them, I left the theatre wanting to scream and punch someone in the face. But I watched them again a week later and I thoroughly enjoyed them, because I watched them in a different mindset, rather saying to myself: "Just be entertained". Understand that we ALL do this. The idiot masses, and the elitist critics.

Watch "Half in the Bag" on redlettermedia.com. Watch how they review things. It's casual, it's funny, it's CLEVER and INSIGHTFUL. They back up their opinions properly, if they bring in their own personal crap, it's obvious and it doesn't hinder their review, much less completely dismantle it (*cough* Scream 4). They DEFINITELY come off as elitists and top authorities. They can even be insulting to people that like it, and yet they pull it off better in almost every way. Partially because of the tone, partially because in their review they sound like they give it a chance no matter HOW bad it is, or they think it's going to be. They also review the movie properly... taking into account far more than you do. Yes they have more time, but there are ways around that.

Review like the artist you think you are. Discuss the frame, how it is shot, the angles, lighting, the character development, the conceptual designs, the costumes, the story... these seem boring, but trust me, people will hang on that stuff. Also (and you know this) a film that seriously lacks in some or all of these areas will almost ALWAYS be a bad film... if you focus on these aspects, it becomes far easier to tell what is a good film and what isn't. Because what is ON the screen (boobs, blood, lesbians, monkeys), is not NEARLY as important as what goes into making it (the shot, the script, the actor, the tone).

Okay, nice to know you read these.

But if so, you should probably reply to us from time to time, not just in an article from time to time.

Knowing that you read these, I would like to point out that it was a large overgenerlazation to say that "nobody likes halo for the story" in the first episode of the big pitcure.

The fact that nearly every halo book has been on best selllers lists, and there are entire sites dedicated to unraveling sybolism and narrative complexity in the enxtended canon is direct proof that that is not the case.

I love to watch your reviews because of this kind of honesty. I respect someone who can admit this kind of thing (both the narcissism and the subjective opinion). However, I don't think I entirely agree with this.

I do agree with many of the points made here, not just yours, but the ones made against critics as a whole. I know that sounds like a strange contradiction. But the problem is that I don't think the criticisms are wrong: they're just not articulated well. When I see people talk about how critics are elite, I know that I share their opinion, but not their word choice. As you said, you should be elite, you should be well informed and educated about the art-form. But, while the issue is similar to elitism, your elitism isn't the real issue.

The disconnect I see between audience and critics is actually well formed by your own article and comes in two parts.

The first is that you state giving your opinion to the audience is tangential to your actual job. This is a pretty common among critics. But the problem is, without that audience, your job wouldn't exist. Holding the industry to a higher standard isn't what you're actually being employed to do. You're being employed to give an opinion to the audience. This is a minor problem because I do believe you're also meant to hold the industry to a higher standard. But if holding the industry accountable were the primary goal here... no one would be employing you. The reason why this matters is because it helps frame point #2.

At times, the need for critics to find something original trumps the need for them to find something -good-. If critics held themselves to the standard of helping the audience wade through the crap to find good movies (as someone who was employed to do that) then I don't think anyone rational would have an issue (there's always irrational people, but they're not the ones I'm talking about). However, sometimes the need for originality (as someone holding the industry accountable) overrides that need for something good. I'm not talking about dismissing a movie because of a lack of originality, those are obviously cheap cash-ins (Pirates, Hangover). Negativity towards bad movies that aren't original isn't the thing that bothers me, positivity towards bad movies that ARE original does.

Critics sometimes recommend very original movies...even if they're bad.

The Tree of Life is a good example. I haven't seen it yet, so I reserve my judgment. But what I do know is that I've heard at least two critics this week say that they COULD NOT recommend this movie as a "good" movie. But in the end they still think everyone should see it. They did not like the movie but they felt it was necessary that everyone watch it anyway. This is the disconnect that causes audiences to question whether the critics are being honest players in the forum of opinion. How can they possibly recommend something they did not actually like? Yes, it's universally called "pretty" but many "pretty" movies can be god awful (summer blockbusters with amazing special effects). So when they're recommending it, they're not recommending it because it's artful (I hear it is) or because it's good (they didn't think so) but because it's original. That's what happens when you hold industry accountability over audience.

To be fair, I think you're one of the few critics that don't do this on a regular basis. Your opinions have always been based in whether or not a movie was crap and you've been honest with people about why. Sometimes a boring movie is just a boring movie and you've always pointed that out. But since you are a critic, you're left to answer for the misdeeds of others in your profession and, when you really think about it, you can't escape the fact that some people recommend crap because it's very original crap.

"Critics aren't reliable because they see too many movies."

I have to agree with this, people need to understand that it's not a fault but all a matter of perspective. For example I know full well that I am easily pleased because I don't see a lot of movies... I also can't really pick up on the the difference between good/bad acting and don't notice what to other people is obvious/bad CGI, so that helps a lot too! So something like Pirates of the Caribbean while I'm not going to rush out to see it but if I happen to I will probably enjoy.

That's not to say that in other area's of entertainment where I do spend a lot of my time I'm not overly critical of certain things I've seen to much of. But like I said, it's not a fault but a matter of perspective. I can dismiss World of Warcraft for example because I can see it as a tireless grind, been there done that, but I also understand that if it came out back in say 2000 it probably would have taken me hook line and sinker.

And that's one of the things I like about your reviews is you do often spell this sort of thing out, not that something is necessarily bad but just overdone and tiresome.

As someone who's avatar is the same level of overly critical, self rightous elitist, you;ll never hear me complaining about it.

It's funny how in the age of the internet, where EVERYONE can and does put out their half assed opinions we still seem to judge our own off of others'. We haven't grown much since they days we went crying home to mommy because kids made fun of us for our clothes, music, favorite movie or whatever. Of course when the cries of "elitist" come out I cringe. People forget that there can be (and usually is) a great diffence between what is technically good and what we like, yet we all want to only like "good" things. Someone comes along and [seriously] points out the flaw in what we like, and we can't just say it's a guilty pleasure, or that there's some personal bias the prediposes us to the movie (or whatever) and we react poorly. We can't like "bad" things, so we villify those that remind us we aren't quite the smart, refined beings of great taste and ability we like to think we are. It's okay to like just about anything, but if a big name cast list and a couple of explosions were all that you needed to enjoy the expendables (over more over the top self aware action flciks like A-team or Drive Angry) you might have to accept your standards are pretty low and potentially questionable.

Zhukov:
Wait, you read all those comments? All of them? Including these ones right here?

...

You poor man.

Quoting for truth XD

You really liked the tree of life? It really seemed a bit navel gazing for my taste but not in the touching Lost in Traslation way but in the i'm gonna fall to my knees dramticly even though people don't really do this because it looks good way.

As for critics they are ment to be elitst other wised all the film that are masterpices, the once people will remember in 50 yrs would be lost.

Redd the Sock:
snip

< everything you said is so true.

I'm amazed at how hurt people can be if someone do not agree with their views. MovieBob suggested I'd watch Machete. I watched it, didn't really enjoy it. So I guess it wasn't my kind of movie, no big deal. As for the Big Picture, I take great pleasure in an articulated man rambling on about seemingly random things straight from the heart without censoring himself too much. It's another kind of beast compared to what we get from newspapers and TV, and I like it.

squiggothhunter:
Critique-wise, quit fucking saying MOVIES/TV/ETC IS WEIRRRRRRDD because it's really just fucking annoying.

Also if you read this, I hate you, your opinions, and everything you say with the exception of comic book fluff. Enjoy the +1 to your comment count

Besides asking how you even manage to instill such a powerful emotion as HATE towards a person on the internet who basically makes reviews of movies and talks about comics and TV most of the time, if what MovieBob says and does enrages you SO much, why on earth do you still even come close to anything touched by his surely greasy fingers? I cannot, however much I try, comprehend why anyone would torment themselves in such a manner.

It's like hating Justin Bieber. He just made some music, if you don't like it don't listen to it and for gods sake stop buying those teen-girl magazines ><.

Thyunda:
Bah, be as egomaniacal as you want. You're on the Escapist. We're all full of ourselves.

In truth - that last criticism, the one about watching too many movies, I must be out of touch with the public. How does watching many movies make you a worse critic? I don't see the logic in that.

I agree. Experience is a good thing, as it provides a much more clear picture. It's worth mentioning that this kind of hatred for "elitism" is everywhere. I've seen people at hardware stores enraged because the trained professional that works there DARED suggest something other than what the customer had chosen. It's strange to me how humans resent others for their experience, knowledge and skill. Of course the screw-driver that the customer picked would work fine, it's not a bad screw-driver. All the employee is trying to say is, the one he is suggesting is slightly better, for whatever reason. Bad comparison maybe, as most hardware stores wouldn't even sell what could be classified as a "bad" screw-driver.

So our movie taste is simpler than MovieBobs. So what? I don't mind feeling stone-age when it comes to movies, they don't really interest me. I'll watch one occasionally, but it's just not what I do, and I find comfort in knowing that I could kick MovieBobs or any other film critics butt in one of my fields of interest ANY day =).

MovieBob, you are a geek and I love you for it.

I think what most need to differentiate between is what is a "Good" movie and an "Entertaining Movie". For example I saw the Kings Speech it was a good movie and I saw Pirates 4 and it was an entertaining movie. Now the best movies are the one's who can blend the two distinctions. Inception was a good example of this.

Anyway that is just by two-cents enjoy reading MovieBob.

Well... There's elitism and there's elitism.

(How's that for vague.)

At it's best, "elitism" is saying "We, as a whole, deserve better." And there can certainly be undertones that someone- say, a movie critic- has a better understanding of the overall situation and its possibilities, and that while many people may feel that there's nothing particularly wrong with the status quo, the expert's greater understanding leads him or her to recognize that things could be much better than they are (say, that the medium of film is capable of more than has been recently offered). A genuine love of the medium within which mediocrity is being offered and/or a public-service minded desire to inform people of what it is they're missing then stirs the expert to make his or her realizations available to the public in the hope of improvement.

Conversely, there's an anti-elitist movement that basically amounts to "How dare you make us feel dumb by being smarter than we are."

However, there's also an "elitism" which amounts to "I'm a better person for disliking 'x', and <*sneer*> if you were a better sort of person, you'd dislike 'x', too." Some people- particularly a kind of pseudo-intellectual who starts the conversation from a point of aggressive dismissiveness in the hopes that no one will dare to challenge his or her authority- call this attitude "square one"; other times, the former, "better" kind of elitism leads to the latter out of a kind of frustration. ("What's wrong with these people? Don't they understand?!") If you can't sway 'em with reason, you try shame- that way lies the dark side.

Where am I going with this?... Hmm. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that those who make accusations of elitism have a certain obligation to prove that what the so-called "elitist" is calling for isn't just for people, or a medium, or a way of doing things to get better. We should distinguish between a condescending insistence that others respect a so-called "expert's" authority and a genuine desire to reveal the truth and see things improve.

Most of the time I agree with you Bob. There's been a few times where you've really annoyed me, but overall I appreciate your depth of vision.

Perhaps it's just the atmosphere at times. Group A loves you, and denounces Group B, who hates you, and your "success" is made up from Group A + Group B.

So it makes sense for you to be as elitist as possible.

Problem being, that makes your controversy more important than your actual feelings.

And how do you criticise something that's popular these days without being told that you're only criticizing it because it's popular? Unless you're not criticising it because it's popular, and then you're selling out.

Teal Deer: Opinions are good. Informed Opinions are better. I think Bob has some informed opinions, but he's still a fanyboy at times. Just like most of the rest of us. But he's seen an awful lot more films, so credit goes to him on reviews.

Vampire cat:
Many, many words

While, yes, I do trust MovieBob's experience to define an artistic or 'good' film - I will say that he's yet to make a real mistake on that front, which is to his credit. My only issue with him is that he doesn't actually seem capable of enjoying a film unless it has artistic appeal. I just think it skews the reviews a little when a film is deemed 'bad' and its audience labelled 'douchebags' simply because the film tries to appeal to the masses, rather than the intellectual niche.
If that makes sense. It's like, I was perfectly fine with his review of The Hangover II...I've never seen it, but I already reckon he hit the nail on the head with it.
However, his rant about Transformers was seemingly based on the age-old 'YOU RAPED MY CHILDHOOD' attitude. ROTF was an enjoyable film...but since it was a big-budget action film, it was completely thrown out the window.

I appreciate your honesty and passion regarding film. I don't think I'd ever listen to a game review of yours, though. Your taste in movies are similar to mine, however.

I think you are downplaying perspectives a bit much. It would be pretty boastful for someone to say that their way or opinion on what is right or wrong is the only correct way. Not everyone has the same tastes. There are people who will enjoy The Hurt Locker over Avatar. Or vice versa. I have no want to see an over thought, emotional movie all the time. Sometimes I want to watch a goofy movie with Johnny Depp as a pirate.

I loved the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. And I believe you didn't. Well, that is your opinion. You have every right to voice your opinion too (which you should since it is your show). But the one thing I had thought about your show is that you were not the kind to judge others for their views. I watched your Last Airbender review (another movie I loved), and I was thrilled to see that even though you saw that it was a flawed movie, you didn't blast it like other reviewer's and say it had no merits at all. Everyone else refused to accept that there was anything enjoyable in it, even though it made alot of money in theaters and on DVD and Blu-Ray. That's why I was saddened when you didn't give the new Pirates movie that same chance. You just opened your video saying that it sucked. Sucked.

I had a blast watching that movie, laughing myself silly, and enjoying the crap outta some Captain Jack. Sure I saw things that were wrong with it, and plenty that was right. But that was my opinion. When I left the theater I didn't try to convince my friends it was great. I respected that they didn't enjoy it as much as I did (even though they still liked it).

I had just started to watch your Escape to the Movies series (I've already watched every Zero Punctuation and Extra Credits, so I was looking for new things), and I was getting excited about seeing a reviewer that has the same view point as me on these matters. I guess I had gotten too excited too quickly.

Interesting stuff, Bob.
Let me tell you something tho; most haters are just trolls who complain/kick at everything that crosses their field of vision.

Words like "Elitst"? They hear them once and just keep repeating them to sound smarter.
Critics are important to see the Big Picture (pun intended) as clear as possible and give real, tangible advice, praise and critique when appropriate.

I've been writing articles for big PC magazines fulltime for many years and speaking about the comments you get... whoo boy! People perceive some fault and then attack you like you did something unwholesome to their mom after killing their puppies in front of their eyes. And then it's me saying: "Dear Sir, if you click on 'Menu' and select 'Print' you *can* actually print your work. Alternatively, press Ctrl+P. Best regards, and thanks for calling me a liar who doesn't do any research."

Okay, I never write the last part after regards...

Thyunda:

How does watching many movies make you a worse critic? I don't see the logic in that.

The flawed logic behind it is probably that the critics get jaded and "spoiled" because they see everything. So their demands are then "unreasonably high", which makes them way to picky to enjoy a "decent movie" that "normal people would find great".
This is my thought process on that, I do not share these views.

Bob your one of the best critics around (to me), and while I do not always agree with what you have to say, I enjoy your perspective. You simply know more about the youth/pop culture of America than I do, and you have been to at least one more film appreciation class than I have, that is to say, you have been to at least 2.

I have followed you since YouTube, and feel legitimately sorry for not praising you until now. I have watched most if not all your published work, and would gladly pay for content such as the Hang Over 2 review.

The opening scene was INSPIRED!

Your nameless faceless fan,

me

Our overall perspective is not the perspective of our audience, particularly when it comes to the area of originality. We get bored more easily. Cliché and formula bothers us more. Tropes you've seen a handful of times we've seen thousands of times. This means we are much harder on the formulaic, and that we are much more excited by something that is original.

Now this quote exemplifies one of the reasons that I find the opinions of movie critics on any particular movie to be somewhat less informative (I use this word hesitantly) than they should be.

Because critics get so bored of tropes and formulaic movies that they've seen a bunch of times, they are much more drawn to something that is new and original. While originality is definitely a bonus, many times it seems that critics are so infatuated by the originality of a premise of a certain movie that they end up turning a blind eye to its faults simply because it was something that interested them.

Personally I, and I'm sure many others will agree with me, believe that a movie that is technically proficient, but with a somewhat played out plot, is still much better than a movie that is original, but lacking in all other areas. Take for example Avatar. It's an amazing movie, brilliantly executed, but with a story we've all seen many times before (Pocahontas, Dancing with Wolves, etc). Many people (movie snobs), panned Avatar because of the simple fact that the story is a retread of past stories they've already seen, with no real originality and surprises beyond the sci-fi setting, but the movie wasn't popular because of the story but rather because it is brilliantly directed, and visually stunning.

Now take a look at Daybreakers, something that Moviebob gave pretty high praise to because of its originality as basically being the "anti-Twilight" movie. Yes, Daybreakers is somewhat original in its use of vampire lore, but I found everything else in it to be rather lacking in substance, and came out of the movie disappointed. The visual style was boring, a lot of the direction felt sloppy, and the story wasn't all that interesting. Bob here overlooked all of that and highly recommended the movie.

Am I saying that the opinions of critics are wrong and should be disregarded? No, not at all, they're in fact quite valid, but one should be careful of any movie that critics praise as being original, because it seems to me that critics are willing to let A LOT slide for originality. On the other hand, most people who don't see 4-5 movies a week are more likely to like something that is solid, yet somewhat formulaic, because they haven't seen the formula enough to get sick of it yet. Because of this, I really do think that the criticism that "critics are unreliable because they've seen too many movies" can be valid to the average person, if the movie critic is in fact supposed to be catering to the tastes of "the average person" and not to other critics, or to "movie snobs."

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