Perhaps the most annoying thing about certain movie critics, particularly those on the cultural left, is their manner of lecturing us on what types of movies we should enjoy and not enjoy. I’ll try to track down the review I read in the early 2000s where the critic acknowledged that he had enjoyed watching the film, which held his attention through the entirety of the screening, but gave it a lousy write-up because it didn’t meet his pre-set criteria for what a good “film” should be.
Look, sometimes we enjoy movies which are objectively “bad” where the flaws in the script as so patent that a clever actor can’t even disguise how out-of-character a line is for her part. Or where the story, when you start to think about it, just doesn’t make sense, yet when you were watching the movie you were, well, riveted. Some movies are just meant to entertain. If you enjoy a flick, you shouldn’t try to rationalize that pleasure away, just acknowledge that you enjoyed even if it seemed silly. Heck, it’s a movie. Not all movies need to be On the Waterfront. Or Fanny and Alexander. Or The Godfather.
Heck, two of my favorite romantic comedies are incredibly cheesy and seriously flawed, but that doesn’t stop me from recommending Maid in Manhattan or Two Weeks Notice to friends. Or, for that matter, going out of my way to see Ruthless People on the big screen.
This rant came to mind this morning when, in my in-box, I read one of the most self-righteous, arrogant headlines to a movie review I’d read in years: “Audiences and Critics Are Wrong,” David Thomson writes in the New Republic, “Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ Isn’t Good. It’s Dismal.” Look, in terms of taste, audiences can’t be wrong. If people enjoyed the flick, they enjoyed the flick. This may not please those who believe we should prefer Jules & Jim to Star Wars, but, well, so what?
It is interesting to ponder why certain film snobs need to dismiss popular preference for a certain movie as “wrong.”