Movie Mom

Movie Mom

10 Things Critics Won’t Tell You

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to Shawn Levy for pointing me to this piece from “Smart Money” about movie critics’ secrets. I enjoyed #5: “I could say a film’s ‘about a lovable misfit,’ but I’ll go with ‘it limns alterity.'” But I don’t think anyone will be surprised by #8. “Sure, I’m a bellwether of taste–my own.” Um, that’s what critic means. I warn my readers and radio audience all the time about the dregs of February and August. And I have no problem with top 10 lists filled with titles no one has seen — the critic’s most important job is bringing the audience’s attention to films they would otherwise have missed. I’m happy to give “Star Trek” a good review, but have no illusions it will affect ticket sales. But when someone tells me they saw — and loved — “Once” or “I Could Never Be Your Woman” because I suggested it, that makes my day.

  • jestrfyl

    I usually scan a wide range of a critics comments before I take them at their word. This includes noticing what films they like – and how often they say sio, and what films they pan. It is as useless to like everything as it is to hate everything. Also if a critics favors a genre, but has an editor who insists they review a film form a genre they hate, the review is often pointless. There are some critics whose comments so reflect the opposite of my taste and interests that I read their reviews simply to avoid their picks and to be sure to see their pans (this has proven a fairly effective system).
    I appreciate and often quote your reviews because you are explain your comments, do not go to any film expecting to love or hate it, and give all of the people involved in a film due credit – or blame.

  • Nell Minow

    Many thanks, jestrfyl. I like to read a wide range of critics — the ones I disagree with help me to think through my own views more clearly and I always learn a lot. Your support for my reviews means the world to me.

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