Thanks to Dan Kois of New York Magazine’s culture blog for including me in the round-up of the movies that made critics miserable in 2010.
Jean Kerr, who was married to the legendary New York Times drama critic Walter Kerr, once wrote about attending opening nights with her husband. She said that a critic will watch a terrible play and ask himself why it is bad but the spouse, who has no professional interest in that question will just ask herself why she was born. I think of that often when I watch movies so staggeringly bad that I can feel brain cells melt. I do ask myself why it is bad but sometimes I also ask myself why I was born.
Fortunately, a critic does have the relief of saving others from the train wrecks and, in pieces like the one assembled by Kois, the fun of finding words to express the excruciating pain of the experience and the satisfaction of assigning blame where it belongs.
Read it to see which movie a critic called “Camp’s ‘Gotterdammerung,'” which critic’s darling is deemed “a blend of a TV commercial and an acting class,” which movie is “pompous, interminable hash” and which is “Everything That’s Wrong With Self-Serious Indie Films, Ego-Tripping Star Vehicles, Disease-of-the-Week Oscar Bait, and Movies in Which Characters Are Haunted by Their Stupid Mysterious Past That We’ll Have to Revisit Through a Series of Tediously Oblique Flashbacks Until We Finally Say, ‘Okay, It Was a Car Crash! We Get It Already!'” One movie was given “bonus demerits from the cringing cowardice of its feel-good finale.” One critic was inspired to give his thoughts in iambic pentameter:
Dinner for Schmucks,” To note: One tends to want to like Paul Rudd.
Laughing out loud as I read the selections of the other critics (even though I actually liked some of the movies they named) made up for a lot of long, long nights in the theater and got me ready for another year.