Random Factoid #359

22 07 2010

It’s really a shame that “Inception” is going to have this stain on its legacy – the massive backlash and brawling between the movie’s ardent admirers and bitter detractors.

I’m not even going to try to capture what happened: the early acclaim, the backlash, the counter-backlash, and endless counter-backlashes.  Lisa Schwarzabaum at Entertainment Weekly did a great job of chronicling the strange critical saga, so I’ll borrow from her:

Critics and bloggers and blogger-critics and readers who like to post on Internet comment boards about those same critics and bloggers are spending a lot of time trashing one another.  The argument is about the early raves, and the critical backlash citing those early raves with disdain, and the reader backlash to the critical backlash, and the tyranny of aggregate scores on Rotten Tomatoes, and on and on and zzzzzz….

I wish I were dreaming this. Instead, the bickering is a waking nightmare at a time when professional movie criticism is being viewed more and more as a rude, elitist intrusion on the popular preferences of a public with greater opportunities than ever before to be your Own Best Critic and let the world in on your thoughts.

…Can we agree that those who love it aren’t brainwashed? Those who don’t like it aren’t snobs?

I will say that I’m not immune to backlash.  In the early months of 2009, as everyone else was discovering “Slumdog Millionaire,” I kept saying it’s good, but it’s not that good.  Maybe it was just pretentiousness as I had seen it months before these bandwagon fans.  Yet I know that hype has ruined many a good movie.  Anticipation really does mess with your perception of good and bad, often times putting your opinions at polar extremes.

You know where I stand on “Inception” (my A grade should say it all), but as long as someone can honestly give me a reason why they don’t like the movie, I’m okay with it.  But there is no place for people who choose not to like a movie just to spite everyone else.  No reason to lower the Tomatometer just because you want to.

It’s been an interesting lesson on the boundaries and limits of film criticism, although I hope that “Inception” hasn’t become a victim of it.


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9 responses

22 07 2010
Whiffer

Been following the “Inception” backlash for a very long time. Now I really want to see it, if only to see what all the fuss is about. Consider the perspectives.

Roger Ebert’s review (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100714/REVIEWS/100719997)

But then on the very same site we get Jim Emerson (http://blogs.suntimes.com/scanners/2010/07/inception_has_christopher_nola.html)

On Rotten Tomatoes, Inception is holding out well at 86%.

And there are the rave reviews from TIME (http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2003808,00.html)

However, New York critics like A.O. Scott are taking a huge backlash against the film. David Edelstein offers criticism (http://nymag.com/movies/reviews/67155/) that is justified, Armond White offers crap.

Finally: the review that actually challenged me and made me think was the review over at Etheriel Musings (http://etheriel.wordpress.com).

So now I’m planning to see it in Palm Springs after touring the place in 94-degree heat. I’m *hoping* I’ll get it, because the blogosphere has been in an absolute uproar. I can’t even get to the Wall Street Journal because everyone’s using it!

22 07 2010
Marshall

Although A.O. Scott did offer up this take on the whole debacle, and I respect him more now: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/movies/25scott.html?_r=1&ref=movies

22 07 2010
Fletch

This shit annoys the crap out of me and can really take the fun out of blogging at times. I’ve tried my best to avoid it with Inception, but even still, it’s getting on my nerves. At least I’m not getting into arguments with haters (yet).

22 07 2010
Encore Entertainment

Well, it’s not really anything new. It seems like it happens twice a year (last year for Avatar and Inglourious Basterds; the year before The Reader, Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Changeling, the year before that Atonement). The back and forth always occurs, sometimes it’s the detractors sometimes it’s the lovers. It’s annoying that those who don’t like it are deemed haters, it’s also unfortunate that those who love it are being fanatic. But that’s the reality, I wonder which fall release will be the victim of the trend.

22 07 2010
Simon/Ripley

Critics are always battling over some critically aclaimed movie, it just makes it more interesting for me. I mean, at some point you’ll have to wait for it to go down and see the movie with a clear head, y’know?

23 07 2010
Harry

I can respect anyone who is willing to give a reason for liking or disliking the film beyond what critics have told them, or beyond saying that they’re tired of people talking about it. I’m not afraid to admit that I love this movie and I built myself up for loving it from the first time I saw a teaser trailer. With that said, there are certainly more than a few faults that can be pointed to within the film, and to pretend like it’s perfect is just nonsense.

25 07 2010
Marshall

I think hearing the word “masterpiece” in the early reviews made the next round of critics go ballistic. If someone thinks that, let them. If it were “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” I might understand going a little ballistic (although I shouldn’t knock Nicolas Cage’s latest until I’ve seen it).

25 07 2010
Red

I think that is what it getting to most of the critics. The fact that “masterpiece” is getting thrown around so easily. Also, quite a few of the initial reviews were comparing Nolan to Kubrick. There for a while, the only five or six bad reviews were from New York, where Kubrick was from, so there is a strong possibility there.

23 07 2010
Darren

Yep, I think it’s hard to get a read on a movie until everything dies down. I loved it, but I don’t have a problem with anyone disliking or even hating it.

Hell, I’m just not a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings (I like ’em, but they “ain’t all that” to me). Please don’t hurt me.

Live and let live. If you like it, great. if you don’t, well, that’s fine too.

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