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.