A Criticism on Tools People Use to Critique Critics

I simply do not understand one thing.  No matter how bad a film is, no matter how truly offensive or inept, you will always find someone who claims to be a fan.  I have met fans of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  That is one of the worst films I have ever seen in my life.  I will make a list of my worst later, but for now I need to talk about the people, the fans. For example,  have found people who enjoy it.  I ask them about it all the time.  How can they enjoy such a farce of a film.  It barely even qualifies as film.  But the tools they use are just as mind boggling.

“You need to take it for what it is”  they will say “sometimes just shut your brain off and go for the ride.”

Oh well, there is the answer I need.  The film is enjoyable only after a significant drop in IQ points.

Of course this is not a response.  This is a confession, about themselves and the film.  The film is still bad, but there logic even worse.

And so, I would like to address the most common excuses I hear.

“It’s not meant for you:” Since when is the average movie goer focused on demographics?  Of course stuff like The Princess Diaries is not “meant for me.”  Nor is it really “meant for” people who value there entertainment and the art of film.  But that is not what they are talking about.  They are talking about the fact that I am not a young girl, probably around age 11.  Well, no.  But frankly that means nothing.  A truly good film is universal.  The director does not care about demographics.  They care about making the best movie they can with the material given to them.  Anything less is bad.  Anyone who goes into a film with the demographic mindset is setting themselves up for failure.  This defense is really an acknowledgment of that failure, not a defense for this kind of behavior.

“Just turn you brain off.  You aren’t supposed to think.” I hear this from Michael Bay fans all the time.  Well, guess what?  I can think, and so can you.  So that  is not an option.  Besides, telling me to ignore the flaws does not make them go away.  A flawed movie is just that: a flawed movie.  And frankly, you don’t have to be Neils Bohr to find the flaws.  They are there, in the open.
“Why do you always have to be so nitpicky?” Because I’m a critic.  That’s why.  Also, this is silly.  Complaining about a salad with an eyelash in it would be nitpicky.  Complaining about being served a mop of hair with dressing on it…that’s not nitpicky.  Frankly, it seems to be the latter much more than the former.  Anyway, all films contain gaps in logic.  It is the nature of the medium.  Some films compensate with their powerful messages and the talent involved.  Then, such trifes can be forgiven.  Otherwise…they become far too clear and must be addressed.

“Enjoy the ride”
This relates to the thinking item.  I guess I understand the logic behind this, but….well, it still makes no sense to me.  Films can certainly set themselves up to be a fun ride.  But its not guaranteed by genre: an action film will not always be exciting.  To cite recent examples Star Trek sets itself up as a fantastic ride, Terminator Salvation does not.  The former uses interesting character and fast paced action scenes to make itself exciting.  The latter has flat characters and boring set pieces.  It cannot be enjoyed.  Thus, it can’t be defended with this comment.

Those are the main ones.  I will perhaps do a second part later on.  For now, if you ever hear someone use these comments, feel free to use these in your rebuttal.


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