The Movie Critic Critic.
I see a fair number of movies, some good, some bad, some so bad they are almost good. But far more interesting than movies themselves are movie critics. Critics (both movie critics and critics in general, I suppose) are an interesting breed. By profession, they watch movies and then talk about them - which is, of course, something most of us do for the entertainment value. Not that we'd turn down money.
The great thing about movie reviews is that the quality of the movie doesn't matter. The best review I ever read was a pan of a dreadful movie - written to the tune of the movie's own theme song.
The other great thing about movie reviews is that they don't have to (or ever seem to) agree with any other movie reviews. Sure, two thumbs up is the hallmark of a great movie in America, but one thumb up and one thumb down makes for a far more interesting visit to the balcony.
In my reading of movie reviews, I've noticed a number of recurring themes. There does, in fact, seem to be a set of genres for movie reviews. Ordered from largest to smallest vocabulary needed to read their reviews, the main Critic genres are:
The Serious Film Critic (SFC)
The Serious Film Critic likes to impress the reader with his vocabulary and grasp of such esoteric cinematic concepts as cinematography. He reviews Hollywood movies only to give himself the opportunity to repeat, ad nauseum, how bad the crap coming out of the studio system is. He likes to review low budget independent films or anything with subtitles. He has been known to turn on even the lowest budget most independent filmmakers if they dare to achieve popular success or win awards. Reading a SFC's review leaves one with the distinct impression that the best film ever made must have been the one the SFC himself made as the thesis project for his masters degree. The SFC probably minored in psychology when he was studying film, because his favourite topic of discussion is the deep, hidden meanings in a film. The SFC is apt to forget that movies, sometimes, are made for entertainment rather than artistic purposes. The only comedy that the SFC is willing to review is very black.
The Movie Critic (MC)
The Movie Critic foregoes a broad vocabulary in favour of a broad selection of movies to review. While the Movie Critic concentrates on Hollywood, he tends to review some of the smaller movies coming out of the big studios and even some independent films that look destined to make it into distribution. MCs tend to avoid looking at the big psychiatric issues but do dwell a lot on the moral of the story and the philosophy behind it. A typical MC review will include a quick recap of the movie's key plot points and some commentary on character development though they largely focus on the easily visible aspects of acting and plot. The MC's favourite point of criticism is the pace of a movie. MCs try (and occasionally succeed) to remember that certain movies are made for certain reasons and try to review them in that context.
The Movie Reviewer (MR)
The Movie Reviewer primarily focuses on rehashing the major points of the movie. In a Movie Review, much is made of the actors and director and what else they have done. Often the history of the actors or gossip about the making of the film makes its way into a Movie Review. The focus is largely on summarizing the movie with only limited attention paid to actually commenting on the content. The MR's main comment on the quality of a movie will often come in the form of STARS assigned at the end of the review. MRs focus entirely on Hollywood - although they may occasionally discuss a big local film.
The Man on a Junket (MoJ)
The Man on a Junket is the used car salesman of Movie Reviews, they will say good things about any movie even if the motor died months ago. This is the reviewer who was clearly taken to some Caribbean island and plied with alcohol in exchange for a glowing, fantastic, quotable review. These are the reviewers whose quotes make it into the advertisements for very bad films while their names are written in teeny, tiny type underneath because the ad agency doesn't want you to know that the guy who thought this was "the movie to see this summer" was a washed up gardening columnist from Wanakata, Wisconsin who needed the vacation. MoJs primarily review really bad blockbusters that need the publicity boost and B list movies that are on the B list for a reason. Any movie that has any merits whatsoever can generally find a more credible reviewer to quote.
The Recapper isn't really a movie reviewer at all, he simply summarizes the plot of a movie. He is, essentially, still turning out 6th grade book reports. Recapper's reviews read as "And then this happened, and then that happened and then the building blew up and then..." Frankly, unless you are screening movies for violent content that you don't want your kids to see, a Recapper's reviews offer less than no value.
The interesting thing about movie reviewers is that they are as individual as movie goers, it can be difficult to find a reviewer who feels the same about movies that you do. I've created this site for those lost souls who know they need help pick what movie to see this weekend and also need help find the right person to pick it for them.
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