It gets tiresome, doesn’t it, getting excited for something only to have wave after wave of ‘critic’ squat drop all over it and declaring that thing terrible! I do this all the time to my wife, to her chagrin.
This isn’t a new thing, critics lambasting something and then making sure the world knows their disdain.
It’s certainly not new to my blog.
It doesn’t mean it’s gotten better though, but instead has gotten worse.
The big problem for me is that criticism has turned from – it’s my opinion that… – to – THIS IS HOW IT IS. Part of that is due to how click-baity our society has become. CLICK HERE FOR TRUTH! Everyone needs the ad revenue from article clicks so they put things in the most outlandish and broad terms. I saw a list, ugh, lists, that was talking about great CG in bad movies and it listed AVATAR as a bad movie.
Now, come on.
This is where I start to get frustrated.
As stated many times before, I have seen bad movies.
A lot of them.
I know bad movies.
AVATAR isn’t a bad movie.
I like it, and can say, yeah, it’s not a deep plot, but it’s decent. And the movie is fun. Now, what YOU think of it is your own thing. And that critic can say, phew, that was not good.
But Not Good and Bad are not the same with reviews.
They just aren’t.
There are lots of ‘Not Good’ movies.
Movies that just don’t work, that are awkward, or are just misfires.
A BAD movie is one where nothing works to such a degree that it’s literally painful to watch.
There is a difference and critics should know it.
Unfortunately BAD is thrown around like confetti these days, just like GREAT is.
Things can just OK.
It doesn’t have to be on or the other.
I own AVATAR. I like it. It’s decent.
See how easy that is?
I like PLENTY of decent movies, movies that don’t fully work but that have the heart and enough things that work to make you like it.
Everything has to be a takedown or a glow up.
OH, THIS IS SO WONDERFUL!
OH, THIS IS SO AWFUL.
Maybe it’s all a matter of poorly written headlines.
I know that when I was writing articles I didn’t write my headlines, the editor did so maybe that’s the issue. The headlines are bombastic to draw you in.
It’s not completely the problem though.
Again, we’ve become a society of shorthand and attention seeking.
As a horror fan I see ALL THE TIME how this is terrible, and that is awful, and that thing over there is unwatchable. You get the same sort of things from the other side too though, how that movie is an INSTANT CLASSIC, or SCARY AS HELL, or MUST SEE.
Everyone likes to be the cool kid that loves or hate something more than everyone else and has to be the first to sing to the heavens about it.
I mean, I for sure tend to do newer mainstream movies only if it’s in my wheelhouse or I can get it up before it’s reviewed by everyone. I get it. The thing though is that I do my best not to ruin the film for folks that may dig it.
I didn’t like THE MUNSTERS but it wasn’t ‘bad’. It just didn’t work for me. They wanted it to work, they tried, and it has a lot of good things in it. Just felt like a misfire in the end.
Not everything we don’t like is bad.
It really isn’t.
We love that shorthand though, that’s why all horror films that have harder violence are dubbed ‘torture porn’, to shame the film and its fans. How dare you watch this violence like it’s porn!
HOW DARE YOU?
In the end it’s up to you to figure what you like or don’t like.
I have read lots of books and stories I didn’t like, have seen oceans of movies I cared nothing for, and have heard a lot of music that didn’t tickle my ears.
That doesn’t mean it was all bad.
Because who am I to say that?
I can give MY OPINION just as you can, but that’s all it is.
Critics, educated though they are on the things in their orbit, are still only giving an opinion. They can back it up, sure, but it doesn’t change that if AVATAR is a ‘bad’ movie then a lot of people sure did like it despite that fact.
I knew a couple of folks that were art majors that INSISTED this artist who was in the pop culture zeitgeist was a hack because they didn’t like their stuff. Well, lots of folks sure did.
Criticism is an art, and it is meant to guide and educate us. To give us information and then to tell us an opinion. It is an opinion coated in the sugar of information. There is truly great criticism, that looks into what a thing is, wants to do, did do, what inspired it, what it means, and what it can’t quite pull off. In the end though it’s still an opinion and, as well stated as it may be, it still may just be a bag of wet rocks when all is said and done. What critics can give us, what they SHOULD give us is context and analysis. If they don’t like it then fine, whatever, but it’s interesting when they can tell us about inspirations or links or connections or symbolism. Art has so many interpretations, it’s good to have someone who knows what they are doing to give you some insight. That doesn’t mean they get to decide what you like, if you should like art on the surface level, but it’s interesting to know what may lie beneath.
As I say pretty often on here – dig what you dig.
Who cares what a critic says?
I didn’t love HALLOWEEN KILLS but I didn’t hate it and sorta liked its moxy. It was certainly not bad, just overstuffed, which isn’t the same as bad.
Ah, but who am I, I like the Rob Zombie HALLOWEEN films so maybe I am the clown here.
Be your truth though, friend, and love what you love enough to keep loving it, no matter what the critics or the folks around you say.
If it brings you joy or sings to you, then embrace it and don’t let it go easily.
Hold onto that joy, pal.
We need all of it we can grasp.