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July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch" 
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Post July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
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Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:11 pm
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Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
That was one of the best articulations of a critic's role that I've had the pleasure to read so far. Well said as always, JB.


Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:21 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Rawk the Chicken wrote:
That was one of the best articulations of a critic's role that I've had the pleasure to read so far. Well said as always, JB.


I have really nothing to say except your username reminded me of Rawk Hawk from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door and it amused me to no end.


Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:23 pm
Director

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:28 pm
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Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
In the end, it's there money they'll send to see the movie; it just stupid to claim that critics are "out of touch" with what now, and with most things that "are now" I wouldn't endorse that product either (I'm talkin' to you overblow M.J. coverage).


Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:33 pm
Profile YIM
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
I've said this before in the review thread on "Transformers 2", but I feel it's worth saying again for this topic:

"It's amazing how Hollywood can program our minds to watch certain films. When a movie is hyped up as an "event", we go out and see it regardless of quality. It's like the Pavlov dog salivating at the ring of a bell."


Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:38 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Basically. This column is nothing more than a way to insult the people who liked that movie and make ridiculous generalizations.


How pathetic.


Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:19 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
ShriekoftheVulture wrote:
Basically. This column is nothing more than a way to insult the people who liked that movie and make ridiculous generalizations.


How pathetic.


Oh come on. The thinking part of you should realize that's not true.

Someone should fund research on why all fanboys/girls are deaf and/or why they feel only their opinions are valid.


Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:52 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
So to conclude... the people who like Transformers 2 are one of the following:

1) Obsessive fanboys of the franchise.
2) People with little or no ability to make their own opinions or points of view.
3) People who don't realise the value of money.
4) People who know nothing about what makes a good movie.

This is NOT an attempt at causing friction, I just want to know where I stand as none of the above but as someone who will see the movie when presented with the oppertunity (most likely when a friend buys it on DVD and we watch it as a group at someones house).


Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:57 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Hmm... Dragonbeard is on to something.

What does it mean when a movie is an overwhelming critical success but the public doesn't bother to help the film perform at the box office?


Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:47 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:04 am
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Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
In the theater I was in, people seemed to be genuinly having a good time. They were laughing their way through the movie. I think this is just a case of audiences disagreeing with the critics. Critics hated it, but audiences are enjoying it.


What I don't get is why everyone who enjoyed the first one is hating on this movie. It's the same movie only I actually think it's a mild improvement because I was able to follow the action slightly more than in the first one. It's SLIGHTLY less chaotic. Don't get me wrong, it's not by any means a good movie, but it's not as bad as the first one either.


Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:59 pm
Profile
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Dragonbeard wrote:
So to conclude... the people who like Transformers 2 are one of the following:

1) Obsessive fanboys of the franchise.
2) People with little or no ability to make their own opinions or points of view.
3) People who don't realise the value of money.
4) People who know nothing about what makes a good movie.

This is NOT an attempt at causing friction, I just want to know where I stand as none of the above but as someone who will see the movie when presented with the oppertunity (most likely when a friend buys it on DVD and we watch it as a group at someones house).


Dragonbeard, I respectfully think you missed James’ point. He was defining and defending the role of the critic against the expectation that a review should correspond to a film’s performance at the box-office. The examples he mentions, average movie-viewers and fanboys for instance, are brought up to contrast with the role of film critics and to explain how a film could make money while still not drawing enthusiasm from a broad array of the general public. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to definitively or comprehensively examine every reason why someone would conceivably want to see a movie, and I’m almost sure he wasn’t trying to pigeonhole everyone who watches this particular Michael Bay movie.


Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:04 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
The comment James made about extreme marketing creating a "must-see" atmosphere rings true. As a person in their early twenties, I can tell you that the "outside looking in" feeling is definetly present when it comes to movies. The people that surround me are there watching and talking about it, twitter, texting, their own mouths, the very next day. Heck, if you don't see at midnight, you'll feel dead in the water, whether or not it's good or bad word of mouth. No wonder films are so frontloaded nowadays. That's why I eventually saw Transformers 2, to get in on the discussion. It was a painful two and a half hours, but I endured it to relate.

It about killed me when I had to wait two weeks to see Star Trek, and I'm currently in the same situation for Harry Potter. (although less legal ways can easily become available soon, that's a bit desperate and pathetic) The thing to do is see the big movie. Who cares what the critic thinks, it's the movie, and it needs to be seen, and while the fact that franchises and sequels have a part to play in this is true, marketing arguably contributes the most. Theaters across the country have been accustomed to playing midnight premieres every single weekend, summer, fall, winter and spring for every movie. Just in case.

Critics aren't out of touch, it's just a matter of peer pressure by marketing: you need to see it. Everybody else is seeing it. It has 20% of Rotten Tomatoes, so what? Even if you hate it, you still will have seen it. And that's all that matters. And it is an awful, sickening feeling that many in my own age group have picked up. Whatever happened to, "I'll wait and see"?


Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:00 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
What is an "ADD society"?


Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:56 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Sigh . . .

I feel sorta bad reading some of these comments.

I'll reflect back to Independence Day. I saw it in the theater, on or near opening day, and I remember thinking it was good throwaway fun. Buildings blew up--hell, the White House blew up--weaselly secretaries of defense were put in their place, and Will Smith still had screen presence.

I didn't take it personally that James and other critics didn't like it. Having seen it since, I no longer particularly like it (see: Event Movie).

I expect that if I had to sit through the 200-300 movies a year that James does (as he carefully pointed out in his column), I'd have less patience for the sort of crap that passed for a plot in that flick. As it was, the explosions were fun, and Jayne Cobb shot an alien.

He didn't say anyone was stupid for liking Transformers. He tried to explain why critics might see the flick in a different light relative to folks who, uh, aren't critics, I guess.

It's all good . . .


Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:56 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Just a thought: Is it not also the role of the critic to inform the reader whether or not the reader might enjoy the movie, irrespective of whether the reviewer does? Arguably, a lot of critics have indeed been out of touch in this respect, because the film has been universally panned by critics and a large number of people seem to enjoy it. This doesn't mean that a review should be favourable, because there is a large inherent fanbase for the movie or because it is an event. But perhaps a critic should qualify his judgement by stating something along the lines of "a fan of the Tranformers toys might get more enjoyment out of the film, because he/she will have less problems distinguishing the robots and might enjoy the romp".


Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:28 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Unke wrote:
Just a thought: Is it not also the role of the critic to inform the reader whether or not the reader might enjoy the movie, irrespective of whether the reviewer does? Arguably, a lot of critics have indeed been out of touch in this respect, because the film has been universally panned by critics and a large number of people seem to enjoy it. This doesn't mean that a review should be favourable, because there is a large inherent fanbase for the movie or because it is an event. But perhaps a critic should qualify his judgement by stating something along the lines of "a fan of the Tranformers toys might get more enjoyment out of the film, because he/she will have less problems distinguishing the robots and might enjoy the romp".


Unke is The King of Consistently Good Points. I've gotten so used to the idea of critics working for themselves (and 'selling' their views with style, humor, what have you) that the idea that their jobs depend upon a reading public. But I suppose that it's always tacitly implied that the critic is working for the reader -- who knows how many people avoid James Berardinelli due to his taste? The relationship between the reader/listener/viewer and the critic is such that it's a built-in assumption that the reader of Movie Critic X is being "personally" spoken to. In that sense James Berardinelli and other critics have done the whole of their job by urging viewers to stay away from something like Transformers 2 without qualifying their reviews for those they believe may enjoy it. This is effective writing by the critic -- they know their audience and use that knowledge to take one for the team while the rest of us may pursue other, less noisy indulgences.


Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:57 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Rawk the Chicken wrote:
That was one of the best articulations of a critic's role that I've had the pleasure to read so far. Well said as always, JB.


I agree. The great statement was "They are, in fact, seeing a completely different movie."

Some people saw Transformers and wondered where the depth was, disliked the lack of quality action shots/editing, etc. Others saw it for what it seems to want to be, a 'fireworks' display. Its up to you to decide if you like the show. I have little interest in seeing it. Glad I went and saw Moon. Hopefully I can get out to see that new vampire movie (which was reviewed well), Hurt Locker, and other movies that get my adrenaline going, yet satisfy on other levels as well.


Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:46 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
The most obsurd part of this real thoughts is when JB suggests that Transformers has a chance to catch The Dark Knight in money.......its not even close. Didn't The Dark Knight make like 65 million more in its first weekend? Also, dark knight made like 80 million in its second weekend compared to the 35ish transformers made in its second weekend..and on the 3rd weekend transformers made 24.2 million.....Transformers wont come at all close to Dark Knight and I strongly believe Harry Potter will make more money than Transformers


Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:05 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
this whole transformers thing -- its too much. i mean, ok. first of all - i may drift. now, this is how i judge a movie(for this argument). first - what is its aim? what is it trying to do? second - is it good at achieving said aim?

now, those people even looking for an interesting plot or character development in transformers are just kidding themselves. its been repeated that the movie doesn't even try. its just a "150-minute toy commercial". its one case if it tries and fails. then its ok. but its a roller coaster ride. as opposed to..say Bad Boys II. that movie had some scenes trying to actually develop something. those caused it to be vomit inducing. that and the "comedy". so the main thing, what im trying to and maybe failing to say is ...remember the 2 things? you can't judge a movie's quality with the 1st one. sometimes, its just a demand and supply thing. movies are not an art form all the time. sometimes its a roller coaster and should be treated as such. i can't walk into KFC and complain they don't have Chicken Pulao. sure i can dismiss KFC as a place to eat on saturday because they dont have it and i want chicken pulao, but to actually say its a bad restaurant is only stupid on my part.

but critics, well...they're forced some fried chicken by their job when they want chicken pulao. so i understand the whole 200-300 movie thing james was talking about.


i did drift, didn't i?

idiot...

majoraphasia wrote:
Unke is The King of Consistently Good Points.


just thinking the same thing.

spencerworth34 wrote:
The most obsurd part of this real thoughts is when JB suggests that Transformers has a chance to catch The Dark Knight in money.......its not even close. Didn't The Dark Knight make like 65 million more in its first weekend? Also, dark knight made like 80 million in its second weekend compared to the 35ish transformers made in its second weekend..and on the 3rd weekend transformers made 24.2 million.....Transformers wont come at all close to Dark Knight and I strongly believe Harry Potter will make more money than Transformers


just wondering bout the same thing.


PS- just woke up...dont....

PPS-does KFC even count as a restaurant? anyone?


Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:52 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
I am retired (in my late 60's), a college grad, see many movies a year, have never been a fanboy, never owned, played with or even seen a Transformer toy, and generally check out what critics have to say about a film before seeing it myself; but I enjoyed watching Revenge of the Fallen, giving it maybe 2 and a half or 3 stars. My only real complaint was the movie was way too loud, which I suspect in itself annoyed critics disproportionately. Wear earplugs.

There's something maybe not being considered in the near-universal critic condemnation of the film, and that is that different people see movies for different reasons. Film critics and others academically inclined tend to view things in terms of perceived worth or merit, as though such values were objective facts rather than subjective opinions based on mostly traditional concepts. Most people, however, view films for a large variety of reasons too numerous to list. One of these is maybe worth mentioning though:

Huge numbers of people read novels and see movies to identify with one or more of the characters being portrayed. Their own personas (due perhaps to aggressive marketing, as well as actual circumstances) are seen as less than ideal, if not downright wretched. So strong, larger-than-life characters triumphing over evil (or just smashing the hell out of things) are much more enjoyable to BE than their own apparently miserable selves. It doesn't matter if these blockbuster films inspire love and respect. It doesn't matter if their super-idols are well or artistically presented. It only matters that they're believable enough to be identified with by folks not too happy with their own lives. (This is for guys, by the way; women probably select different idols, but the principle is the same.)

I suspect such has been the case in pretty much every historical age, but it's certainly true of our own. This has been increasingly evident for the last 20 years or so, what with Western civilization becoming noticeably less livable, when not actually collapsing. Note the growing number of big-budget end-of-the-world type films in recent years and coming out in the near future.

Then too, notions of what's "fun" have changed over the years and are changing still. Why limit what can be enjoyed by holding onto old notions needlessly? It's interesting that so many enjoyed Revenge of the Fallen without afterwards being quite able to recall why. Maybe it's because for whatever reason the movie was just fun to watch -- not for everyone, of course, but for huge numbers of people.

And the function of a film critic? Well, if I hadn't read the passionately negative comments of a certain well-known critic, I never would have bothered to see Revenge of the Fallen, or at least not till it came out on DVD. Something he saw in it must have hit too close to home. Thought I'd better check it out. Glad I did.


Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:36 am
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