By David Poland email@example.com
McCarthy Gets A Blog… May The Ebert Be With Him
I suppose I am supposed to have an opinion about Todd McCarthy landing at indieWIRE. Well… uh…
I hope he’d getting paid well.
I am glad he’d got a place. I am glad they are so enthusiastic about celebrating his arrival.
And I think this fits into the ongoing problem of websites that are trying to expand their audiences but at the sane time, keep making their niches smaller.
It’s nothing against Todd or his work, anymore than it would be about other critics who have written for outlets that have strong positions as perceived influencers. Todd’s work and the power of Variety over the last decades are separate issues. And Todd does have influence. But he has influence over exactly the same niche that indieWIRE already services… actually, a part of that group.
What does the idea of building Eric Kohn into a major critic, using indieWIRE’s position, become now? Unless there is a plan to make it Kohn & McCarthy At The Indie Movies, McCarthy can’t help but to usurp Kohn’s budding authority. (Eric also has a range of authority… younger than Todd’s… but very much the same group of festival-focused writers.)
In short, Leonard Maltin expands the indieWIRE brand more than Todd, simply by the nature of who each one is. Leonard will have some over-50s, who wouldn’t normally click on indieWIRE, showing up for him and – I’m sure they hope – rolling over to other writers.
Of course, none of this has much to do with celebrating the work of each writer. But while I consider Todd a worthwhile read and think he may be much better while not under the yoke of Variety’s structure – meaning deeper pieces with less interest in commercial success – a critic with a history of lining up in recent years against some of the most challenging indies with an aggressive tone that bordered on Fox News at times… well… part of me remains comforted by the loss of power, while at the same time I am more interested in how he will now evolve as a critic.
So there you go.
May The Ebert Be With You… may you embrace your new freedom with the gusto and fresh eyes that Roger has brought to his most recent incarnation.