MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Beating Critics To Death

179 comments on my brief, but pretty clear Avengers review here – still Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes – and the disrespect of opinions about the film is now spreading to many other quarters, most notably, to AO Scott’s home, where Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t want no muthafuckin’ critics thinking too hard about his muthafuckin’ movie. I don’t think he actually called for Scott to be fired over this review, but he did suggest that fans should give him serious what for. (Scott reports on Twitter that his son worried, “Mace Windu wants to take the food from our table!”)

The easy response is to blame it on the fanboys, portraying them as mouthbreathers. But I noticed this in the Hollywood Reporter, “The critic is largely isolated in his negative viewpoint; the film has thus far earned a sterling 93 percent fresh rating on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.”

Oh, wait. Professional journalists can ratchet things up without thinking for a damned second too!

As I noted to a Twitter commenter, all but a handful of critics listed by Rotten Tomatoes choose “Fresh” or “Rotten,” themselves. And for me, I have to say, I have to feel strongly that people should avoid a movie in order to give any movie a “Rotten.” Why? Because I am not a prick. With just two choices, you are saying to a broad audience, yes or no. And whether it’s Rotten Tomatoes or guesting on Ebert’s old show, the bar is only clear in a minority of films. Most films are either well-made and just don’t quite cut it or not so well-made but have something special about them or are “just ok” or something in that range.

The Avengers is good… for what it is. As a result, even though I don’t think it’s as good a movie as it could have been, I can’t say, “Rotten.” It’s not rotten. It’s just not very nourishing.

And if you look at Metacritic, which is also problematic, they at least try to set a number to match the overall sense of where a critic is. Avengers currently has a “70,” not a “93.” And with AO Scott’s review listed as a “40,” which I think is too low, maybe that overall number should be a “75.”

That, having read a lot of the reviews, is about where I think Avengers really is with critics. It’s still probably better than all but a couple of comic-book movies. Nothing embarrassing about it. Still in the Top 5 of current releases… Top 3 of non-cartoons… higher than Hunger Games.

Where do they see the Ebert review? 75. Yeah. About there. Fits his review. Pleasant tone kept it from being a 65.

Metacritic starts “mixed” at 60%. If I saw at movie as being at 60%, it would be Rotten on RT to me.

In any case, Sam Jackson has been tricked by RT. So has the Hollywood Reporter. So are a lot of people who want to be believers.

So I put it to you – and I have taken IO/JSP off moderation, hoping he can be a strong, civil voice on this issue – are we shorthanding ourselves into utter stupidity?

40 Responses to “Beating Critics To Death”

  1. film fanatic says:

    Rotten Tomatoes is a joke and the fact that writers increasingly cite their aggregate totals with anything other than a gigantic grain of salt is one of the tragedies of modern journalism. If you don’t click on the “top critics” button to filter out 90% of the idiocy, you might as well be reading the old IMDB message boards. And the whole “people like it so critics are snobs” routine is getting old hat — ten times as many people watch NCIS as watch MAD MEN, and you don’t see lynch mobs demanding that it get Emmy recognition, do you?

  2. Krillian says:

    The requirements to be a RotTom critic seem stringent and yet so many yahoos are on there.

    What’s nice about RotTom or Metacritic is it gives you a snapshot, a ballpark feeling about how the critics feel, and if it’s one where you’re sensitive about spoilers, you don’t have to risk diving in before you’ve seen it. I actually tend to read more reviews of a movie after I’ve seen it than before in part because you never know which one’s going to summarize the plot up to the end of Act Two.

    These sites are the natural progression of this post-Danny Manning era. Have you noticed that in most movie ads on TV where they flash critic quotes, the source of the quote is so small you have to have a 60″ plasma to be able to make out who said it?

  3. anghus says:

    we are.

    it’s another sad development in the ‘either/or’ nature our society has taken on. Everything has to be the most amazing thing ever or a complete and utter disaster. Those two sides have squeezed out the more literate and realistic middle that most critics live in.

    Sam Jackson is an idiot. Call out the one contrarian and make him a martyr for whatever cause you think not liking the Avengers falls under.

    Hyperbole rules. Common sense has no place in this new world. Blame Siskel and Ebert. It’s their fault. Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down ruined criticism. It took something complex that demanded attention and turned it into a marketable poster sized sound byte. They turned film criticism into McDonalds. Take something, reduce it to it’s most basic state, mass market it to a world eager to not think. This is the world we now live in.

    I think you could make a serious argument that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel (or whoever came up with Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down) were the Ray Kroc of film criticism and that basically they reduced film criticism to all or nothing mentality that permeates every film site these days.

    Rotten Tomatoes is the online evolution of Thumbs Up/Thumbs down.

  4. Fitzgerald says:

    Spot on, anghus.

  5. palmtree says:

    I find myself (reluctantly) agreeing with Stephanie Zacharek:

    “But the movie’s scale and size does little to serve those characters, and there’s something self-congratulatory about Whedon’s whole approach, as if he were making a movie only for people who are already in on the in-joke. Comic-book aficionados who have always loved the Avengers may very well love The Avengers; those who wouldn’t know a Tesseract from a Rubik’s Cube may feel differently. That’s the thing about other people’s nostalgia: It’s always a bitch.”

  6. chris says:

    Wait. This thread isn’t about Rex Reed?

  7. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “Wait. This thread isn’t about Rex Reed?”

    EDIT: For some reason I thought you were talking about Steve Reeves.

  8. movieman says:

    What a load of hooey: Jackson should be ashamed of himself.
    It reminds me of the “campaign” initiated against me by some disgruntled community theater partisans a few years back because they disagreed with one of my reviews.
    I would have thought that Jackson was more professional (and mature) than a bunch of thin-skinned amateur thespians.
    And why pick on Scott (arguably the finest daily film critic writing for an American newspaper today)? Armond White (surprise, surprise) positively loathed “The Avengers.”
    And–as Palmtree suggested in the above posting–Zacharek isn’t a fan of Whedon’s fanboy fantasia either.

  9. brack says:

    I don’t normally read A. O. Scott, and maybe only a few critics, but I found these parts questionable:

    “But for all their maverick swagger, the Avengers are dutiful corporate citizens, serving a conveniently vague set of principles. Are they serving private interests, big government, their own vanity, or what?”

    This is the question Scott asks about the movie? That’s like asking why does grass grow.

    ” ‘The Avengers,’ which recently opened there to huge box office returns, expects a similarly submissive audience here at home. The price of entertainment is obedience.”

    Sounds to me he’s criticizing the intentions of the film studio more so than the film itself. I kinda get why Sam L would be miffed.

  10. movieman says:

    ” ‘The Avengers,’ which recently opened there to huge box office returns, expects a similarly submissive audience here at home. The price of entertainment is obedience.”

    Sadly, no truer words have been written about the state of corporate “entertainment” in the 21st century.
    Scott deserves a Pulitzer.

  11. LYT says:

    My guess: Jackson reads the NYT, and probably not much else that has reviews in it. Thus maybe he thinks Scott represents the entirety of critical thought out there.

  12. movieman says:

    I don’t know, LYT.
    Wouldn’t you think that SLJ’s publicist would have whispered into his ear that the majority of US crix have given his film good to fawning-to-gain-fanboy-cred reviews?

  13. Jason says:

    Boy, I’m really going against the grain here…I find it troubling, actually, when critics DON’T like something that the “majority” of people like when it’s a reasonable film by all accounts.

    It bothers me not so much as a professional, but rather just as a person. If I’m at a party, and an intelligent, normal human comes up to me and says, “Man – I really hated Schindler’s List” or “Fargo was really silly” or something like that, I would have a hard time taking that seriously. Even if that person was a doctor or a professor or a solid professional human.

    That’s the way I feel about critics…the only thing separating them from that doctor or professor is the actual job and the name on the masthead. Both are smart. Both have degrees. Both are wise people. Both may be very likable. So when a critic – PAID to really “get” the zeitgeist of movies — balks at something so obviously liked, it’s not that they don’t have that right.

    But I certainly have a right to think they are out of touch. And therefore, since they are not within the norm of most people who actually think the project is good, then I just don’t think their opinion — even though it’s an opinion — is very meaningful anymore. I’ve certainly “hated” movies everyone loves…but when someone is SO far off, then I question that person. Which is TOTALLY within my right as a reader.

    And what are we really talking about here? This isn’t Transformers or obvious dopey money grabs like that. The Avengers is obviously well crafted, thoughtful, adventurous and a decent movie by all accounts. So when a professional moviegoer (critic) is SO far off and just slams it, I absolutely question it.

  14. movieman says:

    when a professional moviegoer (critic) is SO far off and just slams it, I absolutely question it.

    …which means, I suppose, that you must question anything ever written by Armond White who’s whole schtick is based on contrarianism versus sanity–or at least common sense?
    On that count, I agree with you, Jason.

  15. Paul D/Stella says:

    A critic’s intelligence and abilities should be called into question for not adoring The fucking Avengers? That’s got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Everyone is required to like it because you did? All other opinions are invalid? Jesus that is bonkers.

  16. brack says:

    That’s not what Jason is saying at all. Reread his post. It encompasses all films, not merely The Avengers.

  17. Kim Voynar says:

    Hey, I completely dug AVENGERS. Loved it. Saw it a second time at a midnight last night with all the kids and caught bits of dialogue and subtle details I didn’t catch on the first viewing, and completely stand by my positive review of it. This is a smart, well-crafted comic genre film that does exactly what it’s supposed to do: entertain intelligently. I also happen to be an AVENGERS fan generally, and if I thought Whedon didn’t do a great job with it my review would have been very different.

    There will always be critics who don’t like some movie that 95% think is awesome. Sometimes they are contrarians who just seek to be the “different” or “hip” voice who is the only one not blinded by fandom or whatever, sure, but more often I think they just genuinely do not find that a movie connects with them.

    It’s okay for not everyone to like AVENGERS. It’s also okay for intelligent critics who you often find waxing enthusiastic over meticulously paced obscure foreign films to also go a little ga-ga over a well-made film of genre material they feel an attachment to.

  18. Paul D/Stella says:

    brack his argument is still stupid. It’s the “you didn’t get it” argument. And he says someone should be questioned if they don’t love The Avengers as much as he does. That’s really dumb.

  19. brack says:

    Your argument might hold water if i have actually seen the film. I am merely basing my opion of Scott’s based on how well he reviewed the movie. I believe he did a poor job at expressing his viewpoint. This has nothing to do with the film itself. Perhaps I will hate the movie when I see it, but nothing I took from Scott’s review seems to matter from this pedigree of filmmaking. It seems clear to me he doesn’t regard superhero movies in the same regard as other films. This is his hang up, not mine.

  20. Paul D/Stella says:

    I guess it’s just me, but I think it is always dumb to play the “you didn’t get it card” while questioning someone’s abilities as a critic merely because they didn’t like a movie you did. I don’t highly regard romantic comedies, but if I have to review one, I am fair. If I don’t like it, it does not mean I didn’t get it or refused to be objective.

  21. brack says:

    Again, I’m merely looking at Scott’s comments and trying to draw some conclusions based on his comments. I don’t find them very insightful. Maybe once I see the film I will. That’s why I almost always skim Ebert’s reiews, namely because he comes off as fair and doesn’t get wrapped up in the critic game. He paints a picture of how a movie is about, not what it is about, which I always find more insightful (even when I find myself disagreeimg).

  22. pisher says:

    When critics can be threatened for not liking a movie–or even not liking it ENOUGH–well, A.O. Scott doesn’t have to worry much, but many others are not so securely ensconced. So Mr. Whedon’s fanatic fanbase, which has been pulling this kind of crap for years (since “Firefly”, at least), is actually making it impossible to know whether many critics are in fact overstating their admiration for Avengers, simply to avoid getting buried in hate mail.

    Best review I’ve read, other than David’s, was Andrew O’Hehir’s for Salon–he really did cut to the heart of it, which is that sure, if we’re going to have a ton of superhero movies, it’s nice that not all of them are completely ludicrous, but when we start confusing them with great art, we’re going to start forgetting what movies can be. Will we ever see anything on the level of a David Lean/Sam Spiegel epic ever again? Well, probably not, no. But there could be all kinds of truly awesome original entertainments, that appeal to a whole lot of people, and aren’t primarily made to sell cheap mass-manufactured crap made in China to gullible kids.

    Whether you agree with A.O. Scott or not, the notion that he doesn’t have the right to be curmudgeonly–that certain sacred cows are off limit–I don’t get it. Whedon is a millionaire. He’s been given chance after chance to do exactly what he wants, for a whole lot of money, and he’s failed several times in a row, and now he’s finally got a success–adapting other people’s ideas for a project that would have been a hit no matter who made it. And he did a good job. But it’s not art. Jack Kirby–that was art. And did he become a millionaire? Sheesh, he couldn’t even afford to buy back his own drawings.

  23. Mike says:

    But a lot of AO’s criticism isn’t even that he doesn’t like the film or that he didn’t enjoy it, it’s more that he’s coomplaining that Walt Disney is shoving this down our throats to make money. Well no shit, but that’s not really film criticism, that’s a pop culture column dressed up as film criticism, and can rightfully be called out on.

    If he had said that the explosions were mindless, that’s fine. But when he says that Disney is using these explosions to pound consumers into mindless submission, it seems like he stepped beyond his role.

    That said, I don’t care – let the man write what he wants. But I don’t really understand why people get all up in arms defending AO’s right to have an opinion without defending Samuel L. Jackson’s right to use Twitter to call him out on it.

  24. pisher says:

    Jackson’s exact words–“#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let’s help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!”

    Now seriously–you think SCOTT was over the line?

    Jackson basically lives over the line, WAY over the line, and has for a long time now, and we all accept that. He knows perfectly well he’s given far better performances in far better movies than this one–honestly, the way he’s talking, you’d think he was the star of this film, instead of a linking device for a franchise.

    So let’s be honest about what this is–this is about him objecting to anyone threatening his gravy train, even though all the critics in critic-dom assembled couldn’t actually do that, anymore than they could to Transformers. I guess Scott should feel flattered, except that there are actually people out there crazier than Jackson, and you don’t stir that kind of pot over somebody saying he didn’t think your movie was good. And that was all Jackson was responding to–if Scott had given a good review, and then said something about Disney pounding consumers, he wouldn’t have cared. Unless he really has become a corporate toadie, in which case I’d be really depressed.

    Because I thought he was trying–trying real hard–to be the shepherd. And a good shepherd doesn’t stampede his flock to make a petty point over a silly movie.

  25. pisher says:

    And btw–whether you think Scott’s points belonged in the Avengers review or not, they are points that need to be made. Repeatedly. And an Avengers review, IMO, is a great place to put them, precisely because it has been so wildly overpraised–even though it basically is, as one person put it, “Transformers with better dialogue.”

  26. Mike says:

    Yes, Jackson was way over the line. But he was also way over the line on Twitter, which means it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s like holding JS accountable for something he said here. AO Scott was a little over the line, but he was over the line in the paper of record. It’s not just about considering the source and what was said, but also look at where it’s said. Anyone who takes Twitter this seriously is living as insularly as the girls in Girls.

  27. Paul D/Stella says:

    Scott’s review is clearly mixed. He has as many positive comments as negative ones. The review is also more than 1,000 words. Acting as if it is overwhelmingly negative and contains no legitimate criticism is completely false.

  28. pisher says:

    It’s not QUITE like holding JS accountable for something he says on Twitter, since JS doesn’t have close to a million followers on Twitter. I don’t think.

    And no, Scott was not over the line. He was doing his job, which includes criticizing the industry, as well as the movies it cranks out. He hates what the studios are doing to an artform he loves, and since when is a Times review simply about saying “Go see it!” or “Stay away!”? We have Richard Roeper for that, surely.

    And you really think NOBODY took Jackson seriously? Honestly, Scott was going to get it whether Jackson said anything or not. Jackson is stone cold sane compared to much of Joss Whedon’s online fanbase. :)

  29. palmtree says:

    Sorry, but I have to side with AO here.

    The Avengers is film culmination of half a dozen film efforts, converging on a single mass marketed phenomenon. To not factor that into the review is somewhat naive. I mean, would we expect anyone who loved the movie to review it based solely on this film alone? Of course not.

    I believe strongly in reviewing the intent of the filmmakers. And here the intent is to create a movie blockbuster vortex of multiple characters and storylines via the corporate apparatus of Disney. AO reviewing the studio is AO reviewing the movie as far as Avengers goes. It’s the type of film experience they are TRYING to make for us.

    Haven’t seen it yet, so I’m not saying I agree one way or the other. But we shouldn’t be mad at a guy for doing his job.

  30. pisher says:

    Thanks for laying it out so well, palmtree–to review this movie as a solo standalone effort when it’s not even intended as such by the people who made it makes no sense.

    Most of the main cast members of this movie had been cast before Whedon even signed on to make it. And in all fairness, that made this an extremely challenging assignment, and he seems to have handled it well, but that doesn’t make him a great filmmaker. It makes him a good traffic cop. :)

  31. Mike says:

    I don’t completely disagree. I think Jackson was over the line, but he’s also so over the top and on Twitter, that I don’t really take it very seriously. But I do think that AO decided to go beyond criticism of a film to criticism of an entire industry. And I think people are giving him too much credit to write about anything beyond the film and not expect some people to validly say that he didn’t really do his job of reviewing this singular film.

    He put something out there in public just like Disney did with the film – and when you do that you’re going to get people who hold it up to criticism. I just don’t get why the filmakers have to accept valid criticism but the film critic doesn’t.

  32. palmtree says:

    “But I do think that AO decided to go beyond criticism of a film to criticism of an entire industry. And I think people are giving him too much credit to write about anything beyond the film and not expect some people to validly say that he didn’t really do his job of reviewing this singular film.”

    1. Who decided to create the Avengers movie? It wasn’t Joss Whedon, it wasn’t an artist per se. It was a movie studiom it Avi Arad. It was people in charge of a studio who thought this was going to be a new approach to filmmaking. That’s fair game for a film critic.

    2. So even though The Avengers was the culmination of Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, Captain America…it’s only fair to review the “singular film”????? That’s like saying reviewing a movie sequel should never reference the previous movies in the series. If that’s what you’re saying, then at least we agree to disagree. But I highly doubt it.

  33. pisher says:

    And where, precisely, is it written that a film critic reviewing a film is obliged to only talk about that film? Is he or she allowed to compare it to other films?

    How about Variety and THR reviewers speculating in their reviews on how successful those films will be? Isn’t that completely beside the point? Well no, it’s precisely the point, by the standards of those publications. And A.O. Scott isn’t writing ‘Picks and Pans’ for Entertainment Weekly. We expect a bit more heft and substance from a Times review, and he provided it, and apparently Samuel Jackson’s opinion on the Twitterfeed that he hastily hammered out with his mighty thumbs is more important.

    I frequently disagree with Scott–and frankly, I disagree with him here. I think he’s offbase saying Whedon’s talent is wasted on this film. I think this is precisely where Whedon belongs. I think he’s finally found his proper level, his place in the creative universe. Have at me, Jackson!


  34. Mike says:

    I have no problem with what AO wrote. I just don’t have a problem with those who do.

    AO wasn’t just comparing the films, he was talking about corporate policy and about the summer blockbuster as product. If all he said was this is culmination of these other films, people would probably have no problem. When he says that if you enjoy this film, you’ve submitted to corporate control, I don’t think he’s talking about the artistic and plot threads between Thor and Iron Man.

    Really, if you cannot see why some people, especially the people involved in the film, might have a problem with the way he chose to veer away from the film (or films), into holding this film up as the problem with blockbusters and the industry, then we’re just not going to agree.

    That said, no one has sufficiently explained to me, though, why Jackson isn’t allowed to have his own view (right or wrong) about the way AO does his job. Was it irresponsible – maybe if you take Twitter and Samuel L. Jackson more seriously than anyone should. But he’s got a right to say what he wants, and I think he’s got an argument.

  35. Triple Option says:

    ETA: Meant to include this up top:

    I may not agree w/AO Scott but I could see how he could write some of the stuff he did. As far as Samuel L Jackson’s comments, talk about hyper sensitive, man, what’s wrong w/that? You don’t think on any given day that there aren’t a half million tweets saying that Mike Tannenbaum or Buddy Ryan shouldn’t lose their job? Or Mike Brown or George Karl or Bud Selig?

    I’m definitely one to gripe about feeling peed on by the studios and object to them constantly trying to make a money grab out of everything but in this case, regardless of them cranking up the hype machine, this was a movie that people wanted to see. They wanted the explosions, eye popping FX, carnage and people running scared for someone w/extraordinaire abilities to come save the day. I had my concerns heading into Spidey 3 and with that and exiting X:3 that wow, the studios have no love for their clientele.

    I also see both sides of the “critic doesn’t get it” argument. Maybe the semantics of the term could be a stumbling block but there are some critics I wouldn’t trust for a comic book or superhero review. I know my limitations. I don’t care for horror movies so I realize that I might not be the best judge of them. I really liked 28 Weeks Later, have no desire to see a lot of other films that horror fans love. I’ll think films are scary that they think are tame. Some parts may make me roll my eyes and others will say that’s fresh. I could know about character, structure, setting, camera movement in general and still “not get it.” Just like some critics aren’t gonna get rap or heavy metal. The stuff they do praise, which they inevitably will to try to prove to the world they aren’t clueless haters, are the albums that those genre fans only give barely passing marks to and by so doing only expose how clueless they really are.

    The way it goes the other way is when some director makes some film basking in nihilism w/out any regard to accepted principles of storytelling, people will hail it as an avant garde triumph and anyone who tries to suggest that it’s a narcissistic piece of crap gets labeled as a Neanderthal who should go back to watching dialogless, dog chasing cat Saturday morning cartoons. “You didn’t like it?! Why it only won 3 critic awards at the Grey Poupon Film Festival. OBVIOUSLY, they’re right and you don’t get it.”

    If I were to have a big gripe it would be that what someone Tweets is not news. Quite letting the sensationalists the gossip pages dictating the parameters of what’s news or important. They’re only there because they failed every place else.

  36. cadavra says:

    Roger hated THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA. My reaction? A shrug and a sighed, “Oh, well.” That’s how mature people react.

    Famous old saying: “A critic is just a film buff with a printing press.”

  37. pisher says:

    What a famous actor tweets to nearly a million people is not BIG news, but it’s certainly news. Hey, if what Sarah Palin tweets is news…….

    I honestly don’t see anybody getting pilloried, anywhere, for not liking this or that critically lauded indie film that most people never see–I certainly don’t see anyone trying to get them fired from their jobs. Jackson said “let’s get A.O. Scott fired from his job because he didn’t like my movie as much as he should.” And the funny thing is, it isn’t his movie–he has a minor role in it. I mean, you could probably edit him out of the film entirely, and it would still run over two hours.

    If they ever do a “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” movie (that doesn’t star David Hasselhoff), then he’ll have enough of a stake to make his hissyfit understandable.

    I love how people who will say “box office doesn’t prove anything” when a film they love gets lousy box office immediately change tack when a film they love gets great box office and somebody else doesn’t like it.

    This will probably do Transformers box office.

    ‘Nuff said.


  38. Triple Option says:

    Not trying to be difficult, pisher, I’d just say I wouldn’t call it news, big or otherwise, because someone decided to playback the recording he or she heard of the tree falling in the woods. It’s a 140 character tweet not a royal decree. Did Jackson just open his tweet acct? Does anyone complaining about what he wrote re: Scott know what any of his previous tweets have been? Sight unseen, I’m guessing that’s not the first negative thing he’s said. I hardly think Jackson’s never said “well, screw him” before this time. It’s dog biting man. If anything, we should all make note of the fact that he didn’t drop a MF on Scott. It’s a buncha tattlers throwing poop against the wall trying to fill content. Wow, a famous person saying a critic sux, that’s NEVER happened before!

    A few weeks ago there were comments on Patricia Heaton’s tweets about that Georgetown student Limbaugh skewered. Who outside of a few thousand soccer moms knew Heaton even tweeted? It only became news because some editor told a flunkie to scour the interwebs to find some famous person’s reaction. When it turned out all the person could find was Heaton, they felt they had no choice but to run with it. It’s the crybabies from elementary school who’d raise their hands in school and say “Ummm, teacher, he said the s word” as if that’s at all relevant to anything going on. They’re only reporting that because they are incapable of following along on anything more substantial.

  39. palmtree says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, but EVERYONE gets to have an opinion. What we’re talking about is whether one man’s opinion is right or not.

    AO says the movie is a form of corporate control. On that score, he may be overstating his case, but he’s not technically wrong. In fact, the folks at Marvel are PROUD of this achievement.

    However, Sam Jackson is wrong, because no critic’s livelihood should be threatened for doing his/her job, especially when so many critics have already been gutted by major publications. And besides no critic was ever going to make a dent in this movie’s armor anyway….which makes AO’s comments somehow even more relevant.

    Thanks for reading.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
~ Steven Soderbergh