movies

I’m Positive I’m Not Negative

I’m going to put this to bed once and for all:

I’m not a negative person.

That seems to have become my reputation.  I know part of that comes from what I say about upcoming movies and my comments on trailers, posters, and other aspects of a marketing campaign.  My coverage of movie news is part-mockery and part-criticism.  I can’t go back through every single news story I wrote in 2011, but people get defensive over minor things.  The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises didn’t change my life and I made fun of the collapsing football field because it’s funny.  I don’t think the movie will be bad.  It’s a criticism of a trailer that shows a football player who doesn’t realize that everyone behind him has fallen into a pit and died.  Also, the quake ended when he scored a touchdown, so it worked out well.

But I also get excited by good trailers.  I do a Top 10 list at the end of the year to prove it.  And most importantly, I don’t let any piece of marketing lock in my opinion.  Marketing on major movies is a non-stop assault, and I can’t avoid it, but I can try to stay objective before being subjective.

However, I can go back through my reviews and try to empirically prove that I’m not negative.  I’ve come to the point where I almost want to stop using a letter grade.  The reason I keep using them is because hopefully it will serve as a hook.  Readers will scroll down to the bottom, see the letter grade, and then read the review to see why I gave that grade.  Sadly, the rating tends to dominates the content.  We’re in the Rotten Tomatoes age where people want to see a percentage and take that as the final word on the film’s quality.  Keep in mind that RT works on a binary-system.  A film is either “fresh” or “rotten”, so a B- has the same weight as an A+.  Even as a shorthand, Rotten Tomatoes is imprecise.

But since people are so fixated on grades, and then they want to turn around and say that I’m negative, I’ve provided the following chart, which breaks down how many As, Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs I gave out in 2011:

ratings-pie-chart

As you can see, the highest percentage of my reviews were either a B+, B, or B- (the exact number was 56).  “B” means “good”.  “A” means excellent.  I have seen enough movies to understand the difference.  Hollywood and even indie films don’t hit a grand slam every time they go to bat.  “A” is a high standard and when a movie meets that high standard, it should mean something.

The next highest percentage was “C”, which means “mediocre”.  I hate to say it, but there’s plenty of mediocrity in the world.  Not everyone is a superstar and a lot of movies just get by.  They’re forgettable or they’re a wasted opportunity.  I don’t hate these movies.  I just don’t get much out of them.

Perhaps this disconnect is that my critics want my film criticism to be “one higher”.  Cs should Bs, and Bs should be As.  But I demand more from my movies.  I see the flaws not because I’m “negative” but because criticism is my business and it’s my job to break down movies and see how they work and how they don’t.  I don’t “turn off my brain” nor would I want to.  It seems ungrateful considering it got me to where I am today.  I don’t like subjecting it to Sucker Punch, but we’re in it together.

There’s no agenda for me.  There are movies I look forward to and movies I dread, but I give them all a fair shake.  And if you don’t think I do, then look past the letter grade and read the actual review.

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 criticism, movies, personal No Comments

Reviews: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D and CONTRABAND

Beauty and the Beast 3D (Rating: A+)

Contraband (Rating: B-)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012 criticism, movies No Comments

Final 2011 Reviews and Year-End Lists

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Rating: B-)

Young Adult (Rating: A-)

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Rating: B)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Rating: A)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Rating: C+)

The Adventures of Tintin (Rating: C)

We Bought a Zoo (Rating: C)

War Horse (Rating: C-)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Rating: B)

Top 10 Posters of 2011

Top 10 Trailers of 2011

Best Performances, Directing, and other Miscellany of 2011

Worst 5 of 2011

Top 10 of 2011

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: SHAME and SLEEPING BEAUTY

These are reprints of my reviews from Toronto:

Shame (Rating: B+)

Sleeping Beauty (Rating: C+)

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS, THE ARTIST, HUGO, and THE MUPPETS

Arthur Christmas (Rating: B+)

The Artist (Rating: A-)

Hugo (Rating: B-)

The Muppets (Rating: A-)

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: THE DESCENDANTS, BREAKING DAWN – PART 1, THE LIE, and More

The Descendants (Rating: A-)

Immortals (Rating: C)

Into the Abyss (Rating: D-)

The Lie (Rating: B+)

Melancholia (Rating: B+)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (Rating: C-)

Friday, November 18th, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: TOWER HEIST and A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS

Tower Heist (Rating: B-)

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (Rating: A-)

Friday, November 4th, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: ANONYMOUS, IN TIME, LIKE CRAZY, PUSS IN BOOTS, and THE RUM DIARY

Anonymous (Rating: B-)

In Time (Rating: C-)

Like Crazy (Rating: D+)

Puss in Boots (Rating: C)

The Rum Diary (Rating: B)

Saturday, October 29th, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: BEING ELMO, MARGIN CALL, and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (Rating: B)

Margin Call (Rating C-)

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Rating: A)

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments

Reviews: THE SKIN I LIVE IN and THE THING

The Skin I Live In (Rating: B)

The Thing (Rating: C-)

Friday, October 14th, 2011 criticism, movies No Comments
 

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