Why I’m still a film critic


Let’s sum up, shall we?

I essentially worked right through the holidays, in terms of posting on a daily basis. So I’m taking a few days off from reviewing and will resume the daily treadmill when I get back from a short break next Wednesday (1/12/12).

I did my 10-best list in mid-December, so I don’t need to summarize 2011 particularly. I didn’t do a 10-worst list but, really, other than showing off how cleverly mean I can be – always fun when you’re in the right mood – well, just not in the mood now. Too many terrible films to choose from, I guess; it’s always disheartening to consider how much time I waste watching crap. But that’s often the job.

As for speculating on the movie year ahead, well, again, not my thing: As a critic, I prefer to go into movies knowing as little as possible about a film before I see it. I want the experience to be as fresh as possible, minus preconceptions. I can’t tell you what the big movies of next summer are going to be because I don’t pay attention to release schedules that far in advance. My focus tends to be on my deadlines of the next two weeks.

That’s also the reason I so rarely watch trailers online. Trailers and commercials tend to tell the whole story and, again, I don’t want to know. (On the other hand, I don’t mind seeing trailers on those rare occasions when I actually see a movie at a multiplex; by that time, I’ve usually already seen the movies being previewed, so it’s interesting to see how they’ve decided to sell the film.)

Still, the beginning of a new year always inspires, at minimum, some introspection or reflection, about the year past, about what life holds, about why I do what I do.

Taking stock, I can say that, yes, I still have the same hunger to watch films and think about them – and write what I think about them – that I’ve always had. I can say that I still approach most movies with the hope that the movie will surprise, engage, enthrall, challenge. I get excited when one does; at this stage of life, I feel less tolerance for films that don’t.

This commentary continues on my website.

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