Getting paid to watch movies & write about them afterwards sounds like a dream. I enjoy writing, and I’m quite partial to cinematic entertainment (though, preferably, as viewed in the comfort of my own home)– so, combining these two into a single, reoccurring paycheck sounds, in theory, second to only winning the lottery on my list of “ways I’d like to live the rest of my life”.
However, it has dawned on me, just recently in fact, that I would make a horrible film critic. Just awful. Why, you ask?
Because, as I have come to discover, I like basically everything.
Seriously, that’s not much of an overstatement. I have seen what I can only imagine amounts to thousands of hours of movies in my lifetime, and, hard-pressed, I can only come up with a handful that I can’t say I enjoyed at least some aspect of.
Case in point: just having switched my cable provider to Uverse, I decided to go all-in and get all of the channels. This has allowed me the opportunity to catch up on numerous movies that I missed in theaters or haven’t yet come to Netflix. In the last month or so (aided by a long 4th of July weekend and a few stormy Chicago nights), I have watched the following:
- Man of Steel
- Man on a Ledge
- Runner Runner
- This is 40
- Kick-Ass 2
- Zero Dark Thirty
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Django Unchained
- Now You See Me
- Seven Psychopaths
(Christ, that’s a lot)
While none of these films were particularly spectacular, there were some really great things about each. As I tend to watch movies with IMDB in tow, all of them had either positive reviews from critics & negative ones from viewers, or vice-versa, or just poor reviews all the way around. Even OSCAR winners, like “Django” and Lincoln were unable to duck unfavorable mentions– both, in this case, for their length; and the latter especially for (quote/unquote) not being about Abe Lincoln’s entire life (like that would’ve helped the ‘length’ issue).
My review for each? Django Unchained was an exciting, well-written thrill ride; Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of President Lincoln was intense, almost eerie, and the dramatic retelling of one of this nation’s most important amendments kept me every bit interested for its entire 150 minutes plus. In fact, I can name interesting, entertaining, or worth-while aspects of every single movie on that list.
And that, of course, is the issue.
Much to my chagrin, that’s not the thing that media companies want to see from their movie reviewers. They aren’t paying for someone to tell readers and viewers that everything they saw was good.
That’s fine. If it’s true, that ‘everyone’s a critic’, then this can be one area of life I’ll keep to myself.