Thursday, December 06, 2012

Everyone's a Critic

I am not, I swear, on a jihad against Alyssa Rosenberg.  I think she's a talented writer, just not a very good critic, and this post pretty much encapsulates why:
I skipped Black Rock at Sundance, even though I love The League‘s Kate Aselton, because it takes a lot to get me to watch a horror movie. The last one I watched was Drag Me To Hell, which I watched because it was about the mortgage crisis, and from which I learned that you should never foreclose on a powerful gypsy.
Two things a good critic should do is 1)  try to judge things on their own terms and 2) have an open mind.

For one, Drag Me to Hell was NOT "about the mortgage crisis."  If you haven't seen the movie, Drag Me To Hell is a fairly conventional horror movie about a gypsy curse, a gypsy curse which could have been for anything.   The denied mortgage loan (what gypsy has a mortgage anyway?)  was a plot device. 

But okay, mis-read Drag Me to Hell, fine...    But what's this "it takes a lot to get me to watch a horror movie" stuff?

Granted, I know a lot of people who steer clear of horror movies, or musicals, or foreign films, or any other genre or style or mode.  These people know what they like and what they want and they're reluctant to step outside their comfort zone.  There is nothing wrong with this approach.  Such an approach would describe lots of people.

But almost none of them are critics.

One thing a critic needs and the general public doesn't is an open mind.  In other words, don't cross entire genres off your list.

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