by CELIA BROCKER
I’ve wanted to be a film critic for several years now, and my dream job often finds its way into my daily life. You know that one annoying friend that’s constantly making movie references, insists on showing up to the theater super early to watch all the previews, and then talks the whole time about plot holes and inconsistencies? Well, I’m that friend and I have absolutely zero regrets about it.
What I do have regrets for are the standards being placed on the film industry nowadays. I look at professional movie critics doing their jobs, and I can’t help but notice there is something very wrong with the field I have coveted and admired for so long. It seems to me that impossibly high standards are placed towards certain films that are not “Oscar bait” (action films, comedies, animated films) whereas films that are considered “Oscar bait” (period pieces, dramas, biographies) receive endless amounts of praise for accomplishing the bare minimum in filmmaking. Critics have confused their personal feelings with their actual jobs. The job of a movie critic is not to share if a film was good/made sense for them, but is actually to judge if a movie was enjoyable for its target audience.
The problem lies with critics expecting certain kinds of films. Critics are too caught up in the awards part of film industry and have forgotten that the point of a film is to be entertaining, and not win awards. Yes filmmaking is an art, and yes some art is more sophisticated, but that doesn’t mean less sophisticated films are trash.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a certain standard I hold films to, but the key word in that sentence is I. While I may have certain preferences when it comes to what I believe makes a film “good,” that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable to other people. I may not like to sit through a two-hour action movie with little plot, but other people may go for the intense fight sequences and the stellar visual effects. So if I were to review an action movie, I would write it as if I were that person, and discuss if the film meets the expectations of that audience member.
This may sound a little backward, because most people assume that critic’s job is to write whatever they want, but that is not the case. While critics may review a film and decide if it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ their reviews shouldn’t necessarily match their opinions. A critic’s job is to determine if a movie effectively tells its story and tells it well, not their movie-going experience. And that’s something everyone should remember in this era of remakes and book-to-screen adaptations; just because a film doesn’t meet your expectations doesn’t automatically make it a terrible film.