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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

bias alert!: obsessed with ‘Doctor Who,’ psyched for ‘Stardust,’ dreadin’ ‘Superbad,’ hatin’ ‘I Know Who Killed Me’

YES!
current obsession:
doctor who
current boyfriend:
richard armitage in north and south… yes, still
i’m psyched:
stardust
NO!
current enemy:
whoever greenlighted i know who killed me
i’m dreading:
superbad

I’m seeing Bourne tonight, and I decided to skip Bratzmy previous ‘psyched’ and ‘dreading’ flicks — so I figured it was time for a bias update…

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  • Aw, I would have rather enjoyed seeing you rip Bratz apart. I know it’s selfish to want you to suffer through that so I can read your review trashing it, but I really think that would have been fun. Oh well.

    Also, jealous of you getting to see Bourne tonight, and similarly psyched for Stardust. I absolutely loved the book, and the movie looks really fun.

  • MaryAnn

    Maybe I’ll catch *Bratz* on DVD, which will be sometime in September, I’m guessing…

  • Katie

    Currently obsessed with Doctor Who as well. So much so that I dug up all your blogging for S1 during work yesterday (lovely distraction) and now I must beg that you continue S1-S2. I’d love to read your reviews of those episodes just as much as I love the current blogging.

    Oh, and I’m seeing ‘Stardust’ on Thursday…very excited as I absolutely adore the book.

  • MaryAnn

    Yes, I must finish Season 1 and do Season 2 of *Doctor Who*…

  • I’m kinda dreading “Underdog.” Good thing I DON’T have to see it.

  • MaryAnn

    *Underdog* has not and will not screen for critics. And we know what that means.

    I have no plans to see it. I already suffered through *Firehouse Dog,* and that’s enough for one year. :->

  • Danielle

    The only thing that’s tempting me to see Superbad is my massively inappropriate crush on Michael Cera, but even that’s probably not enough to lure me to the theater.

  • MBI

    Superbad looks great. I’m going to love it.

  • MaryAnn

    Why does that not surprise me, MBI? :->

  • JoshDM

    Superbad looks great. I’m going to love it.

  • Scott P.

    I see “The Big Red Light Bulb” next to Superbad but no review yet. Let me guess…you don’t like dozens & dozens of dick jokes???

    On a serious note, have you ever placed a movie into the “I’m dreading” category but then actually enjoyed the movie??? Stupid question. How could anyone enjoy a movie that they already know they will despise???

    But we all know that stupid, vulgar adolescent humor is not your thing. However, if you don’t enjoy “Once” (if you ever get around to seeing it), then we’re living on different planets.

  • MaryAnn

    On a serious note, have you ever placed a movie into the “I’m dreading” category but then actually enjoyed the movie??? Stupid question. How could anyone enjoy a movie that they already know they will despise???

    Stupid question, indeed. Yes, more than one of my “dreading” films have turned out to be movies I love: *Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl* and *Talladega Nights,* to name two.

    It’s not that I KNOW I will despise a movie — it’s that I suspect I will.

    I see “The Big Red Light Bulb” next to Superbad but no review yet.

    It doesn’t open till Friday. There will be a review — don’t worry.

  • Scott P

    Good to know that 2 films have changed your mind.

    Maybe it’s simply a gender thing.

    You’re a woman & you dislike “Superbad”.
    So far, 13 of 14 reviewers (all men) gave it a thumbs up at Rotten Tomatoes.

    Conversely, only 28 of 100 reviewers (mostly men) at R.T. gave a thumbs up to “Evening”– one of your absolute favorites for 2007.

    But I can relate– just like you walking into Superbad, I would be completely nauseous if I was forced to sit through Evening. Fortunately, it’s not part of my job requirements.

    p.s. “Once” is the best movie of the year. So I’m not a total heathen.

  • MaryAnn

    Maybe it’s simply a gender thing.

    Yes, because I think with my vagina.

  • Scott P

    They say men think with their dicks.
    So your statement makes sense.

  • Scott P

    I see that Superbad & Knocked Up are both in your Top 10 Worst list for the year. does this mean that you won’t be joining the Judd Apatow & Seth Rogen Fan Clubs???

    Can’t wait to read your Superbad review…& then disregard it completely.

  • MaryAnn

    You’re too charming, Scott P.

  • amanohyo

    It’s a guilty pleasure of mine to read through the comments on the “Skip It” movies like Wild Hogs and Fantatic Four: TROTSS. They’re almost more entertaining than the review itself… almost.

    But Scott P made me realize that when it comes to maintaining the site, reviews of bad movies actually require more work than reviews of movies that are worth watching. It must be frustrating sometimes (although you’re probably used to it after 10 years).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I appreciate the time and effort you put in to addressing comments that are both positive and negative. There aren’t a lot of critics who would take the time to clarify their reviews and educate their readers on such a regular basis.

  • Scott P

    Maybe I’m reading too much into the Bias Alert & how much it affects your feelings toward a movie. I know, I know, you changed your mind on Pirates & Talladega Nights.

    But your track record this summer has been very predictable:

    You Were Dreading…Evan Almighty, Chuck & Larry, I Know Who Killed Me, Superbad (& also Bratz but you skipped it). Surprise, surprise– all got Red Light reviews & 3 of the 4 are in your Top 10 Worst for 2007.

    You Were Psyched…Ratatouille, Sunshine, Bourne, Stardust. Surprise, surprise– all got Green Light reviews with Rat & Bourne in your Top 15 so far.

    Let me try this analogy. Let’s say I told you that I have concert tickets to see (just for example) The Rolling Stones next week but then confessed to you that, for no reason in particular, I have never really liked The Rolling Stones. The big concert arrives & you call me up the next day to ask how the show was. I tell you that it stunk like a roadkill skunk on a 100-degree August day. The Stones seemed to mail it in, the sound quality was pathetic, Keith Richards was so drunk he could barely stand, Mick’s singing was practically inaudible plus traffic was a pain in the ass & so on. All in all, I say it was one of the very worst concerts I have ever attended & the band should have hung it up 20 years ago.

    So….do you take me at my word that The Rolling Stones suck or do you simply dismiss my review as being irrelevant because I had already confessed to not liking The Stones?

  • MaryAnn

    I would not dismiss your review, but I would be fully aware that you did not, perhaps, enjoy the concert as much as you might have: you might have been able to put up with discomfort better if you were a bigger fan of the band. That all seems perfectly natural.

    But surely, the relevant point in your analogy is that you DID, in fact, tell me beforehand that you are not a fan of the band. You gave me information I needed in order to make a better assessment of your reaction to the concert.

    Surely, you are not suggesting that it would have been better and more honest of you to withhold that information? Surely, that would have made it harder for me to accurately assess whether your review of the concert would correlate with what my reaction would have been.

    Look, I make absolutely no demand that anyone see my reviews as the final word on a movie, and I have no idea why anyone would believe that. Anyone is free to dismiss my reviews for whatever reason. If my Bias Alert helps readers decide that their tastes in movies are not close enough to mine for my reviews to be useful to them, that’s fantastic! I want my reviews to be useful for people, but of course I know that they cannot be useful to everyone.

    Flip your analogy around: Which is more useful, a rave review of a concert by someone who admits they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Rolling Stones no matter what, or a rave review of a concert from someone who admits they don’t care much for them? A trashing of a concert from somehow who hates the Stones, or a trashing from a lifelong fan?

    In all those cases, what is vital is the information you have about the critic’s biases that let you make those determinations. We are all biased, film critics included. I am honest about those biases. That’s all. The Bias Alert does not “affect” my mind, it reflects it. I’m simply astonished that so many people fail to understand this.

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