movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Sun Mar 20 2016, 11:50pm | 6 comments
Tonight I rewatched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which I can’t recall seeing since it was new, in preparation for a screening of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 tomorrow night. Here’s how it went down on Twitter:
I get this with my book reviews. “Why do you review all these things you hate?” “Because I always hope I’m not going to hate them, it’s a disappointment when I do, and I want to save other people from that same disappointment.”
I think some people genuinely believe that critics are spiteful people who really enjoy tearing apart someone else’s work. But the other critics I know love books and movies. A big batch of new books is still exciting, even if you get hundreds of books a year, and even if you know that a lot of them will disappoint you. Most of the time, writing a negative review just makes me sad. Sometimes I can see the book that the author was trying to write, and that book is absolutely amazing.
Every once in a while, a book or movie really needs to be torn apart (Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Da Vinci Code), and I’ve occasionally taken joy in attacking it (see my comments here about Double Jeopardy or The Sixth Sense), but more often, I try to avoid that sort of story. I don’t always have that luxury,* but what I really enjoy is finding a great book or movie that’s too strange to get much notice and bringing it to people’s attention. I want them to love it as much as I do.
*I suppose the parallel is: We may not want to think about Donald Trump, but it’s important to talk about him.
And I (and I assume you) aren’t even being professional about this – nobody’s going to come to my blog and say “why haven’t you reviewed the latest thriller that’s on all the bookstalls”, whereas someone coming here has a reasonable expectation of finding something about all the big releases.
But I think we all have in common that we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love what the medium can do when it’s at its best.
I review books professionally. I write about movies because I enjoy it (and, often, because I enjoy the movies).
MBFGW is one of the only two chick-flick/rom-coms I genuinely like (the other one being “Love Actually”), but like you, when the trailers for the sequel came out, I was so horrified that I wondered if the original actually was a good film, or whether I was just an idiot teenager back then who didn’t know any better. I’m glad to know that the original still holds up okay.
I was way beyond teendom when the first one came out, so I didn’t even have that excuse in my head!
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