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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: How could we change film criticism to please Kevin Smith?

The other day, Kevin Smith let loose on his Twitter feed about how much he hates the “nasty bloodsport” and “AnimalFarm bullshit” of film criticism in the age of the Internet. All because most of my fellow critics hated Cop Out with a passion. In my case, it’s the kind of passion reserved for those we love who massively disappoint us.

Karina Longworth at L.A Weekly has a nice roundup of Smith’s arguments that I recommend reading, but I’ll summarize further:

• no critic who sees a movie for free is allowed to shit on a movie
• critics should have a filmmaker’s “best interests” at heart
• critics should have at least as much experience as a critic as a filmmaker has making movies before daring to comment on a film
• no critic should piss on a movie that the filmmaker himself admits is a piece of shit he made in a halfassed way with low ambitions.
Further, Smith has created a Twitter hashtag under which to continue such discussion: #FuckTheseBourgeoisFreeMoviePigs. (Film critic Ryan Stewart responded: “I like that @thatkevinsmith, a multi-millionaire, is obsessing on the one privilege of people who otherwise barely make enough to pay taxes.”)

Smith is proposing that from now on, critics who want to see his films in advance should have to pay admission to press screenings, and also that he may just invite 500 random Twitterers to see his films first and let them tweet their reactions afterward, because what’s the difference?

How could we change film criticism to please Kevin Smith?

Lest I be misunderstood, I’m being about 99 percent sarcastic here. But I’m leaving that 1 percent open to the possibility that there really is something we could be doing differently — we film critics and you who consume film criticism — that would actually be better.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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