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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

because my reviews can’t be bought (so I need you to help support them)

When I ponder all of my time and mojo that goes into my reviews, stuff like this depresses the hell out of me. From The New York Times:

As online retailers increasingly depend on reviews as a sales tool, an industry of fibbers and promoters has sprung up to buy and sell raves for a pittance.

“For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business,” offered one entrepreneur on the help-for-hire site Fiverr, one of a multitude of similar pitches. On another forum, Digital Point, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.” A Craigslist post proposed this: “If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.”

The boundless demand for positive reviews has made the review system an arms race of sorts. As more five-star reviews are handed out, even more five-star reviews are needed. Few want to risk being left behind.

Sandra Parker, a freelance writer who was hired by a review factory this spring to pump out Amazon reviews for $10 each, said her instructions were simple. “We were not asked to provide a five-star review, but would be asked to turn down an assignment if we could not give one,” said Ms. Parker, whose brief notices for a dozen memoirs are stuffed with superlatives like “a must-read” and “a lifetime’s worth of wisdom.”

The article isn’t about movie reviews, but it could be. At the moment, the movie studios don’t need to pay for positive reviews, because moviegoers are happy to post glowing, uncritical comments about movies on fanboy sites and places like the IMDB. But we’ve all also seen comments that read like spam, and likely are the work of people paid to rave. (They show up once in a while at FlickFilosopher.com, and I delete them immediately.)

This is also about how hard it is to know whom to trust online.

You can trust me.

You know me. I’m upfront about who I am. I use my real name. I’ve been known to piss off big studios, so you can rest assured that I’m not into ass-kissing. Next week, I’ll have been right here for 14 years. You may not always agree with me, but you can trust that everything I write is my own unvarnished, unaltered, actual honestly acquired opinion.

We’re supposed to believe that this kind of critic I am and the kind of criticism I do is dead, that crowdsourced opinions are the future. That 1,000-word reviews are so passé, and 140-character tweets are where it’s at. I don’t believe that’s true, and I don’t think you do either. But at the moment, the patient is on life support. If what I’m doing here is to endure, I need your help. There’s no advertising here (online advertising doesn’t pay), I run this site by myself (though I could really use some help), and there’s no corporate overlord cutting me a paycheck every two weeks.

Please subscribe at $1 per month. Or more, if you’re so inclined. You can subscribe in almost any currency, via PayPal or Amazon. Check out all your options here.

Thank you.

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