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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

if watching movies feels like homework, you’re probably not a movie lover

Or so I respectfully put to Joe Queenan in the Guardian, who actually wrote:

This is the time of year when everyone is frantically trying to catch up with the Oscar nominees they never quite managed to see: Nebraska; Inside Llewyn Davis; 12 Years a Slave; August: Osage County. You know what I’m talking about. Films of import. Films of substance. Films that demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hollywood has a conscience. Films that star Meryl Streep.

This is no fun. This is homework. Take in more than one of these films in a 48-hour period and your nervous system starts to shut down.

No, it doesn’t. And if it does, maybe you’re in the wrong business. I can’t believe someone who gets paid to write about movies would say such a thing. If it’s such a chore, step aside and make room for someone who doesn’t think movies are homework.

Thanks to RogerBW for the link.

posted in:
critic buzz
  • LaSargenta

    O. Good. Grief.

    Yeah. Maybe he is.

  • bronxbee

    maybe that’s where you’ve gone wrong, MAJ… you’re enjoying yourself too much. it’s not “work.”

  • I’m really worn down but the talk from both critics and bloggers about films as “homework” or “eating your vegetables”. While some films are more challenging than others, calling them homework is something else entirely. Also, it’s not like this list includes some four-hour art movie. The ones noted are pretty conventional for the most part.

  • RogerBW

    There are few enough jobs for critics that I think that nobody who doesn’t really enjoy film — sure, not every film, but film in general, nobody who doesn’t look forward to every new film with a little frisson, a feeling of “oh boy, I really hope I’m going to enjoy this”… nobody who doesn’t still enjoy the job should be doing it.

    I’ll admit I think it’s a shame that most of the “worthy” films tend to come out at the same time of year, but…

  • But even if they didn’t all come out at the same time of year, one would still have to catch up once the Oscar nominees are announced. It wouldn’t change his “argument.”

  • RogerBW

    Oh, indeed, he’d still be a complaining fool.

    But if you got one or two “Oscar-bait” films per month, you could watch ’em as they came out and not have a sudden need to “catch up”. I don’t like these “seasons” of film release that see films competing for audiences which they could happily share if they were released a few more weeks apart.

  • Beowulf

    Joe Queenan is a well-known provocateur. He loves to “hate” what regular people like, he loves to take the other side from established opinion and throw rocks.

  • I can’t disagree, but I don’t see this changing any time soon.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Actually I was not aware that Joe Queenan was paid to write about movies. But seriously, folks…

  • Tonio Kruger

    On a more serious note, I have heard similar opinions before, but they are usually given by retired film critics. Critic Matt Zoller Seitz once wrote an essay in which he regretted all the time he had spent watching bad movies that he could have spent with his late wife but given the fact that he was a recent widower when he wrote that, one would have to have a heart of stone to find fault with his sentiments.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Director Robert Rodriguez did once admit in an interview to not wanting to see movies like My Family because they felt too much like homework. Please feel free to make of that what you will.

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