The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Where are all the film fans gone? And where did those miserable flaw spotters come from?

with 97 comments

avalanche

Like all avalanches it had been building up for quite some time. It was coming any day now. It was only a question of who would provide the tipping point. It turned out to be my Swedish blogger friend Joel at Deny Everything. All he did was sharing a link to a snarky fake trailer about Prometheus from YouTube, adding the comment that this was the most disappointing film of the year.

It was pretty innocent, really. And it wasn’t Joel’s fault at all. But  it was as if I had been served the tiny little mint biscuit, the last little thing that pushes you to the breaking point.

This was it. I had had enough.

Enough of the constant whining, moaning, complaining and nitpicking that has taken over the film podcast-,Twitter- and blogosphere the last year over films such as The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus.

Enough of reviews where the main purpose seemed to be to find as many plot holes as possible (is there some kind of prize for that?)

Enough of top lists over the “worst films of the year”. (Why do you even make such a list? They’re full of problems, as Matt Singer at Criticwire points out in a great post.)

Enough.

So I sent a couple of tweets about it to let off some steam.

I can’t wrap my head around why film fans these days seem to be disappointed about every film they see. Do you even like films anymore?”

“I wish people could talk more about movies they love and less about the ones they hate. Your disappointment brings me down”.

I got a few replies. The first one came from Joel, who prefers movies from the 80s to newer ones, which he frequently bash on. Now he thought my tweet was aimed directly at him. Joel: it wasn’t. You were just the one who pulled the trigger.

Ryan McNeil at The Matinee tweeted:

Proving you’re smarter than a piece of art is more fashionable than championing it. It’s also easier.”

Word. [Edit: Ryan has now expanded his thoughts in a wonderful blog post: Believe: If you claim to love film, express that love. Go ahead and read if you haven’t already.]

I also got support from Will Malone at Malone on Movies:

I have often thought that people look for flaws before looking for the fun. Seems the wrong way round to me.”

James Blake Ewing at Cinema Sights said:

In my case it’s more that I really like movies no one has seen or seems interested in reading about it”.

“For every negative review of a popular film, I have three positive reviews of a film with only a handful of readers”.

That is probably true. I’ve got the feeling that it’s more likely that I will be linked to, talked about, commented on and retweeted if I write a negative review on Hunger Games (I take this example because Joel did this and this post is one of his biggest hits ever) than if I write an enthusiastic post about a film like Laurence Anyways or Reprise. In the case of blogging it seems as if hate sells better than love.

It’s strange when you think about it. At which point did we stop loving movies? And if you dislike so many of the films you watch, why are you watching them in the first place? Unless you’re making a living on it (and very few of us are), it’s not as if you’re forced to go and see them.

Kai B Parker said in a tweet that he’s been to the theatre more this year than he has in years, hashtagging the name of the site he contributes to: “manilovefilms“.

Man, I Love Films.

Try to say it aloud once in a while! Say it  with passion and enthusiasm! And if we one day find that we can’t because it isn’t true anymore – well, maybe it’s a sign that it’s time that we start considering picking up a different hobby.

Before you raise the issue: YES, I don’t think all reviews have to be raving positive. Negative criticism can sometimes be justified. I’ve written some negative reviews myself over the years. But they’re never allowed to dominate my mind or this blog. They’re about 10 percent of all the movies I watch. If even that much.

Negative reviews can also be very entertaining. I find Mark Kermode’s rants about films such as Sex and the City 2 or Angels and Demons irresistible.

But:

1. Those rants are exceptions. Kermode doesn’t moan about every film he watches and

2. His rants are concise, fun to listen to and perfectly executed. As opposed to other podcasts I’ve come across over the years, he never goes on for hours about one movie and he doesn’t try to maximize the flaw count.

The general negativism I’ve noticed among so called film fans is a different creature, which should be fought.

I can’t help wondering what has caused this.

Where are all the film fans gone? And where did all those constantly miserable flaw spotters come from?

Written by Jessica

December 6, 2012 at 1:00 am

97 Responses

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  1. To be quite honest whining about the fact not all the people love all the films is extremely annoying. I got very rude comment once on my negative review of To Rome with Love, which I found very disappointing as Woody Allen’s fan. The commenter suggested I should stop watching movies, but here’s the thing – the previous reviews I wrote were 10/10 for two movies and I always try to find something positive to write about every film.

    Is there something wrong with not loving the movie? No. But whining that people criticize movies is very irritating – every one has a different taste and if it happens so that the person watches 10 films they don’t enjoy in the row and writes about it, should that person feel bad because it annoys you? I really don’t think so. And I think it’s even worse to say someone is not a film fan or cinema afficionado just because they didn’t enjoy certain films they happened to watch

    sati

    December 6, 2012 at 1:08 am

    • I think Sati raise some valid questions. I do think you (Jessica) take your reasoning too far. I’m not gonna fight the right to call myself a film buff but I do find a lot of the big blockbusters from the last year being a bit lazy and distracting when not keeping the plot together. I can still be entertained by them but it baffles me that most of these films don’t have that much longevity (at least according to me). Looper was a great example of this within its two week premier release it was held with very high regards from more or less everyone but I have heard many change their opinion on it afterwards and thats something I find happening a lot with newer films. They don’t stick with me.

      With that in mind should I censor myself when everybody keep praising a film that I think has problems? To be honest I have had an approach where I have shut my mouth about my not so jolly opinion about a film but when people know I have seen a film they want to know what I think about it. That becomes a situation especially if you know that the other person have an opposite opinion. Also follow up questions/tweets to a simple opinionated tweet can become (and has become) an issue for me personally.

      I find it a bit harsh to just simplify the topic by having it to be about positive or negatives. Because we all know who looks better from that aspect, no one likes a whiner. In a way I’d rather have a discussion climate that is more about discussing than digging ourselves deep in our own pre-conceived trenches.

      Joel Burman (@joelburman)

      December 6, 2012 at 1:50 am

      • What I don’t understand is why you and other people keep watching those blockbusters if you time after time find that you’re disappointed with them and not like them at all.

        You’re a fan of movies from teh 80s. So why not focus on celebrating those films, trying to help more people to discover what you think are overlooked gems?

        Regarding the discussion climate I think one of the reoccurring problems is that people insist on making statements about a movie being good, bad, flawed, overrated etc, as if it’s an objective, measurable fact. If you change it to “I liked/didn’t like it for this and this reason”, it opens up for a much more civilized and less polaraized discussion.

        Jessica

        December 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

    • It seems as if I hit some nerve with you here. I don’t think you should feel bad about writing negative reviews, if that’s something you enjoy doing.

      For my own part I take more pleasure in following bloggers and podcasters who on the whole approach movies in a positive manner. It’s contagious you know. Listening to people who share their love for movies makes me more enthusiastic as well. It makes watching movies more fun to me. Listening to people who spread complaints, snarkiness and cynisism around them drags me down to a place where I don’t want to be.

      I sometimes think that people who find flaws in almost every film they see probably are a bit burned out on movie watching. They would make themselves a service if they took a break and got themselves a different hobby for a while and then come back to it refreshened.

      But in the end, it’s of course a free world. People have the right to write whatever they want to. And I have the right to not take pleasure in reading it. Peace.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

  2. Admittedly, I was not the biggest fan of either “Prometheus” or “The Dark Knight Rises” but, as they say, having said that, my issues deal more with the way those movies chose to simply tell their story. One of the big problems with this new movie-watching culture is people obsessing over what would or would not happen in the “real world.” That’s where so many of these supposed plot holes that people are always pointing out stem from but those aren’t really plot holes, ya know? That’s just – as Ryan said in his tweet – the way helpless viewers make themselves feel smarter than what they’re seeing. Those people should just go be figure skating judges where seeing flaws is all they would have to do.

    I love films! LONG LIVE THE MOVIES!

    Nick

    December 6, 2012 at 1:34 am

    • Haha, I loved your recommendation to watch figure skating!

      and I’ll join you in your battle cry:

      I love films! Long live the movies!

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

  3. I give negative ratings to a hefty chunk of films, often films that the consensus is much higher on, but I think one of the key aspects is aside from the actual reviews, I spend a lot more time talking about the films I’ve loved then railing against the films I haven’t. So after I write the negative review I might never mention a film again but if I write a positive review, I’ll constantly mention it. I think that makes a big difference. I also try to avoid basing a negative review on nitpicking. I felt like Looper in particular got attacked on that ground, Inception too. I focus on more broad/global issues I have with a film.

    Bondo

    December 6, 2012 at 3:49 am

    • I’ve never thought of you as one of the negative forces in the world of film bloggers. You watch an insane amount of movies and I think you have a more positive approach than many others out there.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:21 am

  4. I love film.
    That’s why I criticize films.

    TheBruce

    December 6, 2012 at 4:21 am

  5. It doesn’t take much to get me to like a film. Honest truth. I love slasher films and monster movies and Van Damme’s kickboxing, split-loving crap. Most of these films are, generally-speaking, pretty bad. Boredom is a film’s biggest sin, IMO. People throw around the word “pretentious” a lot, but there’s no film industry on earth as pretentious as Hollywood; they disguise all of their films with large budgets, “A-list” “actors”, etc., but they’re all just overblown B-movies with the pretext of seriousness and importance. Like how people were calling THE DARK KNIGHT not only entertaining but the “greatest crime thriller since HEAT” or whatever. Look, maybe you really think it IS the greatest crime movie since HEAT (1995), but that’s exactly the kind of pretentious attitude that comes with most Hollywood movies now, and that includes PROMETHEUS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

    TheBruce

    December 6, 2012 at 4:24 am

    • I should say that I DO agree with you, Jessica, to an extent. I think some people are way too anal in the way that they nitpick films, but I can’t say that they don’t address legit criticisms.

      TheBruce

      December 6, 2012 at 4:28 am

      • I really don’t use the word pretentious a lot. It’s been used so widely and for so many different purposes that I think it has lost its meaning. I agree that people tend to exaggerate a bit. Perhaps it’s got to do with their eagerness to get heard in the general buzz. Saying “I liked TDKR” doesn’t stand out enough. So you start to call it the greatest – or worst – crime thriller ever, while deep down you may not be convinced that it’s either. It just sounds more catchy.

        Jessica

        December 6, 2012 at 11:25 am

        • True.
          But once you start treating films like that, the way Hollywood does, by building them up as things they are NOT, or building them up without basis, then it gives people the “right” to start criticizing your films on that basis. I mean, let’s face it, nobody criticizes, for better or worse, Van Damme’s BLOODSPORT on the same scale they do THE DARK KNIGHT, mostly because BLOODSPORT doesn’t claim to be anything it is not.

          But, yes, I do agree that excessive nitpicking can be a turn-off, but so is just blindly agreeing that every movie can be enjoyed or is good, which is what some people here seem to be implying (correct me if I’m wrong).

          TheBruce

          December 7, 2012 at 4:25 am

          • Gee, I missed the part of The Dark Knight Rises (didn’t see Bloodsport) where it “claimed” to be anything. Was it after the closing credits, because I didn’t stick around? (Do the words “preconception” and “bias” mean anything in the context of that statement?)

            Steven

            December 7, 2012 at 4:34 am

            • My bad. Should have chosen my words more wisely. I’m not sure if you or I watched two different movies, but the vibe that I got from TDKR was one of increased seriousness. Not to mention the film’s fans, casual viewers, and critics (not all of them, but many) were building it up to be something grander than it was probably meant to be. The same thing happened with TDK, where people were calling it the greatest crime movie since HEAT (1995). Call me “biased” all you want, but if you’re comparing a film (especially a superhero flick) to HEAT, then you – inadvertently or not – build it up. And for the record, I DID enjoy TDK. So maybe “claim” isn’t the right word, but a film certainly has a mood to it. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone on that one.

              TheBruce

              December 7, 2012 at 4:45 am

  6. The entire point of my blog is that I write reviews only of movies I feel are good enough to recommend to others. I don’t trash movies there. The thing is, if a movie has a number of massive plot holes then it is going to negatively impact my enjoyment of the movie. Some, like The Dark Knight Rises, I will still like enough to recommend. Others, like Battleship, just can’t recover enough for me to recommend them.

    This summer has seen a plethora of movies that were, in my opinion, below standard. Other than The Avengers there just weren’t any other big budget movies that were good enough to get excited about. In fact, the micro-budget movie Safety Not Guaranteed would be my pick right now for the second best film of the summer.

    I don’t go into movies looking for errors. I’ve never understood how people see boom mike shadows, for instance. However, when there is something just so big that it is like a bright, glaring light of wrongness, then I can’t help but notice it. I call it the “waitaminnit” test. If something so illogical happens in the plot that it makes you stop and say “wait a minute, why didn’t…” then that is a problem. It kills my suspension of disbelief. The biologist trying to pet the angry alien snake in Prometheus was just ridiculous. So were several other parts of the plot (especially all the action heroine moves with severed abdominal muscles.) You know what? I still gave Prometheus 3 out of 5 stars despite these flaws. I consider it a “shut your brain off and eat popcorn” kind of movie, which at least one person took exception to as being too negative even though I was recommending it to others.

    Just because someone points out flaws in a film does not always mean that they hated it, or are being negative for the sake of attracting attention. They might just be making sure they support their opinion with examples as to why they believe this movie is not the greatest of all time. I’ve had to defend my opinion of The Dark Knight not being the best superhero movie of all time (it’s not even top 5) many times, and to do so I’ve usually pointed out the major problems with the film’s plot as being big enough to offset Ledger’s great performance.

    It’s funny because I’ve literally got a post staged to go up tomorrow that will include that fake trailer of Prometheus that you mentioned you saw and did not like. I thought it was very funny, and again, I gave the film a positive review. To each his or her own.

    Chip Lary

    December 6, 2012 at 6:16 am

    • *Nodding in agreement* at the last sentence.

      What I don’t get is why people over and over again go to see blockbusters only to hate on them afterwards. Isn’t that a wasted opportunity? What more can the 1000th post whining about how the scientists in Prometheus acted carelessly bring to the world? Why not bring some attention and love to a smaller title instead?

      Those who go and see blockbusters and get disappointed over and over and over again could maybe consider watching other types of movies. There are thousands of movies made every year. Even if you’re a very productive blogger, watching and writing about one a day, you won’t see more than 365 movies in a year. Pick them wisely.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

      • As you know, I also follow Chip Lary’s blog philosophy. I was just mentioning to another blogger the other day, that I wish I possessed their ability for writing interesting negative reviews.

        People obviously go to see blockbusters in the hopes that they will turn out to be a great one. Actually I think that statement is valid for any genre or category. It’s just that blockbusters have a far larger and more vocal audience than everything else combined, so just from the sheer numbers it will seem like there are a lot of complainers. Statistically speaking there are just as many lousy indie movies, french movies, horror movies, and the resulting negative opinions of them. We just don’t hear about them.

        Bonjour Tristesse

        December 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        • I completely agree with Bonjour Tristesse. I feel the large majority of people go to movies to be entertained,not looking to find fault. I also agree that there are well made and poorly made movies across the entire spectrum, and that it is simply the much larger audiences for the blockbusters that seems to make them look like they get more complaints.

          Chip Lary

          December 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm

  7. I love this article so much.

    It’s easy to be a snarky jackass and whine about movies. And it’s fun- believe me, I know that it’s fun. But when you hate a movie or complain about a movie, you stop growing as a movie watcher. You can learn sooooo much just by looking for what a movie does well. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore what it does poorly. But so many movies have some tiny kernel of genius. If you look for and appreciate those kernels of genius, you’ll love movies so much more.

    Life is too short to fixate on the nitpicky flaws of a movie. Find the good things that a movie does well.

    One of my favorite articles comes from the FilmCritHulk, and it changed the way I look at movies completely:

    http://badassdigest.com/2011/11/03/film-crit-hulk-smash-never-hate-a-movie/

    Similarly, I saw a tweet from one of my favorite actors- AJ Bowen- the other night and it’s completely pertinent. What he said:

    “movies are supposed to be celebrations of life. good, bad, no matter. you guys complaining about them all the time are doing it wrong.”

    John

    December 6, 2012 at 6:45 am

    • Thank you for the kind words and for pointing me to that article. I find caps exteremly hard to read and secretly wish he didn’t use them. But when you get past it, it’s excellent, so insightful and far, far better than anything I could write.

      I saw that tweet, perhaps you were the one retweeting it. And yes, I agree completely. I think that tweet also can have inspired this post, even though I wasn’t aware of it.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

    • If I pay good money or spend my much valued time (which, unlike money, is something I will never gain back), then I have every right to complain about a movie, just as I have every right to “nitpick” all the good points about it. I wish I could be the guy that enjoys everything he sees, but that’s not me. You are right, life is too short for nitpicky criticisms, but to say that you will love films so much more if yo look for a “tiny kernel of genius” is, for lack of better word, pretentious. You’re damn right life is too short. Also, I find it kind of funny you complain about people who nitpick a film, but then turn around and say we should all be looking for “nitpicks” of “goodness”. Not to mention you can learn soooo much by looking at what a movie does poorly, too.

      TheBruce

      December 7, 2012 at 4:18 am

  8. I’m with you on this issue Jessica. I don’t have a problem with negative reviews, but I can’t stand the level of vitriol that some people spew out on a regular basis. I can never understand how people can take so much joy out of beating a film into the ground and then using exaggerated hyperbole to emphasize their hate. I did a similar post along these lines, where I was concerned about the use of the “0-star” rating, especially when it pertains to films that are clearly not inept B-movies. Yes, some films have plot holes and minor flaws, but that doesn’t mean you should completely disregard it. I commend you for sharing this opinion.

    Squasher88

    December 6, 2012 at 7:31 am

    • Thank you! I think we’re dealing with different philisophies when it comes to picking what movies to see. I go for the ones I have reason to believe I’m going to like. I avoid movies I have good reason to think won’t work for me. Others seem to go the opposite way for reasons I can’t quite understand. Such a waste of time and money!

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

  9. Very quickly this became one of my favorite posts from you. Spot-on, Jess. Completely agree. Bad reviews are fun to write and to read, but there are limits, and when you see a movie or write a review just to mention every single mistake or flaw, that is just boring and a waste of time.

    fernandorafael

    December 6, 2012 at 8:03 am

    • Thank you Fernando. You seem to be such an optimistic, upbeat person from your writing and commenting. I’m not surrprised to see you taking side with me in this matter.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

  10. Yeah, I will go ahead and name name – Ilmsoiting Forum’s majority opinion of The Dark Knight Rises vis a vis The Avengers. [Warning: Spoilers]. The nitpicking ratio for these two movies – both based on the myth of the comic book – is about 200:1. (Apparently, Batman’s leg rehab is TOTALLY unrealistic; but the fact that immortal who summon lightning from his magic hammer cannot seem to stop a row of aliens coming through a whole in the sky? Nothing. Or a guy in a suit who flies at Gs that would literally make him pass out shortly before his head explodes? No problem.) To me, knitpicking plots is really a front for what really bothers them about the film. My theory – in the case of The Dark Knight Rises v. The Avengers / is a rather snobby attitude toward filmmakers that don’t stay in the right place. On the one hand, Christopher Nolan is middlebrow, and their aversion to his films is they don’t fit comfortably in the following categories: (a) art films/films with particular specific political messages; OR (b) just entertaining fun. How dare he! On the other hand, Joss Whedon is clearing staying in category (b) with just a pinch of smart-ass irony. (In this regard, I couldn’t help but notice there is little to no discussion in that forum about Whedon’s attempt at a low budget Shakespeare adaptation this last summer.)

    Steven

    December 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

    • Yes, the difference in treatment of TDKR and The Avengers is a mystery to me. I loved both (a bit unexpectedly, since I never thought of myself as a fan of superhero movies).

      I really don’t get why people sometimes seem to have such problems in just going with it, suspending their disbeliefs. If you want films to be realistic perhaps you should stick to other genres, drama, documentaries and such.

      Your theory why Whedon is given more slack than Nolan is interesting and I think there’s something in it.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

    • I honestly thought both films were on the same level. I thought THE AVENGERS was HIGHLY overrated, and while I didn’t think TDKR was that bad, I didn’t think it was that good either. But you raise an excellent point.

      TheBruce

      December 7, 2012 at 4:29 am

      • Thanks … And my theory is that one person made this comparison between The Dark Knight and Heat and it became this flash point for debate about the film. I like both a lot, and I can understand the common descriptor “crime epic”, but the two films don’t have a lot of specific parallels that I can see.

        Steven

        December 7, 2012 at 7:02 am

  11. Preach it sister! On my blog I don’t think I have bashed a single film. I don’t like hating on films– honestly, it makes me feel bad. I’d much rather talk about movies I love. Or talk about the parts of movies I loved. I think it’s more interesting to write and to read.

    Steve Kimes

    December 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

    • I find it very hard to picture you hating on a movie. You’re a very loving film blogger, the very best kind imo.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

  12. I get your point and I generally try to look at the positives, but there are always exceptions of movies you can’t help but go off on. It doesn’t happen much, but I must admit those reviews are fun to do. I suggest you watch the documentary Heckler, which kind of makes the same point you do. I’ve reviewed it a while ago: http://www.myfilmviews.com/2012/09/12/heckler-2007/

    Nostra

    December 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

    • A good angry rant can be immensely run to write – and to read. But when they become the majority of what you write or when you’re not really ranting, just whining, pointing out the flaws in every movie you see, I think you’re doing it wrong.

      I really need to check out if I can get hold of that documentary. It sounds very interesting.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

  13. Writing any sort of bad review is sometimes more fun, garners more attention and often gives people more of a talking point. Not just for films, but just take a look at review sites for restaurants and hotels and the sort everywhere – you’ll almost always find more negative reviews than positive because people are quicker to want to write something negative than positive. It’s a bit of a sad realisation that we, as people, are quicker to talk bad about something than praise it.

    I don’t mind the odd slating film review, as long as it’s backed up by reason. The plot hole nitpicking, “this film should have been perfect” kind of thing really does bug me though. Yes, everyone has their own opinion and everyone has their right to their opinion but I think it’s important to ask yourself why you’re writing what you’re writing.

    I’m firmly in the camp of being a film fan rather than a critic. Sure there are plenty of films I’ve seen that I haven’t enjoyed and plenty of films I have loved that I could have nitpicked about, but I chose not to because there just was no point.

    Jaina

    December 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

    • I guess reviews follow the same logic as all other media. Things working as they should aren’t news worthy. It only becomes news when things aren’t working, since that’s unexpected. “All the planes took off today” = not for the news. “All the flights were cancelled today” = news. That’s just how it works.

      Sometimes I fall into this trap too, so I’m speaking to myself and not just to other bloggers in my post. I pick on things I didn’t like in a film but don’t point out all the things that are good. That’s actually what my ratings are for. By still giving the movie a good grade I can show that for the things I mentioned, I still liked it on the whole.

      It’s an interesting distinction you’re doing there between “film fan” and “film critic”. I guess I fall into the film fan category as well.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:39 am

      • For me film watching is a very subjective thing. Everyone has a different point of view whether you’re a fan or a critic. It does seem like these days more people are clamoring to be critics rather than fans.

        Personally, I’m happy to be a fan and to celebrate the film I love to watch. More people should be too.

        Jaina

        December 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    • “Writing any sort of bad review is sometimes more fun, garners more attention and often gives people more of a talking point.”

      Agreed. No, I’m not saying we should pick movies apart to oblivion, but the aftermath of films are far more fun if people actually discuss them, rather than everyone agree this movie was “awesome” or not. I think both extremes (nitpickers and people who like everything) are undesirable, and much of the blogosphere (I don’t follow podcasts or anything) are too focused on either one, and it has become difficult for me, personally, to discuss movies with people, because nobody seems to want to.

      TheBruce

      December 7, 2012 at 4:22 am

  14. I never write my reviews in the first person. I don’t say ‘I think this, I think that…’; I always try and write them from an objective point of view, even though I know that there is always going to be some level of subjectivity in a review. I watch films and I review them, if I like it I’ll say so, if I don’t like it then I’ll say so too. I don’t really see the problem in people saying they don’t like a film, just as long as it’s an honest opinion. If someone completely hates on a film in a review but they don’t talk about stuff they did like then that’s not an honest review in my opinion. If they really didn’t find anything redeemable about a film then that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if they hated most of it but did like some of it then they should say so, particularly if they label it as a review. If the title of the piece is ‘Why The Dark Knight Disappointed Me’, then of course it’s likely to be negative but, again, that person is entitled to that opinion. I would much rather have enjoyed a film and have positive things to say about it but if I don’t enjoy it I will say so and explain why.

    Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

    December 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

    • People are certainly entitled to have negative opinions and to share them. But there comes a point when I start to get tired of all the negativity. Are people really fans of films anymore? Perhaps it’s not for them? Perhaps they should watch different sorts of movies, more to their liking?

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 10:46 am

      • It could just be that they happened to have seen a lot of movies that they haven’t liked. Just sticking to one particular type of film won’t broaden your mind in terms of films. I’ve hated films in a certain genre or by a particular director but that hasn’t stopped me watching others like it or by that director as I may well like the next one and even if I don’t like it, I always try to take something away from it and expand my film knowledge as a result.
        I do sympathise with you on people who incessantly point out plot holes in films, especially when they don’t really matter a huge amount. Lazy writing, however, is something different and is what a lot of plot holes can be attributed to.
        I do find that popularity for films seems to come and go in waves, which does lead me to think that people jump on bandwagons. It became pretty cool to hate on The Dark Knight and I think some people did it because the series had become too popular and was too mainstream for them now (damn hipsters!). I doubt most people could watch a film like that and find no redeemable qualities about it, but some people are calling it the worst film they’ve ever seen, etc, etc, which is just hyperbolic nonsense.
        I guess it just depends what you want to get out of films. Some people will want to just stick to films they feel comfortable with, knowing that they will love it, whereas some may want to see something a little out of their comfort zone to test themselves in the hope they will enjoy it and broaden their horizons.
        I think all this comes with the territory of blogging; there are always going to be people who want to see the best in everything but there are also those who just want to spew forth vitriolic bile about anything and everything – welcome to the Internet!

        Interesting discussion Jessica :)

        Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

        December 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

        • It’s a little odd to “broaden your horizons” going to TDKR though, isn’t it? :)

          But yes, I’m a fan too of moving out of your comfort zone, trying something different from time to time. It’s like tasting new sorts of food. Sometimes it’s a hit, other times it’s not.

          I think it’s important though that you approach the film with a curious, open mind rather than a “let’s see what flaws I can find in this film” attitude.

          Jessica

          December 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

          • It depends on what your horizons currently are; there may be some who only watch 1970s arthouse stuff. TDKR would be broadening their horizon, but I get your point :)
            And it is definitely important to approach a film that way. If you go into a film wanting to pick holes in it, then there’s just no point in going in the first place. I approach every film with a positive outlook. Sometimes my expectations are higher than other times, but I always prefer to look for stuff I like about a film rather than automatically attacking it.

            Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

            December 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm

  15. I want films to be great. That’s why I get upset when they aren’t. I want them to be better, and if pointing out flaws allows me to get out my frustrations, then so be it.

    You raise some great points, though Jess. I think some people jump on the “bandwagon” in hating a film for whatever reason – Michael Bay movies in particular come in for the most stick, yet people still keep going to see them… I wonder if those are the same people writing bad things about it after the fact? What I do like is the fact that a blog or website which allows you to say negative things about a film also offers readers the chance to expect you to be able to back those thoughts up – anyone can say “I hated film Y”, but the expectations of the reader for quantification on those thoughts will quickly determine whether you’re just on the “bandwagon” or you actually think the things you write.

    Which is why “bandwagon” critiquing, while offering a quick, often witty way of pulling down somebody else’s success, never works in the long run. Well reasoned, well thought out arguments on the merits of a film will always garner more readers and, hopefully, more rational dialogue across the web.

    Rodney

    December 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

    • Oh, those bandwagons… As you say they won’t work in the long run. That’s why I deliberately will avoid all Hobbit reviews from this moment until I’ve a) watched it myself b) made up my own opinion abut it.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

  16. This has to be one of the best posts you have ever written Jessica.

    For me this all crystallised way back with Titanic, and then again with Avatar (clearly a James Cameron theme going on). I love both films – and yet both films attracted a fair share of hate. Avatar especially, I think, given the world is far more connected now than it was in the late 90s. I just didn’t get it. Yes Avatar was a simple plot, with relatively simple characterisation – but simple hardly equals bad whilst complex equals good.

    The other films that I realised this about – on the other foot – are the Lord of the Rings Trilogy ing. Some parts of that film drive me up the wall. Indeed, there is a reason I have no desire to see The Hobbit and it entirely comes down to a few scenes in that film there. But – and it is a big but – my criticism of the entire trilogy is because most of it sparkles. It offends.

    But if I talk about the LOTR trilogy I will instead talk mostly about what I liked. Amongst the settings and the costumes, and small little details here and there that sang to me as a someone who read the books for the first time when I was 10. The change of plot (mostly around the siege of Minas Tirith and around Farimir) that drives me to distraction – well, I can rant about that for a very long time. Mostly I choose not to, its too depressing and I won’t allow a bad couple of decisions (in my view) ruin my entire enjoyment.

    stnylan

    December 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    • Thank you! I just tossed this together in a few hectic minutes, but sometimes those posts end up being the ones that stir most discussion.

      Re: Avatar I must admit that I didn’t like the last 30 minutes with the extended helicopter chase at all. I could have lived without that crazy vietname general character. But the world of the blue people was enchanting and I absolutely loved the whole avatar idea. So in the end I liked it quite a bit, since I like you have the ability to look beyond those little things that irk me.

      Re: LOTR I’m a huge fan, both of the book series and the movies. I re-read the series on average once every three years, so it’s been a bunch of times by now considering my age. I’ve seen the movies plenty too and I think they did a fantastic job of a very difficult task. There are a couple of things I didn’t like: the dwarf tossing and Legolas’ surfing exercises. But they couldn’t pull me away from loving it.

      Re: The Hobbit I now try to stay away from other people’s opinions. I’m a bit worried about that the tech decisions might turn out to have been bad, since I generally don’t care much for 3D in movies at all. But who knows, maybe it worked this time. I’ll approach it with an open, hopeful mindset and I hope I’ll be able to talk mostly about all the things I liked about it afterwards.It will make me feel so much better and happier than if I just focus on whatever flaws there may be.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm

  17. I see what’re saying, but I don’t really agree either. People who bashes movies just for the sake of it is not really interesting to listen to or read, so there you have a good point.

    But I think it’s mainly because there is so much pressure on having unique opinions. You don’t want to have the same opinion as everyone else, because then you’re opinion is less interesting. In my case, I rarerly write about movies I don’t have any particular feeling about. I didn’t like Prometheus that much, and as I wasn’t alone about that I felt no need to write about it. I just let it pass and moved on to something more interesting.

    And when it comes to bad movies – I’m as interested in watching them as I am reading about them. The only reason I read rants is if they’re funny or very well-written.

    I don’t know what I want to say whit this reply. but at least it made me practice writing in English.

    Happy moviewatching!

    Pladd

    December 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    • Happy to see you here practicing Pladd! Keep it coming and you’ll see that writing in English isn’t as hard or bad as you thought it might be. I never give up the idea of luring more Swedes over to the dark side so they too can enjoy great conversations with people in other parts of the world.

      I sometimes suspect the same thing as you: that some people who write negative reviews not necessarily are completely honest with themselves. Like you say: there’s this urge to stick out. But I think there are other, better ways to stick out. You don’t necessarily have to go nitpicking.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm

  18. I understand where you’re coming from, Jessica. I write some negative reviews from time to time — in fact, I have to say that the review I just wrote for Friday’s post is downright vicious. But I don’t write a negative review unless I genuinely feel negative about the film, and that doesn’t really happen all that often. My 1-star ratings are far outstripped by every other rating; in fact, I’ve handed out almost three times as many 4 and 5-star ratings as I have 1 and 2-star.

    Does it mean those films are perfect? No, Often even the 5-star films aren’t. It’s just that they’re so good despite the flaws that the flaws don’t matter. The Dark Knight Rises, which seems to be getting kicked around now (even though it was quite popular when it came out) has some significant flaws. But it’s still a very fun movie and a worthy ending to the trilogy.

    I can respect a negative review if it comes by it honestly. But a lot of times I wonder if that’s really the case. All too often I see people jumping on the bandwagon on something (the number of people hating on Indiana Jones the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is out of proportion to its general reception). And I don’t like review sites where the whole point is to bash films… seems to me like they just ruin their ability to see what makes a film enjoyable that way.

    Morgan R. Lewis

    December 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    • “Does it mean those films are perfect? No, Often even the 5-star films aren’t.”

      I love that point. I think people are too caught up with looking for “perfection” these days and it prevents them from enjoying films like they normally would. Remember when we were kids and movies gave us so much unbridled joy? Yes, we probably have better taste now, but I think we sometimes need to go back to that wide-eyed phase of life. Take pleasure in the small strokes of genius and the overall enjoyment, rather than over-analyzing certain artistic choices.

      Squasher88

      December 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    • It seems as if you have the proportions in the right place. I share your view about 5 star ratings. 5 stars doesn’t mean that it’s a once-in-a-century movie. It means that it’s really, really, really good and that my gut feeling tells me it’s a fiver.

      You’re right that those who are worst off might be the bashers themselves. I feel fortunate that I rarely see the flaws in movies or that I easily can overlook them. It must be burdensome to be one who often is on the negative side.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      • Yup. 5 doesn’t mean flawless, 5 means I don’t care about the flaws. :D

        My usual feeling when I’m bothered by flaws in a movie is that it’s not just the flaws themselves, it’s the fact that the movie wasn’t good enough in other ways to distract me from the flaws.

        Morgan R. Lewis

        December 7, 2012 at 12:04 am

  19. Jessica, I love your enthusiasm about movies and have been trying to take a similar approach lately (when it’s warranted). I find that being a bit older at 36 and having less time to watch films, I’m not as negative in general about things, especially movies and music. I don’t see a problem with ranting about a terrible movie, though. Like you say in the Mark Kermode example, the key is speaking intelligently and in an entertaining way. Saying simple phrases like “overrated”, “it sucks”, or “hated it” is just lazy. I know you have an ally in Ryan at the Matinee. Both of you have the right approach to movies and are positive while still being willing to call out a movie that you didn’t like.

    Dan Heaton

    December 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    • Thanks Dan! Yes, you’re right, maybe it’s an age thing. I would feel embarrassed to use a phrase like “overrated”. Not only because it’s lazy, but because: who am I to tell? It’s like saying I’m the one and only who has the correct evaluation and everyone else is an idiot who is doing it wrong. Very arrogant if you ask me.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

  20. Word. I think you expressed a problem I’ve been having this year in particular. Prometheus was torn apart upon release and has turned into a joke around the internet, which kinda makes me furious. It has so much to say but all anybody wants to talk about is why she didn’t run to the right or why nobody chased after her at a certain point. I’ll talk with you about the idea of where we came from our what makes us human all day, but being up plot holes and the conversation becomes about, as you quoted, proving you are smarter than the filmmakers.

    Alex Thompson

    December 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    • Thank you for your support here as well as in the forum! It’s much appreciated. Re: Prometheus you should check out the review and episode at The Matinee unless you already have. Ryan was a fan too.

      I don’t ever buy films, but I actually might do it in the case of Prometheus. Watching it once doesn’t feel enough. I’d like to revisit it before making a finall call if it’s going to make my top 10 or not. There’s no doubt it will be in my top 20.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm

  21. Wow this was interesting :) Going to try to practise my english here. You do have a point Jessica. I can´t write about other people reasons about seeing bad movies but as you know i do watch a lot of bad movies. I do not looking for plotholes when i see a movie my ambition when i watch a movie is mostly to be entertained and i tend not to analyze the movies. I a go for my gutfeeling when it comes to writing about a movie good or bad.
    Hope is one reason that makes me watch a lot of movies I suspect are not going to be good. I want it to be good but it fails. Thats a reason a watch so many horror movies i´m searching for the good ones and one can never know when or where they appear. Curiosity is another reason. Thats why i did watch Twilight. I had strong reasons to belivie it was bad but i wanted to see if it really was. Another reason I watch bad movies is that i love to watch them. I know they are not good but I just love to see movies like Åsa Nisse, Piranha 3DD etc etc. Even if i´m moaning about how bad they are i´m just facinated about how they where made, the acting, production and so on.
    The movies that i really don´t like cause they make me irritated like romcoms i do tend to skip. They are the real waste of time.
    Well these are some thoughts about why I´m watching bad movies I´ts not that I want to bash them I want to see them. But on the other hand i do see a lot of good ones. 2012 has been the best movieyear since i started my blog in 2009 so the future is looking bright. Toninght I e watching Lawless, a movie I belivie is good but tomorrow it´s probaly going to be a bad horrormovie ;)

    filmitch

    December 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    • Great to hear you sharing your thoughts on this! I wouldn’t watch an Åsa Nisse movie unless someone bribed or threatened me into it, but you explain it well. Sadly I missed out Lawless when it was in the theatre. I hope to catch it when it’s out on DVD.

      Jessica

      December 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

  22. On our boards I recently wrote…
    “There’s a story to be written about this year’s recurring problem of the most over-hyped films being torn apart for gaping logic flaws. I’m thinking of Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus.
    Are these problems no bigger than any other movie but they’re being brought up because the hype is so huge?
    Are these 3 films actually the 3 most successful films this year with huge logic problems?
    Why wasn’t Toy Story 3 torn apart as thoroughly? A product of the recently changing times for film criticism? (That’s a Top 100 movie for me, but the convenient tortilla bothers me tremendously.)
    How come the billion dollar Pirates of the Caribbean movies never received a similar lashing? (Possible Answer: There isn’t enough space on the internet to cover it all.)

    We all want films that hold up to multiple viewings and these 3 in particular are failing at the task. All 3 are films most of us enjoyed enough the first time through, but as soon as the credits rolled the logic problems just started pouring into our brains. Now you don’t hear much about their good qualities, the elements that kept us reasonably entertained, but it becomes a contest to see who can point out the most flaws. It’s tough to admit I was reasonably entertained by Prometheus because of the overwhelming amount of evidence against its credibility.”

    Chuck

    December 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    • Well, I really loved all the three movies you mention. I enjoyed every minute of them. I had sparkles of cineastic joy in my eyes as I watched them. I participated in the applauses that the audience took up.

      I don’t know how well they would hold up for a second viewing, but I actually think they’d work pretty well for me. Credible or not, they have so much else going for them that I enjoy. Like stunning visuals in a big scale. I love that once in a while as a change from my usual indie drama routine.

      Jessica

      December 7, 2012 at 12:10 am

  23. Let me tell you a wee story. I don’t know if you remember but back in July/August I took a break from blogging. Admittedly, that was because of The Dark Knight Rises. Now, I’d been looking forward to this movie for ages and it has been, hands down, my favourite experience at a cinema in my entire life. However, because of the blogging world bashing it, nit-picking it and such, I felt kind of sad because I loved it so much and everyone was tarnishing it. It seemed to be a case of one of the strangest ‘blogging rules’ I’ve found exist: you can’t love what is popular. So I left and waited for the discussion on the movie to simmer down.

    Now, I can’t help that people didn’t like it. But it was magical for me. And I don’t expect everyone to share the same opinion, but that movie was (and still is) as close to me as, I don’t know, a pet cat. And that’s how I feel about most movies. I love movies to pieces. Sure, there are some that I don’t love and I often feed the fire by having a laugh at movies like That’s My Boy, but I’m not really one who goes out of my way to dislike movies that everyone else likes. That’s just tiring and stupid. I’m not entirely sure of what a ‘film fan’ is now, but I would rather hear someone express their love than express their distaste.

    If you don’t like a film, fine. But if you find that you dislike every other movie you watch, then maybe you should just stop.

    Stevee

    December 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    • I am so sorry to hear how hard all that nitpicking took you, but I’m glad to see you’re back with us.
      You need to protect yourself a bit I think. Approach the reviews of “big movies” with some caution since people are so prone to ripping them apart, either they deserve it or not.

      Sadly I think you might see some more bashing of TDKR popping up now as the end-of-the-year lists start to appear. Stay strong! Stick to your guns and don’t let the negative buzz take away anything from your love and enjoyment.

      Jessica

      December 7, 2012 at 12:15 am

  24. Surely this hate thing is not a new thing. Even though i agree that it is much easier and makes you less exposed when you hate and distance yourself to a movie i also like people bashing movies like crazies. Even though i may have like the movie myself. My favorite reviewer is Adam Quigley and i almost never appreciate the same movies as him but i love his bitterness.

    You gotta learn to love the hate Jessica. Only then can you become as zen as me :P

    johanbenjaminsson

    December 7, 2012 at 1:17 am

    • I listen to /Filmcast too and usually like the show a lot, but I think they sometimes cross the line when they venture into a whining-and-nitpicking mood which they can’t get out of once they’ve started. It just goes on and on and after listening to that for a while I wonder what we’re doing watching movies in the first place. It mostly happens for the “bigger” titles of the year though, so you know what shows to avoid if you don’t find pleasure in listening to that sort of thing.

      When you’re whining about movies in Har du inte sett den, I think you’ve got more sunshine in your voices, which doesn’t make it quite as much of a mood killer.

      Jessica

      December 7, 2012 at 7:29 am

      • I actually started movie blogging (5-6 years ago) because i wanted a review place where me and my buddy could spread only movie love as a counter weight to all hate (http://filmkoll.se/). But we both got busy and i started to join the dark side, embrace hatred and got podcasting so that blog is not active anymore :/.

        Thanks for the kind words, they’re like sauna for my heart :). I’m gonna pitch for this topic for our next episode.

        Johan

        December 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        • I told you: you are a love spreader at heart. The negativity can’t hide that. Cheers for pitching!

          Jessica

          December 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

  25. I actually have a rule for myself with my blog that I only review movies from genres and directors I already have a liking for, because I don’t wanna write a mean-spirited review.

    Dave Enkosky

    December 7, 2012 at 3:08 am

    • I hope it doesn’t keep you from exploring new territories from time to time? I love the spirit though.

      Jessica

      December 7, 2012 at 7:36 am

  26. An interesting subject with apparently lots of opinions. If I understand your post and comments correctly, what you dislike are (1) people who knowingly watch movies they hate and then gripe about them and (2) people who have strong opinions about movies simply because they want to be conformists or non-conformists, not because they have an opinion of their own.

    Point number 2 I second heartily, you should always try to form an opinion of your own, regardless of what everybody else thinks.

    The first one is trickier. As you know, I am no stranger to watch movies I am pretty sure are going to suck and then revel in their suckiness. I have also been known to do the occasional nitpicking. Still, when I have watched a movie I try to formulate what I liked and didn’t like about it (as we all do). And sometimes this comes down to nitpicking, which in my head usually is a reason to why a reasonably entertaining Hollywood mainstream-movie is no more than reasonably entertaining. I’d like to think that for me at least, the nitpicking serves a purpose and is not just me jumping the bandwagon (which seems to have acquired Stephen King-like proportions by now ;))

    I have also to say that I would sure like to know how much time you have spent very ambitiously responding to all these comments. You can whisper it in my ear tomorrow?

    Sofia

    December 7, 2012 at 10:51 am

    • When you write about B-horror movies you know on beforehand you’re not going to love, you’re still ranting aobut them in a very cheerful and loving way. I still don’t understand why you submit yourself to it, but it wasn’t the sort of reviews I have in mind.

      I haven’t had any stop watch going to check out the amount of time I’ve spent on responding to comments, but yes, it is time consuming and it takes away time that I otherwise might have spent writing another post. But I really don’t complain. I do this with pleasure and enjoyment; I love the café on those busy nights when there’s a chatter going on everywhere and when people start to talk inbetween themselves as well.

      I strive to reply to almost every comment I get. When someone replies to my reply I don’t always reply back. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate their response to my response, but I need to draw the line somewhere, especially when a post gets as busy as this one. Besides there are those people who ALWAYS want to have the last word, and in those cases I’m happy to meet their demands.

      Jessica

      December 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

  27. I really like your discussion and its annoys me to pieces when people tear apart movies that really aren’t deserving of it. Then again why do I get to be the judge of what movie is deserving of what?

    I agree with your opinion though not to go see movies you know you will hate. That’s the Twilight thing for me – you should know if you would like a movie like that so why bother going to see it just to write a hateful review? It’s boring.

    There’s so many movies to see that I won’t bother going to see the ones that I know I won’t like. I know I would hate a Tyler Perry movie or the latest rom-com with Katherine Heigl so why waste me time and be nasty just for fun? Even if it’s for a press screener, I usually only check out something I’m interested in. For instance, this year I went to see Trouble with the Curve thinking I might like it. Seemed like it could be a decent movie but I ended up absolutely hating it. I wrote a negative, snarky review but I didn’t do it from a hateful place knowing that it would be shit before I saw it. I think that’s the difference. When you go in with something knowing there’s a chance you’ll like it that makes for a better negative review, than something you go in thinking of lines you’ll bash it with in your review.

    It’s certainly not cut and dry. Negative reviews can be hilarious but when a site itself it almost entirely full of negative opinions it make me not want to read it.

    Jess

    December 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    • I don’t get to see free press screenings, but sometimes I get free preview tickets from the multiplex theatre since I’m one of their best customers. Sometimes this makes me watch movies I wouldn’t have spent money on otherwise and it happens that I turn out not to like them. That was the case of Rock of Ages. But most of the time I stay away from films I’m pretty certain I’m going to hate, for instance if I’ve seen from a trailer that they contain a certain kind of humor that I don’t think is funny at all (The Dictator comes to mind.) The blogosphere is full of reviews of that movie and I think another negative take from me wouldn’t add a bit.

      But I’m with you that negative reviews can be fun to read sometimes. As long as they’re not frequent and as long as they’re eloquent. But it’s the general whining and nitpicking that I’m quite fed up with.

      Jessica

      December 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

  28. Thanks for the good discussion. The work you’ve put into responding to everyone’s posts is really commendable!

    The internet would be a pretty boring place if I only read film reviews that validated my own responses to films. Often the most frustrating/enlightening reviews are critiques of films I adore that force me to grapple with my opinions. By coming up with counter-arguments to these critiques, I strengthen my own reasons for loving a film, and also modify my opinions to account for really strong arguments.

    However, the distinction should be made between well argued criticism that makes me rethink films, and laundry lists of plot/logic issues that don’t add much substance to film discussion. (Looper comes to mind) It seems like you are bothered by this nitpicky negativity towards blockbuster films. My question to you is: if you find these critiques to be pointless, than why do they anger you so much? Do these faulty critiques make you question your own love of these films?

    Aret (ArmenianScientist)

    December 8, 2012 at 1:46 am

    • Thanks Aret! And welcome to my home! It’s lovely to see you come visiting the hedgehog outside of the forum.

      Yes, it’s the sort of pointless nitpicking over plot issues you describe that bothers me. I don’t make any difference between blockbusters and smaller movies, but I guess it’s more common in the case of blockbusters since there seems to be a mechanism that makes people want to try to tear them down if possible.

      It does affect me a bit to read too much of it. It’s not as if I completely rethink my own views on the film, but it brings down my mood and takes away a bit of my enthusiasm. And why would I want to do that? I loved Prometheus as I watched it and I didn’t think at all about the 30 bullet points of inconsistencies. That’s the magic of movies! But if I dive too deep into those bullet lists it will inevitably take away something from it. And why would I ant to do that?

      Jessica

      December 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

  29. [...] by this post here. Prose. Dramatized. Not really meant to be autobiographical, but obviously there has to be a bit of [...]

  30. Now I´ve read your post (but not all comments) and I think you have a point. I think you aim at positive focus on movies, not negative and not JUST the negative.

    I see a lot of films but there are only a few of them that I´m really (really!) longing for to see. I´m curious at most (of course) but I rather often end up quite dissapointed. Then I have two options: write about that bad movie I just saw or not write about that bad movie.

    My choice is to write about ALL movies I see, even the bad ones. I got to make chainsaw massacers on movies I detest but I also try to write as positive and cheerful as I can about movies I love. That´s my choice for my blog. I know that you sometimes don´t mention movies in your blog that you´ve seen and didn´t like (like Cockpit for example – yes, I know you´ve written about it now but it took a while;)) and that´s your choice for your blog. I think it´s great that you try to focus on good things and greats films. I´m not that lucky in choosing so I use my lower grades much more than you. If I only wrote about great films I wouldn´t have that much to write about, not in periods anyway.

    I love movies and I love them even if they are bad. But people who write and talk about movies are common people and like most common people they are tiresome when ALL they do is whine. I choose not to have those people in my private domain and I can choose not to read blogs and listen to podcasts that have nitpicking as a groundrule – so the whole thing isn´t a problem for me.

    Fiffi

    December 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    • I really try to write about all movies I see, but occasionally I don’t have the time and I always prioritize what I have lust to write about, and then the worse films often are the ones I don’t write about in the end. But it’s very rare, so far, and as you say I DID write about Cocktail though a long time after I watched it.

      I think you watch a much bigger volume of movies than I do, so I guess it’s natural that you also get to watch more movies that you don’t like. There’s such a big flow of movies at your blog.

      You’re absolutely right about that people are free to whine, but you’re also free to excercise your freedom not to listen to them. I do that more and more these days, focusing on bloggers and podcasters that make me enthusiastic and happy about movies rather than the opposite.

      Jessica

      December 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  31. The issue you raise her is a sliver of this wider (and in some ways, I think, very insidious) trend where as you point in your title movies fans seem to not like movies anymore. The thing that become the beacon of for criticism – no movie should be more than two hours, all movies should be expressly original, stop making “oscar bait”, no more plot holes, etc.

    It’s a case of acknowledging that – yes – you will not love or even like all movies, but it becomes subversive when it seems film “fans” seem to enjoy not liking movies. And I start wondering why? If you love movies don’t you WANT to enjoy them, why take pride or happiness in NOT?

    But, I suspect the issue is much to nuanced, and pervasive to be explained in one comment.

    Andrew K.

    December 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    • Yes, the question is there, not just for rhetorical reasons; I really don’t quite understand this thing going on. One theory I have is that people just can enjoy watching a certain number of movies. There’s a limit, different for different persons, and when you cross it you start to feel worn out and that movies are just repeating themselves. Been there, done that. I’ve seen exacty the same thing in the gaming community where veteran MMO players got absolutely burned out, not only with the game they were playing, but with other games with similar mechanics. I see similarities between those players and the jaded, cynical “film fans” who seem to be quite impossible to please. I don’t think it’s about that movies have become worse. I think it’s about them needing to cut down on movie watching, to do something else for a while.

      Jessica

      December 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      • That’s an incredibly perceptive judgement, Jessica. (I’d love to see someone take that and try to write a thesis.) I mean, as much as things like “too much of a good thing is good for nothing” exist as cliches they do derive from truths, and maybe it’s a case of trying to grasp too much resulting in not appreciating any. I love that your article is here because it engenders discussion, and it’s an issue that needs addressing and one which (hopefully) can be improved.

        Andrew K.

        December 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

  32. While I didn’t read all the comments, I thought I’d say something about my own love of movies and why I almost never write a negative review: the simple point is that I know what I love, and I don’t see the rest. I avoid movies that don’t interest me. Of course every now and then I get disappointed when I have high hopes on a film by a great director, but even then I either don’t bother to write about that film, or I try to find out why I was so disappointed. Usually I find some positive things to say about the film in the process.

    I started watching films excessively rather late in life. I grew up without a tv and far from the nearest cinema, which my family was too poor to visit anyways. So when I started watching and loving films, I was 19 and found out very quickly what I like and what I don’t like. What I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy. Since my love for movies more or less coincided with the start of me studying film at university, I also learned very early to find interesting points in films that I don’t like or that disappoint me. I can appreciate an uninteresting film for its cinematography or for an actor’s great work. I find it extremely difficult to assign less than 5 stars on IMDb to almost any given film. And the ones that would get less than 5 stars, well, I never see them. I really don’t want to waste my time on things I know I won’t like.

    Lena

    December 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    • Thanks for your long and very thoughtful comment!

      “I can appreciate an uninteresting film for its cinematography or for an actor’s great work”

      I think this is a wonderful approach that I would like to apply myself. In every movie there is something golden if you look close enough.

      Jessica

      December 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

  33. [...] Förra Dark Knight Rises-recensionen Vår Facebook-sida Jessicas bloggpost om filmhat R2D2 i Star [...]

  34. [...] case you didn’t catch it yesterday, here’s the post from my Swedish muse, Jessica, that inspired my plea for [...]

  35. This is the most interesting and possibly kontructive text I have read from a swedish film blogger (even if you are writing in english)!

    You are touching something that have irritated me for at least a year. Film bloggers who are filling their reviews with all the dissapointments they can come up with after watching a popular movie, plus all the fellow film bloggers dissapointments on the same movie.

    And my feeling are that so many have a problem with criticising each other’s negative critique. Their critique are so based on “feeling” that they don’t take their time to have another opinion than the others and just going with it – and it just becomes a negative trend on all critics.

    And when the film critics are growing more and more in the world but loses more and more knowledge and basing every mistake in the movies just in their feeling and not facts, then it just becomes hopeless to speak against them and unless if they are not enriches their knowledge, then they will not change their feeling.

    That’s more or less what I feel. :)

    Except Fear Filmblogg

    December 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    • *>ongaining< their knowledge

      …Excuse me for my english. :)

      Except Fear Filmblogg

      December 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      • Something went wrong with the reply…

        * basing every mistake in the movies just ON their feeling and not facts
        * if they not GAINING their knowledge, then the will not change their BAD feeling FOR THE MOVIE.

        Except Fear Filmblogg

        December 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    • Your English is just fine! We understand you! And thank you so much for your kind words and your thoughts on this matter. I feel very much the same. The critics tend to gather up with one predominent view and often it’s a negative one. It’s starting to wear me down. I’m glad thhat there are more that feel this way. If we all make an effort and try to focus more on what we like about movies than on what we don’t like, maybe we can turn the film blogosphere into a merrier place.

      Jessica

      December 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

  36. On podcasts I hear people tell you how “fantastic” a movie is, but they don´t take much time to reflect on why it is fantastic. But so much time of the podcast goes on to talk about the bad things with all the movies that not reach the “fantastic” level.

    So much time that a “really good” movie gets 80 % negative opinions even if it is “really good”. Obviously, it’s hard to give positive opinions, but seriously, can’t they at least try to reflect more on why it’s “really good” than why it is not “fantastic” or “perfection”?

    Except Fear Filmblogg

    December 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    • They had an interesting discussion about this at the Swedish film podcast Har du inte sett den. Their theory was that you’re exposing yourself much more if you declare your love for a movie than if you’re snarky about it. You make yourself vulnerable and need a thicker skin if people disagree with you. When you’re negative about thing’s you’re safe behind a shell, not leaving out so much of yourself. I think they’re onto something there.

      Jessica

      December 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

      • Yes, I did hear their podcast discussion and it was a good talk. And yes, people who are singing out their joy for every film they are seing that are their cup of tea tends to be seen as “too naive”, so at least for a lot of men there is easy to be afraid no go into the “naive-hearted” “trap” and then it is easy to just give the sour face to every movie, more or less. :)

        It’s also easy to be specific on the things that’s bad, but it is harder to be specific on the good things – at least if the film is a more or less conventional piece of film.

        If the movie is very untraditional, then I think it is a bigger challenge to judge it as bad, but many people who is stuck with the traditional “rules” in movies off course can feel even a bigger lust to vomit over the untraditional.

        Except Fear Filmblogg

        December 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

  37. You say you’ve had enough of the constant whining about movies, but then, nobody is forcing you to read those reviews, right?

    I do however agree with you that the criticism of Prometheus in the blogosphere kind of ruined the appreciation I had for Ridley Scott’s film, so that I like the movie less now, because people pointed out flaws, that I missed when watching.

    It would be a better world if people focused on the positive before the negative, and that’s probably one of the most important life lessons I’ve ever heard. I try to follow that rule. Not just when watching movies, in everything. It’s not easy.
    The only advice I can give you, Jessica, is to try and find the positive things in all the complaining you read. Or simply to stop reading that blog or article.

    Chris

    December 14, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    • You’re absolutely right and actually I DO stay away from some of it. I’ve learned about some podcasts that are very prone to go berserk with major titles such as Prometheus and then I stay away from those episodes, knowing what will come on beforehand.

      I try to look at the positives as much as I can and also make something about my own writing. I’m by no means perfect, but I will try to be as positive as I can – without for that sake turning into whitewashing and lies.

      Jessica

      December 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

  38. [...] over at The Velvet Café recently published an excellent post on this very topic and, while I don’t fully agree with her, she makes some good points.  Film [...]

  39. [...] Where are all the film fans gone? And where did those miserable flaw spotters come from? [...]


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