Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dr. Movie Critic

In some ways film critics are online therapists that aren't paid very well and whose opinion should not be taken as a real diagnosis.  Our job consists of watching movies, writing down our thoughts about them, and then posting them to the world so that a bunch of teens on Twitter can tell you how much you suck at your position (if we were truly good at our job we'd probably find a way to keep our reviews to 140 characters).  Analyzing the filming techniques, editing, music, and subtleties of acting all certainly are factors in the reviews we write.  The biggest part of our reviews happen to be our life stories though.  Since reviews are opinions we have no choice but to put ourselves into the reviews.  Why we relate (or don't relate) to a film has a lot to do with our life experiences and how we bring them to the film.

How a movie touches us and makes us relate to someone we might not normally relate to are all tied into our life experiences.  It's sometimes easy to be writing a review and realize more than halfway into it that you are actually writing about your beloved dog and how much he meant to you during your childhood until your parents had to bring him to the vet to have him put down because it was the "kind thing" to do.  Or you are writing a review for "The Social Network" and you soon realize you have just spent a majority of the time writing about how lonely you were as a child.  If you're not careful, your reviews can stop being reviews and turn into journal entries.  Heck, take it too far and you might as well just open a LiveJournal account.  However these are the personal stories that can make for the most successful reviews.
Like movies themselves it doesn't really matter how "right" you get the specifics of the review down if your readers don't emphasize with it.  Readers are going to see a movie because they want to have an emotional experience of some sort.  It doesn't really matter what experience they are looking for in particular, but they are looking for one.  If our reviews don't reflect our life experience onto the film than the review may as well be useless.  Both "Gone Girl" and "The Maze Runner" are movies that are soundly made, but just because both movies function doesn't mean they are worth watching.  If you can't emote in your writing to a certain extent this is not a job you will be good at.  If you have more Twitter and Tumbler followers than you have website readers than you might be better at blurbs than you are of well thought out critiques.