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Patanjali Sokaris

Politics

Critics

We often rely upon movie and TV critics for advice upon how well movies and programs are likely to entertain us. It seems a cushy job, but maybe it isn't!

A good critic can cut through all the hype and give us a good idea of whether we will like what's on offer. We may not have the same tastes as them, but if they take their craft seriously and try to be objective as possible within the genres they review, their consistency will allow us to interpolate what we can expect.

While such a job would appear to be one of many peoples' dreams, there are some downsides, like:

  1. a.Having to review a lot of trash.
  2. b.The sheer quantity of material to sit through, let alone the thinking and writing time afterwards.
  3. c.The backlash from fans of beloved franchises if the entry is not of the same standard as the studio's previous entries.

However, the real problem is that many critics seem to suffer from some sort of existential crisis after some years. Critics can be of benefit because they can enable us to make good choices about what we fill our leisure hours as an escape from the supposedly important job we earn our living at. For a critic, it may come to seem that what they are doing is nothing like being a brain surgeon or doctor or other such critical person, and so they may try to find ways to give meaning to what they do, other than their real value to us.

For some critics that seems to be to start making judgements about the intrinsic value of the movies and programs they have to plough through. This will involve them being less even-handed and to limit themselves to commenting on what they can use to further their own social outlook. This is where they start becoming of less use to us because they are venturing outside what we require of them.

Of course, the average internet fan starting up a video channel or podcast has no problem being thoroughly opinionated about their favourites or their pet hates. But then, they are pandering to their fan base or trying to create beat ups to increase their popularity. We don't really need to take them seriously as critics because they are trying to make themselves the entertainment.

Many critics have gone this route as well, probably because the industry around entertainment is just turning into one big PR fest peddling the latest offering from studios, stuffed with Q&A with stars fulfilling their promotion obligations. The choice is to just become the microphone holder for the studios, or join the blogging ranks and make noise with opinionated rants there.

We end out being the poorer because we have lost a line to honest and considered views that help us. Much like how news and documentaries have become paid infotainment and reality TV.


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