By George Rose
May 26, 2009
Where did all the free time go? This week is no different than the last, so finding time to take a five minute break has been nearly impossible. Finding time to watch a movie is even harder. Sure, we should all be able to watch at least one movie a week but how is it possible to go back and watch all of the classics when there are three new films entering the Cineplex every Friday? Not many people have time to go to work, do chores around the house, gather with family and friends, AND watch a movie from both yesteryear and yesterday. Which is more relevant: going back to the past where the more-original movies came from so we can learn how history was made, or paying attention to what's current so we can entertain our friends at the water cooler? From a marketing standpoint, it's all about moving forward. From a critic's standpoint, you can't critique what's new without knowing the old.
This is just one of the many questions floating through my mind. I am conflicted with the answer because half of me is a marketer (my Northeastern University major) and half of me is a critic (currently writing for BOP). Being a recent college graduate and, more importantly, a member of a nation going through a recession, I know I'm not the only one who is broke and working far too many hours for far too little pay. If you happen to live in a home with other roommates or family, you also understand what it's like to be around others during your free time instead of being alone, collecting your thoughts, answering the deep questions that find their way into your brain or catching up on whatever your internet habits are. There isn't much time to do what YOU want and there sure as heck isn't time to watch Terminator Salvation, the original Terminator trilogy, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian AND its predecessor.
If you want to be a "real" critic going into either of the new films coming out this weekend, you'd probably also want to watch all of James Cameron, McG, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christian Bale, Shawn Levy and Ben Stiller's movies (plus all the films the supporting cast and crew have been a part of). If not, someone may not take your criticism of Terminator Salvation or Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian seriously. Then again, has anybody seen every movie ever made? Taking this to the extreme (as I usually do), you would need to see EVERY movie to be a fully accurate critic. This task is just as it seems: impossible. How, then, can someone become a good film critic? Like any form of politics, you can't be too far on either side. A balance of both worlds is needed for success. Nobody likes a straight critic (they come off pretentious and rob the movies of their true value - entertainment) and nobody likes a full-blown marketer (they have their own agenda and not enough knowledge of the actual product to please die-hard fans). There doesn't seem to be a way to please everyone, so what should I do moving forward with the Take Five article? Bore you to tears with pretentious knowledge or cover up my inadequacies with jokes and fancy words?