Sunday, January 12, 2014

Never Trust a Film Critic

What is it about movie critics that makes them withhold the truth? Instead, they spin webs of deception full of fancy film jargon that makes them sound very intellectual, without giving you the honest Injun--can I say that without offending native Americans?-- nitty-gritty about what you're in for in plain English.

Depends on your definition of "erotic."
Case in point: Last night, with howling winds and freezing rain outside our door, we stayed home and watched an old hit movie we missed back in 1990 called "The Grifters." As I always do before wasting a couple of hours of my allotted time on Earth, I read a handful of reviews from several "important" sources, including Roger Ebert, Variety, The New Yorker and the New York Times. They all said it was "fabulous" and worthy and stunning, blah, blah blah, with "taut, tough and funny" performances" full of "pathos" and yada, yada, yada. It sounded so great that we streamed it via Netflix into our very own living room. I was pretty excited to be seeing a film that was so well-crafted and might even make me laugh, indeed a rare gem.

To be perfectly frank, I almost threw up several times during the film, and not surprisingly. The reviews never said one thing about Anjelica Huston being held down on the floor screaming in agony while her hand is slowly burned with a cigar, or John Kusack getting kicked in the stomach and having internal bleeding, or Annette Bening's head being blown off and blood flying everywhere, and all the other sickeningly violent stuff. One reviewer described the final scene where (spoiler alert) Kusack gets his throat cut and dies as "bleak, but so well done you leave the theater on an emotional high." Yeah, if you've smoked crack during, maybe.

I could hardly watch a lot of it, and instead had to look at my husband's face in order to judge when it was safe to look back at the screen. Jeez, if critics just used plain talk instead of trying to sound so damn smart, we'd all have a better time at the movies, even when we're watching them at home.

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