Wednesday, March 26, 2008


As you may know, I have two film critics that I feel particularly strongly about. I consider them two sides of the same coin, as they are both remarkably informed about film and literature, and both of them have developed a distinctive style, one that balances academic veracity and insight with a clarity and readability almost never found in academic writing. One of them takes all these skills and combines them with that most important of all critical features: taste. The other has no taste, but attempts to bring his criticism all together with an almost Michiko Kakutani-level of something else: pretension. A.O. Scott's taste is impeccable, and thus he can write both beautifully and wisely about Talledega Nights, Away from her, The Simpsons Movie, and The Lives of Others. Godfrey Cheshire has nothing but pretentiousness, and thus his taste in movies is always incomprehensible. These are my critical poles. This development has made me so very, very sad:

A.O. Scott writes about the new documentary Moving Midway:

"Some aspects of Godfrey Cheshire’s “Moving Midway” may also seem unlikely. Who, apart from Werner Herzog, would think of loading an old North Carolina plantation house onto a truck and moving it away from encroaching strip malls and sprawling developments? Mr. Cheshire’s cousin, as it happens. But the relocation of the house is only one piece of this extraordinarily rich documentary, which takes up the agonies and ironies of Southern history with remarkable wit, empathy and learning.

Mr. Cheshire, a New York film critic for many years, brings his intelligence and knowledge of the medium to bear on a primordial subject: What does it mean to think of a place as home?"

You bastard. I trusted you.

No comments: