Christopher Nolan’s latest film offering, Inception, not only has many people talking but it also has a couple of film critics battling it out over the Internet.
Chicago Sun Times Film Critic Roger Ebert, who gave Inception a “two thumbs up” rating, felt inspired to write in his blog “Whole lotta cantin’ going on” that, essentially, he doesn’t agree with other critics, however, their opinions have value in our society. Knowing that the public and film critics in general don’t always agree, Ebert goes on to ask if there has ever been a film that everybody (EVERYBODY) truly liked.
In his blog, Ebert exclaims, “There are people Bergman doesn’t reach. And Ozu. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like Hitchcock, but I promise you I will in the comments under this entry. Many Hitchcock fans don’t admire Vertigo, which I think is his best film.”
Defending film criticism, film critics, and the general public as well, Ebert says, “All the same, if you say you dislike The Godfather or Shawshank, I can’t say you’re wrong. The one thing you can never be wrong about is your own opinion.” Roger Ebert’s criticism of film critics comes when a critic makes a comment without backing it up by describing certain scenes that exemplify their point. While discussing various other critics’ comments about Inception, discussing his views about their reviews, Ebert maintains a non-threatening tone and an air of respectfulness. Also discussing in his blog, Ebert takes on Rotten Tomatoes’ “Tomato Meter,” and IMDB’s “User Score,” saying that fans utilize these tools as a “validation for their opinions.”
Meanwhile, on the other hand, in a /Film Podcast and interview, Armond White, Film Critic for the New York Press, attacks not only his hosts, /Film, but also film critics in general. As part of the interview, White amends a previous statement saying that the age of a film critic should be dropped from his previously stated 40 years of age. White says, “I think really, there should be no film critics – okay, let’s change the age – there should be no film critics younger than 30.” During the interview, White comments on his own credentials as a critic and a scholar:
“I’VE got the training. And frankly, I don’t care how that sounds, but the fact is, I’ve got the training. I’m a pedigreed film critic. I’ve studied it. I know it. And I know many other people who’ve studied it as well, studied it seriously.” Mentioning Roger Ebert, White says, “I do think it is fair to say that Roger Ebert destroyed film criticism.” Continuing, “…I think he does NOT have the training. I think he simply had the position. I think he does NOT have the training.”
In response, Roger Ebert Tweeted to his 188,234 followers, “Armond is a TRAINED film critic. I’m NOT. I scramble by on three years of grad school in English, 42 years of experience and 35 of teaching.”
I have been watching this clash of the titans unfold online and on Twitter the past day or so, and I am truly amazed. In reply to Ebert’s blog post, I told him I believe that, although I reserve the right to my own opinions, I do read reviews after I watch a film in order to get an idea if there was some point I may have missed in my reviews, and that ” Any person, who gives up their right to make up their own mind, doesn’t deserve an opinion.” My advice, check out the Tomato Meter, peek at the star ratings on IMDB, read Roger Ebert’s reviews, read Armond White’s review, read a few others, including mine, and for heaven sakes – make up you own mind.
Twitter – Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert’s Journal
David Chen, /Film.com – Armond White: “I Do Think It Is Fair To Say That Roger Ebert Destroyed Film Criticism”