Criticism of the Critic

The LA Times had an interesting piece on film criticism in their paper today. They let their film critics write about any regrets they’ve ever had about a film they reviewed.

I love film criticism. In a perfect world, I could see movies and write about them everyday (if it would pay the bills). But it is, in my opinion, one of the toughest jobs in writing because you put a part of yourself out there.

I took a reviewing class with Kenneth Turan while I was at USC. It was probably my favorite class of all. Since he is the best film critic at the Times, I expected Kenneth to be a man of intolerable ego, and harsh–well–criticism. What I found was a man confident in his craft, and kind with his teaching. I learned then that the people who are best at what they do don’t need to walk around with a puffed up chest or a thick set of armour.

His article today really makes clear the point and process of criticism. There should be no regret if you are true to your own feelings. Here’s a bit of his article. Find the whole piece here.

“To pretend either to like it or that I didn’t really have an opinion, to pretend in effect that I was someone else to save face and be one of the gang, was simply unacceptable. Criticism is a lonely job, and in the final analysis, either you’re a gang of one or you’re nothing at all.”

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