Archives for the month of: September, 2012

I’ve read this website for some time, mostly through articles linked from Slashfilm and the like. However, I stumbled upon today (via surfing, not via StumbleUpon) a section of the site called Overrated/Underpraised. These features do a very good job of setting up arguments about films that have been lauded for years without much to back it up and films that fell under the radar for whatever reason. For instance, here are a few of the topics:

Why ‘The Last Boy Scout’ Deserves a Spot in the Buddy Cop Pantheon Right Next to ’48 Hrs.’

Did ‘Speed’ Steal the Thunder From ‘Die Hard With a Vengeance’ By Getting Released a Year Earlier?

Would ‘Hook’ Be a Classic On Par With ‘The Wizard of Oz’ If It Were Released in 1939?

 

What I enjoy most from these articles, even if I disagree with some of them (very, very few) is that the reporting is fair. The writer(s) take the time to set up both arguments and show them in a balanced light. Each piece starts with a brief description of the problem at hand and their common bonds. Then we find out why X is overrated, why Y is underpraised and finally conclude with a section called “Evening the Odds.”

FSR has long been been one of the better movie blogs out there, and discovering this feature has further cemented that notion. Next time we’ll tackle the good, the bad and the ugly of Ain’t It Cool News

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Earlier this year, in the summer, HBO unveiled its newest hour-long drama, The Newsroom. Now, I am a little biased because the creator of this show, Aaron Sorkin, also created my favorite television show of all time, The West Wing. That being said, the show chronicles a CNN Nightly News type of program that has been in decline in both ratings and quality. One of the things the new management tries to instill in its staff is a doctrine to follow when reporting a story. The best one of those rules is “Is this the best possible form of the argument?”
They even go on to ask “is there even an argument?” That is to say, that when news is reported, if it comes from a place of common sense or general agreement, it isn’t news, or at least not newsworthy enough for their organization. But the best possible form of the argument comes from a place of both fairness and completeness.
Online journalism, especially that of movie criticism and blogging, is horrible at finding a balance incorporating these ideas.
I’ll give you an example.
A friend of mine who runs a comic book website (check it out here) has this argument, which I have since adopted and think rings pretty true. You’ll often see Top 10 lists for all sorts of things around the internet. But a common preface reads something like this:
“now I’m not saying these are the BEST films of all time, but they are my FAVORITE films of all time”
Who the hell are we, or you, or anyone to purport to know what the best of anything is? Your FAVORITE is the best because it’s all you know. Sure, Citizen Kane tops more lists than anything else — so maybe it is the most loved, most lauded film of all time — but if you think Weekend At Bernie’s is your favorite movie — in that, it captures everything you love the most about film and the way it’s done — then it is the best, in your opinion. Nobody can know what the best is — our favorites are all we have.
More on this soon…

In the world we live in now, everyone’s a critic. It’s easy to say or do whatever you want online. To quote a great film*, “the internet has given everyone … a voice. For some reason, everybody decides to use that voice to bitch about movies.”

There aren’t many things I do online every single day. I am not a weather checker. Never have been, never will be. I would like to say that I visit the New York Times site daily, but that would be a lie. Nope, I’m more a Google News headline purveyor, and I only read the stories a) that entice me and b) aren’t blocked by my job’s firewall. I can’t even say that I’m a facebook addict, because as God is my witness, this year will be the year I fire facebook.

But I do check out movie websites Slashfilm (/Film) and Ain’t It Cool News every single day. The former is much more of a professional website than the latter, since Harry Knowles’ Ain’t It Cool (which stems from a line in Broken Arrow) looks like it was designed in 1998 by a blind political science major. I read Slashfilm much more fervently because it’s update more every day and the content is freshest. The “you saw it here first” vibe that Ain’t It Cool once had has now transferred to Slashfilm.

However, both websites – and many, countless others – are guilty of editorializing stories and injecting themselves in the writing. The story’s not about you, bro – I don’t care that you think this Robocop remake is a bad idea. All I want to know is what’s going on with it, not how you feel.

I think I need to provide more evidence. I will do this later. You know, like one of these shoddy journalists.

*Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

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