I hate how autumn brings out this insidious tendency to respect the movies all of a sudden, like they magically improve with reduced seasonal temperatures. (Let me assure you as a professional film critic—they don't.) Good films are always worthy of praise, of course, and bad ones ridicule, but fall flicks suddenly become catnip to columnists and editorial writers who don't usually stoop to the A&L pages. Fresh from vacations in Provence, the Hamptons, and Cape Cod, feeling tanned, rested, and ready to dissect the national zeitgeist anew (yawn), they hang their ponderous thoughts on the most convenient pegs our culture has to offer: motion pictures.
Mind you, these are the same op-ed blowhards and Week in Review-section windbags who, during the summer, were too good to sit through XXX or Scooby-Doo. Juwanna Mann? What's that—a new bistro on the Vineyard? No, they were too busy reading advance copies of the new Robert Caro biography to sully their chinos with the gummy seats of the multiplex. Why take notes in the dark when you can have your Time Warner research assistants later pull up the old reviews on Lexis-Nexis? So much more civilized.
Does this sound like professional resentment? Maybe a little. I just want the first editorialist who links Red Dragon (Oct. 4) to the coarsening of our culture to sit through Halloween: Resurrection or Jason X first. If you want to opine about the penal system via White Oleander (bad mom Michelle Pfeiffer goes to jail, Oct. 11), hadn't you first better see Mean Machine and Lucky Break? Looking to write another hip-hop crossover story (Friday After Next, Nov. 22)? Did you even bother to watch All About the Benjamins?
In other words, do your homework, fellas. Pay your dues first before dragging the movies into your august prose. If you want your opinions to carry some popular weight, try suffering along with the rest of us.