Confession of a Movie Reviewer (January 2018)

 Over the years, I’ve been diligent in my efforts to keep my writing focused on the movies I watch, rather than the personalities and politics of the film industry. In a world that bombards us with daily (seemingly non-stop) irrational, illogical and downright inexplicable occurrences, I’ve attempted to maintain a sense of separation. I strive to consider each film as a self-contained work of art, irrespective of the collective noise and attention that might surround it.

It’s for this reason that I consistently turn down industry interview opportunities and press junkets.  It’s important to me that my viewing experience and analysis of a movie not be influenced by where the lead actor (or actress, or director, or writer) ranks on my personal scale of virtue … or even how tasty the pre-screening buffet and free drinks might be.

A movie should stand – or fall – on its own merits. Perhaps in these times, striving to assess a film as an unencumbered work of art is a near-impossible task. I could simply admit defeat and fall in formation with many who (often unwittingly) allow themselves to be influenced by outside (off-screen) factors. However, this would only rob myself of the one escape from reality I enjoy, and more significantly, would undermine the art form of cinema and what it contributes as societal commentary and pure entertainment.

This is my public confession of acceptance that no ‘bubble’ exists. Movies are made by good folks and bad – just like everything else in life. That’s not something that should be ignored in today’s environment of full disclosure and admirable and necessary movements toward a more civil industry.  However, a line of demarcation can be drawn. My movie reviews and comments will continue to focus on what we see on screen, even though the external noise sometimes deserves to be heard.  While I support the causes and movements towards industry improvements, I also believe that by periodically fighting through that noise, we can still find beauty and grace in the cinematic art form. And that’s a cause I also believe is important.



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