Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Who will criticize the critics?

I have already snagged a few bits from this very funny article by Jon Swift, so it is worth highlighting in full. In case there is any confusion about the nature or purpose of this article, read more about the "real" Jon Swift here. Happy Holidays!

Last year I identified an important new school of film criticism, which I called “derrièrism,” since all schools of film criticism are supposed to have French names. Derrièrists are inspired by Jack Warner (though some say it was Harry Cohn), who once said that he judged movies by whether his ass shifted in the seat while he was watching them. Like Warner (or Cohn), a derrièrist film critic judges movies by his ass. As I wrote last year: "Derrièrists are tired of liberal elites telling us what is good for us. They are tired of movies that are depressing and pretentious and difficult." At the time Variety magazine hailed derrièrism as “provocative” theory and said my piece “represents to some degree the thinking of the younger male online film community that recently voted for their Top 100 films,” whose virtues I extolled in my piece. While derrièrism was once an esoteric school of film criticism championed by a few forward-thinking critics, this year it has triumphed. Not only has Andrew Breitbart, the conservative Hollywood critic behind, announced that he will start a new website, Big Hollywood, which promises to be a hotbed of derrièrist film criticism, such respected film critics as Roger Ebert and the critics at Cahiers du Cinema have jumped on the derrièrist bandwagon.

Breitbart’s site will feature film reviews and criticism from some of this country’s leading derrièrist film critics, people like House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, Mary Bono Mack and Connie Mack, former presidential candidate Fred Thompson, MSNBC correspondent Tucker Carlson and conservative commentators Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and others. According to The Hill, “If Boehner, for instance, sees a movie, ‘I’d like for him … to do a movie review,’ Breitbart says. ‘Not everything is going to be a political dissertation,’ he says. In that vein, Cantor spokesman Rob Collins says he could see his boss writing a post on the television shows his three teenage children watch and how those programs affect them.” Breitbart wants to bring back the kind of crowd-pleasing movies Hollywood used to make, which encouraged people to pay their credit card bills on time. “The movies used to reinforce good behavior — that you should pay back your loans,” he says, apparently thinking of such films as The Grapes of Wrath, It's a Wonderful Life and Salt of the Earth. Because Breitbart's site will not pay its writers that should encourage good behavior like thrift.

Breitbart also wants Big Hollywood to change the image of conservatives in Hollywood, where they are cruelly oppressed. “We’re not bigoted, homophobic, racist, sexist monsters,” says the new blog’s editor-in-chief, John Nolte, the proprietor of Dirty Harry's Place. Nolte, who says that gay marriage “has nothing to with ‘rights’ and everything to do with hate, the tearing down of tradition, and seeking yet another excuse to attack conservatives and religion,” and who wrote after J.K. Rowling outted Dumbledore, “English and Gay is like Japan and China: you can’t really tell the difference,” is known for his trenchant film criticism. Although he has never seen such minor, really old movies as City Lights and The Passion of Joan of Arc, that hasn’t stopped him from weighing in on such important questions of film scholarship as whether Deuce Bigelow or The Searchers is the best film ever made.

Read the complete article here . . .


Anonymous said...


Worse Than Ben Lyons!

Anonymous said...

I hung out with the movie critic, Carl K from Breitbart, and I for the life of me I cannot understand how this man can even write a fair movie review. He was asleep through half of the movie. Several times I had to poke him to wake up! He has narcolepsy.