Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Criticwatch - No small people, only small film critics

Erik Childress at Criticwatch gives his take on this week's At the Movies, quoting Ben Lyons:

On his choice of Penelope Cruz: “And I believe the Academy will select her as well.”

On his choice of Heath Ledger: “And I think the Academy will agree with me.”

On his choice for Best Actress: “My pick this year is Kate Winslet and she will go home with the Oscar on Feb. 22”

Chicken and the Egg alert. Is he giving the Academy validation for choosing what he believes are the best or is he using the Academy to validate his own choices?

Maybe Ben should have said "I am sure that the Academy will validate my ability to predict who is going to win an Oscar by giving it to the people I think they are going to give it to. Then I can take credit for sounding smart." His comments may be more effective if he did not pick fairly uncontroversial choices. But you can't possibly do worse then 20% since every category has only five nominees, so there is not a whole lot of risk here. He should have said that he predicted that The Dark Knight was going to win for Best Picture, just to keep the whole thing interesting.

Finally, Erik takes on Ben's getting out from behind his Goldeneye game controller and getting in front of the marketing for Scene It, quoting Ben:

“It helps me improve my movie knowledge, and it's a lot of fun to play either alone or with some of the homies when they come over.”

The homies? No props to the peeps or the brosephs? Let me tell you something about Scene It?: Box Office Smash. I own the game. I really enjoy the game. In no way do I use it to “improve my movie knowledge” any more than I use Monopoly to plan my portfolio. Scene It is a fun, party game with an edge to people who already know a little something about movies. To balance it out, it uses visual puzzles, scrambled letters and five questions after movie clips that invariably features one asking what color the character’s tie was. That’s not movie knowledge. That’s the power of observation. Doesn’t make me a detective any more then it makes Ben Lyons a student of film history.

By the way, there is another way to improve your movie knowledge--watch a lot of movies or read some books on film history. But that might have the unfortunate side-effect of making you a better film critic.

Read the entire Criticwatch Ben Lyons quote of the week here.

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