Closing in at three years old, Reverse Shot has officially entered its rebellious adolescence–anyone who doubts it needs look no further than the indiscriminate Freudian slaying of father figures that’s practiced routinely at this blog. But I’m afraid a few of our readers may have taken the wrong idea away from our rants; what’s been on display up until now hasn’t been genuine bile, more like a little churlish joshing, really.
Take one of our favorite bete noires, New York Press’s Armond White. The tragic truth is that we expend so much vitriol on Mr. White not because we’re convinced that he’s the worst critic working today–quite the opposite; if we obsess overmuch on Armond, it’s only because we’ve all been smitten by his turd-in-the-punch bowl iconoclastic, solidly starless columns in the Film Comment critical round-ups. If Armond is a detriment to film culture, it’s not by merit of his unmistakably passionate engagement to the medium–a quality sorely missing in contemporary criticism–but his jaded reiterations on the death of cinema, a ten-ton fuddy-duddy “Fuck you” to any kid who’s “self-centered” enough to think their formative movie experiences might be special (not that any kids read Armond, but you know�). So, you know, we kid Armond, because we love. Or, well: We don’t hate.
But then, there’s this twat.
Christopher Null is the founder and editor-in-chief of filmcritic.com, an online review site operational since 1995, provider of feckless Hey, It’s Only A Movie! reviews set in bold opposition to the allegedly dominant mode of “dry, stuffy mind-food about the movies.” Is there anything more depressing/ hilarious than when some douchebag, in the midst of a staggeringly inane mass culture, fancies himself to be taking the air out of stuffed-shirt phonies and razzing authority by proudly trumpeting the cause of mediocre thinking? Because, you know, any of us who grew up in flyover country have had Bresson stuffed down our throats for long enough, am I right?
Observe, the No-Nonsense Shucks I’m Just a Regular Popcorn-Munchin’ Guy critical paradigm of Chris Null and his army of fucktards (undoubtedly recruited readers of Null’s how-to-be-a-film-critic-and-escape-mom’s-basement-and-totally-hang-with-Bruce Willis tome, FIVE STARS):
“If I didn’t understand it, then it’s crap. But chances are I did understand it, and what I understood was that it was crap. If I really didn’t understand it (Lost Highway comes to mind), then it’s really crap.”
Cool, dudes. A sampling of filmcritic.com’s more delectable chestnuts:
-From Blake Franch’s LOLocaust review of STEVIE:
“With no demanding actors, expensive special effects, or enormous film crews, documentaries are probably the easiest movies to make.”
“Southern Illinois, in a town where the landscape distributes ramshackle country houses across the horizontal planes like raisins scattered through a bowl of Raisin Bran.”
“Stevie is not special enough to be the subject of a film. He’s poor, uneducated, rural white trash complete with tattoos, crooked teeth, and long, greasy hair. These traits do not warrant a two-hour documentary film.”
“The film doesn’t invoke our interest by arguing or contemplating controversial topics; it just candidly observes its uninteresting subjects. I’ve seen this work before, in Barenaked in America, for instance, the documentary about The Barenaked Ladies�
– Null himself, clearing up a few misconceptions around Jean Renoir’s utterly shitty THE RIVER:
“Jean Renoir’s greatest films — Illusion, The Rules of the Game, The Lower Depths— don’t involve weepy schoolgirls and their snaggletooth parents.”
“just because a few Indian girls throw colored dust into the air and run around under it, it doesn’t make your film great.”
-Null again, on A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES. Dig that Holden Caulfield-esque conclusion!:
“Now, I’m sure if my life were pathetic enough that I had to inebriate a horse to raise money for my kid brother’s operation or I had to hear other kids shrug and say things like, ‘No, my dad and his mule were blown up by a mine,’ this movie might have contained some appeal. But as it stands, very few viewers are going to be inspired to wake up long enough to feel empathy for these poor characters, brave though they might be. A word to those still on the fence: Anyone who claims to enjoy this movie is as phoney as they come and cannot be trusted. Be warned!”
-Or, perhaps most exquisite of all, James Brundage’s five-star review of PRESSURECOOKER, a short film by CHRIS FUCKING NULL, posted ON FILMCRITIC.COM:
“In the Null brothers (Director Bradley and Writer/Producer/Actor Christopher), we find the next David Lynch.”
This is by no means a call to bombard filmcritic.com with incensed e-mails; Null’s bland brand of bad-boy contrarianism grows fat on such attention. More than anything, we just wanted to express our profound awe at Mr. Null’s project. I mean OMG, finally, somebody to cut out all dem highfalutin’ ten-cent words and jes’ shoot from the hip!
“We rarely follow the conventional wisdom here, and we think that’s what makes the site great. But just because we don’t agree with a bunch of hacks doesn’t make us wrong — it makes them wrong.”