Some clarifications on the cloggers post from yesterday: I never meant to say that a critic-blogger is inherently a clogger — there is some fine and passionate film writing out there on the Internet that deserves to be read. So when FilmBrain asks, “Do you trust a review from Manohla Dargis or Jonathan Rosenbaum based on where they’re published, or from years of reading them?” Of course, the answer is because of their years of experience — and if that experience exists strictly online, so be it. But most cloggers out there don’t have that track record.
FilmBrain also notes, “Many of the better ‘cloggers’ have been writing for some time — long enough to decide if you trust them or not as critics.” That maybe so, and my problem isn’t with veterans, but the increasing proliferation of amateurs who might not have the cinematic knowledge to adequately review a film.
The fact is that there are dozens of print critics who appear on Rotten Tomatoes who I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot poll, but then again, their opinions are determining a film’s “tomatometer,” which other people are then reading or re-publishing, giving a badly skewed overall picture of a film’s worth. The same is happening online and in greater numbers. Because, as we all know at the Thanksgiving dinner table, everyone’s a critic.
And this gets me back to a point that A.V. Club critic Noel Murray poses, “Are you more concerned that *you* won’t be able to tell whether a no-name critic is trustworthy, or are you concerned about other people, coming to a poorly written review and being turned off of an otherwise worthy film?” Precisely. Does the average cinemagoer have the time to sift through the dozens of film blogs out there, ferret out those that match their tastes and stick with them long enough to determine if they’re reliable. Or do people randomly search the web looking for info, spot it, and digest it, without taking the time to evaluate it?