Complex.com has assembled a list of what they’re calling “The 25 Best Movie Critics of All Time.” Written by Matt Barone, the piece gives the top spot to André Bazin, who wrote “the definitive explanation of what makes the medium’s proverbial heart beat,” his book “What Is Cinema?” Here is the list’s top 5:
1. André Bazin
2. Roger Ebert
3. Andrew Sarris
4. Pauline Kael
5. J. Hoberman
Barrone’s introduction makes no mention of methodology; it’s not clear how this list was assembled or arranged, or who, if anyone, voted on it besides him. Personally, I wouldn’t even know how to begin to write something like this. What makes someone the best in this field? Subjective opinion? Influence? Quality of prose? Awards? Taste? Why is Sarris better than Kael? Or Manohla Dargis better than A.O. Scott? I have no idea.
So click over, enjoy, debate, discuss, and maybe take a moment to ponder the amazing critics who didn’t make the cut: Jonas Mekas, Siegfried Kracauer, Stanley Kauffmann, Phillip Lopate, Parker Tyler, Gene Siskel, Amy Taubin, Kent Jones, David Bordwell, Paul Schrader, Andrew O’Hehir, and Stephanie Zacharek to name just a few in no particular order. Maybe they’re not as good as the twenty-five men and women who were selected ahead of them. Or maybe this kind of list, while fun to read, is also a fool’s errand.
Read more of “The 25 Best Movie Critics of All Time.”