Skip to main content

Hashbrown "No Filter": Or, How We All Become Critics

I think we've all met a person at some point in our lives who describes themselves as having "no filter". To tell you the truth, the phrase has always made me roll my eyes. Almost everyone (those who have a medical condition preventing control over what is thought and said excluded) has a "filter". Actually, if you think about it, the way we decide what we say goes through a series of turns in our heads: "Is this socially acceptable?", "Will those I'm speaking to get confused or offended?", "Do I care about the opinions of these individuals?", "Is this a joke my dad would tell?", etc.

The maze is different for everyone, but it exists. I think the metaphor can also apply to how we consume, well, everything. We don't eat certain foods for certain reasons, don't go to certain places for other reasons, and, most prevalent in my mind, won't consume certain media because of the mazes we've created. Our sets of standards define our lives. For me, this idea has created a whole new realization.

I've never considered myself a film critic. While I write about movies a lot on this blog (and spent a lot of time getting my degree in film writing academically about movies), I have never set out to say a film is good or bad authoritatively. I do, however, consume criticism. I don't read everyone's reviews and, admittedly, I'm a bit selective. I distinctly remember flipping through the film review section of Entertainment Weekly when I was a middle schooler, carefully reading one critic over the other.

So, imagine my surprise this week when I disagreed not once, but TWICE with one of my favorite critics. Leonard Maltin, who many of us have heard of because of his movie guides and a stint on Entertainment Tonight, hosts a weekly podcast with his daughter called "Maltin on Movies" (which I recommend, by the way). While the podcast usually takes an interview format (he often hosts celebrities and film luminaries), this week focused on the current state of film consumption. While discussing the way the Internet has changed everything, he admitted to writing poor reviews of Wonder Woman and Dunkirk.

Um, no. Just no. I completely disagree with Maltin, in varying words, calling these very different films "boring". Apparently, a lot of his readers did, too, which is why he and his daughter found the subject of their latest episode.

What's interesting to me is that all of these people had a say and, therefore, an impact on the critic. In the film industry specifically, this has become an increasingly unavoidable issue. Articles about the impact of a Rotten Tomatoes score on the movie-going public keep popping up (here's a recent one from Wired). "Film Twitter" is a thing (I try desperately to be a part of it). But, it's not just movies that are impacted.

Yes, we have always been critics. We have always been able to voice our opinions about whatever, whenever (well, sort of. And not globally). But, yes, the Internet and social media have changed things. I've often heard people say that social media makes them realize that "not everyone should have a voice". I disagree with that statement, but I will argue that we probably shouldn't listen to everyone about everything.

Still, it's an incredible thing that someone who hasn't gone to culinary school can impactfully praise a restaurant, or someone who's tone deaf can have a great taste in music. It's also incredibly humbling that someone who has worked in film criticism can be so wrong by the public's standards (sorry, Mr. Maltin. I really do respect you, but go Wonder Woman). Maybe this makes it a lot harder for people to know who to trust, but I also think it creates an environment in which confidently finding your own voice is important. Yes, maybe listen to the critics sometimes, but also recognize that you are a critic, no fancy byline necessary. Just don't tweet too much. Everyone hates that.

If you like this, I would love it if you'd like my Facebook Page. I promise I follow my own advice.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I'm Still Not Sure

I've tried to start this post several times over the past few weeks. For one thing, it's incredibly difficult to write after not doing so for months (seven, to be exact). It's another thing entirely to admit that I don't know what I'm doing, where I'm going, or who I am.

That being said, I've done it before. Two years ago, I posted a video on YouTube entitled "I'm Not Sure". Now, if you've never seen this before, I completely understand. I just watched it for the first time since I posted it, and it was cringeworthy. This is not only because it's weird to watch 20 year old me go through her YouTube phase, touch her face too much, talk with some strange inflection in her voice. Well, that's certainly part of it. Really, though, it's because nothing's changed.

At the end of the video, I say I'm grateful that I have a year and a half left of college to "figure it all out". That year and a half has passed. I gradu…

Talking to Myself in the Mirror

I think it's a pretty safe bet that a lot of aspiring actors/writers/directors/filmy people practice their future Oscar speech in the mirror as kids. I did. Who am I kidding? I still do. It comes with the territory. My mirror talks go, ahem, went (who am I kidding? go) further.

Sometimes, I do my makeup while talking to Barbara Walters. Other days, brushing my hair turns into a podcast interview. Most of the time, though, I rehearse what I'm going to say to my heroes. These hypothetical moments are incredibly important, and I can't afford to say anything stupid, so car rides, showers, and mornings getting ready are devoted to preparation.

This probably makes me sound crazy. The word "narcissist" may also come to mind. I think one of my heroes would have appreciated both the crazy and the narcissism in this bit of oversharing, though, but we lost her this morning.

One of my first posts on this blog was a tribute to Carrie Fisher. I read it over this afternoon after…

Change is a Good Thing

I'm a binge watcher. A product of my time. There are still, however, shows I will watch as they air. Sure, most of them are award shows, but that still counts, right?

American Horror Story falls into the very tiny category of non-awards shows I'll tune into live every week. After hearing a ton of hype, I watched the first couple seasons on Netflix, then started tuning in every Wednesday starting in season three. Even if I hadn't watched the first couple of seasons, I wouldn't have missed anything. Each season is a brand new story, a chance for the showrunners and a troupe of actors to explore something new.

After the third season, though, I felt like something was missing. The cast of characters kept getting bigger, more subplots kept developing, and, to me, the series began to feel scattered and unpolished. In short, it lost its edge. Despite loving the show and the amazing cast, I couldn't finish last season.

I went into this year thinking I was going to skip it a…