Case in point, Dolph Lundgren posted this review for The Expendables 2 on his Facebook today:
"The Expendables 2 is far from a perfect film, but it at least has the benefit of knowing what it wants to be, aiming absolutely no higher than being a good old boy romp through various places with all sorts of nifty, mayhem wreaking toys. This Blu-ray looks and sound great and comes with some good supplements. Recommended."Ok, that sounds like a good review, I suppose. It praises the movie, generally, and points out some good strengths. Fair enough. But why start with “…is far from a perfect film”? What the fuck is a perfect film? I can point out plot holes, bad acting and weaknesses in just about any film, so IMHO there is no such thing. And what about that little “aiming absolutely no higher than being a good old boy romp…” part? What a back-handed compliment. What a condescending pat on the head. As if to say “Yes, you’re a fun little movie, but you’re not real art.”
- Jeffrey Kauffman, BLU-RAY.COM
The problem is that film critics (both formally trained and couch commando types) measure films on a single scale. Invariably, this scale will measure acting ability and artistic relevance, but only in the context of genre. If a movie is a drama, the performances are given more weight. Conversely, in an action movie, the performances are automatically assumed to be lesser. Because if they were really acting, they’d be in a drama, right?
Oh, and of course, if the movie features some kind of melodramatic love-story it gets extra points. And bonus kudos if the male lead sheds tears. Because that is ACTING! That’s high art. That’s class and sophistication. Oh, those explosions and well-choreographed fight scenes and violent death scenes are just…fun. But they’re not real art.
Here’s an idea - why don’t we judge movies based on how well they represent their genre? For instance, if an action movie has a hero that is believable, fight scenes that are exciting and well-choreographed, and a narrative pace that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, let’s just call that a good movie and be done. No need for qualifiers, no need to place it in the context of it being “only an action movie.” And the same standards can be adapted to other genres. Did that comedy make you laugh? Was the plot logical, the characters relatable? Yes? Oh, then it’s a good movie. Period.
Nothing grates my nerves more than to hear someone give me a laundry list of things they like about a movie, and then finish up with “But I wouldn’t call it a good movie.” Why not, you pretentious prick? Get over yourself. You’re probably not nearly as sophisticated or as smart as you think you are, asshole.
Yeah, I get a little irate about this kind of stuff. Sue me.