Well, I feel like my transformation into a bonafide professional movie reviewer is complete. This week over at Aleteia, I gave a less than stellar review to Transcendence, and while it inexplicably appears to be the most popular post I’ve ever done over there (at least based on the number of “likes”), not everyone is pleased. Over on Aleteia’s Facebook page, a few enraged Johnny Depp fans have shown up to declare me a (expletive deleted) because I dared to think a movie the dreamy JD was in fell apart at the end. Yes, there are now people who hate me personally because of a review. I have arrived!
The odd thing is, I didn’t really say anything bad about Depp’s performance. I merely poked fun at some of his more recent roles. It’s not like I’m the first person to do that…
See, it’s not just me. But even it was, I’m just calling it like I see it. I suppose it’s like the Bible says in the book of Amos, “They hate those who reprove at the gate and abhor those who speak with integrity.” Of course, that verse was referring to prophets who had been commissioned by God to point out acts of lawlessness and vice on the parts of the people, while I’m just talking about a silly motion picture. Admittedly, the “truth” in a movie review is a tad more subjective than the truth the prophets were dishing out. As I tried to explain to the angry mob on Facebook…
“Well, it seems I've upset the Johnny Depp fan club. I'm not sure why either, since I didn't really lay any of the faults of the movie at his feet. All I did was bring up the fact that I believe some of his recent roles have not been his best work because he's relied too much on the makeup. But, hey, if anyone wants to make an impassioned defense of Dark Shadows, knock yourselves out. I'll respectfully read your piece and then probably completely disagree with you. But that's how movie reviews work. You read enough of a person's reviews that you begin to understand their taste and how it relates to your own. Then you're able to use their opinion as a barometer on how you might or might not enjoy the movie. For instance, I often agreed with Roger Ebert on science fiction movies, but rarely on horror, so when he gave a negative review to anything scary, I always figured that was a good reason to check it out. Please feel free to do the same with me... Or you can just skip all that and immediately dismiss me as a dumba$$ because I thought a bad script ruined an otherwise interesting Johnny Depp movie.”
The “truth” is that I love debating about movies, so it doesn’t bother me at all that one of my reviews provoked this kind of response. Disagreement can be fun as long it’s done in the right spirit and the insults are aimed at what’s on the screen and not at who’s watching it. So keep those likes and dislikes coming, folks, I’ll take either one.
P.S. While we’re on the subject of truth, those of you who have read my review of Freejack here at the B-Movie Catechism might recognize that I recycled a few lines from that post for my review of Transcendence. I didn’t feel like it was cheating, though, since you have to come back here if you want all the detailed religious stuff behind the themes I was talking about over there.
P.P.S. And while we’re on the subject of film critics, please say a prayer for some of my fellow faith-based movie reviewers if you have the time. Now that most of the world has already forgotten Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and moved on, I just don’t know what they’re going to do with themselves. At least not until Ridley Scott’s Exodus comes around anyway.