State of the Art: Isn’t Brie Just Another Name For Cheese?



WITH PROMINENT MICROPHONES COMES A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY NOT TO MAKE A BLOODY FOOL OF YOURSELF: Why are those in Hollywood such slow studies with such a simple concept?

     At a recent celebration of the annual Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards (which once again demonstrated that [1] all of the good names for award presentations have already been taken, and [2] if there were ever a sudden shortage of Lucite, the self-congratulation branch of the entertainment industry would face its greatest internal crisis since the Great Sequin Famine of 1943-45), actress Brie Larson entered the current roster of righteous Hollywood figures who rage with public indignation, offering up yet another apportioning of media attentive outrage intended to advance their own sense of superior humanitarianism by promoting an ill-conceived notion of forced social diversity (a diversity which, one might note with interest, never intrudes upon their own career opportunities); an intellectual Charge of the Light Brigade consisting entirely of transparent shaming tactics, empowered, ironically enough, not through persuasive, cogent dialogue, but with an aggressively faulty logic steeped in blatant sexism, ageism and racism.

    And just what was the subject of this diatribe, addressed to the collected enclave of empowered industry women? Unfortunately, instead of directing well deserved constructively deconstructive observations at the increasing creative bankruptcy afflicting Hollywood, the focus of this particular current personal embarrassment mistaken for enlightened cultural activism seems to be aimed at that most non complicit of industry punching bags: the film critic (always at fault for an unbiased recognition of the stench of cinema offal, don’t you know?); with this latest attack unaccountably centered about the generally lackluster critical response to the current terrible incarnation of “A Wrinkle in Time”, which, according to Ms. Larson’s rather unevolved progression of logic, would have been rightfully deemed a work of meritorious accomplishment, if only it had been fairly judged; not by the existent critical roster, the majority of whom are caustically dismissed by the actress as “some old white dude”, but by a more hand-picked cadre of enthusiastically nurturing cheerleading sycophants, comprised entirely of women, persons of color, teens, or more favorably: an amalgam of all three.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in books, Culture, Film Criticism, movie reviews, Movies, racism, women, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to State of the Art: Isn’t Brie Just Another Name For Cheese?

  1. Alex Good says:

    Hm. I didn’t see Larson’s speech, but it seems she’s suggesting a couple of different things.

    In the first place there’s the idea that we need more diversity of critical voices. I hear this a lot when it comes to book reviewing, where penis counting is a cottage industry, and some of the complaints are fair. I’m all for diversity but what I find these complaints don’t seem to understand is that being a critic is not some glamorous, highly-paid, perch of power. Most of it is being done by freelancers (or even bloggers) for little or no pay, and most criticism is in the process of being replaced anyway by the hive mind of aggregators like Amazon and GoodReads reviews (for books), or IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes (for movies). There doesn’t seem to be much point in beating up on old white dudes, given what’s happening. And I agree that the notion that the studios be given even more control over the critical reception of their product is depressing.

    The other point she’s making has to do with being judged by a jury of her peers. In other words, a film should only be judged by its target audience. I hear this a lot when film critics dump on the latest Transformers or Marvel superhero movie and a crowd of commenters say “Sure it’s a brainless popcorn flick full of things exploding, but that’s what I paid to see! Does this guy think every movie should be Citizen Kane???” Another time this becomes an issue is when reviewing children’s films. Obviously the reviewer isn’t part of the target audience, so how does he or she know what kids like, or what’s good for them? Shouldn’t they just go to a matinee full of kids and take notes on the audience’s reaction and leave it at that? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this, aside from feeling that critics should probably stay away from films they know they’re not going to like. But I wouldn’t go beyond that, and it sounds like Larson is trying to push things further.

    I agree that a lot of this signaling from Hollywood is motivated by self interest, which tends to turn me off as well.

  2. beetleypete says:

    Luckily, I am old enough to remember a time before acting got so tied up with politics, and Oscars were the only thing that mattered. Then all sorts of strange things started to happen, and certain actors and actresses decided that lots of people paying to see them in a film made them somehow ‘above’ other people, therefore more intelligent, intellectual, and important. We not only had to listen to what they thought, but act on it too.
    Truth is, they are only ever as good as their last film. Ask all those who died drunk and alone, friendless, and penniless.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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