Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Filmbound - Episode 11: A Wrinkle in Time

Assuming good faith on behalf of the person expressing an opinion ranks near the top of qualities I would like to see change in the internet discourse about films.  A WRINKLE IN TIME reviews elicited a lot of bad faith assumptions about those who didn't like the film and those who did, although my general impression is that those who disliked director Ava DuVernay's fantasy adventure were more likely to assign ulterior motives to the writers of positive reviews.  From samples of what I read, I'm inclined to agree that some, not all, of the favorable reviews seemed willing to give A WRINKLE IN TIME a pass in a manner that I didn't consider particularly persuasive, yet I also need to recognize that I am surely guilty of doing the same thing in some of my assessments. 

Chances are that everyone writing about art does this from time to time.  It's natural to be more generous or protective of those things we have a history of enjoying.  Am I more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to a veteran filmmaker whose prior work I've frequently praised than a new director?  Probably.  The goal is to account for our subjective tendencies and support our opinions so that when our reflexive perspectives emerge in the writing, there is still a solid foundation for the argument.  Obviously that can be easier said than done, so while we all try to be better, let's grant the leeway that people are being genuine with what they put in their reviews, even if we're not always convinced by what they say.

The second part of episode 11 features a discussion about films from about the last fifteen years that were commercial and/or critical flops that Paul and I think may be considered classics in the long run.  I've been reviewing films since 1997, so it's interesting to look back at what dominated conversations and observe which ones have demonstrated more staying power.  Pick a year at random, and then look up the Academy Awards and critics groups' nominees or a critic's best of the year list.  You'll find a number of films or performers that were considered essential to give validity to those lists at the time but have mostly faded from memory while hindsight now reveals what has endured.  (Naturally, this isn't a perfect system, so some things that have fallen off the radar may not deserve it.)  Of course, there's nothing guaranteeing that the films we name in this segment will last, but as we recorded this show a couple weeks after the most recent awards season wrapped, I found it instructive to note that victory in the short run didn't necessarily translate to the long term and vice versa.

Upcoming episodes:

-April 11: MINORITY REPORT and our recommendations segment
-April 18: UNSANE and our recommendations segment
-April 25: READY PLAYER ONE and a to-be-determined topic
-May 2: A QUIET PLACE and our recommendations segment
-May 9: ISLE OF DOGS and a to-be-determined topic

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