Get Over Yourself – Critics are Relevant for a Reason

I recently went to a holiday party – not the best idea, because I had a migraine the size of Montana and was going to be sequestering myself in a small, enclosed space with a roomful of very nice people who have very different views of the world than I.

Montana

Why yes, I did use “Montana” adjectivally because of the alliteration that resulted. #nerdalert

Amongst these nice people with very different views of the world was a Lord of the Rings fan who has seen the movies multiple times, but not noticed any innuendo in the “friendship” between Sam and Frodo.

Um... okay

Um… okay

We then got into an argument about whether or not “The Hobbit” really needed to be made into 3 films. This ended with a haughty closing down on his behalf, and the words: “Well, when you’ve seen any of the films, I’ll value your opinion.”

04_21_2011_haughty

Now, to be fair, I haven’t seen any of the “The Hobbit” movies. But there is a reason for this.

There are lot of great movies and other works of art. There are also a lot of shitty ones (hopefully not including this blog post…). And while some people might jizz in their pants over every big-budget blockbuster released by Hollywood, other people jizz in their pants over pretentious low-budget indie films, while still other people simply prefer to read the books on which most movies are based.

Unfortunately, there is not enough time to view every movie ever made, read every book ever written, or even get an adequate amount of sleep.

branklin sleep

Due to this lack of infinite time, the best a person can do is know him- or herself well, and make choices to the best of his or her ability that will prove entertaining to him or her. One of the best resources in formulating these hypotheses regarding personal choice entertainment fodder is the critic.

A well written or well worded critical review can be entertainment, in and of itself. Yet what is really sought from a critic is someone whose opinions are generally fairly in line with your own; there is, after all, no such thing as an unbiased review. Some reviews might be more accessible to a wider range of people, but by nature, reviews are subjective, and must all be taken with at least a grain, if not an entire shaker-full, of salt.

salt_shaker

I am writing this blog post partially because I didn’t get a chance to explain myself to some haughty dork I will probably never see again at a party the other night, partially because I write reviews myself and would like to think I am doing it for a purpose, and partially because as a frequent reader of reviews, I actually am of the opinion that well-written reviews have a purpose, even if all of the opinions ever written are not necessarily of use to me.

I have not personally seen any of “The Hobbit” movies. I don’t intend to. And it’s not because I’ve read the book (though I have, several times). It is because, based on things I have read and heard regarding these movies from people whose opinion I think generally fairly reflect my own, based on my own intellectual repulsion by the idea that this one action-packed book is being strung out into 3 movies, likely primarily because Hollywood wants to greedily snatch more money, all indications seem high that I will not enjoy any of these movies.

I could be wrong. I will concede it is entirely possible these Hobbit movies are amaze-balls, and I am missing out immensely because I’m not viewing them.

But if I’m not wrong? If I decide to go see this movie because people whose opinion of the world generally don’t correlate with my own think that I should, and then I don’t like them, that’s a lot of time that is gone. That I could have spent playing with my two-year-old son. That I could have spent curled up on the couch, reading a book. That I could have spent staring at the wall. Each of these Hobbit movies is over two hours long. Two hours is a lot of time to give up to an activity you don’t really think you’re going to enjoy.

Seriously. 2+ hours

Seriously. 2+ hours

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