Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Bloggers Are Coming!

I recently read an article by Sasha Stone over at Awards Daily, which in turn was inspired by a piece written by Karina Longworth at SpoutBlog, about a Telluride panel where filmmakers and critics bemoaned the death of cinema and film criticism as we know it.

Both are changing of course, but I find it interesting that with the exception of Variety's Anne Thompson, all the panelists seemed to lay the blame at the feet of one group - bloggers.

Now I know I've been hard on some of my fellow bloggers in the past. But my stance has softened somewhat since then. I still think that the majority of blogs are rubbish and that you have to sift through all the noise to find the real talent - but there are some great new voices being fostered out here. As the newspapers continue to die out, the internet will continue to rise as the primary source of news and information. As a print critic, no one mourns the decline of the newspaper more than me, but you can't stop the inevitable. You can slow it down, but it can't be prevented. We live in a society that doesn't value print like it once did - we want to see it on a computer, and we want to see it now. Newspapers can never match the immediacy of the internet.

As such, anybody with an opinion can have a blog. This is not necessarily a bad thing as I have bemoaned in the past - you don't always have to have a degree in film or a paying gig as a professional critic - all you need to have is a love of movies and a computer.

That doesn't necessarily mean I have to pay any attention to you or give you any credibility, but some of the best new voices out there are just regular passionate cinephiles who love to write about film.

The internet is a global marketplace of ideas, and as such film criticism has become a much more interactive process. It is no longer a one way street - the critic writing the opinions in the ivory tower and printing them for all to see. Now, through blogs, commenters make us examine and defend our opinions, present alternate views, and ultimately, open our eyes to things we may have missed. It is a community effort, a constant revisionary process where criticism isn't always resolute and final, but opinions are living, breathing things brought to life through discussion and debate.

It's not always perfect. Often this can devolve into a giant circle jerk where dissenting opinions are dismissed, ignored, or frowned upon. But as long as disagreements remain civil I find that they are an essential part of the process. No opinion is absolute and no criticism final. We evolve just like everything else. There are always going to be cynical jerks out there, and ravenous fanboys waiting to pounce on anyone who doesn't agree with their narrow opinions or that they view as intellectually inferior But such is life. These trolls are to be ignored, not encouraged, so the intelligent, civil debate can continue as it should.

It's often a chore sifting through the the dirt to find the gems, but they're worth it. Blogs are here to stay, and as the lesser voices fade away, the ones that matter, the ones with talent, will continue to thrive.

Welcome to the next generation of film criticism.

2 comments:

Sam Juliano said...

Excellent review of a great film! The top rating is warranted as I'm sure you feel as I do that this is a strong contender at this point for the film of the year.

I can read your excitement of finally seeing the film and it fully living up to all the hype.

Matthew Lucas said...

Thank you Sam!

I assume you meant to post this on my MAN ON WIRE review? ;-)