I’ve read this article written by Mr. Buchanan, who felt there was a need to defend film reviewers in regards to their reviews, critics if you prefer. I know you do. I’m 100% certain film critics agreed with it. Why not, after all?
Don’t blame critics when your blockbusters are bad
I will tell you why not. I’m a librarian, I work (or used to) with books. There are books I like, there are books I don’t like. I make my living from books. It would be different if I was a book critic (trust me, I can do that too). Say, I’m reviewing a book. Poetry. Lord Byron. Right? «She walks in Beauty» and all that… knowing the poet’s background is nice. It helps me understand his time and place in society, his thoughts and ideas better. And then, I criticize his work. Not his life or his background, or his death….
Still with me?
For one thing, I couldn’t care less about Baywatch so I’m going to leave that out of this little piece of critic.
A year ago, I would most probably not particularly care about Pirates of the Caribbean either. I would wait for some TV station to air it so I could watch it. Or not. After all, I only watched the three sequels last year.
I’m starting with the title of the article. Mr Buchanan says «not to blame critics when your blockbusters are bad«. Tell you what, I agree. There are some really, really bad blockbusters, same as there are really, really bad indie films. It’s just that studios have spent more money in blockbusters because they thought they would get their money back. The only way to get their money back is for people to go watch their movies. Film critics are in no way obligated to write a good review so studios get their money back.
And that’s where my agreements with the article end. Because he then starts to explain his reasoning and… boy is it in a wrong way or what?
What should film reviews be about? In my very humble opinion, film reviews are about the movies, their technical parts, their script, their director, their cast (and by this, I mean acting).
The fact that Mr. Buchanan felt he had to defend his profession against the big, bad studios that are the only reason he actually has a job as a film reviewer is telling of the fact something’s wrong.
And if you didn’t understand what I wrote, if the studio’s accusations weren’t founded on something, he would have whistled indifferently and written nothing. Which would have been the decent thing to do, all things considered. But decency is not something found in media nowadays.
«Blaming the press for their own missteps and then threatening to suspend all access if coverage isn’t positive? Okay, I spoke too soon: Now we’re really wading into Trump territory. To blast critics for the failures of these movies is like blasting your dentist for noticing a cavity, and there were plenty of problems with both Baywatch and Pirates before they ever screened for press.»
Oh look: Studios consider reviewers responsbible for some movies failing in the box office.
Mr. Buchanan disagrees and puts the blame of these two films’ failure (sic) on three things (that are not the press): marketing, stars, quality.
«Domestic audiences can smell the cynical cash grab.»
As opposed to international audiences who are stupid to the bone and went to watch PotC5 that had a gross of 285 millions on the first week of the movie’s release?
I can see why he calls PotC5 a failure.
No, wait. I can’t. It had the 12th best opening ever. (Overseas. Outside of America, where we are stupid, according to Mr. Buchanan, apparently.) For a fifth film of a «tired, boring, no one wants to watch» franchise it did rather well. Not, for Mr. Buchanan, who indeed has an agenda.
- The stars
«Little more needs to be said about Depp’s waning star appeal, which had already been whittled down by flops like The Tourist and Transcendence but took a further hit after spousal-abuse allegations and headlines about profligate spending. If people don’t even want to see your full face on a billboard anymore, they won’t rush to see it in theatres, either.»
See explanation above about 1. and laugh. Hard. It is funny.
Also to further point out the fact that I’m a dimwit for Mr. Buchanan, I admit I really like Transcendence despite the fact it was a flop. (The Tourist wasn’t really a flop, but let’s not contradict Mr. Buchanan.) *
Yeah, I agree. It’s not as if awful movies have done greater than great in box office. No way, domestic audience is smart that way. Transformers, Twilight saga, 50 shades of whatever etc… to name a few. DCEU has some of them too. (But we can’t say that right now because Wonder Woman is the wonder of modern cinema, according to the very same critics)
I forgot to mention Mr. Buchanan’s explanation over why PotC5 is a bad movie in regards to quality. Read and weep.
«As for Pirates, if Depp can barely be bothered to go to set and is giving such a phoned-in performance that he’s allegedly being fed lines via earpiece, what reason is there for anyone else to be giving this enterprise their best work? These movies are only being made now so the invested principals can afford more houses; they aren’t being made to please audiences, and they certainly aren’t bombing because critics didn’t like them. Give us a good movie, and we’ll support it. Give us a bad one, and audiences won’t need critics to confirm their palpable disinterest.»
Seriously, this is his reasoning over why Dead Men Tell No Tales is a bad film.
Mr. Buchanan isn’t even trying to defend film reviewers any longer. He’s jumping on the same, lame bandwagon of hating Mr. Depp over allegations that were never proven. PotC5 is bad because of Mr. Depp. The whole of the movie’s quality is down to him being late and being unable to learn his lines (the latter has been debunked by Mr. Depp’s own boss btw, but who cares?)
To further demonstrate my point, I made the effort to go to rotten tomatoes and check some of the reviews about PotC5.
Review. from New York Post, written by Sara Steward:
Depp should walk the plank for disastrous new ‘Pirates’
«Welcome to the fifth — and, Davy Jones willing, the last — installment of this franchise: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp Is Bad With Money.”
It’s a little less cute these days to watch his Jack Sparrow swish about drunkenly, knowing the actor’s been accused of being an abusive lush. Equally wearisome is the spectacle of a once-entertaining franchise staggering around, devoid of purpose.»
All extremely professional.
and it ends:
» But the real ugliness here is sheer Hollywood greed — which, like a crew of cursed skeleton pirates, seems destined to live on forever.»
Yes, as opposed to all other films made in studio that do it from the goodness of their heart. Ms Steward’s favourite movies are those you get to see in the cinema for free and studios don’t get any money.
…and truth be told I didn’t go any further. Not that I didn’t want to read all other negative (and positive) reviews, but the one above turned my stomach.
Articles upon articles upon articles written about the «diminishing allure» of the movie’s protagonist and how boring & stale the franchise is. Add to that, the authors writing proud articles about why not us nor Hollywood can forgive Mr. Depp (over one thing or another) because apparently audiences and the press have definitely replaced the law.
It’s not as if some film reviewers haven’t spent time and effort to bash the protagonist on their twitter accounts showing the professionalism of a radish.
In my opinion, Mr. Buchanan’s article was unnecessary.
It also proved that what he denies actually happens.
No! PotC5 is not a failure, but film critics would have loved it to be.
Is it their job to decide which movie has to be a success? Or is it their job to professionally review a film? Not according to agendas, but according to a movie’s quality. And leave it there.
Press, in general, and not only film critics made a huge effort so Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge be a failure, not only critically but financially as well. They succeeded in the first…
We see them trying hard to make Wonder Woman a success.
The thing is they are so transparent it almost hurts. They have no credibility left. None whatsoever.
And I say this as someone who spent her teenage years dreaming of becoming a film reviewer.
Because I loved films, not because I had the idea of controlling studios or propagating ideas and movements. I was naive that way.
Film reviewers should sit back and remember what their job is; it is not to instruct the audience what to watch; it is not to dictate which film should fail… it’s just to review it.
- Blade Runner (1982)
- The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
- Fight Club (1999)
PS. I still think the fact they try to present Wonder Woman as the best thing in movies is worse than PotC’s rating in Rotten Tomatoes.