California Literary Review

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A Voice In The Night Tells Dan Fields To Shut Up (Although He Does Have A Point)

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January 12th, 2011 at 7:00 am

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Dan Fields, you are dead to me.

Oh wait, I mean well respected.

Movie Still: Let Me In

Dan Fields claims I never saw Let Me In. He’s right, but that doesn’t necessarily make me wrong.

I’ve never met a single film critic who hasn’t published a list of the Top Ten Movies of ____, nor have I met a single film critic who has seen every film in that given year. Even ignoring festival releases and foreign films (which may not be available in all markets, or even garner an American release at all), and even ignoring Straight-To-Video movies, TV movies, and pornography (which combined may equal thousands of movies in a single year… or ‘movies,’ if you feel like naysaying), there are still hundreds of films released in any given 365.25 day period.

Most critics make a concerted effort to see the biggest movies of the year as well as the most critically-acclaimed – a double-edged sword if ever there was one (how can it be critically-acclaimed before we even see it?) – and some of us even try to see the worst movies while we’re at it (I certainly tried), but some things are just bound to fall between the cracks. Recently I asked many of my film critic friends to contribute to a thread on Facebook in which we all admitted to three important or “classic” films that we’ve never seen. Everyone had them. We’re a little embarrassed about it, but damn it, there are a lot of films out there, and I just hadn’t seen The Sound of Music yet (although I have since rectified that situation, so shut up).

Movie Still: The Sound of Music

Yes, I finally saw The Sound of Music. But no, I didn’t need to change my Top 100 Films Ever Made list.

You got me, Dan. I didn’t see Let Me In this year. But just for the hell of it, just in the interest of full disclosure, here are 25 other films from 2010 that I still haven’t gotten around to. In my defense, I’d be shocked if any critic couldn’t cull together a similar list. This inventory of missed opportunities doesn’t invalidate my Top and Bottom Ten Lists of 2010: They are great and terrible movies, respectively. It just means that there may be other great and terrible films out there too. If your favorite or least favorite movie is among this sorry lot then feel free to take my 2010 lists with a grain of salt. And feel free to bitch about it. Dan sure did.*

IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:

The American

The Back-Up Plan

Blue Valentine

Burlesque

Date Night

Devil

Due Date

Eat Pray Love

Edge of Darkness

Grown Ups

Hereafter

The Karate Kid

Legion

Letters To Juliet

Megamind

The Other Guys

Paranormal Activity 2

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Sex and the City 2

Shrek Forever After

The Tooth Fairy

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Valentine’s Day

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Yogi Bear

*Actually, that’s not fair. Of course it was a joke, but the important thing is to clarify that Dan’s impassioned defense of a film that affected him emotionally and stimulated him intellectually and that, damn it, most people ignored completely or just didn’t make a concerted effort to see, is worth reading. The purpose of critics – any kind of critics – is to be a consumer advocate. Usually this takes the form of negative criticism: “Avoid Clash of the Titans because it’s crap,” etc. But consumer advocates also need to go out of their way to make certain that consumers – of art, technology, food or what have you – are steered in the direction of worthwhile products. Films are art, always art, but they cost money to make and to watch (at least they’re supposed to), so on some level a film critic is always trying to help you spend your money wisely. If Let Me In was as worthwhile an artistic expression as Dan Fields claims, then that $12 I spent on tacos last October would have been better spent on this film.

Movie Still: Clash of the Titans

I suppose Clash of the Titans might not actually be ‘The Worst Movie of the Year.’ But that doesn’t make it any damned good.

I may or may not agree with Dan’s assessment of Let Me In when I do finally see the it (and see it I will when Let Me In is released on home video this February 1st), but his strong endorsement of the film and his description of the positive affect it had on him as both an audience member and a film critic has convinced me to give it a shot when otherwise I’d felt less inclined. You did your job, sir.

Next time let me do mine.**

**Kidding.***

***Not really.****

****…Yeah.

  • http://calitreview.com Adam Thomas

    FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

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