Look, let it be known, I really enjoyed The Town, which was, yes, directed and co-written by Ben Affleck. I even reviewed it on this blog. I also have a soft spot for Ben Affleck, who I think is fairly underrated as a actor (which is understandable, in the face of the poor choices he's made, repeatedly), and is proving to be a very competent filmmaker. So, yes...I liked The Town quite a bit.
Is it "genius?" No. It's not. It's no The Departed, because Affleck, as much as I like his workmanlike direction, and his tastes in subject matter match mine (based on this film, and the fantastic Gone, Baby, Gone), is not Martin Scorsese. I certainly don't think it'll win Best Picture.
However, it's a very well-made mainstream thriller. Y'know, the kind of thing that used to be respected because it does the job, tells a story, and doesn't get too involved it trying to be impressive. Affleck, Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm are all very good in it. It's a guys movie, the ladies have somewhat thankless roles, but both Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively (yes, THAT Blake Lively) do good work with what they have.
It's also a film that doesn't cheat. It sets up an untenable position for the characters, and marches purposefully toward the bad end. Yeah, sure there's a few rays of hope, but characters we are invested in die, and the guy doesn't really get the girl.
I got up after seeing it, and felt really good about paying full price to see it. That's a damn fine review in my book. Again, your tastes may not jibe with this, but it's not a disaster, and it's certainly not embarrassing for Mr. Affleck. I hate star scales, usually, but I'd give a very solid 4 out of 5.
And y'know what? A lot of people agree with me.
So, yesterday when I stumbled across a "review" of the film that was offensive in it's dismissal, I felt the need to comment. I won't even link to it, because, frankly, I don't want to drive traffic to them. I respect a conversation about any film, I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions.
I see far too many "reviews" that read like what was watched wasn't the movie, but a trailer. No, I don't think it's funny when you say things that amount to "of course it's a stupid movie, BEN AFFLECK directed it." Or, your sole critique of Blake Lively's performance is that it's BLAKE LIVELY.
I read that, and all I can say is...Fuck You.
Fuck you because you are not interested in a discussion of film, you are not interested in craft, you are interested in building a online cachet by saying snarky thinks about famous people. There's a difference between trying to instigate a conversation about a movie, and talking trash because you want to feel superior to famous people. Read that as: You are jealous of famous people.
Seriously, I am so tired idiots that spill drivel and bile, and feel entitled to do so just because they paid for a domain, or can set up a blogger account. You want to talk about movies, or music, or comics, or whatever...that's fantastic, but if you can't back up what your saying with anything more than personal swipes, go to hell. Not to say there's not films that deserve to be marginalized, I'll accept a complete dismissal of a film, as long as you explain why. Roger Ebert's classic review of I Spit on Your Grave comes directly to mind.
Plus, there's the pervasive internet belief that, if you have a blog, you know everything. Take, for example, from this review I'm looking at, the comments about Affleck's "crappy" Boston accent...
Well, see, Affleck is a Boston NATIVE. You are not, or at least your bios don't indicate you are. I would, in this particular case, defer to his ear on the subject, rather than a couple of bloggers from Chicago.
That's just me.
Oh, and I know, the defense will be, "but we were just trying to be FUNNY!" There's a difference between pretentious snark and funny. There's a difference between what this "review" was doing, and what happens over at, say, Eric & Andy's Reviews You Can Lews.Which has it's share of snark, for sure, but it comes from a place of utter ridiculousness to begin with. What it also has is zero pretension. Eric and Andy, no matter how far they go, never give you the sense that they're above what they're writing about.
And before you get all high and mighty about me...Yep, I have a blog. Yep, I share my opinions. I also make every effort to share exactly why I feel the way I do about everything I write about. If I were to ever review some like say, The Awful Truth, or whatever it was called, I'd have to tell you I hate it, and it's because Katherine Heigl is an actress that makes me want to punch the screen. And, yes, it is because she's made apparently every effort to share with the whole world what a colossal bitch she is.
But...that's why I would never review one of her films, because I know my personal feelings would completely get in the way of any sort of constructive discussion.
Of course, yes, you have caught me. My personal feelings about the way you went about reviewing a film that I personally like have spilled out all over this blog entry. However, I also think I've more an adequately supported my feelings on the matter in a way that could be debated and discussed.
Had you done the same, this blog wouldn't exist.