Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An Obsession of Criticism

I have an obsession with criticism. Before you start telling me what you don't like about me, let me clarify. I obsessively read criticism of movies, music, video games, and occasionally books. After I see a movie for the first time, I go to Roger Ebert's website and read what he thought about the movie. I also double-up and read what Peter Travers (the movie critic for Rolling Stone) thought about the same film. Everyday, I go to Rolling Stone's website to see if they posted any new album reviews. I also check what is said on Filter's (another rock magazine) website and Pitchfork-media (a delightfully unforgiving rock criticism website). For video games, I receive Game Informer in the mail, and if I can't wait to see what they said about a certain game, I check their website. If they don't have it, I got to Gamespot.com. And sometimes, I go to Metacritic which is a website that compiles all the reviews from all the different mediums and I can see snippets of what everyone that matters in the criticism world said about a movie, cd, video game, or book. Surprisingly, I did not realize I had an obssesion with criticism until a few days ago. I was reading two books alternately, by Chuck Klosterman (a pop culture critic) and a book with the writings of Lester Bangs (arguably the greatest rock critic of all-time). My wife knows that I'm a big fan of Roger Ebert's criticisms when it comes to movies, and she asked me what he rated some movies that had recently come out (how many stars a movie got). I told her that Be Kind Rewind got 2 and a half stars, The Other Boleyn Girl also got 2 and a half stars and surprisingly, the Spiderwick Cronicles got 3 and a half. I was not surprised I remembered these numbers so well. I was actually surprised that I knew the gist of what he said about all of them. Not only that, but I could remember the gist of what he said about a lot of other movies as well. However, this doesn't weird me out. What I find fascinating about criticism is how it gives you the ability to get more out of your experience from using your chosen piece of entertainment, provided the critic has something interesting to say about that piece of entertainment. Critics often see things that the average person does not that makes the average person totally change their perspective on what they thought the entertainment was trying to say. For example, I'm currently watching the video for "Scar Tissue" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Someone who does not know the history of the band, just sees them driving in a beat-up car with broken guitars and bandages on their head and face. They look like they just got jumped. To the average person, the video is mildly entertaining. But to someone who knows the history of the band, they would tell you that the video is a metaphor for their troubled past. Three members in the bands have had trouble with drug-addiction, and one member died from it. But despite all of that, they still manage to move forward with their careers and their personal lives. When the average person hears this, it makes them really appreciate this a lot more. And this is why I'm obsessed with criticism. It makes me learn about the entertainment I enjoy which in turn makes me enjoy it even more.

2 comments:

Amber said...

hey maybe YOU could be a critic! something to think about - you do have marketing and you DID take a lot of writing classes :)

keira said...

That's what I was going to say...