January 2021 in Summary: Has the Decade Started Yet?

Some people would have you believe the 2020s didn’t actually start until 2021. Probably the same people who insist that, because there is no year 0, the 20th century didn’t start until January 1st 1901. Seems a little pedantic if you ask me.


Films watched in January 2021:

In theaters:

  • <None>

At home:

  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Stanley Kramer, 1963)
  • His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
  • Charulata (Satyajit Ray, 1964)
  • Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
  • sex, lies, and videotape (Steven Soderbergh, 1989)
  • A Simple Plan (Sam Raimi, 1998)
  • The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935)
  • Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
  • In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
  • The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993)

Films reviewed, but not watched in January 2021:

Upgrade

On occasion, I’m asked why I tend to single out 2018 as one of the worst years in the history of cinema. The answer is similar to why rock critics tend to single out 1974 as the single worst year in the history of their own field. If you’re not giving it much thought, it seems like a weird choice because 1974 certainly didn’t have a dearth of good music – far from it, in fact; superb albums such as Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, Robert Wyatt’s Rock Bottom, Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra, and Henry Cow’s Unrest all saw their release in 1974 – and that’s only barely scratching the surface.

No, to fully comprehend why the year has such an infamous reputation, you have to look at what was topping the pop charts at the time. Should you do so, you’ll realize the year was a hotbed for the most lightweight, kitschiest tunes imaginable (and some that go beyond that because most sane people couldn’t imagine tunes that lightweight or kitschy). The 1970s may be worshipped by cinephiles and music fans alike as a time for artistic freedom and daringness, but it’s easy to forget just how certifiably lame both mediums could get if you weren’t there seeing the cheese unfold (unmold?) in real time. Just to name one example, I have little doubt “The Night Chicago Died” by Paper Lace would’ve been the worst popular song of any year leading up to 1974, but on lists lambasting the worst songs of that particular year, it seldom cracks the bottom ten (and if it does, it usually hovers around #6 at worst). The sad thing? I can believe it was indeed not the worst song of that year. Todd in the Shadows put it best in his own assessment, realizing that when baby boomers say the 1970s was a worse decade for music than the 1960s, they meant that “it’s not that the good music was less good; it’s that your average music got so much worse [emphasis not added]”.

That’s more or less where I stand when it comes to my assessment of 2018 for films (and the 2010s in general when it comes to cinema), although it wasn’t even that 2018 had an unusually high number of bad films; if anything, 2017 had far greater number of infamously bad films with The Last Jedi being worse than anything I saw in 2018 – and keep in mind that 2017 somehow managed to be worse even without Dinesh D’Souza around to stink up the joint. No, instead my declaration of 2018 being one of the worst years in the history of cinema is based off of the fact that the good films of 2018 were indeed decidedly less good than those of 2017 with Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace being the sole, standalone, Western effort that can claim to be truly great. And the worst part is that it would’ve slipped underneath my radar had I not been watching Rotten Tomatoes like a hawk because it got practically no coverage from the press. Because I tend to see acclaimed films exclusively and distributors had no idea what they were doing, that is why I can say, in this case, the average films became worse.

As late as 2017, I found myself siding with critics over average moviegoers. But, then something changed; suddenly, critics began missing the mark with increasing frequency, coming down to weaker conclusions, lashing out at their audience when they didn’t see eye-to-eye, and relying on emotions over logic. I tend to cite The Last Jedi as the moment film critics jumped the shark, but I think we also have CinemaSins’s disinterested, anemic style of criticism to blame for this sudden shift. They themselves should get several Sin Points for officially making objective criticism uncool in the film critical circle because as a result of their antics, anyone could become a certified film critic as long as they played nicely with the prevailing sensibilities, credibility be damned.

So, the people who collectively decide what movies are or aren’t worth watching include a man who implicitly thinks that up to 80% of his own countrymen deserves to be in pain during a pandemic, a man whose company covered up the fact that one of their contributors was a sexual predator, and Armond White. Keep it classy, film critics; it’s what you do best.

Granted, I had seen plenty of films that didn’t live up to the critical hype before 2018 (District 9, Nightcrawler, and Ex Machina to name a few – and if we’re extending it to older films I saw at home before or after 2018, then Vertigo, Blowup, and Breathless can be added to that list), but that was usually limited to a once-per-year deal (if at all). In 2018, on the other hand, the critical darlings typically came in two flavors: lightweight (Eighth Grade, Gloria Bell, etc.) or quixotic (Hereditary, Vice, High Life, etc.). While film critics praised the directors thereof for their vision, it just reinforced the idea that they were seriously lagging behind artists in other mediums in terms of creativity (most notably anime and video games). It’s what happens when your medium has ruled the entertainment world for decades and has grown complacent as a result.

This brings us to Upgrade, which is not only emblematic of everything wrong with 2018 as a year for films, but contemporary Western science-fiction. I have, on numerous occasions, referred to the 2010s as the Dark Age of Science Fiction due to the narrative shifting away from the wonderment of what new technology could bring to a romanticized, Luddite lament over a world angry screenwriters felt was changing for the worse. It’s like what would happen if those annoying edgelords who post misanthropic comments in YouTube videos and TvTropes pages somehow managed to coopt an entire genre. While I’m sure at least some of them had humanity’s best interests at heart, it’s difficult to dismiss the idea that most of them were simply mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore – and wanted to make sure every single one of their audience members knew they were mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore by the time the credits rolled. There’s a world of difference between spinning a cautionary tale and venting to your audience for two hours.

It’s also not terribly wise to model your ethos after a guy suffering a mental breakdown on live television (even if he’s fictional). Just saying.

Now, technology, the excessive usage thereof, and tech companies are absolutely not beyond criticism, but much like how film critics abandoned objectivity like a dead trend once CinemaSins took off, I have to wonder why so many artists around that time felt abandoning or shunning technology was a preferable alternative. I can’t look at the idea of technology restoring one’s hearing and hypothetical implants that could allow a paraplegic to walk again and thinking to myself “Yeah, we need less science in our lives”. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things, but considering that science-fiction writers in the 2010s were far better at pointing out problems than proposing solutions, I find I can’t help but extrapolate a hypothetical solution based on what they’re complaining about.

Speaking on a more general level, I find that if a 2010s film fails, you can comfortably bet your bottom dollar that it’s because the writers didn’t think through their implications. Upgrade has much in common with Ex Machina in that, because its own writer did indeed not think through his implications, it is deeply anti-intellectual. It’s to the point where I’ve even asked myself which one is worse, and more often than not, I am stumped for an answer. Upgrade at its best is better than Ex Machina at its best on top of being far less pretentious, but that just made it a far bigger disappointment when it crashed and burned in the final act. Even if I were to definitively say which one is better somewhere down the line, I want to make it perfectly clear that neither film could be considered a winner; the real question is which film fails less. Regardless, if you’re looking for an actual good science-fiction piece from around the same time, stick with Blade Runner 2049.


Featured articles:

My Games of 2020 – With 2020 over, there are many year-end lists in the blogosphere. From what I’ve gathered, 2020 was actually a fairly good year for gaming despite all the craziness. Gaming Omnivore details some pretty interesting ones, reminding me that I need to check out Hades at some point.

The Worst of 2020 – And in the opposite direction, we have Ola G writing a “Worst Of” list for 2020. You’d think that the pandemic would halt the creation of bad art, but some managed to find a way. Granted, some of the pieces featured weren’t actually released in 2020, but it made for a rollercoaster either way.

Entitlement Gone Wrong – What is it with the most boisterous people ending up being the most thin-skinned? Ospreyshire muses on this strange bit of cognitive dissonance in a poem of his.

Looking back and ahead: 2021 – Once again 2020 is over. It sucked. Therefore, Nepiki wrote about what to look forward to in 2021. Thanks for the shout!

The Women who Preceded Google – Ever wondered how people found out stuff before the invention of online search engines? Desk Set, which Ruth of Silver Screenings reviews, provides a possible prototypical solution.

Gushing about Bastion – Speaking of Supergiant games I should check out, Aether talks about Bastion. If what I’ve heard of it is true, it’s a stellar example of video-game storytelling, which is something I can totally get behind.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Movie ReviewWonder Woman 1984 is shaping up to be one of those legendary disasters in the same league as The Last Jedi, though unlike the latter, it appears this one didn’t wow critics. Lashaan Balasingam’s takedown is definitely worth reading.

Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus Review – Scott of the Wizard Dojo has been checking out the Oddworld series. Puzzle-platformers are pretty difficult to get right due to the sheer amount of opposing forces of the two genres, so seeing a successful example has definitely piqued my interest.

Games In 2021 I’m Excited For – Seems as though there are plenty of interesting games to look forward to in 2021. Stephen Brown the Honest Gamer takes a look at several potentially interesting ones.

CD-PROJEKT RED Approach to Developing on Consoles was Wrong? – Were AAA gaming companies contractually obligated to be in a scandal in 2020? A year where everyone was stuck at home should’ve been a slam dunk for them, but many of them completely blew it. According to Emon Yagami, this includes CD Projekt RED’s botched launch for Cyberpunk 2077. Probably not the best idea to release your game on a console that can’t handle it.

Seven things that remind me of my childhood – Being part of the reason he writes what he writes, AK muses on seven things that give him a sense of nostalgia. I do like that he doesn’t go the “Everything was so much better back when I was a kid” route with it.

154 – Matt of Hi-Fi Adventures takes a look at Wire’s third (junior?) album 154, which is named after the number of gigs the band had played by that point. I would go as far as saying it’s my favorite Wire album, though I did like seeing what Matt had to say about it.


Links to my articles:

Film reviews:

Other posts:

34 thoughts on “January 2021 in Summary: Has the Decade Started Yet?

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. Yeah, I never thought of 2018 being a horrible year for cinema maybe because I was focused on works from previous years. You make some very fascinating points and when I saw that Doug Walker was a verified critic, I shook my head (thank you so much for calling out the heinous things Channel Awesome did).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Seconded on the Doug Walker thing too. I knew Bob Chipman was verified for some reason, but I didn’t think Walker had that kind of regard, or if he did that he must have lost it after the whole disaster of Channel Awesome falling apart.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I hear you right there, AK. Not going to lie, I used to watch Nostalgia Critic a ton in his earlier years, but I lost respect after his Dumbo review where he played ignorant about the crows and of course, the act of protecting that predator on their team as well as still giving him that tribute. That really makes me wonder about how he got that gig as a Rotten Tomatoes-affiliated critic.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I didn’t even see that Dumbo review, but wonder why he’d play dumb about that especially since it’s pretty damn obvious who the crows are meant to represent. Not like he made the film, so why? And then of course, the predator issue, which shows a real lack of judgment/ethics, or at least his turning a blind eye to everything going on.

          I remember being a big fan of Spoony’s videos way back, but then of course he had his own decline that was sort of separate from the Channel Awesome meltdown.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Be glad you didn’t see it. I could go in on how biased he is towards a ton of Disney stuff in general, but that’s besides the point. Yeah, I was so ticked off about his reaction. He thought the crows were somehow “awesome” and actually used the words “this could be me being a dumb white boy…” as an excuse in that review. He should really know better. Thank you for calling that stuff out, too. Channel Awesome really fell in quality even before all that stuff came to light and I was focused on other things close to that time. It was still a bad look and I’m glad a ton of their content creators jumped ship while bashing Doug and company.

            Gotcha. I’ve seen some Spoony videos a long time ago, but I wasn’t really a fan. The creators who were formally affiliated that I used to watch a lot of were Todd In the Shadows and Rap Critic.

            Liked by 2 people

      • I was shocked when I learned Bob Chipman was a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, but in hindsight it does make sense. While he has proven on multiple occasions just what an odious person he truly is, the reason he isn’t subject to much criticism is because, at the end of the day, he’s arguably the only visible person in the gaming sphere who blindly goes along with the contemporary, left-leaning film critic sensibilities. All I can say is that he is very lucky he isn’t affiliated with the far-right because if he was, his many, many flaws would be called out for what they are much more frequently and openly. As it stands, he acts as a foothold in the gaming sphere for mainstream film critics – not because he’s a good option, but because they are convinced he is the only option they have. It’s to the point where I sometimes wish he was associated with the far-right because I feel he would do way less damage to progressive causes that way.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, it is one of those things where you kind of had to be there to really get why 2018 was such a marked step down from 2017; it wasn’t just because Dinesh D’Souza decided to get behind a camera that year (though that certainly didn’t help). Critics complained about how Green Book won “Picture of the Year”, but they really have only themselves to blame for that because the good stuff wasn’t getting attention and the films that were getting attention weren’t that good.

      Doug Walker is a weird case because he was never really all that knowledgeable about films, but it took us awhile to realize that because he had a tendency to only go after films that were not widely defended. It was when he tried talking about films that are actually good that his weaknesses as a critic and as a comedian really began to show. We also probably have him to blame for making sincerity uncool in contemporary criticism, which, in turn, led to the rise of CinemaSins, although it’s strange that even after the fact that his company covered up a sexual predator that other film critics would welcome him with open arms.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gotcha. I’ll take your word for it. Yeah, it’s never good whenever Dinesh D’Souza is in the director’s chair or even being interviewed, but he’s clearly not the main issue at large in cinema. I hear you right there when it comes to award snubs and everything.

        That is so true. Maybe during my college days I was fooled, but he only has knowledge about the Hollywood stuff and taking down these bad movies or shows were “easy targets” in hindsight, if that makes sense. In hindsight, there were some errors in some of his videos like calling Anastasia an “expensive Disney ripoff” in his Top 11 Villain Songs list while one entry on that list literally involves an expensive ripoff singing (If you know me, you know exactly what song and character I’m referring to). Even before watching the aforementioned Dumbo review for his Disneycember series, I noticed he wasn’t as funny as his older episodes.

        That is an apt point and you can even add the multitude of snarky commentary, reliance on memes for cutaway gags for scenes, and rewarding negative thoughts. CinemaSins certainly came close to that time during Doug’s early rise to internet stardom and you can also add stuff such as HISHE and Honest Trailers to that list even if they aren’t straight up critiques. This is still baffling how Doug Walker would get a cushy reviewing job especially with the Channel Awesome implosion and covering for a sexual predator. I just don’t get it.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yeah, if D’Souza is making stuff, then that degrades the year’s overall quality by a lot. But otherwise, the real enemy is the lack of vision from auteurs.

          And it is pretty obvious that Walker’s knowledge of films only really extends to surface level stuff. I get the feeling he’d draw a blank if we showed him the Three Colors trilogy or any international film that predates his childhood.

          As an educated guess, I get the feeling he was inducted into the mainstream critical circle as an attempt for both him and them to stay relevant. They likely wanted a foothold in that YouTube circle so they could be more visible to that audience. In practice, it’s similar to the Bob Chipman situation in that the critics latched onto Walker not because he’s a good representative of that YouTube crowd, but because he’s the most visible one who plays nicely with their sensibilities. If they were trying to get with the times by canonizing him, then it falls flat seeing as his show hasn’t been relevant since 2015 or so. 2018 may have marked his downfall, but he was well past the point of relevance by then.

          Liked by 1 person

          • No disagreements there about his involvement. Haha! In all seriousness, I’ve noticed that lack of vision or ambition from multiple auteurs as well.

            Oh, yeah. It became more obvious after graduating college. Even I’ve seen at least one movie from the Three Colors trilogy for a class. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think I could school him with the things I actively watch much less review.

            That could make sense as he becomes desperate for relevance. He wasn’t even that big in the YouTube circle when he started out because him and a bunch of reviewers were on the short-lived Blip platform because that service was way more lenient on copyrighted material like the archived footage, music, or the clips being reviewed. He only went back on YouTube when Blip was defunct. Granted, he still got a ton of online exposure with either platform and getting support from Maker Studio before and after Mickey Mouse bought that start-up out. He’s sadly still a visible figure and I do agree that his relevance much less Channel Awesome’s relevance declined before 2018. I thought his stuff was getting tired around 2013-2014.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Honestly? Schooling him with the things one actively watches wouldn’t be difficult for even intermediate-level cinephiles.

              While it is annoying that he was able to emerge from the backlash relatively unscathed, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t command nearly the same amount of respect he used to. In practice, he’s around in the same way that Andrew Dice Clay is around in that, yeah, he’s around, but no one really cares. Plus, the manner in which he has failed managed to retroactively undo his previous success, and while he is still visible, I find someone who has done what he has done can only get so far before their lack of goodwill catches up to them or they burn themselves out. Best case scenario for him is that he’ll go on the way he is at the mercy of his fans, who, just like the followings of many other content creators, will never let him do anything else. If that ends up happening, I have to say that I do not envy him.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Hahaha! I could see that working. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a master cinephile by any stretch of the imagination, but I know I can hold my own whenever it comes to international and obscure works. Just over the past few years alone, I’ve exposed myself to works from so many countries that I didn’t know had a movie scene. Apologies for being a bit self-promotional, but I just reviewed a documentary from Guadeloupe of all countries last Saturday, if you want to check it out. https://iridiumeye.wordpress.com/2021/02/06/the-black-mozart-in-cuba-review/

                Yeah, Doug Walker’s relevance clearly is nowhere near the level as it was in the late 00s and early 10s. To be honest, I didn’t know Andrew Dice Clay was still around in comedy. That really says a lot right there. It makes sense with him potentially burning out even more with all that ill will rising against him.

                Liked by 1 person

              • I have been checking out more international stuff these past few years myself. Personally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a majority of the “Best Director” winners in the 2010s hailed from abroad; for me, that’s proof as to where the real talent is coming from.

                Oops, I forgot that Andrew Dice Clay played a supporting role in the 2018 version of A Star Is Born, and he was actually pretty good in that. That is way more relevance than what Doug Walker had at the time (or has now). Whether that was a one-time deal or not has yet to be seen, so a better comparison for Doug Walker would probably be Carlos Mencia in that both are technically around, but only in the most nominal sense of the term. Walker especially is in an unenviable position where he won’t be able to step up his game due to being under the collective thumbs of Channel Awesome’s C.E.O. and his audience.

                Liked by 1 person

              • That’s really cool. There’s so many good movies made outside of America. Interesting point there with the winners.

                I haven’t seen A Star Is Born, but that is a surprise. Haha! Good point with that little supporting role was still more relevant than the Nostalgia Critic. The Carlos Mencia comparison does make sense in it’s own way. Personally, I’m surprised how he still does stand-up especially with the ill will he built up and not just because of him stealing jokes. Walker does have that pressure from whoever’s left at Channel Awesome as well as whoever is still watching his stuff.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for linking my post! I never had those rose-colored glasses about the 90s, though they were definitely better than my high school years that started right after that decade ended (at least I’m pretty sure it was over by then.) But it’s a lot better to look forward than to keep looking back, right?

    Speaking of nostalgia and music, you bring up an interesting point about 1974 being a lousy year for music. Absolutely true, but when I was growing up and just discovering a lot of 70s music I wouldn’t have known it, since I wasn’t going in for top 40 hits, but rather for prog and weirdo experimental stuff — Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson all put out great albums that year, as did Tangerine Dream and Henry Cow as you brought up. And then you have more “normal” but still really good music that came out that year. But then have a listen to the top hits and you realize how much it sucked on balance. There’s that whole “I was born in the wrong generation” idea that some kids have when they get into older art, and that’s easy to get pulled into when you’re being selective about old music and the only garbage tossoff music you’re hearing on the radio is from your generation.

    Also, agreed on the edgelord tendencies of some of these filmmakers. I completely understand wanting to go on a long rant, but at some point you have to look at what you’ve written and ask if you’re being honest with the subject matter and really examining your own views closely. Or I guess you don’t have to do that, unless you want to create something that has any chance at being relevant decades later. Maybe these films will end up getting the MST3K treatment from some future generation. Hell, it could really get that treatment right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome! And I do get why the decade is so highly revered because it was arguably the last decade in which all prominent artistic mediums such as films, music, and video games fired on all cylinders, but while I myself have great memories of that decade, I find, as you say, it’s more important to create new good memories than futilely try to recreate the past. Plus, looking back at the 1990s, I noticed that as good as the good stuff was, it was kind of a feast-or-famine decade when it comes to art. When artists succeeded, they succeeded in ways few people can replicate, but when they failed, they failed hard.

      I never really understood the whole “born in the wrong generation” sentiment because it brazenly ignores that bad art is not a new thing. Recent affronts to good taste are always going to offend more than slights from several decades ago. Plus, you know the greatest benefit for being born after an artistic golden age? You don’t have to wait for any of it to come out. Yeah, it’s kind of a bummer not slapping an LP onto the turntable or seeing a masterpiece film in theaters completely devoid of that hype, but none of that should matter if the work in question holds up.

      And it’s the worst kind of edgelord tendances too where intellectualism gets thrown out the window in favor of some backwards-looking romanticism. Upgrade is just one of many films that had the ability to thrive in an environment so thoroughly lacking in any kind of self-awareness or introspection. It’s why I don’t think many of the late-2010s sacred cows are going to hold up with time. They were made with a very specific context in mind, so when that context is removed, future generations are just going to be left scratching their heads.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. ♤ Totally Agree; the “pedantic” folk have trouble accepting that 0 is a number…for example 0-9 then 10 which only exists because its number 1 accompanied by number 0; and, of course, Binary which is Ones and Zeros, The Foundation of ALL Our Technology

    …♤♤♤…

    Like

    • Yeah, it was really crazy when it turned out to be a Final Jeopardy question. All three contestants ended up bombing because they (sensibly) thought the first day of the twentieth century was January 1, 1900. Personally, I don’t think a quesiton with such a debated answer should’ve been used, but I still think the correct answer was dumb.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the mention! It’s funny how people automatically want to forget last year and pretend it never happened because it was so bad (which it was of course), but they don’t look at it as an opportunity to learn from. Regardless of how the year will go, I will try my best as always and I wish you the best for this year as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is true, although I was mostly referring to how some people claim the decade doesn’t begin until the year ending in “1” starts. Like how some people claim the 1950s didn’t start until 1951 and that 1950 is technically part of the 1940s. I can kind of see where they’re coming from in terms of cultural attitudes in certain instances because a lot of people will tell you that the 1990s as we know it didn’t really begin until 1991 with 1990 effectively being an extension of the 1980s, but taking that out of the equation, it’s just silly.

      Either way, I hope this year turns out well for you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the shout-out! 😀
    Yeah, that strange surge in thought policing is pretty worrying. It looks like a sure sign of stagnation, if you ask me: if we are not allowed constructive criticism, how can we improve? I like to make medium-to-medium comparisons regarding the same message: i.e. what are the differences in the message between a book/comic book/original movie/video game that inspired/became a basis for a movie/remake/sequel? And in most cases recently, the message seems to be severely dumbed down and restricted – from the whole MCU and DCU to even Blade Runner 2049 in which the definition of humanity is based on biological reproduction (which for me is a serious step back from the original Blade Runner).

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome!

      And no, with that much thought policing going on no artistic medium can hope to improve – especially when many of the people engaging in said thought policing run the gamut from disreputable (Doug Walker, Armond White, etc.) to outright mentally unsound (Bob Chipman). Anyone trying to capture the acclaim from those types couldn’t help but stagnate. What I find really annoying is how a lot of those people claim to have sophisticated tastes in film only for it to turn they really aren’t that much better than your Average Joe. It’s like how Owen Gleiberman insulted audiences for not liking Hereditary only to claim the lightweight, poorly researched Green Book was a better film without feeling even the slightest pangs of irony (in fact, despite his spiel, he didn’t even put Hereditary on his year-end Top 10 list). I mean, if you’re going to be a pretentious hipster, at least do it right.

      Fortunately, this is really only a problem endemic to films, I find. The abandonment of objectivity and the thin-skinned pieces about how the audiences have bad taste are all signs of a medium whose followers and practitioners have a difficult time accepting they no longer rule the entertainment world. As it stands, there is plenty of great art being made; it’s just not necessarily in movie form.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d say I see quite a bit of it over in books, too, unfortunately. It’s more diffuse, granted, but still quite prevalent, and the area is so unbalanced currently that you can have people criticizing you for writing a critical review (how dare you!) and at the same time people hating authors en bloc not for what they’ve written but for what they said.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing my post!
    Really appreciate it, as I’m trying to get back in blogging consistently again.

    I don’t think my knowledge in cinema or my range of movies that I watch, give me much of a pedestal to say if 2018 was a bad year for movies.

    But I must admit, there were a number of movies that came out that year I really enjoyed:
    Black Panther
    Avengers Infinity War
    Deadpool 2
    Spider-Man into the Spider-verse

    Granted they’re all comic book movies, so tells you all you need to know really haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! It’s great to have you back into blogging.

      And those were all definitely good films to be sure, although being parts of big franchises ensured there was plenty of built-in hype for them. My main argument for 2018 being a bad year for films was based off the fact that the standalone efforts were decidedly not all that great with the sole exception of Leave No Trace (although I will say Sorry to Bother You and A Simple Favor were solid efforts as well). I did hear great things about An Elephant Standing Still, though, so maybe it was just Western films dropping the ball. I also think you kind of had to be there watching the disappointment in real-time to get why 2018 was so bad; if you weren’t watching Rotten Tomatoes like a hawk for suggestions like I was, the conclusion of 2018 being a bad year for films wouldn’t make sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey! Thanks for the mention, as always! I was wondering, if you picked one of my Oddworld reviews for your selection, which one it would be. Exoddus is definitely a great game, especially considering the chaotic circumstances it was made in.

    Wow, I didn’t know that about Doug Walker. I was never a fan of the Nostalgia Critic like I am towards AVGN (the dude had a mixed opinion of Ponyo but loved the Michael Bay Transformers movies?! No sir, I don’t like it). Now I really despise the man. Also, lol on how you simply stated “and Armond White.” The fact that such a blatant troll is counted in review aggregates is actually why I stopped paying attention to them years ago. Now, I’m not one to brag, and lord knows my writing could use more than a little improvement. But even I’m a better critic than that guy!

    Also, apologies February has been slow for me. I have a few movies I’d like to review in preparation for my big 1-0-0-0.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it’s kind of amazing that it wasn’t released as an incomprehensible mess.

      As someone who never liked Nostalgia Critic (and you were really ahead of the curve there, I will say), I’m a little surprised you didn’t know about Channel Awesome’s implosion. His company was called out for its many, many indiscretions back in 2018, and someone (presumably the CEO Mike Michaud) responded with the non-apology “we sincerely regret you feel that way”. It got worse when they responded to the grievances with a list of rebuttals that didn’t even come close to admitting any kind of fault, causing nearly every content creator affiliated with that site to jump ship. And yes, during that tirade, they accidentally revealed that one of their former contributors was a sexual predator (and I believe at least one other contributor skirted the line as well); they knew all along, and allowed the other contributors to pay homage to him after he committed suicide. Doug Walker did manage to survive the backlash – probably because, as bad as he was (and still is), he wasn’t really the driving force behind the company’s worst decisions (although he was the deciding vote in firing a very skilled HR manager), but either he did know of that content creator’s crimes and did nothing or he is just so oblivious to what’s going on around him that he effectively stuck his fingers in his ears, doing the classic, childish “I can’t hear you” chant. Quite frankly, I’m not sure which is worse.

      And to be honest, I think the film critics’ consensuses were worth paying attention to up until 2017 when The Last Jedi caused them lose their integrity. Up until that year, I found that, even with Armond White, they were still making sound decisions – to the point where if critics favored something over fans, I would usually take their side; now, it’s typically the other way around. Plus, it helps that Armond White’s reputation preceded him, so nobody really took him seriously, and it was easy at the time to dismiss him as a try-hard troll (in fact, Ebert even outright called him a troll). It’s when they started letting their personal biases get the better of them that they lost the plot.

      It really says something as to how badly film critics want to maintain relevance that they’re willing to canonize someone whose company covered up the fact that one of their former contributors was a sexual predator (and yes, he became a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic after 2018). And I have little doubt you’re a better critic than Doug Walker; really, any intermediate-level film fan would run circles around him. It is annoying that he did manage to emerge from the scandal relatively unscathed, but it’s pretty clear he doesn’t command nearly the same amount of respect he used to; his older fans want nothing to do with him, and his flaws get criticized far more often to the point where, outside of his fanbase, he’s a walking punchline. It’s pretty clear that, the man’s glory days well behind him. Plus, he’s still at the beck and call of his audience, who likely won’t let him do anything other than produce Nostalgia Critic episodes for the foreseeable future; when he tried back in 2012, he failed miserably, as it turns out he never really all that talented. He may be considered successful, but his is not an enviable position.

      Look forward to seeing your 1,000th post!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks so much for the link!

    I just did a quick online search for reviews for The Last Jedi and I couldn’t believe what was written: “inspire kids 30 years from now” and “one of the greatest blockbusters of the 21st century”. Whoa! That certainly is jumping the shark, like you said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome!

      Considering The Last Jedi hasn’t held up 3 years from its original release, that is quite the dubious claim.

      On some level, I don’t like bagging on The Last Jedi because as bad as those quotes you just read are, the people who believe them tend to be better than the film’s most vocal detractors, who hate it for the pettiest reasons imaginable. Some of them actually believe Disney paid the critics off or otherwise did something to inflate their numbers, which would not be in the company’s best interests for various reasons (not the least of which being that when – not if – they got caught in such a scenario, the scandal would damage their reputation beyond repair) when the simple reality is that certain developments in 2016 simply caused them to go full tilt on praising works that reflected their viewpoints back at them. I can sympathize with them in that regard because they really do stand opposite to some really scummy people who don’t stand for anything (not even themselves, really), but if it’s getting to the point where films as obviously flawed as The Last Jedi are getting praise, then we have a serious problem on our hands. While subjective feelings can aid a critic’s thesis, those who fall back on the “Art is subjective” argument typically don’t possess the intellectual honesty to properly back up their claims.

      Liked by 1 person

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