Newspaper Vet Decries the Era of Populist Film Criticism

JohnnyDeppPiratesFormer Wall Street Journal reporter and editor Kyle Pope, writing in the Sunday LA Times op-ed section “Currents,” is dismayed to learn that people are going to the movies without checking with the critics. (Imagine – paying good money to watch Johnny Depp swish around in the surf – what were we thinking!):

The gap between the lackluster Pirates [sequel] reviews and its remarkable box office is no different from what we’ve seen with Hollywood’s other popcorn hits this summer: The Da Vinci Code, Mission: Impossible III and X-Men: The Last Stand were all generally dismissed by reviewers, yet they’ve done well enough in theaters to challenge last year’s conventional wisdom – that Hollywood was entering a prolonged slump.

Naturally, Pope deplores this trend, and goes on to share other movies that the public liked and the critics hated, like box box office champ Titanic. He ignores the 800-pound gorilla, Mel Gibson‘s Passion, which inspired such invective from MSM reviewers that stampeding hordes went to see what all the fuss was.

Pope also suggests that we check with “a thoughtful outsider” before going to the movies. If Amy Pascal is smart, she’ll set up information kiosks, staffed with local panhandlers wielding Ouija boards, to get Pauline Kael‘s views from beyond the tomb. Can’t get more outside than that.

Kate Coe