Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Critical Stupidity: Armond White

(photo: Nigel Perry, nymag.com)


Since I have begun a film review section on this blog, I figured that now was as good a time as any to begin my new feature highlighting the worst of the worst in movie reviewers.  Now keep in mind that a "bad" film critic is not simply determined by having opinions that are different than the mainstream or having a few misses now and then.

Take Roger Ebert, for example.  He is not only one of the most well known film critics ever, he is also the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for his work and (in my opinion, at least) he truly deserved it.  His reviews are consistently thorough, thought provoking, and fair.  But even the best can mess up once in a while.  Ebert lambasted 'Dead Poet's Society,' but gave 'Speed 2: Cruise Control' a good review because he was in a really good mood and the weather outside was nice.  No seriously, he did; read the review.


                                                                       wall.alphacoders.com
  If you stand here long enough, your poop will smell amazing.


So as you can see, even the very best among the film critic community can have their off days.  Then you have Armond White, who began writing movie reviews in 1984 and has been having a continuous stream of off days ever since.  If you don't know who Armond White is, then be prepared to be confused, amused, and maybe a even little ticked off.

Within the film critic community, Armond White is about as lovable as a teddy bear made out of razor blades.  He constantly whines and complains about how terrible the film critique profession has become (this will become deliciously ironic later).  

He has attacked and disparaged many of his colleagues for a variety of reasons; mostly with claims that they are inferior reviewers or accusations of perceived racism.  He once nearly exacted physical violence upon a fellow film critic that dared to stand up to his insults.

White also believes that there shouldn't be any film critics under the age of 30 and claimed that online movie reviewers are basically worthless.

                                           rickyleepotts
    That last one hit a little too close to home.


So we've established that the guy is a jerk; so what?  He can still be a good reviewer, can't he?  Well, in this regard, he fails even harder.  White has long held a reputation as being contrarian; that's a fancy word for what the folks on the interwebs like to call a "troll".  He gives terrible reviews to movies that most people/critics think are great , he gives awful movies great reviews, and then he sits back and enjoys the attention that he receives.

Roger Ebert once tried to defend White against these allegations, despite White once claiming that Ebert had "destroyed film criticism."  After Ebert finished taking the high road in defense of his colleague, he was presented with this unbelievable list of films that White had given good and bad reviews to.   After seeing this, Ebert retracted  his defense and agreed that White was the "troll" that many had been claiming he was.  (Ironically, White was very upset that Roger "Destroyed Film Criticism" Ebert had dared to disparage him in print).



                                          decibelmagazine
Hey!  
Only I get to be a hypocritical douche!



Let's have some fun and take a look at a few comparisons of "good and bad" films from the warped mind of Armond White:

-White gave a glowing review to 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,' going so far as to call it a "modern classic."  Here's the trailer in case you forgot what this "modern classic" that came out a few years ago looks like.



On the other hand, he gave the award winning Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino a terrible review, calling it "pitiful" and "sappy."  In case you forgot or haven't seen this amazing movie yet, here's Clint Eastwood telling you to "get off his lawn" and just being awesome in general.




Yeah..."modern classic" vs. "pitiful."  I think I'll stick with Dirty Harry on this one.

-Armond White also seems to have a huge issue with robots.  He gave WALL-E, also an award winning film, a bad review.  That link, by the way, is not to his review on WALL-E, but to another bad review he gave to another award winning film, UP.  His review of WALL-E has mysteriously vanished from the interwebs, but he does take some time in this review (and others) to throw in his distaste for that adorable little robot's movie.

                                   wall-e-wallpaper.com
YOU ARE TERRIBLE!!!


White also didn't think much of the first 'Transformers' movie...but somehow, he loved the second one (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen).  Any of you that were unfortunate enough to sit through the sequel (and managed not to gouge both of your eyes out) knows how ridiculous Armond's White opinion is on this one.

-On the superhero/comic book movie front, White's thinking gets even crazier.  He completely trashes what many consider to be the new gold standard for any comic book movie, The Dark Knight.  He even goes so far as to call Heath Ledgers amazing turn as 'The Joker' "one-note ham-acting."  

Jonah Hex, on the other hand, was a film that he found both "beautiful and brilliant."  This was the same 'Jonah Hex' movie that just about everyone who has had the displeasure of watching really hated.  He even went so far as to say that it was "better than Toy Story 3" (which he also thought was terrible).  

                                                                                guardian.co.uk
I would tell him to 
"reach for the sky," but he's not even worth it.


-Here's the big finish, but you can't hold me responsible if your head explodes.  This one is also so crazy that it doesn't even need something to a comparison film.  

Here is a trailer for the Wayans Brothers 2006 bomb, Little Man.  




In case you were wondering, yes, it is as bad as it looks...unless your name is Armond White.  He considered it a "near classic comedy."  He follows up this expert analysis with one of the most amazing quotes of all time:

"Director Keenen Ivory Wayans and his performing brothers Marlon and Shawn are notorious for childish impudence and sarcasm in such hits as Scary Movie and White Chicks. But in Little Man, dealing with their habitual irrepressible immaturity unleashes something poignant. It makes this silly, lightweight film almost deep." 

You know what else is deep?  The levels of confusion and sheer lunacy that is born from this man.  If I want real comedy, I won't go see a "modern classic" like 'Chuck and Larry' or a "poignant" film like 'Little Man.'  

I'll just go and read some more of Armond White's reviews.


                                            nymag.com
"...and that's why District 9 is terrible.
Good night everyone and remember to try the veal!"