The Contrarian and His Ego

Posted by Whit Barringer , Wednesday, July 21, 2010 9:19 AM

Some of you might not be acquainted with film critic Armond White, but it only takes a simple search at Rotten Tomatoes to get a snapshot of the kind of critic he is. He agrees with the Tomatometer (the aggregate rating for any film on Rotten Tomatoes based on positive and negative reviews from individual critics) only 52% of the time. Not that critics should submit to groupthink, but White's reviews are almost always deliberately contrarian. Famously, he lauded Transformers 2 for visuals and attacked Toy Story 3 for its commercialism. He praised Clash of the Titans (don't even get me started) by saying that it showed "a better sense of meaningful, economic narrative than the mess that Peter Jackson made of the interminable, incoherent Lord of the Rings trilogy."

For once, instead of being forced to look at White as an inaccessible contrarian who gets page views from his dissent, we can finally hear his reasons for his rather heretofore inexplicable role in professional criticism. Whether his reasons are good or not is not really the point. How he answered is the actual wonder. While he says that Roger Ebert, one of the most internationally famous, well-written, and prolific critics, "destroyed film criticism," and while, when asked what other critics he would suggest others read, he could offer no one but himself, it seems obvious that White answered with his ego rather than his heart. Regardless, the interview is worth reading, if only because it is of a professional who seems eternally disgusted with his profession.

[/Film] Armond White: “I Do Think It Is Fair To Say That Roger Ebert Destroyed Film Criticism”

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