Fenton Bailey writes:
AT CANNES the film buffs line up at the appointed hour, just as they have always done. They sit in front of a big screen, as they have always done. And, when the film ends, the viewers go off to drink and talk about the film, and the cinema attendants sweep up the popcorn, as they have always done. For most of the century or so that film has existed, this is the way that films have been watched. But not any more. (Times Online)
Climate change is happening at the movies too. The Da Vinci Code is all about how the greatest story ever told, the one our civilization has been weaned on for thousands of years, is bogus. And to an audience sick of the same old narratives, that is sufficiently intriguing to have sold a bazillion books and tickets.
But the critics didn’t like it. And they didn’t like M:i:3 either. Even though the movie was excellent and Tom Cruise better than he’s been in years. Why are they so cross? Because they no longer hold sway. Their power is evaporating even faster than the hold of the movies. It’s an inconvenient truth that in this climate change, the pilot fish are as beached as the whales they have depended on. They are falling like flies to internet kids who do this shit for free. Shrieks of resentment! Unhinged rants of disbelief! Hatred of Tom Cruise!
Uberproducer Brian Grazer and master of Da Yoda Code once said that movies were so difficult because they are gaseous entities, and only become solid when it’s pretty much too late to do anything about it. Continuing the metaphor, when the pump of the audience is primed, they vaporize again for opening weekend. Will they combust and drive the box office engine? The answer of course is that the metaphor of the internal combustion engine makes zero sense in our post-industrial internet economy. We don’t need the critics as spark plugs. We don’t need spark plugs. We’re all vibing on a quantum buzz, no matter how near or far we are from, say, Cannes.
Who is The Anonymous Critic? It’s you. Here’s the deal: The URL is being passed hand-to-hand to TV industry insiders and journalists. It is not posted publicly. We are inviting you to rant or rave about anything TV-related, for possible posting on BrilliantButCancelled.com.
The only answer is for the critics to start making the movies themselves. And that’s exactly what the brilliant Peter Bart, the boss at Variety, has done with the book and film Boffo: How I Learned to Love the Blockbuster and Fear the Bomb, also opening in Cannes.
“Boffo!” is a feel-good movie about failure. With a cast of all-star hitmakers frankly and humorously recalling where they’ve gone wrong – offset by lyrical, superbly cut montages of film clips which demonstrate where they’ve gotten it very right – “Boffo” moves with the wit and speed of a musical number.
Compared with Variety‘s eviscerating review of Da Vinci Code, that’s an unprecedented rave.
Full disclosure: Variety assigned this review to an impartial non-staffer since editor-in-chief Peter Bart co-wrote and co-produced “Boffo,” inspired by his own forthcoming book.
Even more disclosure. We were supposed to have made this film and sure would have loved to have gone to Cannes. But even though I’m not in Cannes, I’m so totally there. I’m glued to the IFC Cannes cam ’cause it’s so witty – even though my browser doesn’t support it and all see is a black square. I’m reading Anne Thompson, whom I once met briefly and so consider my own personal correspondant. I’m loving Mary Hart, in daffodil yellow, brown-nosing the Code crowd. (Reviews? What reviews?)
See? Who needs critics? We’re all critics, just as we’re all the stars of our own musicals.
– Fenton Bailey