Yes, but what did you think?

Posted by · 3:59 pm · July 12th, 2010

Speaking of “Inception,” might New York Magazine want to demand a little more out of its chief film critic than cheap shots at early opinions of the film? To wit:

…out here, in this even more perplexing dream we call “life,” it’s being hailed as a masterpiece on the order of 2001: A Space Odyssey…


…I truly have no idea what so many people are raving about. It’s as if someone went into their heads while they were sleeping and planted the idea that Inception is a visionary masterpiece and—hold on … Whoa! I think I get it. The movie is a metaphor for the power of delusional hype—a metaphor for itself.

Not to mention stuff like this, which I’d expect to turn up on a two-month-old blogspot before a national outlet with some level of sincerity:

A team of colorful specialists! Cool! So it’s, like, Mission: Impossible in the Dreamscape-Matrix!

The obvious lesson: traditional media gets cranky when the whipper-snappers get dibs.

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68 responses so far

  • 1 7-14-2010 at 4:25 am

    Dean Treadway said...

    So it’s okay for a film critic (which is what you are and you know it, despite you’re pretentions to letting the film criticism go in your columns) to go on and on in a post like this, criticizing another critic, but it’s not okay for Edelstein, who doesn’t run a blog, just to devote two lines to the reaction of the film in his short piece. And who do you think you are coming back and calling Kael a joke and a hack? You ain’t no prize yourself–pretending fairness by wanting pans of the movie–and here you are telling people you’ve already seen it two or three times, and running endless INCEPTION articles about INCEPTION comics and best Nolan performances, like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth. Kael had more integrity in one sentence of her pan of 2001 than you really ever have. Only Guy and Chad keep this place afloat; you just show up for the hit counts and the free shit from the studios.

  • 2 7-14-2010 at 5:03 am

    Kyle said...

    All of this coming from the guy that posted on a movie review blog at 4:25 in the morning….jeez Dean was it burning you that bad?

  • 3 7-14-2010 at 6:34 am

    Kyle said...

    I take back what I said about 4 am taking in regard differing time zones, but man…let it go.

  • 4 7-14-2010 at 7:42 am

    Kevin K. said...

    Seriously Dean, let it go. You’re just making yourself look like an ass.

  • 5 7-14-2010 at 9:57 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m not a film critic, Dean.

  • 6 7-14-2010 at 9:58 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And you’re obsession is scary. That you came back to this post a full 12 hours after it was put to bed and launched into another tirade, I’m with Kyle. It must have been burning you pretty bad. I’ll chalk that up as much more pathetic than diligently covering the only major release hitting theaters this weekend.

  • 7 7-14-2010 at 10:22 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    By the way Dean (and Paulo, if you’re lurking), I hope it’ll be okay with you that we have Guy’s assessment of the film (will that tarnish your view of him as the site’s savior? — GASP!) and an interview with Zimmer still to go.

  • 8 7-14-2010 at 1:03 pm

    Clayton said...

    Like clockwork: pans from the typically unreliable Zacharek, White, Reed, and, of course, Slant magazine…

    …yeah, this film is probably going to be pretty decent.

    On another note, given how the word “fanboy” is tossed about in such a cavalier manner by some folks, perhaps we need a word that represents the other extreme: those who often write long dissertations on how “deluded” some viewers are for liking the majority of films in a mainstream director’s oeuvre. Will “PompAss” suffice? ;)

  • 9 7-14-2010 at 1:20 pm

    JJ said...

    Kris, your opinion on the late swarm of 20/100, 30/100, 40/100 ratings from critics (on metacritic and such) …

    … what are they seeing/thinking that you and others are thinking opposite. How can it be explained? Is it simply … “I don’t get it, I hate when I don’t get it, so it sucks”?

  • 10 7-14-2010 at 1:36 pm

    MovieMan said...

    Edelstein wasn’t the fairest critic of the film, but I agree with him ultimately. The film isn’t nearly as smart as it thinks, emotionally it’s a dud, and it’s barely half the achievement that “The Dark Knight” was. Is it amazing visually? Yes, but it doesn’t even reach half its potential.

  • 11 7-14-2010 at 1:53 pm

    Clayton said...

    We’ll see, we’ll see. No point commenting in detail until we have. I SEVERELY doubt, though, that it’s anything less than a 2 1/2 Star film, and am more liable to believe it falls somewhere in the 3-to-3 1/2 Star range.

    For me, critics like Edelstein, Zacharek (sheesh, didn’t she just give a pass to Airbender?) and her husband, White, Reed, and most of the writers at Slant and The Village Voice often reside in the Bizarro World of film criticism (praising schlock, trashing quality flicks).

    And I haven’t read enough of your comments, MovieMan, to know if your taste in films even remotely lines up with my own. Doesn’t make your comments invalid, of course, but, you know, grain of salt and all.

  • 12 7-14-2010 at 2:10 pm

    James D. said...

    JJ: Maybe they just didn’t like the film. Every critically praised film has its detractors.

  • 13 7-14-2010 at 2:43 pm

    MovieMan said...

    Clayton: I’ll definitely comment in full probably on Friday evening or Saturday morning. I won’t deal with spoilers even then, but most on these threads will have seen it, so I can go into some detail.

  • 14 7-14-2010 at 3:28 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “I SEVERELY doubt, though, that it’s anything less than a 2 1/2 Star film”

    You mean you severely doubt that YOU’LL THINK it any less than a 2 1/2 star film. Seriously, what is this? Why do some commenters here struggle so much with the idea that art can (gasp) provoke varying reactions? It doesn’t need to be “explained.” It’s not a science.

  • 15 7-14-2010 at 3:43 pm

    Nick DC said...

    God, no wonder audiences could give two shits what critics think when they’re so often caught squabbling like children.

    Anyway, now that we’re seeing common threads running through all of Nolan’s movies (I won’t bore you), I look forward to seeing him pivot for the next couple of decades until people get bored and decide Brett Ratner was always a criminally underrated director.

  • 16 7-14-2010 at 4:04 pm

    JJ said...

    It’s funny. After having read some of the negative reviews … I now look at all the commercials/trailers in a different light; as if everything that “looks” good oscreen winds up being “poorly done” in context of the movie.

    Having said that, can’t WAIT to make up my own mind and hopefully love it.

  • 17 7-14-2010 at 6:33 pm

    Clayton said...

    “You mean you severely doubt that YOU’LL THINK it any less than a 2 1/2 star film. Seriously, what is this? Why do some commenters here struggle so much with the idea that art can (gasp) provoke varying reactions? It doesn’t need to be “explained.” It’s not a science.”

    Well, obviously, Guy. We all make posts that sometimes read like we’re positioning our opinion as fact or whatnot. You can only type “to me”, “IMO”, etc., etc., so many times before it becomes incredibly redundant. So, yes, to clarify, based on MY perception of Nolan’s previous films and the positive (in some quarters) and negative (in other quarters) criticism afforded them in the past, and given that most of the same critics seems to be offering up similar comments (positive or negative) about his current film, I have a fairly strong suspicion that Inception will be worth watching, even if it’s not entirely successful in what it’s setting out to do. So yeah, probably a 2 1/2 Star film, TO ME, at least. Okey-dokey?

    Now, regarding Kris’s comment that there “need” to be pans of the film out there, because it doesn’t achieve “perfection”, why do they have to be outright pans? Why can’t they just be mildly positive notices that acknowledge the film’s supposed shortcomings in the text of the review, whilst still assessing the film as generally pretty good overall. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with there being pans of the film out there, only that it isn’t of the utmost importance that they exist. In most cases, with most films, a tempered, evenhanded response would seem to be a more fulfilling (for the writer and the readers) approach. But that’s me, of course…perhaps trashing or flat-out condemning films is the more suitable way to go. ;)

  • 18 7-14-2010 at 6:38 pm

    Clayton said...

    *That last line should’ve read “…perhaps blindly praising or flat-out condemning films…”.