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movies

I Say To-mah-to-meter

Coming down from last night’s tantrum (I’m switching to decaf), let me add something about the Tomatometer, the Metacritic grade average, and all attempts to quantify critics' (or just a critic’s) responses to movies. They’re beside the point. Two years ago, the fanboys screamed that I had criticized The Dark Knight and raved You Don’t Mess With the Zohan a few weeks earlier. Except I didn’t “rave” Zohan. I laughed a fair amount in the first half of the movie, but I was mostly intrigued by the insights it offered into Adam Sandler’s Super-Jew persona — and psyche. I wouldn’t compare The Dark Knight and Zohan; they’re apples and oranges. For the same reason, I hate "Ten Best" lists in which I have to decide which movies of the ones I loved, I loved most. I don’t want to be in the business of giving letter grades or building pantheons. The great thing about criticism is that a critic can set the parameters of value within the review, taking each film on its own terms. There is no objective criterion, no 100-point scale. To use the Tomatometer as a cudgel for attacking a critic is not just decadent — it’s insane. It has nothing, nothing to do with the love of movies.

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