Armond White’s ridiculousness and condescension is rather epic. And yet! There is a part of me that thinks he’s really, truly, one of the most interesting film critics around, in print. Sure, you could guess that he’s going to pan Blue Valentine. That’s easy. But what’s he going to compare it to? David Bowie and Twyla Tharp’s 1981 The Catherine Wheel? And Ronnie and Sammi on Jersey Shore? Yeah, he does.
Let’s be honest: 99% of film criticism is boring as hell. Plot synopsis. Cute fact from the press notes (for example, Blue Valentine: it took 12 years! OMG.), summary on whether it’s worthy or not. Never venturing into the real dreamscape of films, why seeing things blown up twenty feet tall has a spiritual hold on us. And some critics out there (and it’s worse in the blog age) are mediocre sycophants with no idea of journalistic integrity, giving props to twitter-pal filmmakers who they’re buddy-buddy with.
White attempts to puncture critical groupthink. He constantly calls out the fact that for a populist medium, films are generally made by the privileged and moneyed. There’s something I appreciate about that.
(His pan of the utterly phony Fish Tank - a pretty film with pleasurable female gaze, particularly regarding Michael Fassbender, who never has a shirt in his movies and dingy British miserablism - was really quite good.)