This is the Wanderer’s… er… my own personal Code of Behavior as a critic. I know I’ll slip and fall here and there, but it’s good to have this down where from time to time I can remind myself of it.
1. I owe a film an attempt to win me over.
When first viewing a film, I don’t go in with an ax to grind. I’m not watching Flick Z to pan the ever loving crap out of it. I’m doing it in the hopes of being entertained.
I will not make this guarantee with films I’ve already seen and know I dislike. Many because I’ll fall on my ass if I do, but also if the film on a rewatch wins me over, it’s that much more impressive.
No matter what the film, I will try to watch it from beginning to end. No leaning on the fast forward button, no dragging the little scroll bar at the bottom of the media player. Not only is it not fair to the film, it also gives a false impression about the proceedings.
More often than not I’ve found that impression is that the film’s better than it is.
I will give it at least thirty minutes to give me something. Either what it intends or something for me to talk about. If after thirty minutes it fails to give me that, I not only get to quit, I also get to carp.
In fairness, the films I quit on 1.) will be rare and 2.) won’t be subject to a whale’s worth of scrutiny.
2. I owe a film the best quality version of it I can watch.
This means I try to watch Flick Z Director’s Cut or unrated version in letterbox format, or listening to the original language the film was made in. This doesn’t mean I run out and pick up a brand new DVD before watching for the review (though I’ve been known to.) If I have access to a better version, that’s the one I use.
If I know of a better version that I for my own reasons didn’t use, I will try to mention it at some point in the discussion.
If using the lesser version, I try not to carp too much on the natural failing the lesser versions bring to the table. As a for instance, boom mikes have a nasty habit of appearing in pan and scan films. In a proper cut, those moments are cut from sight. Thus carping about it is sort of caddish.
This rule may or may not be revoked if I can say something funny about the moment.
3. I owe a film equal treatment.
In essence, if I take the knives out for one film, I should be prepared to do so with all films. No matter how good or bad a flick is, I try to find ways of poking a little fun at it. As I have questionable taste, this tends to be easier than you might think.
I’ve found, though, that I can’t always do this. For instance, sometimes Flick Z will hit me in such a way that the usual snark doesn’t come, or seems forced. Flicks where this happen usually get flat out synopsis, with little of the teasing that I prefer doing.
This is an act of last resort, though, and in the blog’s history only happened once after I started writing these things in sections.