a blog by josef johann

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A pathetic blog post

From the wikipedia article on Synecdoche, New York:

In his review of the movie in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert said, "I watched it the first time and knew it was a great film."[24] In 2009 Ebert wrote that the movie was the best of the decade.[25] Manohla Dargis of the New York Times said, "To say that [it] is one of the best films of the year or even one closest to my heart is such a pathetic response to its soaring ambition that I might as well pack it in right now ...

It's disturbing to me that the critic can so easily give away the issue, as if it should be taken as obvious that calling a film "closest to her heart" is offering something pathetic. And its said as if to be obvious and widely understood. And perhaps it is. But then somehow there are others, such as those capable of creating the movie.

Somehow I doubt that Dargis thinks her own reaction involves something pathetic, even if only in contrast to the film. I think self-deprecating concessions like these are made only to be passed over as a set-up for praising other things. So it may be merely a way of talking. But it is insidiously self-withering.

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