2004: The Year in Movies

False Passion
Critic vs. critic.
Jan. 7 2005 3:05 AM

2004: The Year in Movies

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Briefly, as well. I hate once more to get this on the film reviewing track, but I need to respond to Chris's latest post.

"Shouldn't a critic relish when movies—and movie reviews—get people so worked up? It means people are engaging with your work."

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Not if the movies under discussion do a disservice to the art. And no, when people are responding in a knee-jerk manner—because to deny The Passion is to deny Christ; to deny Fahrenheit is to affirm Bush—engaging with your work is exactly what they're not doing.

I'm not tsk-tsking Gibson and Moore for not doing things the "proper" way. I'm calling them out for making shit—anti-Semitic shit in Gibson's case; opportunistic showboating shit based on real death and war in Moore's.

And, Chris, while I believe you got death threats, panning The Passion when your last name is Kelly isn't the same thing as panning it when your last name is ... well, I won't name the critics I'm talking about. But in one of the cases I referred to, a critic was offered protection because of the level and volume of hatred. I'm talking about e-mails on the level of, "You're ugly even for a kike."

Not to deny the creeps who wrote to you. But I think this was a case where critics with Jewish names were in for it in a way the rest of us weren't.

More tonight.

Best,
Charley

David Edelstein isSlate's film critic. Scott Foundas is a film critic for LA Weekly. Christopher Kelly is a film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wesley Morris is a film critic for the Boston Globe. A.O. Scott is a film critic for the New York Times. Charles Taylor is a film critic for Salon. Armond White is the film critic for the New York Press. Stephanie Zacharek is a film critic for Salon.