The job of a film critic is not easy. You have to sit through some awful movies but on the other hand you might get to see a great film.
One code of the critic is to write about a film and give your view of it in such a way that you don’t spoil the plot for those who haven’t seen it yet. Of course it is hard to do that when a film has a surprise twist but most of the decent critics do a good job of not giving away the whole plot.
Michael Medved use to be a film critic. He also use to have a film critic show on PBS called “Sneak Previews”. The interesting bit about the show was it took over the spot after Siskel and Ebert’s “At The Movies” left PBS to be syndicated nationally on commercial television.
Something happened to Medved. It is the same thing that happened to ABC TV’s John Stossel. Medved became a cranky conservative. He now is referred to in the press as “conservative commentator and cultural critic”. He still feels he must review movies from his conservative perspective.
Medved gives good reviews to family and religious themed films and hates anything not in those two categories.
To be fair Roger Ebert, a noted critic, seems to love any foreign film and has a hard time seeing anything good that comes from the major studio.
Medved, like some other conservative media types, decided to spoil the plot twist for Clint Eastwood’s recent film “Million Dollar Baby”.
The marketing comes across as a female “Rocky” type movie but the twist, from what I’ve read, is totally shocking to an audience use to the “Rocky” kind of formula movies. I respect films and the work that goes into them so I won’t say what the twist is but Medved and other conservatives spoiled the plot to their audience because the twist offended their political and religious beliefs.
Don’t get me wrong. If Medved or any other conservative critic hates a movie because it offends their political or religious beliefs, they have a right and a duty to tell their audience. I’m fine with that. But what Medved did crossed the line. Giving away the twist was a deliberate attempt to damage the potential box office receipts.
He tried to justify his action:
“there are competing moral demands that come into the job of a movie critic. We have a moral and fairness obligation to not spoil movies. On the other hand, our primary moral obligation is to tell the truth.”
Spoken like someone who is full of their own importance. He could have told the truth without giving away the twist in the detail he did. Real critics, who still have some objectivity, did that.
He pointed out he didn’t say which character is involved in the twist but that doesn’t matter. He gave away the twist.
He also said:
“It is dishonest in its marketing. They didn’t want to tell people what it is because no one would come.”
He makes the classic conservative mistake – believing that everyone thinks just as they do. It isn’t his job to decide what people will see.
A critic gives a review to help people decide if they wish to see a film. People should make up their own mind about any so-called moral issues presented in the movie. The critic isn’t a moral arbiter.
As Clint Eastwood said in response:
“The picture doesn’t really sum up any policies one way or another. It just happens to be the ultimate drama for one particular person. How people feel about that is up to them.”
Medved needs to give up being a film a critic.
For the a full article on the issue see: