This is the problem when you get so caught up in user comments as a way to try and connect with your audience in the laziest way possible. The result? Utter pablum.
The most recent example of this comes from Entertainment Weekly. As evidenced by my posts, I absolutely love movies, and I thoroughly enjoy articles discussing them (the Onion‘s AV Club and Den of the Geek are consistently intriguing). So, imagine my joy when I saw EW’s article entitled “20 ‘Classic’ Movies You Call Overrated.”
Now this had potential. It’s the ultimate Internet argument article because you can argue over what is considered a classic and whether or not those movies are overrated. That’s gold! Well, at least it is in theory…
See, much like when CNN reads Twitter posts out loud as a way of establishing some sort of coolness/technology credibility with its nonexistent young viewers, many pieces are doing the same thing with reader comments. Because, you see, this isn’t really an article at all–it’s just what you get when you Google “classic movie” and “stupid.”
Check it: For Lawrence of Arabia, here is the insightful commentary on the Oscar-winning film:
“Growing up, I loved watching old movies and heard this to be epic. Was never on TV, couldn’t find it to rent. Finally came on PBS, commercial-free. I was so excited. I fell asleep 3 times. Every time I woke up, just more walking on sand. — mlk”
No, that’s not a comment from the article, it is the article (at least the part about Lawrence of Arabia). First off, someone alert the fucking press, because Martin Luther King, Jr. is back from the dead! Secondly, that’s it? That’s your critique? It was boring? Nothing about the acting, the pacing–just that it was boring?
Here’s another, this time for “The Wizard of Oz“:
“Totally agree about The Wizard of Oz. Those flying monkeys made me flee the room screaming as a child; still hate that movie. — HarrietMck”
First of all, Harriet, what do you totally agree with? I’m confused. Secondly, what exactly is your critique? The monkeys made you leave the room…when you were a kid. So do they still scare you? Is it just the bad memory?
This is lazy “journalism” at its worst. Now I’m wishing I worked for Entertainment Weekly–hell, I can do this!
Here’s my newest article (this time without the obnoxious slideshow):
11 “Good” Movies You Call Crap
11. Forrest Gump – Lame
10. Star Wars: Episode 1 – Stupid
9. Erin Brokovich – Awful
8. Transformers – Dumb
7. Armageddon – Dreadful
6. Twilight – Piss
5. The Village – Repulsive
4. Ocean’s 12 – Idiotic
3. Spiderman 3 – Rough
2. One Missed Call – Vapid
1. Crash – Foolish
Pulitzer Prize, here I come!