Who needs local movie critics?

April 1, 2008
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
The New York Times today reports on the continued trend of newspapers ditching their film critics.

Yes, we’ve discussed cuts in newspaper coverage of the arts here in the past — but this debate is a little different when it comes to movies. If newspapers cut their local music, theater, dance and art coverage, those artistic trees falling in the forest may be heard by a few people, but no one who wasn’t there will know what the forest looked like.

When it comes to film, though, anyone with a computer can visit fandango.com and read a range of opinions on just about any film in release. And most newspapers are continuing coverage — just picking up reviews from other sources instead of using their own writers.

Truth is, there is no shortage of film critics or film writing. But what do we lose when a local paper doesn’t have a local film critic? Do you read the reviews in Nuvo (which maintains its own critic) differently than you do those in the Indianapolis Star (which doesn’t)?

Your thoughts?
  • I usually pay attention to a few movie critics whose opinions over time, I've learned more closely match my own tastes. I think the Nuvo reviewer seems to be jaded much of the time and I've disagreed many times with the reviews. I read EW's reviews, and sometimes when choosing movies to add to my Netflix list, I'll check certain reviewers recommendations. Now, if a movie has consistently crap reviews, regardless of the cred of the reviewers, I'll probably skip it. Do we need all the little guys at all the individual papers? I don't know... maybe not? I hate to say it - but I'm not likely to read the Nuvo movie reviews much. I think when it comes to the other arts, reviews are more helpful, as I may not know as much about the local theaters, art exhibits, ect, and will read the reviews on those matters, in IBJ (of course!), Nuvo, or Indy.com. Movies are pretty mainstream for most people and I think they mostly already know if they like the director, actor, story, ect.
  • Maybe I shouldn't confess this, but I never used to read reviews of any kind until a) I got a day job that required me to read book reviews and, more recently, b) I discovered that I liked writing reviews of live theatre and thought I could get better at it by taking professional reviewers as my role models.

    Before that, I simply had adventures. I took chances. I browsed book stores and libraries. I popped into movie theatres and restaurants. I listened to whatever music the guy I was dating happened to like, and then decided for myself whether or not I liked it, too.

    I am sure that I missed a lot of great stuff, and some people would say that I wasted a lot of time, but I didn’t care. ‘Still don’t. I am as much of a workaholic as the next person, but saving time” is over-rated.

    Now, however, I have discovered that I LOVE reading well-considered reviews of just about anything from reviewers with juicy voices who have dug in to their callings. I love comparing their opinions to my own.

    I also enjoy reading their thoughts on movies, or whatever, that I haven't seen yet. I enjoy imagining what the thing is like in person, based on what they are telling me about their experience of it.

    In other words, when the writing is good, I enjoy the review itself, just for itself. Who knew that “reviews” would become my new favorite art form?

    But Lou asked what we lose when a local paper doesn’t have a local film critic. Maybe the more important question is, “What do we lose when a local paper loses a GOOD local film critic?”

    We lose that much more of our edge as a uniquely desirable place to live, that’s what.

    Hope Baugh

    PS - Thanks to Lou, I only just TODAY discovered Nuvo's film critic, Ed Johnson-Ott. I learned from picking a past review at random that he (Ed) is a man after my own heart when it comes to star ratings. I also like his writing voice. Please don't anyone fire him!
  • We local filmmakers could use local film critics. Even though I could never get Bonnie Britton (The Star) to call me or acknowledge my existence, it was still nice knowing there was someone local who we could contact for that small desperate hope that she might write two or three words about RACSO Motion Pictures.

    Now there's Joe Shearer with Indy.com, and he's very eager to help out the local scene, plus the national market.

    Christopher Allen

Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. Angela IS the best RD

  2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

  3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{grouponfunding@hotmail.com}

  4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

  5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {frankloancompany@yahoo.com} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{ Frankloancompany@yahoo.com} for help