Armond White vs. The World

Armond White vs. The World (photo)

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Armond White, the internet’s favorite film critic, strikes back against his detractors and the online consensus mob mentality in an article at the New York Press — after provoking more ire by being one of (at the time I’m writing this) only three negative reviews of “The Social Network” at Rotten Tomatoes. Regardless of where you stand on Armond’s writing and opinions, it’s a worthwhile read that lands some punches with regard to the spoilers police, the eclipsing of criticism by studio marketing, and the insanity of attacking writers for giving a film an unexpected bad (or, in the case of “Vampires Suck,” good) review:

Ridiculing the need for mature thought and discriminating judgment diminishes film culture. Any opinion that challenges the blockbuster market gets punished. We never experience a healthy exchange of ideas. The social networking approach to criticism encourages anti-intellectual harassment and the excoriation of individual response; it may spell the end of critical habits altogether.

The hostility that greets a pan of an anticipated film does seem to speak to a culture in which anticipation of what’s coming has become more important than what it’s like when it actually arrives. Worse, there’s the undercurrent of criticism being a killjoy, or taking too seriously what are “only movies,” as if to have higher expectations is to ask too much of an industry and an art that has huge cultural and financial impact in our lives.

Of course, for every valid point that Mr. White makes, there’s another that goes totally wild. His criticism of internet film culture includes everything from “The Social Network” to “trendy aggregate websites” like Rotten Tomatoes to “attacks from bloggers.” It indicates misunderstandings about how the internet works — he conflates bloggers with commenters (who leave “posts” on RT) and social networking sites with aggregators; he attaches significance to the way that “over three million Google results offered links to the ad hominem ferocity” — to his RT link? to the entry for the film? from where? And he addresses online culture as an impossible monolith in a way that can’t help but be seen as a “kids these days” rant.

And finally, he writes that “a new model of cultural response is taking over: criticism of criticism–and critics–as a pointless, snaky substitute for examining films themselves.” But in the field of “print” critics, if that’s a meaningful designation anymore, White has always been the worst offender in devoting whole segments of his reviews to the failures of his fellow critics. A few selections from his reviews:

“Critics preferred Let the Right One In for its selfpitying view of adolescence.” — from “Let Me In”

“The familiarity of these clichés explains the critical raves for Affleck’s two directorial stints. Given their specious ethnic subject matter, it is necessary to point out the mainstream media’s preference for this heist fantasy over the superior Takers as proof of racial preference; critics swallow Affleck’s thuggish pieties while ignoring the ethnic details in Takers and dismissing director John Luessenhop’s splendid distillation of genre form that gave it speed and complexity.” — from “The Town”

“If critics and fanboys weren’t suckers for simplistic nihilism and high-pressure marketing, Afterlife would be universally acclaimed as a visionary feat, superior to Inception and Avatar on every level.” — from “Resident Evil: Afterlife”

“Clooney’s still on his anti-American kick, sentimentalizing the corruption that appeals to cynical film critics who fall for his forced, noxious ‘charm.'” — from “The American”

“Most critics misjudged Wright’s 2006 Hot Fuzz as simply a cop movie parody; they completely ignored the sting in Wright’s spoofing how the English class system is repeated in its law enforcement bureaucracy and his bemused critique of its threatening arcane social traditions.” — from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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