Two Thumbs Up for Criticism
Hey Trendlophiliacs! We know you’re probably oozing trendliness from your arteries and veins with little hope of it ever clotting, but that’s probably a good thing. Everyone on your block probably knows how trendly you are by now so when you talk, they’ll listen. That’s sure to come in handy with our next trendly career, being a film critic.
Sergei Eisenstein: An Early Target for Film Criticism and Monkey Feces
The earliest form of film criticism came courtesy of Pogo The Monkey when he attended a screening of Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin back in 1925. After watching the film journalists asked Pogo what he thought of the film and Pogo raised three out of his ten fingers and then proceeded to fling his feces in the director’s general direction. Everyone took this to mean Pogo was none too impressed by Eisenstein’s pioneering use of montage. The monkey confirmed his feelings about the film by stating “my cousin Zippy could do a better job directing a snuff flick.” Pogo’s caustic sensationalism was quickly rewarded by the Chicago Daily Courier, who rewarded the chimp with his very own film and entertainment column. His ten finger rating system quickly became the norm for all film criticism and often his quotes were taken out of context and used on film posters. The most famous of these incidents was on the poster for The Wizard of Oz which read, “The Wizard of Oz Is A Landmark Piece…” when the actual line from the monkey’s review said “The Wizard of Oz Is A Landmark Piece of Crap.” As a critic Pogo became so famous that a comic book called “The Critic” was written about him. That comic book was later turned into an animated TV show starring Jon Lovitz, which was widely panned and had an abbreviated run on FOX.
Jay Sherman: The Human Cartoon Manifestation of Pogo The Monkey
By the 1960’s filmgoers grew tired of the monkey’s constant negativity. Two burgeoning film critics took this as their cue, effectively harnessing man’s evolutionary progress by utilizing opposable thumbs to their advantage. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel recognized the confusion caused by rating a film on a scale from one to ten, so they simplified it by giving movies either a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. Movie fans favored the ease of this kind of ratings system over Pogo’s increasingly scathing reviews. While Pogo may have died alone and penniless in the zoo never having had the fortune of seeing James Cameron’s Titanic, the practice of film criticism lives on today, thanks to his efforts.
Two Thumbs Up For Evolution!
Plenty of people who like the idea of spending all of their time in dark rooms staring at a large screens, making lists, criticizing celebrities and seeing their name in print for overstating how good the film Juno was, have taken up the cause of film criticism. People like Richard Corliss of Time Magazine and Ron Brewington of Urban Radio Network have made it their life’s work to have their names in print, lauding Tom Cruise films or imposing their opinions on a public eager to have someone tell them what’s good. Yes, If you like the idea of millions of people’s viewing habits resting whether or not you have an opinion and opposable thumbs then being a film critic (or maybe a fascist dictator) is for you.
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