The Playgoer: Another Critic Bites the Dust

Custom Search

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Another Critic Bites the Dust

Not theatre thankfully.  But longtime (as in: long time, 28 years) Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman gets the boot. To me, he has been indispensable and, aside from Feingold, one of the few reasons to keep reading the now-gutted Voice.

How does Feingold hold on?  Let's hope they just really, really like him.

IFC's Matt Singer pays tribute to Hoberman by recalling some good advice he gave students in his perennial NYU film class. Just substitute stage for screen and this is still pertinent:

On the fundamentals:
“Ask yourself the question, ‘What do people want to know about a movie that they’ve never seen?’”
On plot:
“Plot synopses automatically ruin a review.”
On brevity:
“Watch for excess words. If there’s a shorter word, use it.”
On editors:
“Work with them for the good of the piece. Don’t have ego. Don’t compete.”
On interviewing filmmakers:
“If you’re thinking about it, ask them about it.”
On digressions:
“The longer the em dash, the weaker its impact.”
On taste:
“Always ask yourself why you like what you like.”
On bad movies:
“Vent your spleen. In criticism, it’s better to be angry than depressed.”
On the competition:
“Never read other critics’ reviews. They cloud your judgment.”
On deadlines:
Never miss a deadline.”
Okay, I do read others' reviews. Can't help it. I'm a blogger!

But about plot summaries? Oh yeah. Preach it!

(Complete Hoberman Voice online archive here.)

1 comment:

Frank said...

Hoberman is still working in a variety of venues. He hasn't bitten the dust, the Voice has.