Question: Does watching a Phillies game or an Eagles game on TV have anything to do with watching that game in the stands? VS. watching the Godfather (movies) when they came out on the big screen, or in the dentist's office? You see what I'm saying?
Denby, a true lover of film, knows that the original is not the mediated form, and I suppose that "philadelphia sports fan" has to agree with that - the original is better, more complete, than the micro, digital, the cut-up, mediated and messed-with form. Both are real, both are exciting. But both are not the same. You dig?
However, both go on, and maybe in the future, (Please, no!) movies will have commericals in them. They do at the front now. How about in the middle? (Intermission in the old days) How about every half hour? Every 15 minutes? Make them only $5 with commercials in the cineplex... You see what I mean?
As for movies in any era... OK, some good, some bad. Like people in any era of history. Some good, some bad. Most forgotten. Just like movies.
Movies are both art and commerce. So critics of movies, like art critics, are usually into the art part.
However, maybe I'm wrong here, movies seem to be moving toward more commerce and comics, while the indie movies and documentary movies are, as always, small and art house, or cable, viewing, but are growing via social media on the web.
I think the web is the future of social films, and might become the new movie house of low-budget, social-change and documentary forms. That's great. If millions can see a film for free, that's wonderful, regardless of the tiny format. If they stream it onto a 50" with surround sound, it's like being in the art film movie theater anyway... without the fellow audience.
What's changed? The cost, and the digital world. Now, movies are moving away from the movie cineplex, and onto anywhere/24-7 ... In that sense, philadelphia sports fan is right on. Movies are wherever you want them to be.
By the way, of course, Pearl Harbor was a single movie blockbuster, while Godfather (as a group) was an American history crime drama saga (Series on HBO-like, before that was a reality). Both are good forms that continue to prosper. Nobody would say that Pearl Harbor was the better of the two commercial or critical movie vehicles, in terms of screenplay or acting. What's ridiculous about that?
I also think that lists off the web form another critical path to movie enlightenment,
They're all over the place on the web.
Today, we go to a recognized critic (in print or on the web) to get a specific, intelligent and learned opinion, much like going to a professor or a lawyer or a doctor... while each of us has our pet peeves and opinions, however real.
David Denby is one of our most learned and reasonable critics, and I value him as such. I've bought the book, and will read it over several times, as needed.
Den NC USA