Working as a news guy (see: previous 'Call me Slash' blog post
for explanation of my various duties), many people comment on how cool it must be to work in such a high-profile profession.
I get the same response when people discover that I am also a film critic
(another 'slash', please).
The most typical:
"You mean, you get to see all those movies?"
"You mean, get to see all those movies for free?"
"You mean, you get to see all those movies before they come out?"
"You mean, you get to write about all those movies?"
I usually respond in the affirmative to all the above, with an important caveat.
Yes, I get to see all those movies (well, not all of them...I do occasionally eat, sleep, and, oh yeah, work a full time job), in advance, for free and I write an online review for each.
Here's the caveat: For each "really cool" movie I see, there are about 4 "really sucky" movies.
In other words, here is the basic formula:
You get 4 Observe and Report
s for every Iron Man
You get 4 Transformers 2
s for every Star Trek
You get 4 Bruno
s for every Dark Knight
You get 4 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
for every Ghost Town
You get the picture.
Keep in mind, I'm a full-time web journalist, not a paid film critic. I truly admire the dwindling number of local people who can still make a living reviewing films. Most, if not all of them have been forced to take on other duties at their respective publications (no one in Utah is a full time TV or radio critic) just to justify their salaries to the print journalism bean-counters.
These guys see several movies every week, sometimes 2 a day. That doesn't count the DVD 'screeners' (advance copies) they watch at home, either. With my full-time ABC 4 News web gig, there's no way I can see all the movies they do, and I'm not sure I'd want to, given the aforementioned 4-to-1 odds of movie 'suckitude.'
Also, most people don't realize that seeing a movie is one thing; writing about it is another. A good critic (and I honestly don't consider myself that 'good' compared to many of my critic associates) will testify that keeping notes in a dark theater and trying to remember important parts of movies while writing about it much later can be quite a chore (Thank you, IMDB).
So, yes, it's cool from time to time, and it helps keep my entertainment budget in check, but really...would I choose to see a movie like Sex and the City
, even if it's free?
It's not that so many movies stink, either. Sometimes the movie is just fine, if you're its intended audience. Sex in the City
one example of a movie that's not for everybody. In writing this, I'm reminiscing sitting through several films like Hannah Montana
, High School Musical 3
, and yes, every single second of every Twilight
Wouldn't you worry if I said how "cool" the latest Myley Cyrus movie was? Kinda creepy, huh?
Basically, I'd give the "movie critic job" 2 and half stars. It has its moments, but the pay stinks and it gets kind of slow in the middle.
Even so, it beats flipping burgers, and it keeps me out of bowling alleys at night.