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I Love Armond White

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Or hate him. Actually, yes, I hate him and I don’t even know him. My roommate referred me to a name today spelled as “Armond White,” having looked at the 2% of critics who said The Wrestler, one of the best movies of 2008, wasn’t worth a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Thus, we were introduced to the silly, Willy Wonka world of Armond White, a critic for the New York Press who apparently hates all things good and loves some of the worst movies ever made (like Norbit).

I won’t go on in great detail about Armond White, as it’s clear that much of the blogosphere already knows about this elitist idiot and have shown their distaste for him (perhaps stemming from his long diatribe about how movie bloggers are ruining movie criticism). Still, I’m amazed this guy has a job… hell, I’m amazed he even watches movies.

Listen… everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the job of a professional movie critic is not to hold grudges against directors and writers and bash perfectly good films, but to tell the public which movies are good and which ones are not. That’s why professional movie critics are paid by newspapers; newspapers want readers, and readers want to know which movies are halfway decent. If there is even one reader who doesn’t go and see films like There Will Be Blood,  Atonement and The Wrestler and instead goes to see some of the not-so-good movies he tends to like, then that’s a travesty.

Having read a few of his reviews and articles, it is clear that he doesn’t have a sense of what a good movie is. Again, he’s entitled to his opinion, but read some of his reviews for perfectly good films – films that you like – and see what he has to say about them. He insults the actual intelligence of his readers (if there are any) and seems to be making up things as he goes along.

It’s also sad that a man can work as a professional movie critic and dislike so many of the movies he sees. To go through life having so much hatred for your work is just not a life I’d want to have.

And for that, for someone to be so ignorant to their own existence and so elitist to everyone else, I hate him having become aware of him only half an hour earlier.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Miscellaneous
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  • Patrick

    It’s funny that you, a film buff who has been writing since at least Nov. of ’07 it looks like, has only come across Mr. White’s name in the last couple of months. Talk about being completely ignorant of one’s element.

    Also, it greatly amuses me to read little tirades like this about Mr. White. To perceive his demeanor as one full of hatred exposes a tremendously juvenile perspective on the function of culture criticism. If you are blind to his passion, it’s no wonder he complains about bloggers not knowing about that which they spew. Don’t be insulted by that, by the way. The only people insulted by White (directly and otherwise) are those too unwilling or dishonest to confront and account for their own opinions. In the spirit of discourse, he is decidedly brash, but if you want apologetic milquetoast, might I recommend rogerebert.com?

    Advice: pick up White’s book, The Resistance, and familiarize yourself with his angle before you make a fool of yourself with inconsequential rants whining about a difference of opinion. Also, it’s also never recommended to adopt a tone of sanctimony, something that I admit I may’ve failed to do myself with this comment.

    Best of luck.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Hi Patrick, thanks for your comment. As a film buff, I purposely don’t read writings of other critics so as not to influence my opinion – and when I do, I try to read in more of an aggregate fashion. Still, I should have heard of him before now, but I haven’t. So sue me.

    I’m not insulted by Mr. White; I am more saddened that he must hate his work so much because he likes so few films. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, as is he; his just seem rather extreme, and I find it disconcerting that some people may not watch good movies because of his one, powerful voice.

    What is his angle in The Resistance? It’s unlikely I’ll read the book anytime soon – so fill me in.

  • Jeremy Fassler

    I think that everything I dislike about Armond White can be summed up at the beginning of his review for GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, in which he claims that “the worst movies about journalism are the pathetic paeans to heroism” and to name an example of the kind of films he’s referring to, he gives ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. Is this guy from the planet of hating good movies? If Armond White thinks something is just as bad as ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, then I’ll DEFINITELY go see it!

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Well said, Jeremy. He’s almost like the anti-critic. Whatever he says is bad, go and see it.

  • J

    Wow, film culture sure has become brainless.

  • http://thefilmist.wordpress.com Henry J.

    I don’t know; when it comes to White, it’s kind of a love-hate thing. When he’s right about something, like with his review of something like “Happy Feet,” he’s dead on. But, it’s those film reviews that ramble on and on, lavishing praise on films like “Little Nicky” and the like that have – rightly – given him his reputation.

    Oh, the mind does tremble at this paradox. Sigh.

  • http://www.filmjabber.com Erik Samdahl

    Henry, thanks for your input.

  • http://www.self-stardomblueprint.com Wow Jones

    Folks,

    Some of you may be interested in knowing that Critic Armond White is making a special presentation on Michael Jackson in New York City.

    It’s entitled Keep Moving: Michael Jackson’s Video Art.

    The presentation focuses on Michael Jackson’s innovations in the music video genre. It takes place at the end of August and will be at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.

    Here’s a link:

    http://www.filmlinc.com/wrt/onsale/mj.html

    Armond White made a similar presentation on Michael Jackson in January of 2008. You can google a clip from THAT presenation on Google or YouTube. Simply type ‘Armond White on Michael Jackson’s Legacy’ and it should come up.

    Oh what the heck, Here’s a review:

    http://wowjonesreport.blogspot.com/2008/01/michael-jackson-subject-of-state-of-art.html

    Here are two clips from that presentation

    (Part 1)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdb5jEDFxSM

    (Part 2)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBe0Aeh_jO4

    Here’s to trying to get the word out…

    Best,
    Wow Jones
    http://www.self-stardomblueprint.com

  • Tim

    Armond White, like it or not, is an actual film critic. Does he aggravate fan boys? Hell yes – he does seem to take a certain delight in that, and I can’t say I fault him. While he does have some breathtakingly oddball opinions at times, he’s dead on at others.

    His reviews of Dark Knight and anything by fraud hipster Tarantino are required reading.

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