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Monday
Feb072011

#89. For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism - Review

For the Love of Movies: The Story of Film Criticism film posterGerald Peary’s 2010 documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism chronicles the history of film as an evolving medium of art, and the men and women who championed it, in an attempt to investigate why the once respected profession of film criticism is slowly becoming defunct. Scoring interviews with the industry’s finest representatives as well as securing footage from many of the film titles discussed throughout the documentary, this movie promised to be an educational and entertaining contribution into the genre. Unfortunately, Peary’s film quickly and efficiently devolves into a lazily produced history lesson, having no qualms focusing only on the moments in criticism’s timeline that interested him and haphazardly rushing over the rest. 

Broken up into chapters divided by era, For the Love of Movies plays more like a textbook than an entertaining documentary. With titles like “The Dawn of Criticism 1907-1929,” “Auteurism and After 1954-1967,” and “When Criticism Mattered 1968-1989,” it is made clear early on that Peary’s love for American film criticism is unmatched by his cinematic flair. Briskly introducing us to turn of the century critics like Frank E. Woods and Robert E. Sherwood, we are only offered mere glimpses into what made these writers great. This hurried pace is maintained throughout the majority of the picture, only subsiding to dedicate an ample amount of time to the inflamed relationship between Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael of the New Yorker.

Film Critics Ebert, Kael, Sarris

Although it has the production value of a PowerPoint presentation, For the Love of Movies does offer some interesting insight into a profession traditionally lambasted and kept out of the spotlight. Regrettably, Gerald Peary’s documentary does little to account for professional criticism’s ever-loosening grasp on America’s consciousness, and instead timidly cowers behind those who no longer need to worry. 

I am sure no one else has seen this flick, but if you have or haven't leave your comments and don't forget to push the "share" button below.

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