Entertainment critic, the Editor-in-Chief of The Ankler, and a former editor at The LA Times, Gawker, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, and HitFix Richard Rushfield put the access media on blast in his latest breakdown of the weekend’s box office.
While discussing the box office performances of Yesterday and Late Night, Rushfield called out the access media and the entertainment studios.
“We’ve come to this bizarre place where the boundaries between the roles of critic, political activist, fanboy, and box-office reporter have completely dissolved. Everything has to play a role in some larger greater good narrative, which is fine if critics want to see the world that way and offer criticism through the lens of “How does this help the movement.” It’s harder to justify if you’re supposedly covering box office for the film industry and filtering your business analysis through that lens. Or that lens watered down via general media hoopla.”
He would then go on to criticize the entertainment studios for relying on the access media.
“In any event, last time I checked these companies, even poor little Amazon, had relatively robust marketing departments. Since when is the survival of their films dependent upon dragooning the help of the last remaining under-paid journalists in America to service their cause?”
Rushfield’s criticism of movie critics is not a new one. Agnès Poirier described the phenomenon back in 2018 in an article titled, “#MeToo activists should stop trying to be film critics – they undermine feminism.” Poirier specifically discusses the critic reaction to Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun and notes:
“Film critics judge films as human beings, aided by their knowledge of cinema and its history. They judge a film objectively and subjectively: they consider the mise en scène, editing, framing, acting, and they also respond emotionally – an emotion built on their shared humanity. To think that your gender, and by extension, the colour of your skin, your age, your religion or lack of, the size of your bank account, predetermines your every thought is denying our ability to think and decide freely and to engage with the world in all its diversity and complexity. There is such a thing as universal human experience: it is what binds us all together.”
“Activism never makes for great art, nor does it make for great journalism. The feminist cause is far better served by artists, male or female, white or black, young or old rather than by the thought police. If movements such as #MeToo allow themselves to be co-opted by moralists, they risk losing credibility, and they stifle creativity.”
The criticism of the film industry is no stranger to those who have been following the comic book industry evolve over the past few years.
In a video about what he would do if he was in control of Marvel Comics, Eric July notes that “your job as a writer is to not just take an established character and simply tell some random story with them it. Your job is to take that character and write new, fresh stories that operate within the context of the history and the behavior of the character.”
July specifically discusses how he will not include people who blend their writing with their activism, “I want the best of the best. So, you can leave your social agenda at the door or take that mess to some other comic book company. What will not happen is you trying to inject your personal, social, and political agenda into the character just because you want to see it played out. They are not your open canvases as such and the editors need to be on their s***.”
What do you make of this criticism? Do you agree with it?