Being a critic is an interesting profession. The expectation is that the person analyzes/opines on performances, food, art, fashion, wine, etc. They have experience and, allegedly, a body of knowledge and training on a subject. Sometimes I read movie reviews and am shocked at the undeserved accolades or shredding. But then again the job title is "critic" , not complimenter.
Recently, a friend, whose opinion I trust, suggested that I ignore the reviews and go see The Bucket List. It was great advice as I enjoyed it immensely. If it felt contrived, unrealistic or "schmaltzy" to some reviewers, to me it was entertaining and thought-provoking. After all, having a "kick the bucket" list, is something to consider. For some it may be about the adventures they want to have and for others it may be about the legacy they leave. The question being: Is the world or some part of it a better place better you inhabited it? And could anything with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson not be entertaining???
What I constantly learn is that people come from their perspectives as they review or evaluate. While I adored Superbad, the unabashed endorsements it received from highly regarded reviewers were puzzling. A movie buff friend explained that it appealed to each (male) reviewer's "inner fifteen year old boy". No kidding.
I'm sensitive to the review issue as I live in a world of people who feel they MUST critique. comment and evaluate every presentation, book and article. And everyone is a copy editor! One person decided to correct my use of the phrase " feels bad". Having majored in English and taught grammar, I know that "feels badly" in incorrect (verbs of sense are modified by adjectives not adverbs). Yes, you can just imagine how much fun I had correcting the INcorrector. Of course, that person had never corrected my grammar again.
For almost two decades I have posited that "constructive criticism" is a misnomer. It says alot about the giver of feedback more than it does the receiver. In a recent interview, San Francisco Ballet's principal dancer, Pierre Francois Vilanoba, was asked if he read reviews. His response was illuminating, and for this keynote speaker, very affirming. "Now that I am more established, I pay attention to how I feel about what I did." Well said.
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