Ann Hornaday wrote an editorial at The Washington Post entitled, The ‘Last Jedi’ backlash provides a useful primer in how not to watch a movie.
She spends the entire ten paragraphs summarizing the history of the backlash against The Last Jedi, briefly mentioning the flaws in the film and their known excuses, and then lays down her credentials as a way to explain why she knows how to watch a film far better than others. She spends more time trying to impress the reader with her qualifications than she does addressing her point. She spends one entire paragraph talking about The Force Awakens. So for someone like myself who is a film graduate and now works in the industry, there isn’t much of value in those ten paragraphs for me to respond to.
Indeed. He’s been responding on the Rian Johnson Explanation Tour ever since.
What Ms. Hornaday fails to do however, is provide the reasoning as to why the backlash provides a useful primer in how not to watch a movie. She vaguely refers to high expectations, but that’s commonly part and parcel of the overall experience of watching many blockbusters. How specifically did fans watch the movie incorrectly?
“The challenge of critical thinking is to take pure subjectivity out of the equation so that your own idiosyncratic biases, blind spots, fetishistic likes and dislikes are, if not erased, at least put to the side, to better allow the movie be what it set out to be.”
Are we talking about genuine critical thinking here? Or the kind of critical thinking that college professors give so much lip service to, when they really just want you to parrot back the material they’ve dished out in class? What did your own critical thinking lead you to think about the film? What did you believe that the film set out to be? What if critical thinking still brings one to the conclusion that what the film set out to be was garbage? Are we still watching the movie incorrectly in that case? What if it’s biased professional critics who lack objectivity, and merely subjectively gush over any film that pushes the right fetishized political messaging without regard to actual film craft? Have you thought critically about that blind spot?