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From the Wire: Sragow on a Critic's Value

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire April 1, 2013 at 11:55AM

"A critic's value lies in how a particular reader gauges his own opinions against those of the critic."
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"Skyfall."
"Skyfall."

A few months ago, I told you about film critic Michael Sragow leaving the Baltimore Sun to join the staff of The Orange County RegisterLast week, Sragow officially commenced his tenure as the Register's film writer with a great introductory column on his "Life as a Critic." 

In it, he reveals his favorite movies of 2012 ("Skyfall") and 2011 ("A Separation" and "Footnote") and shares his personal history with the cinema -- growing up in small towns and suburbs obsessing over whatever was playing at the local theater or on the late show on television. He also talks about what Kathryn Bigelow describes as "the immersive experience... what happens when all the elements of a movie come together and engulf the audience in a mesh of sensations and ideas." That's the moment when movies become something special.

My favorite part, though, is when Sragow explains the value of a film critic. Print these words out and hang 'em next to your monitor, boys and girls:

"A critic's value lies in how a particular reader gauges his own opinions against those of the critic. Reviews become a way for moviegoers to clarify their own feelings and thoughts about films. I want people who disagree with me to read me for my analysis and get a good sense of the movie, whatever my opinion of it. My goal is to bring more light into the conversation about movies and more passion for America's greatest form of art and entertainment."

Succinct, eloquent, and dead-on. What a great curtain raiser on what'll hopefully be a long and fruitful stint at the Register. May it produce as many experiences as immersive as this one.

Read more of "Michael Sragow: My Life as a Critic."

This article is related to: From the Wire


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