Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible Studio Cancels All Screenings of 'No Good Deed' to Preserve Shocking Twist That It's Probably Terrible 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'No Good Deed' Reviews: And the Twist Is That It's Good! (Not Really) 'The Cobbler' Reviews: 'Makes Me Want to Upgrade Everything I've Ever Seen Half a Star' 'The Cobbler' Reviews: 'Makes Me Want to Upgrade Everything I've Ever Seen Half a Star' 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them': 'Between Just Enough and a Bit Too Much' 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them': 'Between Just Enough and a Bit Too Much' Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Daily Reads: The Death of Adulthood, the Future of Film in 'Snowpiercer' and More Kevin Smith Is OK With Critics Now Kevin Smith Is OK With Critics Now Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'Phoenix' Reviews: A Postwar-set Masterwork By Way of 'Vertigo' 'Phoenix' Reviews: A Postwar-set Masterwork By Way of 'Vertigo' 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Criticwire Classic of the Week: Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics 'The Duke of Burgundy': With Butterflies and BDSM, a Kinky Romance Woos Critics 'Men, Women & Children': Frowny Face Emoticon 'Men, Women & Children': Frowny Face Emoticon Kevin Smith Turns to Horror With 'Tusk,' and the Results Are Insane: First Reviews Kevin Smith Turns to Horror With 'Tusk,' and the Results Are Insane: First Reviews 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion 'The Expendables 3' Torrent and the Techno-Utopian Delusion Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Comparing Lena Dunham to Woody Allen Is Unfair — to Lena Dunham Did 'Edge of Tomorrow' Just Get a New Title for Home Video? Did 'Edge of Tomorrow' Just Get a New Title for Home Video? 'The Maze Runner' First Reviews: Once More Around the Dystopian YA Block 'The Maze Runner' First Reviews: Once More Around the Dystopian YA Block Now Streaming: 'Ida,' 'Last Year at Marienbad' and 'A Woman is a Woman' Now Streaming: 'Ida,' 'Last Year at Marienbad' and 'A Woman is a Woman' Daily Reads: The Disgusting But Important 'Wetlands,' Comic Book Movies That Thankfully Never Happened and More Daily Reads: The Disgusting But Important 'Wetlands,' Comic Book Movies That Thankfully Never Happened and More 'The Counselor's Extended Cut Is Inspired Madness 'The Counselor's Extended Cut Is Inspired Madness

'The Wind Rises,' The Oscar Race, and Movie-Jounalist Stockholm Syndrome

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire November 6, 2013 at 11:00AM

A New York Times article on "complaints" about Hayao Miyazaki's final film shows the way journalists who cover the movie industry internalize its values
3
Hayao Miyazaki's 'The Wind Rises'

It's unfortunately endemic among reporters who cover the movie industry that they start to adopt its values -- a kind of journalistic Stockholm Syndrome. Exhibit A: This article from the New York Times' Brooks Barnes, addressing the purported obstacles faced by the pending release of Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises

Alluding to the controversy that has attended the film's release in South Korea and Japan, Barnes attempts to sell the notion that the film the animation master has announced will be his last faces tough sledding in the U.S., in part because it features several scenes in which characters in the 1930s smoke cigarettes. 

It's true that some Japanese doctors expressed concern about images of smoking presented to younger viewers, and that "South Korean internet users" criticized the film for celebrating Japanese militarism, even as Japanese conservatives called it pacifist and treasonous. (Barnes conveniently omits that, criticism notwithstanding, The Wind Rises topped the Japanese box office for seven weeks straight.)

But if you read Barnes' article looking for a flesh-and-blood human who's objected to the film's pending U.S. release, you'll come up empty. Barnes quotes strategists and studio heads responding to potential problems, and claimed that "film buffs" at Venice, Toronto, New York and Telluride have "winced at its length," and then throws in a snarky aside of his own: "The film features an extended sequence about rivets."

So here's the thing: I call bullshit. Bullshit on trumped-up controversies masquerading as news. Bullshit on the notion that any serious "film buff" judges a movie solely on length, especially when it's barely over two hours. Bullshit on the notion that said length presents an obstacle to the film's chances at an Oscar. God forbid it face the same obstacles as Miyazaki's Oscar-winning Spirited Away, which clocked in at 124 minutes, or The Incredibles (115 minutes), Ratatouille (111 minutes), Happy Feet (108 minutes) or Rango (107 minutes). Most of all, I call bullshit on a reporter passing off his own limited attention span as an obstacle to others' enjoyment of a film whose reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

Perhaps some Oscar voters will glance at the running time on the back of The Wind Rises and move their screener to the bottom of the pile. But those people are, not to put too fine a point on it, idiots, and they don't deserve to have their complaints dignified with an article in the newspaper of record. Articles like these carry water for the movie industry's most conservative, anti-intellectual elements, turning their anonymous complaints into concrete barriers without remotely satisfying the burden of proof. These are the kinds of assumptions a reporter -- not to mention anyone who cares the slightest bit about movies -- should question rather than simply parrot, but it's emblematic of how industry coverage and the Oscar race turn journalists into apologists.

This article is related to: From the Wire, The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki


E-Mail Updates