Reverse Shot Presents: The 50th Annual "WTF?" Awards for Excellence in Incredulity-Inducing Critical

by filmenthusiast2000
January 11, 2006 2:06 AM
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Well kids, awards season has descended upon the industry, which can only mean one thing to our devoted readers: it's time for this august journal to dispense laurels of its own, in the form of our coveted "WTF?" statuettes (Dummies, in the popular jargon), those sought-after solid gold busts of the Unknown Pedant (though some wags have suggested a marked resemblance to five-time WTF? winner Bosley Crowther) presented to the deadline-maddened hack responsible for this years most head-scratching "Did I just read that?" critical observation.

Noms have yet to be announced, though chances look slim for presenter and 2004 dark-horse Dummy winner Stephen Holden (whose NY Times piece on The Bourne Supremacy, as recited by our own Michael Koresky, drew fully ten minutes of stunned applause from the crowd in the posh banquet room of Jackie's Fifth Amendment in beautiful Park Slope) to repeat. Will this be the year that one of Reverse Shot's scribes finally takes home the prize? Or will Armond White have to put in more shelving to house his ever-growing collection of statuettes, a safe-bet given his recent Dummy-season blitzkreig, spearheaded by this chestnut from The Village Voice's Year-End Film Critics' Poll:

"The almost unbelievably biased critical response in favor of the dreadful Squid and the Whale is proof of what happened when the educated and privileged classes moved into positions of power. They usurped cultural savvy as their own provenance the way they also gentrified neighborhoods—turning the movie theaters into cultural slums."

Try pinpointing a date for that little socio-economic about-face! What the fuck is Armond talking about? Combining baffling historical fraudulence with a slew of hazy stabs at rival critics for being pawns of "conglomerates" and his lovably crotchety "Never trust anyone under 40" attitude, it's clear that White's campaigning hard... But as the votes roll in from RS staffers, readers, and legions of international critics, this year's Dummy remains very much up for grabs. Stay turned to your one-and-only Reverseblog for details, and we urge you to draw our attention to any particularly delectible front-runners we may have overlooked!

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More: WTF


  • Grand Epic | January 13, 2006 7:11 AMReply

    Hipsters: the secret rulers of the world? Even David Icke didn't see this one coming.

  • Dopey McDopecool | January 13, 2006 7:10 AMReply

    How about Dave Kehr's valiant crusade against the "MTV" editing of The New World?

  • filmenthusiast2000 | January 12, 2006 9:51 AMReply

    Armond is a closet hipster. I spied him in Williamsburg at Union Pool's Italo-Disco night talking to Tyrondai Braxton, drinking Red Stripe, and wearing a vintage PiL tee-shirt. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST, FOLKS.

  • Mark | January 12, 2006 8:40 AMReply

    To be fair, I think that when Armond says "the educated and priviledged class", he really means... hipsters.

  • filmenthusiast2000 | January 11, 2006 8:44 AMReply

    All fine suggestions, but let's not lose sight of the fact that Mr. White seems to be implying that "the educated and priviledged classes" have moved into "positions of power" within recent memory--perhaps even during Mr. White's tenure as a film critic!? Seriously. Just spend a minute ruminating that. Spend an hour. It literally makes NO FUCKING SENSE.

    But I know there's plenty more critical flatus to be sniffed out there... Keep it coming!

  • Mark | January 11, 2006 6:46 AMReply

    May I present, for your consideration:
    Ed Koch, movie critic:
    Yes, the former New York mayor is butressing himself against irrelevance by writing a movie column for a local downtown rag. The above link- his reviews of Everything Is Illuminated and History of Violence- is a worthy introduction to his bizarre pronouncements and misreadings, scatterbrained structure, and lengthy quoting of other reviewers, although all his columns are archived on the website. One more personal favorite, from a review of "Breakfast on Pluto" that neglacts to mention that the movie is about a transvestite: "An enormous array of emotions, ranging from poignancy to belly laughs, is exhibited in this unusual Irish film... I occasionally found it difficult to understand the Irish accents. There were times when I thought it would be helpful to have an old-fashioned pony used in Latin classes to translate the story and lay out the plot, which is often obtuse..." etc. etc.
    I suppose, though, that while the columns are amusing, that it's not really fair to put a half-senile former politician with no cinematic education in the same category as Armond White...

  • robbie | January 11, 2006 6:13 AMReply

    Anthony Lane is always fun (because like all critics should be, he's a real movie-hater), and thanks to a certain NY critic for pointing it out to me:
    "The last year in which our wits and our senses alike could feed on homegrown products, thanks to such disparate dramas as “Gladiator” and “Wonder Boys,” was 2000....

    yes, Anthony, the last time we had a good movie in this country was that glorious one-two punch of Gladiator and Wonder Boys.

    And he finishes with:
    "If 2006 is going to yank American movies out of the rut, we need something pretty fancy from Hanson and his peers. We need moments."


  • brotherfromanother | January 11, 2006 6:11 AMReply

    Here's Peter Howell of the Toronto Star on Cache: "Austrian director Michael Haneke regularly makes films that provoke and disturb, but this is his first one in memory to work as a genuinely engaging thriller instead of an existential statement about violence or the absurdity of life."
    Ah, so THAT's what Code Unknown and Time of the Wolf were: existential statements about violence OR the absurdity of life. I hadn't realized it until I read this. And now I'm all sorted out.

  • Dan | January 11, 2006 5:58 AMReply

    Armond White is actually one of my favorite movie critics writing today, but even I must admit that sometimes I have no idea what the fuck he's talking about.

  • Tom | January 11, 2006 5:23 AMReply

    whewwww.... May I point you to Mr. White's entire, crazy argument?

    As I said in my own blog, any chance he and Andy Rooney can fight to the death on pay-per-view?