Thursday, March 18, 2010


Those of you who will care at all will likely already know that Armond White’s “review” of Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg went live yesterday. The Vulture Blog highlights some of the more incendiary moments, and J. Hoberman, who provided the evidence of a White review in which he seemed to suggest Baumbach’s mother, the “undistinguished, forgotten” film critic Georgia Brown should have aborted Baumbach (presumably so White wouldn’t have had to suffer through his movies), and who is himself scorched in the piece as (among other things) “the scoundrel-czar of contemporary film criticism,” has checked in with own rather bemused response. Who knows (or much cares, at this point) whether there is anywhere left to go between these gentlemen (White, Hoberman and Baumbach) outside of a three-way showdown in an empty graveyard, the whistles of Morricone wafting in the hot breeze? Assuming for the moment that there isn't, Bill Ryan has responded to White’s piece, and not only to the vitriol the critic unleashes at Hoberman and others but as a piece of writing, particularly the way White tries to explain his own murky metaphors by piling on even more muddled language, in a fine post entitled “Our Armond White Problem, and His,” which dismantles White’s defensive response with clarity and intelligence. Do check it out.



Robert Ring said...

Armond White is a troll, and that's all there is to it. The guy bashed Up and District 9 while praising Transformers 2, for crying out loud.

Robert Fiore said...

Seems to be in line with the general house style of the New York Press from what I've seen of it, which could be described as Mildly Insane.

Bob Turnbull said...

I'd be perfectly fine with White taking very contrarian stances if he at least gave me new ways to look at those films (something many bloggers do on a regular basis). But he doesn't. I think Bill does a great job in laying that out.

I haven't bothered reading any of his reviews in quite some time and I'll likely just stop reading anything about him now as well.

The Taxi Driver said...

I'll just never forget the time he said Precious was a horrible movie, especially when compared to great black films like Norbit. 'Nuff said.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I completely agree with you, Bob. In fact, one of the things I look for in a critic, online or in print, is their ability to deconstruct the conventional wisdom on a film and take a stance that goes against the accepted flow of opinion.

But in order for that stance to be valuable, the critic must use language and thought to express the reasons why she/he sees the movie differently than everyone else. I also appreciate it if said writer doesn't feel obligated to trash everybody else who thinks differently in the process. (When I brought up several dissenting views in my assessment of Speed Racer, I did so because the movie was getting such universally bad reviews and I tried to examine what the writers were saying -- I wasn't trying to denigrate them for disagreeing with me.) This is where I think White usually comes up short, even when he loves the same movie I do-- see Femme Fatale.