When everyone’s a critic

Even as his show is cancelled, Ebert’s successor gives one thumb up for the future of film criticism

There’s nothing film critics love to talk about more than the Death of Film Criticism, with the possible exception of the Death of Cinema. And no wonder. Newspapers are dumping reviewers left and right. Variety has cut loose its veteran film and theatre critics. And the garden of critical discourse that flowered with Francois Truffaut and Pauline Kael is being paved over with the likes of online algoriths like Rotten Now A.O. Scott, senior film critic at the New York Times, brings some perspective to the crisis with a wry reflection on the future of his metier. Although Scott’s lofty post at the Times seems safe, he hasn’t been immune from the scourge—Disney recently cancelled his TV show, At the Movies, ending the bloodline that began with Siskel and Ebert. But Scott takes a refreshingly sanguine view, underlining the irony that the victim of this latest “murder” was once vilified as the original culprit—“two thumbs up” punditry was the remote ancestor of Rotten Tomatoes. But Scott argues that no one can kill argument. “The future of criticism is the same as it ever was,” he concludes. “Miserable, and full of possibility.”

New York Times

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