Critiquing the Critics / Judging the Judges / Rating the Raters
Movie Review Review:
Tommy Edison’s review of Bad Teacher proves you don’t need all five senses to be a movie critic (or an asshole).
Your depression sets in before the page even finishes loading.
Aw, shit, you think. A blind guy trying to review movies. How sad.
That’s like a construction worker with no arms. Or a Real World cast member without an insatiable desire to have group sex with strangers on national TV. There’s just no way he’s going to be able to finish the job.
Once the video begins, things get even bleaker. Stark white text on a somber black screen: In memory of Ryan Dunn (1977-2011).
Perfect! Now you have to feel sorry for a blind guy and a dead guy!
It’s a pretty miserable start for viewers of Tommy Edison – a.k.a. the Blind Film Critic – who are here to watch a video review of what appears to be a playful summer comedy in Bad Teacher.
You grab a handful of kleenex, bite your lower lip, and prepare for the worst.
But the waterworks never come. In fact, your mood swings wildly as soon as Edison opens his mouth. His first nine words?
Bad Teacher. Well they got half the title right.
Ouch. Unless this reviewer mistakenly believes he just watched a school-sponsored educational filmstrip rather than a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, we’re pretty sure he led off his critique by flat-out calling this movie “bad.” But the zingers don’t stop there. On Cameron Diaz, he quips:
I didn’t fall in love with her and I hardly liked her.
On Justin Timberlake:
I think he had more fun playing the role than we did watching it.
On Lucy Punch, he offers the vague, makes-you-wonder-what-exactly-this-sounds-like criticism:
I think she tried too hard to get the laughs in this one.
You know how they say that when you lose one of your senses, the others become more powerful? That certainly seems true for The Blind Film Critic’s sense of being a dick.
All of which makes you wonder: has this guy always been such a bully? Is there some middle-aged father of three out in the suburbs somewhere who, despite the fact that he’s become a Senior Vice President at his accounting firm and has a good shot at being elected secretary of his homeowner’s association next month, still has nightmares about a nine-year-old Tommy Edison siccing his service dog on him at the playground and then beating the lunch money out of him with a red-tipped and increasingly blood-splattered cane?
Only two men know for sure.
It’s too bad Edison decided to go the insult comic route, á la Don Rickles, or that guy who always wears v-neck t-shirts on TMZ, since you really would want to pull for him otherwise. After all, if a visually impaired person can become a success reviewing a predominately visual medium like film, there’s no limit to what all of our sorry yet unimpeded asses should be able to accomplish.
And The B.F.C. (no known relation to Roald Dahl’s The B.F.G.) does seem to have potential. When he begins discussing the movie’s soundtrack, you realize that if this critic can’t see the movie, he is presumably paying more attention to hearing it than a typical viewer, and therefore he should have particular insight into that aspect of the creative product.
Unfortunately in this review, his musical opinions get no more insightful than recognizable pop music, fun to hear, and it’s all older music [from] the late ‘80s or early ‘90s.
What’s worse, by focusing his viewers’ attention on the music, Edison underscores the fact that no matter how hard he listens, he will always face limitations when trying to review films. At one point, he cuts to a scene from the movie in which Cameron Diaz, soaking wet, sudsy and wearing short shorts and a tiny top, rolls around seductively on a car hood. There’s no dialogue, and no sound effects. If you can’t see the screen during this scene, all you’re doing is listening to Whitesnake screech out a few bars from “Still of The Night.”
How’s anybody supposed to fall in love with Cameron Diaz doing that?
By the time Edison giggles through his final put-down (The best thing about this movie? The air conditioning!), and a quick Google search tells you the dead guy you were supposed to feel sorry for at the beginning of the review was actually most famous for intentionally getting a toy car lodged inside his own rectum, any empathy you might have felt for The Blind Film Critic is long, long gone.
Maybe Bad Teacher is bad. And Tommy Edison is blind. But at the end of the day, this review is just plain dumb.
Andy Ankowski, September 14, 2011
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