Late last week film critic Armond White published one of the only positive reviews of Adam Sandler’s new comedy, “Jack and Jill.” Meanwhile it seemed the entire rest of the film criticism community couldn’t think of bad enough things to say about the film. Earlier today we wrote about all of this in the article “Why is Everyone Mad at Armond White!? (again).”
It’s easy to see why people disagree with White’s reviews, but why are they so angry? Is it that important for a movie to have complete consensus? Who could possibly care whether a perfect 100% or a perfect 0% for that matter, is ruined? The mere fact that people are writing articles and blogs (yes, us included) about his opinion, is fascinating.
We collected some of what critics and bloggers are saying about White’s review:
Armond White called in to the Ron and Fez Show on SiriusXM satellite radio to talk with Ron Bennington about the strange little firestorm caused by his review. He explained his reasons for his reviews and told us that his reviews are no longer listed on Rotten Tomatoes. Here are some excerpts from that interview.
Ron Bennington: Armond White! How are you?
Armond White: I’m doing good
Ron Bennington: Let me ask you something, have you seen the way people have reacted to your last review of Jack and Jill?
Armond White: Yea, ain’t it crazy? Oh man.
Ron Bennington: It is kind of amazing that people become interested in your reviews, because they think that you’re just trying to piss them off.
Armond White: First of all, yes that seems to be what’s going on, and it makes me wonder, who are these people who get so upset over it? And what makes me wonder is the way they get upset because they don’t say anything substantive, it’s just sniping and carping and schoolyard meanness. A very childish response to my review.
Ron Bennington: Are there any in particular that get to you?
Armond White: No, after I read a couple I stop reading them because none of them have a point, it’s just childish sniping. The attitude that I read in some of the blogs is that I’m just doing this for attention…when I’ve been expressing my approach to movies at least since 1984. No, that’s what I do for a living. It’s what I do for an intellectual pursuit. I get attention from the people who care to read me. I’m not seeing the attention of idiots or stupid kids.
Ron Bennington: A.V. Club actually did this– “It’s Time for Armond White to Explain Why Everyone is Wrong About Jack and Jill”
Armond White: A-ha. I’m glad you bring that up, because that’s all I saw was the headline. I wouldn’t waste my time reading the rest of it, because the headline itself, I thought was stupid. I don’t have to explain why anybody is wrong– that ain’t what I’m interested in. I’m explaining my response to Jack and Jill. I’m not explaining why you’re wrong. I’m explaining how I respond to the movie. That’s all any critic ever does and it’s kind of sad that in 2011 people still don’t understand that.
Ron Bennington: They also think you’re trying to aggravate because you’ve talked about his best films…. Grown Ups, Bedtime Stories, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry which are the films that a lot of the critics don’t like that he’s done, rather than some of his earlier films which they thought were funnier.
Armond White: Well, to each his own opinion right? When I write a review, I try to explain why I respond the way I do and what it is that I’m responding to. I’m giving my reasons. That’s what criticism is supposed to do. And in the case of each of those movies, when I’ve written about them, I explained my responses. How come people can’t understand what they read? You know, Ron, it kind of makes me think…are they reading? Because a lot of those internet responses to the review came up really quickly on Friday morning. It makes me think, did any of these people actually see the film first? Or did these people actually read what I wrote? Or are they just joining a mob, and being angry.
Ron Bennington: Did you know when you put this review in, and it was a positive review, did you think you were going to get this kind of feedback? Did you think you were going against the grain?
Armond White: No, I never think about that stuff. I never pay attention to what movies are coming out, what’s being said about them, what the anticipation is. I just don’t do that. I sit down in front of a movie knowing little about it. Usually only knowing who directed it or who is in it. I don’t know what the hype has been. So I had no idea that there was a certain attitude already established about the movie via the internet. I didn’t know that Jack and Jill and Adam Sandler had already become something to be demeaned. I was just responding as myself.
Ron Bennington: I know another big one was that they wanted to get 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for Toy Story 3 and you kind of screwed that up for them.
Armond White: Yes and no. Like I said, I wonder if they actually read my review. I wonder if they actually look at Rotten Tomatoes. I”m not on Rotten Tomatoes anymore.
Ron Bennington: Your positive review of Adam Sandler did not affect the Rotten Tomatoes meter?
Armond White: No, no, the guy at Rotten Tomatoes won’t put me on the site anymore. I guess I’m not the only one on the planet who liked Jack and Jill because the guy on Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t list me anymore. I guess I’ve been taken off the Rotten Tomatoes list. So apparently there are some other Jack and Jill likers out there.
Ron Bennington: Good to talk to you Armond. You’re like a mystery to so many people but for us you’re always accessible so I thank you so much for being on.
Armond White: Well, Ron, I’m happy to be on.
You can hear this interview in its entirety exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio. Don’t have SiriusXM yet? Get a free trial subscription here.
Check out Armond’s review in his publication City Arts at www.cityarts.info.