In a recent Q&A with the AV Club, TV critic Todd VanDerWerff talked about the proper qualifications for film criticism, drawing the line between reviews and picking out the flaws of a movie. He declared that:
The spread of the “Cinema Sins” style of YouTube criticism might seem innocuous to many, but underneath it all there’s this pernicious belief that criticism is applied not to the whole of a work but to its bits and pieces. These videos often seem to confuse “pointing out continuity errors and logical inconsistencies” with offering insightful thoughts on a work. Don’t get me wrong: A great, scathing review is one of the best pleasures in life. But these are not assembled via the anal-retentive means these videos apply.
The rise of the Internet over the last twenty or so years has certainly encouraged the growth of online criticism, but I agree with VanDerWerff that simply riffing a picture doesn’t make it proper film criticism. Real criticism focuses on the development of the picture, examining the story, judging the actor, and the visual and allegorical techniques the director is using among many more things. While like VanDerWerff I love Mystery Science Theater 3000 as well as its follow-up RiffTrax, they’re different than say a review by J. Hoberman or Jonathan Rosenbaum.
But what do you think?