Look, I know it feels like I hammer on Armond White a lot, but dammit, I only do it because it’s fun. Jokes aside, I tried to do a list like this for Pete Hammond, and it didn’t work. It wasn’t funny, and I think the process made me dumber (Sample quote: “Purists may wonder ‘Why the remake?’ but after seeing it will wonder no more.”). White, venerable curmudgeonly academiad of the New York Press, is much more fun, because as preposterously dense and academic he is, if you unpack the quotes, they usually contain genuine insight (when he’s not being hilariously contrarian). He’s fun to make fun of, but that’s partially because he’s fun to read (and thus, by extension, good at his job). I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t take these posts as me picking on the guy. I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I really do love the thesaurificent old cantankeramous, even if he does represent the fusty tyrranicism of the country club Gutentocracy.
So here’s a snapshot of 2010 through Armond White quotes — some cranky, most obtuse, occasionally dead on — but all classic Armond.
“Attacks from bloggers—crude interlopers of a once august profession— are not about diversity of opinion. Every moviegoer with a laptop claims equal—vengeful—standing with so-called professionals. This anti-intellectual backlash defies the purpose of the [New York Film Critic] Circle’s founding in 1935. Professional dignity is the last thing Internetters respect.” (more on that jag here)
“Charlie St. Cloud is so sappy it recalls Oscar Wilde’s Dickens jab.” [Oh, don’t worry, he doesn’t explain it further, that’s just something you’re required to know if you read A-Dubz. Btw, if it’s Dickens jabs you’re after, I thought Little Fockers did it better. -Ed]
“This is just mawkishness with a shamelessly quixotic view of metaphysics.” [re: Charlie St. Cloud again]
“The combination of privilege and temerity obviously appeals to the pessimism of trust-fund hipsters who think their own isolation and parental competition are a profound condition.” [on Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere]
“Actors are paid to be embarrassing, and audiences pay to get embarrassed. That’s the lesson to learn from Dinner for Schmucks, an idiot-comedy for idiots.” [I agree 100%]
“Like Grand Theft Auto’s quasi-cinematic extension of noir and action-flick plots, Inception manipulates the digital audience’s delectation for relentless subterfuge.”
“Nolanoids have been faithfully awaiting a vision, and in these crystal-clear (fake) annihilation scenes, Nolan out-Finchers Fincher and seeks Kubrickian misanthropy—but there’s a simple-minded sappiness at the heart of this cynical vision.”
“Iron Man 2 isn’t any worse than the first Iron Man, but we need new language to discuss the cultural stagnation evident in the ho-hum response to this sequel. Iron Man 2 is exactly what critics and audiences deserve following the celebration of that awful, dung-hued first film.” [dung-hued!]