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!]
“But none of these digital-cartoon characters reflect human experience; it’s essentially a bored game that only the brainwashed will buy into. Besides, Transformers 2 already explored the same plot to greater thrill and opulence.” [on Toy Story 3, obvi]
MORE OPULENCE OR GTFO!
“We’re meant to enjoy our susceptibility, not question it, as in Joe Dante’s more challenging Small Soldiers. Have shill-critics forgotten that movie? Do they mistake Toy Story 3’s opening day for 4th of July patriotism?”
SHTICKY SHILLS OF THE SHABBOCRATIC-SHILLOGARCHY SHALL SOON SUFFER THE STING OF MY SHAKESPEARIAN SHAITANISM! DEEEEEEZ NUTS.
“When Mattie sleeps in a mortuary, the story consecrates her existential stress (“I felt like Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones”), connecting cynicism to a spiritual, cultural foundation as in their half-satirical Yiddish prologue to A Serious Man.” [on True Grit, obvi]
“And in each scene, Sorkin’s approach to Zuckerberg’s conduct is unctuous with fake significance, letting the protagonist’s eminence excuse his reprehensible misbehavior.”
“It’s an attempt at glorifying a contemporary aristocracy-cumplutocracy through flattery of Zuckerberg and his ilk. Ironically, these are the same shameless tycoons Oliver Stone takes out with sniper precision in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (a title that also fits this Facebook legend).”
“The title ‘Kick-Ass’ enshrines a bully’s ethic. Though it is unpopular to say, this proves Tarantino’s contribution to Abu Ghraib mentality. Perhaps unconsciously, our post-9/11 sensibility seeks to justify vengeance while indoctrinating it. […] From dykey-prison wet dream (“I told you she didn’t have a d*ck”) to TV-commercial parody to Thelma & Louise finale, ‘Telephone’ epitomizes the insanity of the contemporary pop mainstream.” [on why Lady Gaga’s Telephone video is superior to Kick-Ass]
If critics and fanboys weren’t suckers for simplistic nihilism and high-pressure marketing, Afterlife would be universally acclaimed as a visionary feat, superior to Inception and Avatar on every level. […] [Paul WS Anderson is] a clear-eyed visionary who expiates videogame cynicism, insisting on imaginative potential. When Alice is resurrected from her android state, it confirms Anderson’s ingenuity as a life force. [on Resident Evil: Afterlife]
BONUS! A-Dubz packed so many references to Jonah Hex and his lovers Neveldine and Taylor in this year’s reviews that I was able to create an entire extra page for just those quotes. Read on for those, my bourgeois brood of au-courant catamites (I speak specifically of Chodin).