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** In honor of the release of The Dark Knight Rises, I want to revisit an article I wrote when Batman Begins opened. Let me take you back to 2006… **
Those of you who have read this site for long know that one of the reasons I decided to become a movie reviewer was because I was tired of reading the same ol’ reviews by the same ol’ critics who seem to think their job is to attempt to impress people with their deft usage of a thesaurus. Either that or they have an old English professor whose approval they still desperately desire. That’s why many of my readers have dubbed me the “anti-critic.”
These critics are a never-ending source of frustration and entertainment. Let’s take Thomas Peyser from “Style Weekly” for example.
Mr. Peyser didn’t like Batman Begins. I disagree with his assessment, but it’s his opinion and he’s welcome to it, as wrong as he might be. My problem is with his abuse of words containing four or more syllables. Let’s look at the following paragraph:
“Egregiously handsome, Bale nevertheless exudes an air of indefinable menace, as if he were cloaking an imperfectly controlled combustibility with all the dissembled nonchalance at his disposal.”
Huh? Does anybody else picture Mr. Peyser excitedly flipping through his thesaurus, looking for an adverb for every adjective and an adjective for every noun? What he’s trying to say is, “Bale is a handsome guy who does a good job of hiding his inner rage.” If somebody approached Mr. Peyser on the street and asked him what he thought of the movie, would he start talking about “dissembled nonchalance” and about how “egregiously handsome” Bale is? Of course not. Nobody talks like that in real life, and if they do, they know what it’s like for people to roll their eyes at them.
I also doubt that Mr. Peyser uses words such as “tableaux” or “sclerotic” in everyday life, so why use them in a movie review about Batman? The average moviegoer wants to see Batman for some good ol’ comic book movie fun. Most people are not going to read a review and think, “Man, I was wondering how good of a job Bale would do at cloaking an imperfectly controlled combustibility, so I’m glad to hear he was able to pull it off! Awesome! Oops, I mean portentous!”
Now I could say, “Given to bouts of nettling verbosity, Thomas Peyser casts his cinematic dissections with a pall of overwrought exercises in self-admiration.” But isn’t it a little less pretentious to just say, “Dude’s too wordy”?
What are your biggest pet peeves with movie critics?