‘SATC’ commenters: Maybe not as dumb as they seem

My review of “Sex and the City” is among those that come up when you Google the film’s title and click the “reviews” link, so it’s been read by a lot of people who had not been to my website before. Some of these visitors have posted comments along these lines:

why bother to write a nasty review if you never truly watched the show or have decided to hate the movie from the get go?

If you don’t like this type of story- don’t go see it.

I don’t think you should have seen the movie if you never watched the show.

I wonder why you went to see it so quickly if you were not a fan.

Yes it is your job as a movie critic, but why would you even bother writing up a movie review for a movie you know you wouldnt be intersted in and wouldnt understand, it just makes it confusing for the fans who want to see it.

Many regular visitors smile at these comments from people who don’t seem to understand that I’m a film critic, and that film critics see pretty much ALL the movies. And granted, the last comment I cited is a little stupid, as the commenter doesn’t grasp the part of the definition of “job” that includes “getting paid,” which would answer her question of why I wrote the review. (I’m also not sure how a negative review is “confusing” to fans, especially if those fans have already decided they want to see the movie.)

But maybe these comments aren’t so dumb after all. It’s not like the banner at the top of the page says “Eric D. Snider: Professional Film Critic.” (Maybe it should.) To an impartial observer stumbling across the site, it could just be some guy’s blog where he talks about movies. In that case, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder why he went to see the movie when he didn’t have any interest in it.

And then it hits me: The days of “movie critics” being an entirely separate and distinct group from “regular joes talkin’ about movies” are quickly waning. The Internet has made it so that anyone with a computer can declare himself a “movie critic” — and the fact is, a lot of these self-declared critics are every bit as good as the ones who write for newspapers and magazines. A lot of them are embarrassingly amateurish and detrimental to film criticism as a whole, too. But they’re still part of the group.

To a lot of Internet users, especially people who have come of age within the last decade or so, there might not be any distinction between a Professional Film Critic and a blogger. (Adding to the blurriness: Most Professional Film Critics have blogs, too, and everyone posts their reviews online somewhere.) There’s nothing about my site — or Roger Ebert’s site, or Cinematical, or Film.com, or /Film, or Ain’t It Cool News, or most of the other movie sites — to indicate whether the writers are being paid for their work or whether they just do it for fun. If you had never heard of Roger Ebert, you could look at his site and assume it was just some dude who had written some reviews. The Internet is brimming with sites where that’s exactly the case — the majority, in fact.

So it’s easy to see how a few fangirls could show up at EricDSnider.com and not get that I do this for a living. Now, why a negative review of a movie they liked is so upsetting to them is another question, but that’s more of an eternal mystery and beyond the scope of this blog.