About Us & Critic’s Manifesto
This blog was created for the purpose of putting up reviews written by students of Professor Valerie Boyd’s Critical Writing class at the University of Georgia, as well as posting other relevant updates about the TV and movie world.
With the class over, Brent Barron has taken it over in hopes of continuing the blog’s original mission.
I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a TV junkie. With a desire to one day write for the television industry, I watch unhealthy amounts of it, whether it’s thought-provoking scripted shows or mindless reality programming. I’m a newspapers major at the University of Georgia, which I will be graduating from…in like, two weeks!
Favorite movies: Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine, Moulin Rouge, Children of Men, Kill Bill 1 and 2, Best in Show, and anything by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke etc).
Favorite TV shows: Pushing Daisies, Battlestar Galactica, Six Feet Under, Dead Like Me, Friday Night Lights, Ugly Betty, 24, Weeds, Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Family Guy, South Park and pretty much any trashy reality show.
Other hobbies: Writing short stories, bad poetry, and dabbling with screenplays, all sorts of music, theatre (watching and performing), knowing too much about pop culture (television in particular), video games, and being a bum.
Random facts: I get teary-eyed watching Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition sometimes.
Critic’s Manifesto: Everyone decides what they think about something, and no amount of other opinions will change that in the end. Critics don’t exist to tell people what to think, but they give a good starting point. A critic should not set out to impress; to use big words just to seem smarter and perhaps ‘better’ than their audience. Sure, a critic has more knowledge in their field than the average person, but there is no need to dangle that over other’s heads. A successful critic knows their audience and sets out to provide them with reviews and information that will be helpful to them, whether it’s to help them save their hard-earned money or their time. Anyone can rant and rave about something, and that opinion is valid of course, but a critic articulates and puts a polish on their opinion so that it somehow gains more credibility. A critic has to have credibility, or else they are worth nothing. It can be helpful if someone can begin to relate to a particular critic, finding that their tastes often match.
This class has shown me that a critic’s job is not easy, that their role is not obsolete, and their is a future for critics in one form or another. People will always hold their own opinions, but the critic can either help steer an audience toward or away from something or perhaps challenge their opinions, pointing out valid points that only someone well-educated in their field could. Because people should always be open to having their opinions challenged, and critics should also be sure to realize their own opinions are not the final word, only a few in a vast world of words.
Favorite Movies: Bottle Rocket, Pulp Fiction, Schizopolis, Big Lebowski, Glengarry Glenross, Zodiac, Man Bites Dog, Mean Streets, Fight Club, Naked Lunch, Sin City, The Science of Sleep, Way of the Gun, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Wozek, They Live, Altered States, Natural Born Killers, Another Day in Paradise, King of New York, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Favorite TV shows: Deadwood, Aquateen Hunger Force, Six Feet Under, Sealab 2021, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, COPS, Ninja Warrior, Daily Show, Oldschool SNL, Harvey Birdman, Beavis and Butthead
Other: Film and print journalism major at the University of Georgia, prankster, movie geek and general nut.
Critic’s Manifesto: In contemporary culture there are few things as pervasive as movies when it comes to entertaining the masses with easily digested, highly complicated pop-culture material. For this very reason, everyone has some sort of opinion. Almost from the very onset, viewers are indoctrinated with filmic rules and techniques which expand their absorption of the presented material in a primarily instinctual manner. In this way, people slowly but surely become accustomed to more critical of the material they decide to see. Unfortunately, reaching beyond this basic enjoyment and actually understanding why those things are enjoyed is a much more difficult task.
This is where the reviewer comes in.
The good reviewer can analyze, dissect and interpret a film without forcing their opinion or biasing their statements. A good review should ask whether or not a movie is watchable or not but rather finding out who would enjoy it and directing them to where they belong. By utilizing a distinct voice, empirical data, and layered interpretations, a good writer can help their readers to recognize their own taste in film as well as distinguishing these likes from others’ in order to better their choices in the future. References are also very useful as they establish a familiar base for comparison and typically provide the most effective analogies.
I’m a second year journalism graduate student at the University of Georgia. My undergraduate degree is from Clark Atlanta University, where I majored in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Radio, TV and Film. I love watching movies and television, especially on a rainy day.
Fave Movies: When Harry Met Sally, The Notebook, The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, Pretty Woman, Sin City, any Spiderman movie, Mission Impossible 3, The Departed (until the last 10 minutes), Smokin’ Aces, and all of the Harry Potter movies
Fave TV Shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, The Office, Any Law and Order, Family Guy, and Sex and the City
Best Reality Shows: Flavor of Love, I Love New York, Tila Tequila, Real World: Sydney, MADE, The Hills, America’s Next Top Model, Kimora Lee Simons: Life in the Fab Lane, Whose Wedding is it Anyway? and any reality show with LOTS of cursing and a guaranteed fight
Random Fact: I’m totally on TEAM PARISA and I once starred in a really bad 5 minute horror film!!!
Critic’s Manifesto – A critic’s role is to engage readers in such a way that there is no question in their minds as to why the reviewer liked or disliked a particular genre. Almost anyone can say, “I hated that movie” or “I loved that piece of art.” However, what makes a critic’s role vital is the ability to write a coherent review that not only has a strong opinion, but also a well laid-out summary filled with vivid descriptions. The descriptions should give the audience an inside look at the movie, TV show, book, restaurant, or music being reviewed, while creating a well-built argument for or against the work. It’s about becoming well versed in their chosen field to give credible advice and to look at a variety of works analytically.
After writing six reviews, I have learned that being a critic is not an easy job. It is actually harder to write about your opinion. I initially thought it would be fun to review genres I enjoyed, such as movies, but instead I learned that being a critic can actually suck the fun out of it. You want to make sure that you remember and can capture each moment when it happens. For instance, you only get one shot to review a concert or explain the audiences’ reaction to a funny scene in a movie. That’s a lot of pressure. And the worst part is that once you’ve turned your critic’s eye on, you can never turn it off.
Lindsey Peacock is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in Newspapers and minoring in English. In the ten minutes of free time she has each day, she catches up on episodes of her favorite shows and watches Sex and the City reruns. Weekends are dedicated to devouring as many new movies as possible and to revisiting the classics.
Favorite movies: Moulin Rouge, Chocolat, V for Vendetta, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Phantom of the Opera, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina (the original) and Finding Nemo.
Favorite television shows: Gilmore Girls, Pushing Daisies, Sex and the City, South Park, The Colbert Report and The Dog Whisperer.
Critic’s Manifesto: The critic still plays an integral role in our society, despite many who say the position is now obsolete. Though any Joe Schmo off the street can formulate an opinion, a critic is someone who can voice their opinion in a coherent, logical method with supporting evidence to attempt to persuade an audience. They do the necessary research to completely understand their subject to the fullest degree, and ultimately they function as conversation-starters for the people of the community they serve. Though all their readers may not agree with their opinions, as long as they provoke thought and conversations about the art, television show, movie, restaurant, etc. they’re reviewing, then they’re doing a great job. And their jobs are much more difficult than I originally thought. After having to write six reviews of my own and meeting several working critics, I can say I have a much greater appreciation of the job and their responsibilities. As far as my own future in the field … I’m not really sure if it’s something I would want to pursue immediately because of my tendency to shy away from writing, but it’s a job I would consider as I got older. I definitely want to attempt it at some point, perhaps as a music, television or movie critic. Because my interests are so broad, I think it would be nearly impossible to choose just one subject matter to critique for the remainder of my career. In the meantime, I’ll continue to pursue a position as a copy editor/page designer and leave the reviews for the professionals.