MATTHEW LENTON, artistic director of Vanishing Point theatre company, selects the new year’s resolutions he lust loves to break.
1 Stop smoking I don't smoke, see. And anyway, if I did, I could just stop any time.
2 Stop eating so much and lose weight No, no. no. When I get rich from touring small-scale theatres around Scotland and put on lots of weight, I'll use the cash to have the fat sucked out of me.
3 Do more work See, it’s difficult, the thing is, there was this programme I wanted to watch . . .
4 (live up supporting Portsmouth Football Club Cos they’re going nowhere. NEVER PLAY UP POMPEY!
5 Emigrate to warmer cllmes Wait. what am I talking about? Where's my suitcase?
Reviews are too generous, interviews too sycophantic. Let’s end the back-slapping hype.
Words: Doug Johnstone
ow many ﬁve-star ﬁlms did you
see last year? Think about it for a
second. Five out of ﬁve, that’s a nigh on perfect piece of cinema, a meisterwerk of the form. a work of genius. A ﬁlm that will lodge in your mind for, well. ever probably.
Now think about how many ﬁlms you saw awarded ﬁve stars by a critic. Loads, right? Doesn‘t tally does it? Of course there are all sorts of arguments based on the variety of opinions and the subjectivity of reviewers. but balls to all that. My argument is that. across the board. arts critics and the general public are heaping far too much praise on undeserving work and accepting mediocrity (and often much, much worse) in place of quality entertainment.
When did you last mad :m intern-sting question put to Robbin WiIIiéth?
journalists toe the PR line, allowing questions to be vetted and stars to be wrapped up in cotton wool.
What all this leads to, of course, is an
the star of Film is the most obvious area where this inevitable dumbing down of the arts and arts cumberf‘amd occurs. How often have you read a movie coverage, as we gradually descend into the Tgﬁfgres review containing the sentiment: ‘For a major seventh level of Dante’s Inferno where Hello! Smwmo, Hollywood ﬁlm it‘s not that magazine is compulsory
chooses her favourite bad boys.
1 Robert Downey Jnr Never out of the jail, but a very good actor and he's gorgeous.
2 Jeffrey Archer He's slime personiﬁed and he should be sent to an isolated island because I think he enjoys imprisonment.
3 Neil Hamilton Egg isn't the only thing he's got on his face.
4 Dennis the Menace My favourite bad boy because of his stripy jumper and wild hair.
5 Bill Clinton As president of America he was still mainly driven by wanting his cigar smoked.
bad“? That simply “I” Popular music is just as depressing More and more these a sea Of banality
good enough. If it‘s shite say it’s shite. end of story.
days. reviewers are guilty of
wearing kid gloves
especially when dealing with heavily promoted works. often scared of alienating a public already waterlogged in a deluge of hype, as well as being petriﬁed of pissing off the controlling marketing bods.
Not to be outdone. popular music is just as depressing a sea of banality. Far too often critics are either big fans of a band or artist and give them a sparkling review regardless of recent output. or they‘re just scared of saying anything bad about the stars.
And it‘s even more nauseating with respect to interviews. When was the last time you saw or read an interesting question being put to Tom Cruise or Robbie Williams? I’ll tell you when, ncvcr. Frightened of being refused access to readership-boosting stars in the future.
reading. It’s time for a change.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should all go and see tedious Belgian black-and-white ﬁlms about pig farms or start buying 19305 Cajun nose-flute records. But there are vast opportunities for improvement in popular culture. We reviewers and the money- spending public must work hand in hand to raise the bar a little bit, and seek out and applaud innovative, original work which is also, y’know, kinda fun and entertaining.
In general The List does pretty well at this (I would say that, wouldn’t I?). at least compared with broadsheets and tabloid papers. But it could be doing so much more in leading the way against the vapid. stale and unimaginative bilge major companies continue to punt at us. Let’s make ﬁve stars actually mean something again.
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