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MeekinOnMovies On….Why Are You All Dicks To Me?

But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations.

Mayhaps it’s time I stood up for myself. I’m not trying to go crazy, or lash out, or condescend to anyone, and I’m only going to do this once.

The value of a critic, especially a critic in today’s day and age, isn’t to tell you what to see or what movies are worth your money. With the way film works now, seeing a movie early and first and spoiler free is almost always the way to go.  A critic is about validation, or lack there of. Seeing a movie everyone says is good – like Argo, having a negative reaction, and finding someone paid to think and write about film who agrees with you is what people go for now. Which is fine.

I’ve been watching movies / playing games quasi professionally since 2010.  You can find all the movies I had to review for that movie review show I made, here. I’ve been writing creatively more or less since 2001.  Recently I’ve been paid to do so, decently well, for a website I won’t mention else be labeled a shill. Before that I was paid decently well to manage the work and writing and ‘legacy’ of Roger Ebert, and before that it was pro-bono.

My point is that it’s clear I’m not handsome enough, popular enough, rich enough or confident enough to be taking any of this lightly or to be doing it because I only got lucky. Yes, I lucked into some great chances, but I made the most of them, and if my pile of student loans and general output doesn’t tell you I love media in all its forms – movies, games, television, books, theater – you’re nuts.

Of The AFI top 100 movies I’ve seen 61 of them, and naturally countless more not on the list. I’ve been on film sets, edited short films, whether or not any of the results are good, the fact I’ve done it, and had my hands in it, I’ve seen actors blow up at Directors over their lines, I’ve rigged up PVC pipe to create the illusion someone puked all over their boyfriend.

Being on set, and doing these things, and understanding the work and nuance and patience and strife that goes into making a film, even a BAD one, is the difference between some guy who watches a lot of movies and someone who feels qualified to speak about them on a larger level.

And I am qualified to speak about them.  If you don’t think I know what I’m talking about, I’m willing you bet you haven’t read much of what I wrote. And in fact, to prove it, if you respond to this post without using the codeword pumpkin kitten, I’m going to assume you skimmed over this, too, and just like giving me shit because it’s the internet and being mean on the internet is a wonderful way to fill whatever voids you have in your life when it comes to assertiveness, directness, clarity, and insecurity.

Similarly, if you think that somehow missing a ‘classic’ movie makes me a fraud, you’re a dope. You tell me to go watch Armageddon again? I was god damn 12 when that movie came out.  You say it’s terrible that a movie ‘expert’ hadn’t seen Apocalypse Now? Why the fuck do you think I got around to seeing it? There are holes in everyone’s catalog, Roger Ebert is missing reviews for quite a few popular flicks, and I’m sure the guys on ESPN or Fox Sports haven’t seen every ‘great’ football or baseball game, just like every famous chef hasn’t had every single ‘great’ dish from across the globe.

Shit, there’s stuff Scott Keith hasn’t reviewed, lets all call him an idiot.

If you want to challenge me on something I say about a movie or a game or TV show, if you disagree with me that I think something is good or bad or bad in the best way, that’s fine, but getting personal so quickly and so immediately is a sign of insecurity and often times jealously. If you truly had a point you wouldn’t need to call me an idiot to do it. If you truly cared about what I said or about engaging with me, or anyone else on a human level, you would not need to resort to cheap shots and dumb insults I’ve heard millions of times before.

If you take one thing away from this over-long and pretentious and pissed off rant, let it be this: If you don’t think I mean well, you’re nuts.

But damn it is hard to care about you assholes when everything I say, or type, or write is disregarded in favor of cheap insults about my weight or voice – all things I’m keenly aware of and have heard thousands of times before and bring up often. You think a person who writes on the internet doesn’t have thick skin? You think a fat guy isn’t used to being called fat? Why call me terrible, then answer the question anyway?

So why am I telling you all this when surely I shall be met with vitriol and scorn and general internet dickwadary, becuase I guess I’m an optimist. Despite the generally horrible and terrible things you all say about me, I maintain that behind each of those words and usernames and hollow insults is someone who’s an actual human being with hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities and is just as much a person as anyone else.

I do not understand why, for the life of me, I am met with this insanity. Is it because I’m on a wrestling blog writing about stuff that isn’t wrestling? If that’s the case, fine, I guess, but I don’t go to 411mania or ESPN.com and complain when those outlets cover something other their chosen fields.

At best I like to think I provide a point-of-view that ISN’T uber movie expert guy who has seen everything and knows everything, because I’m not.  I like to think I know a little about a lot. A bit about writing, a bit about subtext, lighting, tone, pacing, theme, pathos, ethos, and so on. If you read my stuff and think I come across like a know it all, read what I’ve done again with an open mind. It takes a lifetime to become an expert, I’m *four* years in.

Everything’s subjective, and when it comes to art there are no right or wrong answers.  That’s what I try to say, that’s my voice. That’s what I think of when I review something – does a movie have value for all people, certain kinds of people, or no one at all. Can someone who’s not a super heady cinema snob enjoy movie X? Then I’ll suggest seeing it. If a movie is so far up its own ass that you REALLY need to get over the eye roll and pretension.

The only absolute is that negativity doesn’t do anyone any good. I’m on here because I swear to god I’m trying to entertain and spark discussion, especially when seemingly everyone is actively miserable about the WWE, it would make sense to have something a little less depressing to chat about, right?

Maybe misery loves company.

Love my QOTDs, hate my QOTDs, love my reviews, hate my reviews, love me, hate me, the fact remains I’m never boring. I’m not on here asking the same questions about god damn Lex Luger or Hulk Hogan or Triple H being an asshole, and clearly I spark SOMETHING in most people here, but maybe I’ll take off for a bit, maybe I won’t, who knows. Regardless, a little civility goes a long way.

Oh, and one last thing on that whole knowing what I’m talking about thing –  I brought a reference:

QUVENZHAN√Č. A SMALL FORCE OF NATURE.


Interview with Quvenzhané Wallis from Paul Meekin on Vimeo.