With the release of The Hobbit and Les Miserables, I have found myself surrounded by people who deem themselves movie critics. They talk about the issues that each movie has, what was right, what was wrong, how they would have done it different, correct, better. I also hear professional movie critics talking about certain actors or actresses or directors who never do serious roles, and will never be Oscar contenders.
In the book world, I have heard these kinds of conversations about Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, Tom Clancy a bit, John Grisham a bit- people who want to take the work of art of someone and put them down because it isn’t serious, or it isn’t hard to read, or the plots could be comparatively the same and so on.
Why can’t we just sit back and enjoy the ride?
I have loved Les Mis for decades. I know almost all the words to all the parts of everyone who sings, have seen both the 10 and 25 year productions on PBS and I loved the movie. Yes, I acknowledge that not all the singers were as strong as those who perform this year round on Broadway but I didn’t care. Not even one little bit. The story is captivating, the music amazing, and to see some of the world’s best actors bring their take on roles we know by first names only had me in tears more than once. It is art – emotional and meant to show a depiction of the world according to someone.
I get that people want to bag on Stephanie Meyer, there are those who say they would rather be poor and destitute than known for writing that. Really? She created characters in a world that had women from 12-62 clamoring to get their next book, the bought memorabilia, waited in line for tickets to the movies. Why? Because they found someone who let them escape, whose writing brought to life a happiness and imagination, for many, that was probably lost for a long time.
It is too easy to become hyper-critical in our society. Everyone has an opinion and, thanks to social media, every single opinion on everything can be shared. I think there is some value in having a critical eye, especially in what we are doing – to see what is out there, why what works works and why what doesn’t doesn’t. But in that awareness, let’s not forget how fortunate we are to experience someone else’s art. And these experiences are invaluable because they let us learn and develop our own tastes, expand our awareness, trigger our own imaginations. You think of societies past, those who never experienced any form of art, and recognize how many opportunities we really have to expand our understanding of the world through art. It really is amazing.
What art/artists have had an impact as you as a person or a writer? Who can trigger your imagination?