The AmericanFor a critic, loving a movie means never having to say you're sorry ... for a review that makes no sense to the average moviegoer. That's the conclusion I came to after being swayed by rave reviews for the George Clooney thriller 'The American' such that I drove 25 miles to a theater to see it.

I didn't hate it; anything with Clooney in it is watchable, and the nudity provided by his Italian co-star Violante Placido was really watchable. But otherwise, I would advise the crowd lingering at the ticket window to "move on, there's nothing to see here."

Before I retired from regular movie reviewing two years ago, I was often at the answering end of the question, "What's wrong with you guys?" In other words, why do critics hate movies we love and love movies we hate? That's a gross exaggeration, of course. Collectively, critics and moviegoers are in agreement more often than not.

But there are instances where some critics have an entirely different experience from those of casual moviegoers and even from other critics. And on those occasions, which I believe includes that of 'The American,' they can forget who they're talking to and start dropping references that only a fellow cineaste would find useful.