I just saw Gerald Peary's new documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism -- which incidentally features Cinematical's fearless managing editor Scott Weinberg as well as Cinematical alum Karina Longworth -- and I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite some lumps here and there. I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not non-critics will like it, but it celebrates many of my heroes (James Agee, Manny Farber, etc.) and even included one or two historical tidbits I did not know. One thing it talked about was the immense power wielded by Bosley Crowther at the New York Times from 1940 to 1967 -- he alone could make or break a movie -- until a new generation led by Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael began to directly challenge him. Crowther was mainly interested in social responsibility in films, films that managed to "say a little something," rather than sheer artistic exercises or works of personality. The new documentary treats Crowther kindly, but dismisses him as a relic.

categories Columns, Cinematical