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The Intense Warrior Ethos of Act of Valor

Sure, we all understand that a critic might see a film and have aesthetic or personal objections, but shouldn't he also have an awareness of what you, his readers, the reason his job exists, might think? Couldn't he say, "Look, this fails as a work of art in my opinion, but lovers of hard-hitting action will enjoy it?" Couldn't he say, "Hey, I prefer romantic comedies where guys sheepishly apologize to their girlfriends but if you, on the other hand, have testicles, you might like this instead?" Couldn't he say, "You know, I'm a wet noodle of a leftist anti-American, but real men who love their country might be edified to watch a story about the tough guys who protect their freedoms?" Because, of course, that was the big objection the Tomato critics had to Act of Valor. Any number of them called it "propaganda." Right. A piece of anti-American, anti-military, dishonest and poorly written horse wallop like Valley of Elah won 72% praise from these knuckleheads, but a patriotic film is perforce propaganda.

A critic who hasn't got the judgement or wisdom or simple frankness to tell you whether or not you'll like a film regardless of his personal opinions should do something else for a living. Same goes for a journalist who can't cover a story without tainting it with his personal politics. They are wasting skin that could be used to make an honest human being.


Cross-Posted from Klavan on the Culture

Related: See Roger L. Simon's take:

An Academy Member Looks at Oscar and Act of Valor